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PGCert Education – Advanced Study in SEMH Difficulties


School of Education

Oxford Brookes University, in partnership with the Social Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties Association (SEBDA), now offers a Postgraduate Certificate in the advanced study of social, emotional and mental health difficulties. 
This course is for those working in a relevant setting, working with children and/or young people with social emotional and mental health difficulties as part of their practice. The Master's-level course is delivered predominantly online and can be completed as a flexible Distance Learning option.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Harcourt Hill Campus

Course length

  • Part time: 12 months

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

  • The Oxford Brookes - SEBDA PG Cert Advanced Study in SEMH Difficulties (SEBDA Year 2) offers insight and training in SEMH difficulties driven by evidence-based practice.
  • SEBDA is a national organisation with a history of promoting the emotional well-being of children and young people through the training of professionals who work with them.
  • An autumn residential (two days on-campus) and a spring study day (one day on-campus) are offered to develop collaboration, networking and learning.
  • Tutors are all Master's qualified and have practical experience in managing SEMH difficulties in a range of settings.
  • You will have access to the excellent learning resources provided by the Oxford Brookes University e-library.
  • You will have access to the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment, where collaborative learning activities will be presented to students.

Module 1: Complex Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties

This module is composed of three elements that make up your assessment:

You will critically evaluate the assessment and interventions associated with the professionals’ response to either anxiety/depression/self-harm/ASC/or Attachment Disorder. Provide a detailed analysis of the literature that informs the practical interventions for a specific setting (ie secondary school, care setting, Pupil Referral Unit) (3000 words – 80% weighting). You will create a Reflective Journal Summary (500 words – 10% weighting) and a Forum Summary (500 words – 10% weighting).

Module 2: Research Methods and SEMH

The second module is composed of three elements that make up your assessment:

You will undertake a small research study in your own setting. This will involve identifying your topic, formulating a research question, identifying appropriate techniques for data collection and analysis, and writing up findings. You will gain experience of using a particular data collection technique and analysing the data you gather (3000 words – 80% weighting). You will write a Reflective Journal Summary (500 words – 10% weighting) and a Forum Summary (500 words – 10% weighting).

Module 3: Advanced Intervention Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties

The final module is composed of three elements that make up your assessment:

You will compare and critically contrast the research evidence that informs professional practice in relation to one of the following SEMH difficulties: eating disorders; anger management; ADHD; OCD. (3000 words – 80% weighting). You will write a Reflective Journal summary (500 words – 10% weighting) and a Forum Summary (500 words – 10% weighting).

Teaching and learning

This is a three module course (60 credits) leading to the award of the Postgraduate Certificate: Advanced Study in SEMH Difficulties (SEBDA Year 2).

The modules are:

  • Complex Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties
  • Research Methods and SEMH
  • Advanced Intervention Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties.

Approach to assessment

The assessment for each module involves:

An assignment of 3000 words

A reflective journal summary of 500 words

A forum summary of 500 words.

Specialist facilities

Students will have access to the full range of Oxford Brookes online learning resources including: online classrooms and discussion boards, e-journals and other electronic library facilities.

Attendance pattern

This course is predominantly taught by distance learning with two optional residential study days. The online activities can generally be completed at a self-paced rate but there will be some opportunities for synchronous online engagement.

The total study time for each module is shown in the table below:

Scheduled learning and teaching activities Contact hours
Tutor-facilitated sessions 24
Guided independent study Learning hours
Directed/independent study 88
Preparation for assessments 88
TOTAL: 200 hours

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 - distance learning fee: 2019/20: £2,500 2020/21: £2,650

International - distance learning fee: 2019/20: £4,500 2020/21: to be confirmed

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

Members of SEBDA will receive a £100 fee reimbursement from admin@sebda.org. To become a SEBDA member please visit www.sebda.org.

Entry requirements

Students must hold a degree qualification at 2.2 or above and must be working in a relevant setting where they will be working with children and/or young people with SEMH difficulties as part of their practice.

English language requirements

Please 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

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

To apply for this course, please complete the Advanced Study in SEMH Difficulties (Year 2) Application form.

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

This course will help to develop your professional skills and your professional network. Detailed investigations into complex mental health issues will increase your confidence when supporting children and young people with these needs. Liaising with peers from a range of SEMH settings will offer contrasting insights into these issues and the opportunity to maintain professional contact with peers working in education, social care, health and youth work.


Working at Masters level in SEMH demonstrates a professional interest and commitment to this important aspect of SEND. This qualification can support career progression and professional knowledge.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

How the SEBDA-Brookes partnership supports postgraduate students

Each student will have the support of an Academic Advisor (or tutor) to help with their academic studies. SEBDA tutors all hold Masters Degrees and have experience of children and young people with SEMH difficulties in a range of settings. In addition to the SEBDA tutors, the Oxford Brookes University Liaison Manger and Programme Lead are available to support and guide your learning at Brookes.

Student Support Coordinators

Across Oxford Brookes University, a network of Student Support Co-ordinators (SSCs) are here to support you and can help with any problem or issue you may face during your time at University. There are up to five Student Support Co-ordinators in each Faculty so help is never far away. No problem is too small to help with, equally if the going gets tough we’re here to support you.  

Everyone can feel a little overwhelmed at times but there is lots of support available and we can help you find it. We want to make sure you are able to get the most out of your experience here at Oxford Brookes and that nothing gets in the way. Our door is always open.

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

SEBDA research

SEBDA is a charity that seeks to promote the social and emotional well being of children and young people – and the professionals who work with them. SEBDA publishes the research journal ‘Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties’ on a quarterly basis and this can be accessed via the Brookes library services. SEBDA is also engaged with national campaigns around social, emotional and mental health.

Oxford Brookes University, 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.

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. These focus on:

  • 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