Why study this course

An opportunity to develop your own interests, exploring the complexities and challenges related to SEND

We don’t tell you what to think but give you things to think about

Opportunities to develop, and engage with, contemporary issues in SEND

You will be taught by a range of lecturers with knowledge and interests drawn from a diverse range of experiences

Course summary

The MA in Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) degree is designed to reflect 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 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




1 or 2 years

Mode of study


Start date

January & September

Awarding institution

Bishop Grosseteste University

Institution code


Apply for this course

When you're ready to apply, the route you take will depend on your personal circumstances and preferred method of study. Click the relevant button below to start your application journey.

About this course

This Master's 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 diverse practice, you will gain confidence in applying learning, informed by leading research and practice in SEND. Essential to completing the MA is the acquisition of an advanced understanding of 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 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 through 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 analysis of theory and practice, sharing your experience, reflections and contributions with others.

Don’t forget that BGU Alumni receive a 30% discount on all Master's course fees (for 2024/25) and 20% for 2025/26.

International information - how to apply & entry requirements

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We do everything we can to make the transition to living in another country as simple as possible.

What you will study

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

Special education needs is a social construction, a category used to define and include or exclude individuals depending upon the values and actions of others. This module will engage you in the thinking and challenging of concepts associated with SEND ideology and practice. The module content will review global and national practice, exploring historical reforms, cultural contexts, and social and political theories that inform and influence policy and provision for SEND.
This module explores and challenges conceptual learning domains and analyses approaches to best practice. Reflecting upon the increased emphasis for multi-agency collaboration, you will consider your role in working alongside others, developing reflective practice. Critique of changing interpretations of what motivates and engages learners with SEND will be included and engagement with the module with lead to a systematic understanding of how children or young adults develop learning attitudes and aptitudes.
Investigating different needs, you will develop an insight into the nature, aetiology and the extent of various types of disabilities and learning difficulties exploring how they affect wellbeing. In addition, the impacts, opportunities and challenges of developing and maintaining good professional relationships across practice will be critiqued. You will investigate inter and intra-personal skills required for decision-making in complex and often unpredictable contexts.
This module will introduce a range of research methods in Social Sciences, primarily focusing on research in SEND and inclusive practice. You will explore competing interpretations of policy and practice as evidenced in research on educational development and management of learning. Skills in selection and critical evaluation of literature will be taught along with a range of research methods in order to collect, treat and interpret data. In addition, you will advance your writing and presentation skills at a postgraduate level, interpreting research to inform both professional practice and development.
You will advance your understanding of how different concepts and categories of learning needs and disabilities are developed, and will develop the confidence to find, critique and disseminate research-based evidence of specific needs. Taught sessions will explore how categorisations of need and specific needs can change in response to developing knowledge, social awareness and policy, nationally and globally. Through reading, research and collaboration with your peers, you will identify and evaluate competing ideas and different perspectives of specific needs, and consider implications for problem solving and innovation in practice.
During the study of this module you will plan, deliver and report on your own research project. It will develop you as an ethical researcher who is able to develop realistic plans for disseminating your research findings to the wider academic and/or professional community. In addition, you will be supported to extend and deepen your understanding of the chosen area of investigation and will be able to design and carry out projects that are useful to your professional development and employability.

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.

If you have any questions about the entry requirements for this course, please contact our Enquiries team for advice on +44 (0) 1522 583658 or email courseenquiries@bishopg.ac.uk.

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

Further information

Click here for important information about this course including additional costs, resources and key policies.

In accordance with University conditions, students are entitled to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning, RP(C)L, based on relevant credit at another HE institution or credit Awarded for Experiential Learning, (RP(E)L).

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-group presentations. Through active participation, your 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.

What Our Students Say

Discover what life is like at Bishop Grosseteste University from our students.


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.

At BGU we have so much support available for our students, the type of support that has won us awards recently in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2023, such as the Chaplaincy team, the Student Advice team, CELT, BGFutures and representatives at the Students’ Union.

Fees & Funding

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.

Click here to find information about fees, loans and support which will help to make the whole process a little easier to understand. For all applicants, there are full instructions at UCAS to make it as easy as possible for you to fill in your online application, plus help text where appropriate. Full details of all tuition fees can be found here.

For all applicants, there are full instructions here to make it as easy as possible for you to fill in your online application, plus help text where appropriate.