MA in Special Educational Needs and Disability


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

The MA in Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) is designed to reflect the interests and ambitions of graduates and practitioners engaged in complexities and challenges related to SEND. The programme offers opportunities to explore, analyse and critique ideology, pedagogy and sociological frameworks concerning inclusive and specialist education. Completion of the degree leads to the development of knowledge and skills across a range of special educational needs and disabilities, promoting competence and confidence in reflective practice, decision making in complex situations and completing independent research. By following this programme, you will develop a systematic understanding of knowledge related to SEND theory and practice.

Key facts

  • Award: Masters
  • Duration: 1 or 2 years
  • Mode of study: Full/Part-time
  • Start date: October
  • Awarding institution: Bishop Grosseteste University
  • Institution code: B38

About this course

This Masters course is designed to develop your in-depth knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to current and changing SEND practice. The modules will provide you with opportunities to investigate different social and educational contexts, demonstrating the acquisition of advanced knowledge and understanding of key issues relating to SEND. This will include a critical awareness and interpretation of theory and practice, which will inform and develop effective SEND practice. Building upon prior knowledge and /or experience, you will explore multiple perspectives on key issues through structured learning, independent study and research.

Whilst developing a broad understanding of the diverse practice, you will gain confidence in applying to learn, informed by leading research and practice in SEND. Essential to completing the MA is the acquisition of an advanced understanding of the research-informed practice. You will investigate different methods of enquiry, working individually or collectively, to solve situational challenges. Successful problem-based learning will require you to develop intellectual and transferrable skills and apply them in a meaningful way. You will also be encouraged to explore different approaches to meeting SEND following demonstration and discussion of alternative interventions. The aim is to promote reflective practice leading to confidence in creating positive change in provision.

The course promotes the independent study, including identification of research techniques and research methods engaging you fully with SEND research and practice. It will help you to develop a conceptual understanding that enables you to analyse, debate, appreciate ambiguity and uncertainty yet be competent in evaluating and defending viewpoints, improving your research literacy and research skills. Ultimately, you will be able to solve problems by applying alternative methods and techniques in shaping and changing practice for children and young people with SEND.

The course is suited to a wide variety of contexts; education, social and care, and relevant to practice across different age ranges. With a strong focus upon creating change, challenging social injustice and promoting entitlement, you will gain skills in the analysis of theory and practice, sharing your experience, reflections and contributions with others.


What will you study

Students on this course currently study some or all of the following modules.

Course modules

  • Exploring and Interpreting SEND
  • Learning: Domains and Dimensions
  • Raising Achievement: Meeting the Pastoral and Welfare Needs of Children and Young Adults with SEND
  • Undertaking Research with Children and Young Adults with SEND
  • Understanding Specific Special Education Needs and Disabilities
  • Impact Project

Entry requirements

Students will normally be graduates or education practitioners with an honours degree at 2:2 or above. Consideration might also be given to accepting students who can demonstrate relevant SEND experience and ability to study at level 6.

Full-time and part-time students will require the ability to access a work setting providing at least 100 hours of a SEND related work-based experience over the duration of the programme.

BGU is committed to widening access and participation and we adhere to a strict policy of non-discrimination.

How you will be taught

Learning and teaching on this course will be through a combination of approaches designed to promote engagement and independent learning. Approaches used to promote your knowledge and understanding will include lectures, seminars, group work sessions and tutorials.

Lectures (some of which will be interactive) will employ the use of audio and video for contextualisation of topics and problem-based learning exercises. Guest tutors from across the university, from other HEIs (international) and from local and national statutory, private and voluntary organisations will also add to your learning experience.

Seminars will be designed around enquiry based learning, to encourage active participation. You will be given the opportunity to discuss your experiences, findings and ideas with your peers or to take part in in-group presentations. Through active participation, you will be encouraged to challenge ideas and test your own knowledge and understanding.

Your group work sessions will be used to critically review research, policy and provision exploring challenges and issues across SEND, searching for meaningful interpretations which can inform individual learning and practice.

Within the tutorials, you will be offered the opportunity to discuss ideas and demonstrate progress and engagement with the taught elements of the course.


Throughout the course of this programme, you will demonstrate skills in critical inquiry, reflexivity and analysis that can be applied to SEND contexts. A range of assessment methods will be used to ascertain your knowledge and understanding of the subject and your ability to integrate theory and practice. Typical examples would be academic essays, seminar papers, project work, report writing, small group project work, self-assessment exercises, and the impact project. Assessments will ensure that you are developing your power of critical enquiry, independent judgement and creative application of learning. A number of assessments may build upon creative skills in using new/alternative technologies.

Careers & Further study

Following the introduction of the SEND Code of Practice (2015), there are now significantly more organisations that require professionals working, supporting children, and young adults with SEND to have expertise in this area. As this has raised the profile of working with children and young adults with SEND, many other organisations are increasingly requiring staff in teaching roles to have specialist knowledge in this area, such as those in the leisure industry and sporting organisations. By completing the MA in SEND, you will be better positioned to apply for such posts, demonstrating a range of skills which will support learners with SEND in various settings.


Studying at BGU is a student-centred experience. Staff and students work together in a friendly and supportive atmosphere as part of an intimate campus community. You will know every member of staff personally and feel confident approaching them for help and advice, and staff members will recognise you, not just by sight, but as an individual with unique talents and interests.

We will be there to support you, personally and academically, from induction to graduation.

Fees & Finance

A lot of student finance information is available from numerous sources, but it is sometimes confusing and contradictory. That’s why at BGU we try to give you all the information and support we can to help to throughout the process. Our Student Advice team are experts in helping you sort out the funding arrangements for your studies, offering a range of services to guide you through all aspects of student finance step by step.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Here at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), we’ve been educating students in the historic heart of the City of Lincoln for over 150 years, located on a beautifully green and pleasant campus just a fe ... Read More

Here at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), we’ve been educating students in the historic heart of the City of Lincoln for over 150 years, located on a beautifully green and pleasant campus just a few minutes’ walk from Lincoln Cathedral, Castle and the old Roman city. We’re set on a single-site campus, so just about everything you need is close by, whether it be your tutors, your friends, your lectures or the places in which you like to relax. Read less