Special Educational Needs and Disability MA

Postgraduate ( full-time, part-time)


September, January

Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Course duration: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Teaching times

Part-time, September

Trimester 1: Thursday 09:00 - 12:00
Trimester 2: Tuesday 17:00 - 20:00
Trimester 3: Tuesday 17:00 - 20:00

Part-time, January

Trimester 2: Tuesday 17:00 - 20:00
Trimester 3: Tuesday 17:00 - 20:00

Apply online

Apply directly to ARU

We are revalidating this course in 2020, which will mean some modules listed may change.
As part of the changes we intend on offering a distance learning version of this course. If you are interested, please apply for the part-time version and we can amend your application to distance learning after the course validation event.


To create an inclusive society, different professionals must work together, from education, health and social care to government. This course supports your specialism and prepares you to collaborate. Understand in depth the special educational needs and disability (SEND) requirements of children and young people up to 25 years old. Be clear on SEND rights, ever-complex legislation and specific conditions. Have answers for those under your care, their families and fellow professionals.

Full description


This course will support your career ambitions as a SEND professional. This can be in the areas of education, health and social care, a local authority support role or even national policymaking. For newly-qualified professionals, including tomorrow’s teachers, the MA will enhance employability, helping you on your path to becoming a SEND specialist. 

If you’re already a Specialist Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), you’ll increase your understanding further. We will accredit a SENCO award, and the prior knowledge that comes with this programme, so you can progress to an MA with fewer modules. Teachers and those in allied roles, including learning support assistants and teaching assistants, will find this course valuable for personal development and career advancement. It could even help with a move to a related field. The same is true for those committed to delivering SEND health and social care. International students may wish to use the approaches to strengthen and influence policy and provision within their home country, or develop new structures and career opportunities.

Whatever your background, interests and professional needs, you’ll learn how to make a difference by engaging collaboratively. And it’s up to you how far you take this course. Professionally recognised intermediate awards (PG Cert and PG Dip) are available if you don’t wish to study for the full MA.


Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • SEND in Context
    Understand the entitlement context for children and young adults with SEND aged up to 25 years. View this against the backdrop of legislative change and evolving models, as well as global perspectives on ‘need’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘personalisation’. Alongside rights, explore the duties, procedures and principles for practice expected from those working in this field to improve quality of life and aspirations. Be clear on the implications of mandates for collaborative working and providing planning that’s centred on an individual. To help grow your general understanding, you’ll look at case studies of children with special education needs and disabilities. This will cover a number of conditions. All viewed from a range of professional perspectives.
  • Intervention for SEND
    Focus on specific needs and conditions, as well as intervening to include stakeholders, supported by the principle of equality of opportunity. Consider the tension between identifying need and the philosophy of inclusion. Understand the implications of ‘Quality First Teaching’ within new frameworks and for helping young people up to 25 years of age live life in their communities. To help with this module’s objectives, you’ll explore a range of needs, including communication and interaction; cognition and learning; emotional, social and mental health; and sensory and physical requirements. You’ll consider the implications for children and young people with specific conditions, for example ADHD, autism and dyslexia. You’ll critically assess what such conditions mean to families too, and approaches to intervention. And you’ll appraise working practices for one good reason: the best solutions will mean engaging every relevant stakeholder, building on partnership strengths.
  • Educational and Social Research Methods
    This module provides you with the opportunity to consider the aims and intentions of educational research, critique published journal articles, and examine the role of evidence from research as a basis for improving education and social care. You will gain grounding in educational research issues, methods and strategies together with knowledge of how to match intended outcomes with specific educational questions and methods of investigation.
  • Postgraduate Major Project (double module)
    The Major Project is central to achieving your MA. You’ll show how you’re able to combine learning from previous modules. This learning will give you the basis for planning, conducting and writing up a research or work-based project. This module is also the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to raise significant and meaningful questions in relation to your chosen topic, alongside a critical understanding of research methods and their relationship to knowledge. You’ll be well placed to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in your research or professional practice and to expand existing knowledge, contributing to the development of best practice.

