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Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course


The 2015 Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (DfE/DoH) specifies that all teachers must be seen as teachers of pupils with SEN and take responsibility for the progress of all learners in their class.

With an estimated 20 per cent of our young people in school with special educational needs, it is important for teachers to have access to current research and to develop their understanding and confidence in this area.

The MA in Special Educational Needs is designed to critically engage with current thinking and ideas about inclusive and specialist education.

It will allow you to develop your knowledge of specific learning difficulties, and to become a reflective practitioner who is able to use research to inform your own practice. 

This course will give you a firm grounding in understanding a range of special needs across a variety of age groups. Subjects include autism, dyslexia, social and emotional mental health issues, inclusion and leadership in SEN.

What makes this course different

Person working on computer.

Flexible course options

The course will give you a grounding in theory about SEN and inclusion, as well as an understanding of current legislation and policy. You can personalise your learning and address areas of interest and challenge in the context of your work, allowing you to develop your own practice.

Three smartly dressed people walking together.

Collaborative learning

The course focuses on collaborative learning, which will support you to address current issues and problems through the strength of collective knowledge, experience and expertise. A real strength of the course is the diverse student body. People bring a range of expertise and experience, enriching the learning for all.

Students in a classroom.

Learn from experienced practitioners

Our staff are experienced practitioners in the field of SEN, with expertise including autism spectrum condition, dyslexia, behaviour, inclusion and leadership. They bring a wealth of practical experience and knowledge of the most current research to the course.


This course is relevant to both mainstream and specialist settings. The aim is to build the capacity of teachers and other professionals to respond effectively to the diverse educational needs of all learners, including those with special educational needs.

You will develop detailed knowledge of specific special needs, including autism, dyslexia and social and emotional mental health issues.

Throughout the course, you will be supported to develop a critical understanding of theory alongside the practical knowledge you will gain.

You will be encouraged to make links between theory and your own practice, and become a reflective practitioner who is able to think proactively and strategically about provision for pupils with special and additional learning needs.



  • Core Modules

    Research methods and applied research project in SEND

    The aim of the course is for you to engage with theories of inclusion and personalised learning and develop an understanding of the scope of the role of SENCo. In addition, you will critically evaluate personalised learning practice in schools and educational settings. You will also consider your setting's approaches to inclusive planning, teaching and assessment to ensure that is reflects accessibility, challenge and achievability for all pupils.

    Optional Modules

    Critical Approaches to Inclusive Education

    • To engage with theories of inclusion and personalised learning.
    • To critically evaluate personalised learning practice in schools and educational settings.
    • To develop approaches to inclusive planning, teaching and assessment that ensures accessibility, challenge
    • and achievability for all pupils.

    Understanding Autism

    In this module you will be introduced to the characteristics associated with autism spectrum. You will develop an understanding of the implications of autism for teaching and learning. You will develop an understanding of what is considered as good practice in the field of autism which you will be able to apply to your own practise.


    Exploring Literacy Difficulties and Dyslexia

    This module will serve teachers and other professionals in both mainstream and special schools. The aim of the module is to extend participants’ theoretical and professional knowledge and understanding of literacy difficulties and developmental dyslexia. It will support participants in exploring the needs of students with literacy difficulties, in developing appropriate curriculum responses and in reflecting on their own professional practice. The module critically examines current definitions which seek to account for identifying features of literacy difficulties and dyslexia. This module will also examine literacy difficulties and dyslexia in cultural and policy contexts and critically examine specialist and inclusive pedagogical approaches.


    Exploring Behaviour: Theories and perspectives for practice

    This module explores a variety of perspectives to understand the causes of ‘difficult’ behaviour. You will be encouraged to consider these different theoretical perspectives while developing support for students within an educational context. You will be able to reflect how your own practice and that of your context can be improved to provide holistic behaviour support. This module is aimed for teachers working in different contexts.


    Leadership Practice and SEND

    The aim of the module is to enable you to understand the professional leadership role of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), current policy and the processes of leadership within educational contexts. Your studies will enable you to develop a critical awareness of the issues of developing and leading SEND provision. You will also develop critical awareness of the issues of developing and leading SEND provision.


    Professional Practice Internship - Development of professional knowledge in practice

    Students will be enabled to analyse practice by applying theory in order to develop informed interpretations on critical incidents in leadership of practice and consider alternative perspectives. Students will identify priorities for their professional development informed by critical incident analysis and their engagement with scholarship in the field of early childhood. Through critical incident analysis students will be aware of and responsive to the diverse contexts for children and young people with SEND.

    Please note, this module is for students who do not have a work placement or are new to the workplace.  You will need to gain some voluntary experience as part of the course if you do not have a role.  


