Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability MA

Postgraduate degree

Develop your skills and advance your career in special and inclusive education with our online Masters in Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability.

  • Study our masters in SEND flexibly around your life commitments with supported distance learning
  • Learn from experienced and passionate SEND professionals
  • Develop a wide range of skills to become an advanced practitioner in special and inclusive education
  • Fuel your passion and make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people with SEND
  • Be part of the University of the Year (THE)

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About your course

Our online Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability MA is ideal if you're passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of children and young people with SEND. You'll develop skills and an expert understanding of the key issues affecting children and young people with SEND and apply your professional knowledge to your practice.

Successful completion of this master's degree will open up a wide range of career opportunities to work in schools and other educational settings, supporting pupils with SEND. You'll study online to give you the flexibility to continue your professional development in inclusive education around your other commitments.

Course highlights

  • Gain expert knowledge and understanding of SEND in children and young people
  • Have the opportunity to develop as a specialist in your area of interest
  • Open up career opportunities in wide range of educational settings
  • Choose to study over 1 or 2 years depending on your other commitments

How you'll study

This course is studied 100% online
Course lengthChoose to study over 1 or 2 years
Start datesStart in January or September
Application deadlineOur next deadline is

28th June 2024

UK Quality Assured

Course overview

This course is ideal if you have a passion for helping make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. It will help you develop and inform your inclusive practice and gain the expert skills and understanding to further your professional development.

Special educational needs and disability (SEND) professionals work within a variety of interesting roles and sectors including education, health and social care, local and national authorities. Collaborative working between sectors is vital to making a positive impact on children and young people's lives and to meet the aspirations of their families.

You'll learn about key concepts relating to the specific needs and conditions of children or young people with SEND, including how to approach intervention in a way that balances the needs of the various stakeholders involved. You'll look at the ideologies, values and evidence that lie behind educational policies and frameworks and how these are implemented in inclusive practice. You'll also explore how they impact on individuals, groups, and different parts of the educational system allowing you to see your role, and that of others, within the widest possible context.

You'll also investigate, discuss and evaluate different types of educational research before developing a high-quality research proposal with the help of your tutor and peers.

Your final module will be to conduct and write up a major research or work-based project. You’ll develop as a specialist in your area of interest, with opportunities to build on the skills you need as well as enhancing your communication and interpersonal skills.

The successful completion of the MA can support a wide range of career opportunities in a variety of sectors, enhancing your existing role and supporting your pathway to becoming a SEND specialist.

You may also be interested in the following courses:

MA Education with Early Childhood Studies

MA Education with Leadership and Management

MA Education

MA Education with Montessori

Our advisers will be happy to answer any questions you have about the Masters in SEND course, studying online or any other aspect of distance learning.

Get in touch


Due to the structure of this course, there will be instances where you will study two modules simultaneously during a trimester. You will be supported by your tutors to help manage your workload and assessment deadlines.

Please contact one of our advisers to discuss the pacing of this course and the options available to match your circumstances.

Please also be aware that your start date will determine which modules you study. If you start in January you will study our Specialist Studies in Learning and Teaching module and if you join us in September you will study our Professional Enquiry for Education module.

Intervention for SEND

Focus on specific needs and conditions, as well as intervening to include stakeholders, supported by the principle of equality of opportunity. Consider the tension between identifying need and the philosophy of inclusion. Understand the implications of ‘Quality First Teaching’ within new frameworks and for helping young people up to 25 years of age live life in their communities. To help with this module’s objectives, you’ll explore a range of needs, including communication and interaction; cognition and learning; emotional, social and mental health; and sensory and physical requirements. You’ll consider the implications for children and young people with specific conditions, for example ADHD, autism and dyslexia. You’ll critically assess what such conditions mean to families too, and approaches to intervention. And you’ll appraise working practices for one good reason: the best solutions will mean engaging every relevant stakeholder, building on partnership strengths.

Professional Enquiry for Education (September starts only)

An opportunity to develop specialist knowledge and expertise in an area of personal and professional interest, relating to education. The notion of enquiry used in this module is broad and is intended to reflect the contributions which students bring to advanced study of education from both their academic and professional contexts. You may pursue individual or small group enquiries or a larger group of you may work, with a specialist tutor, to enquire into an agreed subject area together.

