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Education (Special Educational Needs) MA

Place yourself at the cutting edge of supporting learners with special educational needs, while developing as a forward-thinking education professional on a programme delivered full-time, part-time and online.


Course length: 1 year full-time
2 years part-time
2 years part-time at Holy Cross (Bury) part-time
Start dates: September 2024
September 2025
Location: Edge Hill University
Subject(s): Education and Teaching
Faculty: Education
Department: Secondary and Further Education

The MA Education (Special Educational Needs) has been designed to meet the interests and development needs of a diverse range of professionals and those who aspire to work within the field of special educational needs, in education and related settings, such as health and social care and social services. The programme enables you to gain in- depth knowledge and understanding of barriers to learning. You will identify, analyse and evaluate policies and their implementation, in relation to inclusion and learners with SEND. You will also reflect on inclusive practice for learners with a range of Special Educational Needs, considering the effectiveness of strategies implemented to support learners. You will engage in meaningful and impactful research and enhance your understanding of the nature of educational enquiry and the analytical processes that support research-informed practice. The overall focus of the course is on equipping you with comprehensive, theoretical, research-informed knowledge and an understanding of differing educational perspectives and diverse contexts. This course will support your personal professional development and enhance your research skills, preparing you for the completion of an independent research report on a relevant topic of your choice. If you are seeking to develop your practice and gain expertise in the field of special educational needs, then this is the programme for you.

We offer a range of MA Education pathways covering different age phases and learning needs as part of our professional development portfolio:

MA Education

MA Education (Children and Young People’s Mental Health)

MA Education (Cognitive Science and Learning)

MA Education (Curriculum Design)

MA Education (Early Years)

MA Education (Evidence Informed Practice)

MA Education (Leadership)

MA Education (Teacher Education)

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What you'll study

Key themes include the nature and effectiveness of policy, research related to the identification and assessment of SEND; the role of families and caregivers within inclusive education; and different approaches and organisational structures within schools and other social systems which impact upon inclusivity for learners with SEND. Barriers to learning and inspiring practices will be critiqued alongside theoretical frameworks and reflection from practice.

You will benefit from exceptional personalised support, tailored to your individual professional interests, and needs, and a flexible delivery model, consisting of twilight on campus sessions enhanced by activities on our VLE. The blend of students from different backgrounds will enable discussion, debate, and the sharing of experiences in a supportive and welcoming environment, facilitated by staff who are experts in education theory and practice and special educational needs. You will also develop essential transferable skills, from purposeful and effective communication to utilising a range of media, making justifiable decisions in complex and unpredictable situations.

Compulsory modules:

Expand all
Researching Education
Theorising Education
Inclusive Education: Evaluating Practice and Analysing Policy
Inclusive Practice for Learners with Special Educational Needs

How you'll study

The MA Education (SEN) pathway is available in a variety of modes of study for example part-time and full-time face-to-face, and online. Online study will only be available in the part-time mode.

Taught sessions are built around dialogue, discussion and collaborative learning, with tutor support and expertise immediately at hand. Teaching is interactive, experiential and innovative, using a variety of technologies to enhance your learning, from presentation tools and virtual classrooms to mixed media, social media and mobile technologies. The programme will be tailored to enable you to focus your learning on your individual interests and professional requirements.

Each 30-credit module may typically involve a weekly session of 3 hours (during the day for full-time and twilight for part-time – for example at Holy Cross (Bury)) and a significant amount of private study, as well as reading and independent research.

You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.

How you'll be assessed

You will be assessed through a combination of 5,000-word written assignments, project work, portfolios and presentations, as well as a 10,000 word research report and summary. Opportunities to receive formative feedback are embedded into each module.

Who will be teaching you

The programme is delivered by a team of research-active academic staff who have extensive expertise in education and its related disciplines.

The work of the programme team has national and international impact, contributing to and informing education curricula and learning techniques, both in the UK and overseas.

Their research interests include inclusion and special educational needs, dyscalculia, dyslexia, educational policy and practice, educational leadership, educational philosophy as well as research methods and methodologies.

Entry criteria

Entry requirements

An undergraduate degree (normally a 2.2 or above) in a field related to education or an equivalent qualification acceptable to Edge Hill University. Applicants, who come from a different academic background, which is equivalent to degree level, or have 2 or more years of relevant work experience, are welcome to apply. Or a Masters degree or equivalent in a relevant field.

English language requirements

You are expected to have English language proficiency minimally equivalent to overall 6.5 with no element below 6.0.

How to apply

There is an online application process for this course.

Please select the application form for your preferred mode/location of study:

If you wish to apply for credit for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL), please download and complete the Application for RPL/RPEL for MA Education and Pathways form. This should be attached in the ‘Document Upload’ section of the University application.


Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

Visit Edge Hill University

There’s plenty of opportunities to come take a look around campus. Attend one of our open days to see what life at Edge Hill University is all about.

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Faculty of EducationHoused in a state-of-the-art £9million building, the Faculty of Education enjoys a stunning setting from both its lakeside and piazza buildings.

Facilities in the lakeside building include a 300-seat lecture theatre, five well-equipped ICT suites, and 18 teaching rooms complete with the latest technology. The lakeside building is also home to a popular vegan and vegetarian cafe where students can meet to socialise and discuss their studies.

The nearby piazza building offers modern facilities including a lecture theatre and a number of seminar rooms.

If you choose to study at Holy Cross College and University Centre in Bury. You’ll be taught by Edge Hill lecturers and staff, and have access to a range of modern facilities, including recent building upgrades and refurbishments. There’s a range of study spaces and a coffee shop where you can relax before lectures. Holy Cross is especially proud of their library, IT facilities, modern classrooms and meeting rooms in the Mary Kelly building where the face-to-face sessions will take place.

Where you'll study

Faculty of Education


Tuition fees

UK Full-Time


for the course

UK Part-Time

£50 per credit

for 180 credits



for the course

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

Financial support

Please view the relevant Money Matters guide for comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals can ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see our EU student finance page for further details.

Your future career

Preparing you for a wide variety of roles across the education workforce in the UK and internationally, this MA can enhance your professional career opportunities and employability.

On successful completion of the programme, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to make a significant and positive contribution to a range of education settings and education-related contexts.

You will graduate well placed to apply for more senior positions both within your current workplace and with other providers. The skills and experience acquired through this MA will also provide you with essential preparation for progressing onto research qualifications, such as a PhD or Professional Doctorate.

Course changes

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, however our courses are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of professional bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Track changes to this course

Download our course leaflet