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MA Education - SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities)


School of Education

The MA Education (SEND) pathway is dedicated to the advanced study of issues around special education, disability and inclusion at Masters level. 

On this pathway you will develop your critical enquiry and reflection in the field of SEND, and study in a learning environment where you will be supported in improving and developing your practice. You will gain depth and insight into your professional thinking and meet students who are at various levels in their careers. 

The academic team of specialist staff at Oxford Brookes have a strong background in SEND teaching and are research–active in the field of SEND.

Applicants may transfer in credits gained from a PG Cert NASENCo; the Brookes-SEBDA PG Cert in Understanding and Managing Social Emotional Mental Health (SB50); or the Brookes-SEBA PG Cert in Advanced Study of Social Emotional Mental Health (SB51) - subject to these having been gained in the last five years.


Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Harcourt Hill Campus / Distance learning

Course length

  • Full time: 12 months
  • Part time: Two / three years depending on your chosen trajectory.

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • The MA Education (SEND) represents a flexible route to a Masters Degree with a focus on special needs, disability and inclusion.
  • The dedicated team of specialist staff at Oxford Brookes have a strong background in SEND teaching and are research-active in the field of SEND
  • The course welcomes SENCos with 60 credits from their National Award and also students from the SEBDA-Brookes mental health courses (SB50 and SB51)

The MA Education (SEND) requires 180 credits at Masters level and students typically complete this over a three year study period.

The SEND Dissertation (60 credits) is usually undertaken in the final year, but before this, students are required to secure 120 Masters credits from a menu of SEND modules (20 credits each).

It is compulsory for all students to undertake  the 20 credit Research Methods module in preparation for the Dissertation. However, students undertaking the SEBDA-Brookes Year 2 course (SB51) have this module built into their studies and will not have to complete Research Methods*

Course Structure

Compulsory modules (80 credits)

  • Research Methods (20 credits)*
  • Dissertation (60 credits).

For the remaining 5 modules (100 credits) - you will need to select at 2 modules (40 Credits) from the following:

  • Introduction to Special Educational Needs (20 credits - compulsory for those without a previous qualification in SEN)
  • Alternative Perspectives on Challenging Behaviour (20 credits)
  • Alternative Perspectives on Literacy Difficulties (20 credits)
  • Working with Children, Young People and their Families (20 credits)
  • Literacy Difficulties: Assessment and Intervention (20 credits)

Additionally, the following three modules are available to students undertaking the National SENCO Award

  • Improving Outcomes for SEND (20 credits)
  • Leading and Coordinating Provision for SEND (20 credits)
  • Professional Knowledge and Understanding for SEND (20 credits)

You can also select up to a further 40 credits from the optional modules in the  MA in Education.

As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, course content and module choices may change from the details given here.

Credit towards an MA award can also be made up of appropriate work completed outside the course, for example by M level credit achieved in your PGCE and Postgraduate Certificate courses. The MA course is based on the completion of a compulsory element, plus optional modules.

Learn more about our MA Education students and what they like about studying the course.

Teaching and learning

Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, discussion forums, student and staff-led seminars and project work. Teaching, learning and assessment draw on the different backgrounds, experience and knowledge of students, and encourages critical reflection.

Teaching is organised on a modular basis, each module involving approximately 24 hours of staff contact as follows:

  • Part-time on campus: Modules are usually taught over eight weeks on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays 17:00 – 20:00
  • Full-time on campus: the main study day is Thursdays with students also joining part-time students in evening modules   

Approach to assessment

Each course module is assessed separately and is based on coursework, e.g. essays, seminar presentations, reports, portfolios, investigative research and group work.

Attendance pattern

For the full-time route of the programme the main study day is Thursdays. Additional contact time is on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings (depending on choice of module) to enable full-time and part-time students to study together.  

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: £5,670 2020/21: £6,500

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £620 per single module 2020/21: £725 per single module

Home/EU - distance learning fee: 2019/20: £620 per single module 2020/21: £725 per single module

International - full time: 2019/20: £13,730 2020/21: £14,200

International - distance learning fee: 2019/20: £1,500 per single module 2020/21: £1580 per single module

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

Entry requirements

This MA course attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities, normally graduates with a recognised teaching qualification, or other educational professional experience.

Applicants normally have:

  • a good honours degree 
  • QTS (Qualified Teacher Status), other equivalent professional qualification or relevant experience

Entry with credit

Credit for the award can be made up of appropriate work completed outside the course, for example, M level credit from PGCE awards or Postgraduate Certificate courses in relevant subject areas. Please contact pgeducation@brookes.ac.uk for more information.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.5 or above with a minimum of 6.0 in reading and writing and 5.5 in speaking and listening.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

International students hold a conditional offer until payment of a deposit of £1,000 is received.

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

Students hoping to develop their careers in the world of SEND now have the opportunity to achieve a named MA Education award in special educational needs and disability

The MA Education (SEND) award will confirm to any future employer that you are a dedicated and resilient professional, capable of working at Masters level with a specialism in SEND.

There will be opportunities to develop skills in digital literacy, critical thinking and research evaluation - all of which represent transferable skills in the workplace


How Brookes supports postgraduate students

he course induction includes an MA Literacies programme and associated website to support students in developing their academic skills at master's level.

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

Sustained excellence in research and publication has ensured that a significant proportion of our School of Education staff were entered for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 (UoA 25). Almost 90% of our research was deemed to be of international merit, with around one half either ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Contributions to the REF were spread across all of our research groups.

Our research aims to create impact on contemporary educational issues - supporting knowledge creation and developing innovative approaches to researching pedagogic practices. The School’s research strategy functions at all spatial scales, from local to global. We publish our highest quality research in leading peer-reviewed journals. Emeritus, Honorary and Visiting Research Fellows contribute to our research programmes and outputs.

The School holds two major research conferences each year - the School of Education Research Conference and the EdD Colloquium. Our Research Seminar Series (which attracts both internal and external speakers) runs annually - all students are invited to attend. We also organise a number of conferences, lectures, seminars and debates, some of which have an international reach.

Members of the School are engaged in a variety of funded and unfunded research projects; we have previously enjoyed prestigious funded scholarships (such as the Fulbright – Peabody scholarship) and, when feasible, offer funded Research Studentships to doctoral applicants. Our Centre for Educational Consultancy and Development (CECD) regularly secures consultancy and research money.

As might be expected in such a research active school, many staff are engaged as editors, editorial board members, or reviewers for various peer reviewed academic and professional journals, as well as online journals.

View all staff profiles for School of Education

Research areas and clusters

The School of Education at Oxford Brookes University is a thriving centre for educational research and teacher professional development. Students on master's level programmes therefore join a large research community comprising researchers at all levels of higher education study.

The School’s six research groups reflect a thriving research community of academics, scholars and students. They exist to encourage engagement in research, publication, conference presentations, seminars and workshops. The foci for these groups are:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Policy, Partnership and Leadership
  • STEAM pedagogy and learning
  • Humanistic Perspectives on Education
  • Early Years
  • Applied Linguistics

View all staff profiles for School of Education