Specialist Studies in Learning and Teaching (January starts only)

You’ll build on developments in learning technologies and explore the context and issues of the pedagogy of technology-enhanced learning. Following an initial consideration of learning, teaching and assessment issues and practices of technology-enhanced learning you’ll consider issues underpinning the development and design of learning materials for electronic delivery. This will include multimedia learning and learning using different learning technologies. You’ll pay particular attention to developing, monitoring and evaluation skills and procedures to ensure the quality and suitability of a flexible technology-enhanced experience. E-learning or technology-enhanced learning can be defined as the use of electronic technology and media to facilitate, support and enhance learning, teaching, assessment and research.

Exploring Educational Research

Designed to familiarise you with the various research approaches that you may read about, critique and use during your Master’s course and beyond. It’ll provide a forum for exploring, discussing and evaluating different types of educational research. You’ll have the opportunity to: look at a range of research methodologies; to find, read and review research studies; and to discuss the relevance of research for practice in education across different sectors (from birth to life-long learning). You’ll be encouraged to learn about research methodologies and methods through critical reflection on published work.

Developing Educational Research

You’ll be supported to develop a high-quality research proposal to implement for your postgraduate major project. A workbook approach will guide you through the various elements that need to be considered during the process of planning and preparation for a small-scale educational research study. There will be opportunities to discuss your ideas with your tutor and peers and to present your developing research proposal for feedback. You’ll also learn by giving constructive feedback to your peers. By the end of the module you’ll be prepared to submit an application for ethical review, to the appropriate research ethics panel, and to embark upon research for the postgraduate major project.

Postgraduate Major Project

The Major Project is central to achieving your MA. You’ll show how you’re able to combine learning from previous modules. This learning will give you the basis for planning, conducting and writing up a research or work-based project. This module is also the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to raise significant and meaningful questions in relation to your chosen topic, alongside a critical understanding of research methods and their relationship to knowledge. You’ll be well placed to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in your research or professional practice and to expand existing knowledge, contributing to the development of best practice.

Modules are subject to change and availability.


Instead of sitting exams, you’ll benefit from collaborative assessments, including making group presentations. You’ll develop core strengths in valuable appraisal methods, such as the ability to carry out individual critical reflections. You’ll also carry out an extended evaluation of issues applied directly to your specific interests and context.

How you'll study

Our Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability MA is studied 100% online.

You’ll study through Canvas, our world-class online Learning Management System (LMS), which can be accessed from your phone, pc or tablet at home or on the move. Canvas provides instant access to study materials, forums, and support from tutors and classmates, as well as enabling easy submission of your assignments.

You can choose to study our MA Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability over 1 or 2 years. Please note that if you choose the 1-year option this is the equivalent of full-time study and may be a challenge if you’re employed full-time or have other life commitments. Our advisers will be happy to talk through your options in more detail.

On successful completion of your studies you’ll be invited to attend a graduation ceremony on campus. If attending the ceremony in person is not possible then we’ll arrange to have your certificate sent to you.

Supported distance learning

We understand that distance learning is different to traditional campus study and if you’re new to online study you may have concerns or apprehensions about studying your masters in special educational needs and disability remotely, and that’s natural.

To help put your mind at ease we have a dedicated Distance Learning Support Team to help and support you throughout your time at ARU, starting with your first online induction and staying with you right through to graduation. In addition, you’ll also be supported by specialist module tutors, well experienced in supporting distance learning students.

Once you start your masters in special Educational needs and disability, we encourage the creation of online communities and many of our learners find these connections with others invaluable, helping them to stay motivated, share concerns or make new friendships.

Contact us to talk through any questions or concerns or visit our support page for more information about the support services available.

Our support services

Be part of the University of the Year

We're proud to be the Times Higher Education (THE) University of the Year 2023.

The prestigious THE awards honour ’exceptional performance during the 2021-22 academic year, and reflect ARU’s success in delivering high-impact projects during this period, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The award recognises the difference we make in the region and our communities – while also acknowledging the broader impact of our world-leading research, and the contributions our students and graduates make to society.

THE 2023 Awards Logo


What could an Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability MA do for my career?

