The Special Educational Needs (SEN) programme investigates issues involved in the education and development of children and young people with learning difficulties, disabilities and disadvantages. Our programme is founded upon a commitment to forms of education which enable the participation, learning and development of all.
Students studying on the programme engage with aspects of theory, policy and practice relevant to international and local contexts. With its international profile, this programme brings together teachers and other professionals working directly with children and young people with learning difficulties, disabilities or disadvantages, as well as policy-makers and managers in areas of SEN and Inclusive Education.
On the MA Special Educational Needs, students choose between two distinct pathways, Inclusive Perspectives or Psychological Perspectives, which reflect different theoretical traditions and approaches to practice, provision and policy within the field of special educational needs, disability and inclusion. Both pathways are relevant to mainstream and special education contexts.
The Inclusive Perspectives pathway emphasises the application of inclusive and person-centred values and critical educational analysis. Concepts and theories such as person-centred education; participation and ‘voice’; the social model of disability and difference; and human rights and equalities are used to consider educational practice, provision, policy and systems relating to pupils experiencing difficulties in educational settings.
The Psychological Perspectives pathway emphasises the use and application of psychological theories. Concepts and theories of cognition, educational testing, and social and emotional development are central in developing psychologically informed understandings of children and young people experiencing difficulties in educational settings.
Students greatly benefit from engaging with the insights, experiences and perspectives of other course members, from a diverse range of contexts and backgrounds. The combination of their own experiences, insights gained from others on the course and the theoretical resources offered by learning within the modules, enables students to deepen their understanding of, and to be able to challenge, the barriers that hinder the learning, development and participation of children and young people with learning difficulties, disabilities or disadvantages.
The teaching provided on modules is informed by active research and scholarship in the field of Inclusive Education and SEN practice and policy. All lecturers leading modules on the programme have high level specialist qualifications, teaching and leadership experience in the field of Education, SEN and Inclusive Education.
All students complete a common module which takes a broad view of key perspectives and issues in SEN, it also introduces the psychological and inclusive perspectives. From here, students undertake specialist modules within the programme, depending on their chosen pathway.
Inclusive Perspectives Pathway content: Students critically explore the issues involved in children’s behaviour using sociological approaches. You will reflect on your own and society's beliefs about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour, which often relate to medical and psychological foundations of schools’ policies and practices. The social pedagogical approach is also explored as a basis for inclusive teaching and learning. A critical analysis of instrumentalist/functionalist approaches to teaching is developed with a view to enhancing holistic development and the participation of pupils as a means of addressing barriers to the inclusivity of the classroom.
Psychological Perspectives Pathway content: On this route students engage with the idea that socially and emotionally well-adjusted students perform better at school, whilst social and emotional aspects of learning have become marginalised in a highly competitive education system. The use of psychometric testing is covered, with an exploration of its appropriate uses (students can gain a Certificate of Competency in Educational Testing, accredited by the British Psychological Society, from successfully undertaking this module).
Optional modules are available to students on both pathways which focus on Dyslexia as a Specific Learning Difficulty and on Autism in Education. Students also have an option, instead of taking a taught optional module, to take a (non-taught) Independent Study module to learn about a specific issue relevant to their pathway and interests, which is not taught about in the programme.
The final module is an independent research-based enquiry (either a Dissertation or Practice-Based Research Project), which is founded upon the pathway perspective chosen, but is also subject to the student’s choice of topic.
Required modules for both routes
The Programme supports and enables:
- Innovative ‘leadership exchange’ will enable students to gain valuable experience of working in another public service organisation.
- Variety of expert guest speakers and research-active academics.
- Diverse learning activities and assessment methods across all modules.
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is an internationally recognised professional postgraduate degree, which is a public sector equivalent to the Master of Business Administration (MBA). The course is targeted primarily at public service and third sector professionals. The content is relevant to both international students and those based in the UK.
The aim of the MPA is to enable learners to build on their professional experience by engaging critically with, and reflecting on, key developments in public administration in order to more effectively deliver public service outcomes in a rapidly changing environment.
The course is based on a philosophy of transformational learning and transformational change. Central to this is the role of public services in promoting social justice and equality. International examples will be used to provide thought provoking challenges to the way our public services are designed and delivered. Rather than reflect today’s public services, the state and society, this MPA aims to shape the public service landscape of tomorrow.
This MPA offers an excellent student experience and includes an innovative ‘leadership exchange’ element, working with the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO), to enable all students to participate in an appropriate exchange within another public service organisation.
The MPA offers options for both full-time and part-time study which will fit with busy working lives. This is a multidisciplinary course, with the purpose of preparing students for professional roles in the public sector. As such the delivery draws on academic expertise from a range of backgrounds such as administrative justice, public management and social policy. The input of research active academics will be complemented with expert guest speakers and visits to key public administration sites such as the Holyrood Parliament in Edinburgh, Houses of Parliament in London, Parlament de Catalunya in Barcelona and the European Parliament in Brussels. A series of academic development workshops are run alongside the taught modules to support stuents with academic writing and research methods.
The amount of contact time will vary depending on whether you are studying on a part-time or full-time basis.
The ‘leadership exchange’ element of the course is delivered in association with the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO). We are also an institutional member of the Joint University Council’'s Public Administration Committee.
There is a range of core and optional modules from which you will need to complete 120 credits, plus the 60 credit dissertation module in order to complete the MPA. Module options include: Core modules: International Trends in Public Administration/ Gender and Equalities/ Leading Change in Public Services/ Workplace Learning/ Dissertation Optional modules: Law and Public Administration/ Social Justice and Critical Perspectives on the State/ Information Governance and Data Protection/ Multi-level Governance in Europe/ Strategic Internal Communications in a Digitalised World
In Scotland 21% of the workforce is employed in the public sector. This does not include the many private and third sector organisations that help deliver vital public services. At a time of increasing pressure on public finances, it is increasingly important that all those who support the delivery of our public services continue to develop their professional skills and knowledge. This course supports those seeking to develop these skills.
Innovative ‘leadership exchange’ will enable students to gain valuable experience of working in another public service organisation.
Variety of expert guest speakers and research-active academics.
Diverse learning activities and assessment methods