If you start your course in September, you will take the following module

  • National and International Policy Perspectives
    Policy has a central place in all phases of education at macro, meso and micro levels. Students taking this module will have the opportunity to explore aspects of policy in depth, considering the ideologies, values and evidence that inform policy and the position of individuals and groups when responding to and implementing policy. MA Education and MA Early Childhood Education students take this module together as some global and national policy initiatives have an impact across all sectors and policy developments in one part of the educational system are likely to affect others. Students are expected to be active learners, engaging in group discussion and group presentations in order to share their ideas about both theory and practice.

If you start your course in January, you will take the following module

  • Specialist Studies in Learning and Teaching
    This module is designed to enable students to explore a subject that is relevant to their role as a teacher in compulsory or post compulsory education. Students will be required to focus on one of the specialist areas provided by the course team and to work with other students to successfully achieve the learning outcomes. Students will choose from a range of subject specialisms which will include but not necessarily be limited to: Developing Assessment for Learning in the classroom context; Enhancing learning and teaching using learning technologies; Supporting students with Special Educational Needs; Outdoor Learning; Critical Education and Social Justice. This module may be used as a vehicle to offer an agreed specialist subject for continuing professional development purposes, for example, if a group of teachers in a school wanted to pursue a particular topic to link with a particular issue. In some circumstances this Specialist Studies in Learning and Teaching module could be replaced by the Professional Enquiry module for example, if a group of teachers wished to pursue an action research project in a school context.


We use a range of assessment methods to demonstrate your developing knowledge and theoretical understanding. Assessments will also expand the skills you’ll need in practice to best support children and young people with special education needs and disabilities, alongside their families. And you’ll be able to show how you’ve learned to engage other professionals across disciplines, empowering them to be as effective as possible.

Instead of sitting exams, you’ll benefit from collaborative assessments, including making group presentations. You’ll develop core strengths in valuable appraisal methods, such as the ability to carry out individual critical reflections. You’ll also carry out an extended evaluation of issues applied directly to your specific interests and context.

Each assignment will progress your learning, assessing your ability to communicate with clarity, both verbally and in written reports aimed at a range of audiences. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can meet postgraduate-level study, and have fluent, accurate English. Please see Entry requirements for further details.

Notes on modules for part-time students

You will benefit from attending a 'summer school' module.

If you're studying our course part-time, you'll study the following modules in your first year:

  • either The Interprofessional Context for SEN or Intervention for SEN 
  • Investigating Education through Research
  • Exploring Boundaries and Practices for SEN.

In your second year you'll study:

  • either Intervention for SEN or The Interprofessional Context for SEN
  • Postgraduate Major Project.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Additional study information

Throughout your time on our course, you’ll be encouraged to work in study groups from diverse backgrounds. This will not only aid opportunities for making informal professional visits but also will deepen your understanding of different perspectives.

The way our course is taught has been designed for you. If you need to study at a distance, you can make use of our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

At the end of your first year of study, we offer a week-long summer school. You’ll be expected to attend this, and should plan accordingly when applying. If you’re an international student, we may be able to help with some of your logistical arrangements. For further advice, please speak with our International Admissions team on angliaruskin@enquiries.uk.com.

Our teaching sessions use specialist facilities and tutors from across a range of disciplines.

If you’re not in a regular work setting with access to children with SEN, you’ll be supported to find a voluntary placement, for example in a special school. This will require enhanced DBS clearance, which all students have to secure before starting this course.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (part-time, per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (part-time, per year)


How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

If you're a UK or EU student, you won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to study with us – though you must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you're at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in September 2020.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

Suggested courses that may interest you

We are revalidating this course in 2020, which will mean some modules listed may change.
As part of the changes we intend on offering a distance learning version of this course. If you are interested, please apply for the part-time version and we can amend your application to distance learning after the course validation event.