Graduates who work in an educational or social care setting will find that this Masters in Special Educational Needs course will aid their career development by providing them with the expertise in the field of SEND education.

You will enhance your professional knowledge, understanding and skills; use theory and research undertaken and apply it to your own practice; and gain a critical understanding of the ways education, social and economic policies can influence educational institutions and the communities they serve.

As well as improving your level of proficiency, you will be adding to your CV, making you more desirable to prospective employers and potentially opening more senior roles into leadership.

Our current students include those with education degrees that want to specialise in SEND; those who do not have an education degree but already work in schools or want to; and those who work with children with SEND in mainstream or Special schools and want to improve their practice.

What job roles can I consider with an Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability MA?

With an Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability MA course you may consider progressing your career towards specialism, mentoring, consultancy, leadership, or into academia.

Examples of job profiles graduates may consider include (potentially with further training / specialist qualifications):

  • Education Consultant
  • Senior SEND Officer
  • Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators
  • Inclusion Manager
  • Special Education Needs Teacher

What skills will I get from an Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability MA to help my career?

Choosing to study an Education MA will give you many transferable skills; here are just some of them:

  • Develop analytical and evaluative skills
  • Research and project management skills
  • Independent, group and team working
  • Creative and critical thinking
  • Design and conduct research study
  • Hone communication and presentation skills.

What can I study after an Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability MA?

Depending on your long-term goals and interests you may decide to explore a doctorate qualification. Having a master’s degree under your belt is a key entry requirement in opening doors to study at this level in higher education.

Careers Advice Service

Once you become an ARU student you will be able to access our Employability service to help you at whatever stage of your career, whether that’s landing your dream job or the next progression step.

We offer:

  • careers advice, including one-to-one online and telephone appointments with our experienced advisers
  • help with your CV, job searches, applications and interview preparation
  • an online portal packed with useful careers resources
  • our Employability Programme, which helps you hone the skills employers say they want in graduates.

Entry requirements

  • You’re expected to have a first degree, with honours, at a minimum final classification of a Lower Second (2:2) or equivalent.
  • You will be required to obtain a satisfactory enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check through the University.
  • If you have lived outside of the UK for 6 months or more within the last 5 years, then you will need to provide a police check from the country/countries previously resided in.
  • If you are completing placements overseas you will be required to obtain a police check/certificate of good conduct from the relevant country.
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 (Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by ARU.
  • As a distance learner, you’ll also need a suitable computer with internet connection, together with sufficient IT competence to make effective use of word processing, internet and email.
  • We can offer progression for those who have the SENCo Award. You will need to take 2 compulsory modules (research methodology and postgraduate major project) and choose another module from what is available on the course.

Please note: Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course.

Fees & funding


The full tuition fee for this course is £8,200.

The tuition fees you pay each year will be between £4,100 and £8,200 depending on how long you take to complete the course. You can choose to study our Education with Special Educational Needs and Disability MA in either 1 or 2 years.

Accredited Prior Learning may reduce the tuition fees. This will be confirmed once your application has been submitted.


Your course can be fully funded by the Postgraduate Student Loans now available (subject to eligibility).

We offer payment by instalments, so you can spread the cost of studying with us.

For military students: You can use your ELCs towards this course. ARU is a recognised ELCAS provider (number 1007). Please contact your Learning Centre for details of ELC, eligibility and how to apply.

For more information on how you fund your studies please see our funding page.

What our students say

Sophie - TESOL MA Student

I am very proud of myself for finally accomplishing what I have been meaning to do for many years.

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Mark - ARU Distance Learning Student

The Learning Management System is very user friendly and easy to navigate. The distance learning teaching staff are incredibly approachable, which I think is important when studying an online course

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Dean - ARU Student

I have left with a newfound confidence, resilience and enthusiasm for distance learning and study in general.The experience has shaped me for future study and given me skills for life, both personally and professionally.

Read Dean's story
Mari - ARU Distance Learning Student

As an international student I feel lucky to have chosen Anglia Ruskin University. The lecturers have been very supportive and the content of the modules were extremely interesting.

Read Mari's story

Frequently Asked Questions

Next application deadline:

28th June 2024

Discover what you're made of.Apply now before the application deadline.
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Further reading