    Negotiated Project: Workplace development in leadership and management in SEND

    The purpose of this module is to develop leadership and management practice in the context of educational settings through the analysis and interpretation of leadership practice.

    The purpose of this module is to critically appraise education settings as learning organisations for children with SEND. Students will be enabled to reflect on the formation of professional knowledge within specific contexts and make recommendations for further action. Students will critically evaluate the characteristics of learning organisations by applying theoretical perspectives; including for example, communities of practice and situated learning theory. Through work-based learning (in employed or voluntary contexts) students will engage in a live project to support the professional development of the self and others.

    This module is for people in work and with experience of working with children and young people with SEND.


You will learn through lectures, face-to-face tutorials and by working in small discussion groups and pairs.

The course is taught in the evenings from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

There is a focus on collaborative learning, building on the strength of shared experience, knowledge and expertise. During taught sessions, you will be encouraged to interact with your fellow professionals, allowing you to explore theory and practice.

Group activities also help you to develop your ideas through discussion with others before your approach the assessment tasks.

Each module is supported by a virtual learning environment (VLE), where you can access key readings, additional materials and use the discussion board. 

In addition to weekly lectures, you have access to the module tutor via email or in face-to-face tutorials. Our tutors have all worked professionally to a high level in the field, and have experience in supporting participants from a wide range of professional contexts and backgrounds.

Each module encourages you to link your developing knowledge and understanding to your own professional context. Professional learning is further developed through the Research and Methodology module, which prepares you to write a 14,000 word dissertation.

To complete the dissertation, you will carry out small-scale research within an educational setting. You can link theory and current research to an area of interest, which allows you to reflect on your own practice and plan for change.


There are no examinations on this course. We assess you on your coursework for the PG Cert and PG Diploma modules, and a dissertation for the master's module. Each module assessment will typically be a single submission portfolio of 5,000 words or equivalent. There will be a dissertation of 14,000 words.

For full time students, there are three terms with two modules to be taken in term one, plus the dissertation module and one other module in terms two and three.

For part time students: it is one module per term for terms one to four and then the dissertation module in terms five and six.


Stratford Campus

Stratford Campus, Water Lane, Stratford


The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Tanya Cotier

Tanya is the course leader for MA SEN, PGCert in Understanding and Supporting Behaviour, and PGCert Autism Spectrum Conditions and Learning.

See full profile

What we're researching

Research is an important area within our school and some examples of research undertaken by the people you will be working with are:

Louise Arnold is exploring child and young person's views and their experiences of being part of the education and health care plan process in her doctoral research

Rebecca Crutchley's  doctoral research is exploring the linguistic and cultural brokering roles that migrant children engage in on behalf of their families during the process of acculturation. 

Rebecca Crutchley gained an MA in Early Years Education in 2005, and has worked as a Children's Centre teacher, a local authority advisory teacher providing early years and SEN support to the non-maintained early years sector and later as a Deputy Head/ SENCo of a maintained nursery school in East London. Working as a senior lecturer at UEL since 2013 and programme leader for the Early Childhood and Special Education programme, her publications include:
Crutchley, R. (Ed)Special Needs in the Early Years: Partnership and ParticipationLondon: Sage Publications.
 Lloyd, E., Edmonds, C., Downs, C., Crutchley, R. and Paffard, F. (2016) ‘Talking everyday science to very young children: a study involving parents and practitioners within an early childhood centre’Early Childhood Development and Care,Vol 187 (2).'

Our Professional Doctorate (EdD) course draws on the input of researchers from across the School of Education and Communities. It is led by Professor Gerry Czerniawski, who has published extensively in the areas of teaching and learning, teacher and teacher educator identity, continuing professional development (CPD) and pupil voice.

A founder member of the International Forum for Teacher Educator Development (InFoTED), he serves on the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Council and is chair of BERA's British Curriculum Forum. Gerry is a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

This course supports the knowledge and understanding of specific areas of SEND such as autism or dyslexia within current fields of research and expertise; it allows students to understand behaviour from both practical and theoretical perspectives. This course not only supports the development of practitioner skills for both experienced professionals and those new to the workplace but also allows non practitioners to enhance their understanding of SEND and offer differing perspectives on the areas for discussion.

Tanya Cotier

MA Special Educational Needs

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This course will help you develop a range of transferable skills that are desirable in a wide range of careers.

These skills include knowledge of theories, legislation, policy and practice, computer literacy, planning and time management and written communication.

It will also demonstrate your ability to design and carry out small-scale research and to engage in critical thinking.

The skills and knowledge developed on this course will allow those working in teaching to gain expertise in the increasingly sought after area of special needs.

However, this course could also support your career in areas such as therapy, support work, social work, educational psychology and work with adults with additional needs.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal.