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Masters Degrees (Visual Impairments)

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The Special Education area concerns the habilitation and education of students with exceptionalities, such as students with visual impairments, physical disabilities, emotional or behavioural disorders, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Read more

Program Overview

The Special Education area concerns the habilitation and education of students with exceptionalities, such as students with visual impairments, physical disabilities, emotional or behavioural disorders, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The program also includes a focus on gifted and talented students. The master's programs focus on both research and practice. The M.A. is a research degree, appropriate preparation for doctoral studies, and incorporates a research thesis. The M. Ed. provides advanced professional preparation in areas of Special Education. Topics addressed in the master's programs include cognitive, language, and social development; learning and instructional design; and cultural and individual differences in relation to exceptional students.

UBC does not offer an undergraduate degree in special education.

The undergraduate courses in special education are open to students enrolled in the regular B.Ed. program or in one of the following post-B.Ed. special education programs: (1) Master of Education (M.Ed), (2) Master of Arts (M.A.), and (3) Diploma in Special Education. Most undergraduate courses are also available to Unclassified students.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Arts
- Specialization: Special Education
- Subject: Education
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Education

Special Education

The Special Education program at UBC concerns the education of students with exceptionalities, such as students with visual impairments, developmental disabilities, emotional or behavioural disorders, learning disabilities, gifts and talents, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Faculty are committed to promoting practices that facilitate inclusion, empowerment, and self-determination of individuals with disabilities and other special needs in home, school, and community settings.

Mission

Our mission is to collaboratively engage a range of diversity, expertise, and research endeavors to promote or enhance the learning and well-being of individuals with exceptionalities in home, school, and community settings.

Top 5 Reasons to Apply

1. Only university in the country to offer graduate coursework in special education across all areas of exceptionality.

2. Opportunities for practical experiences with a variety of district and community partnerships:
- American Printing House for the Blind
- Autism Community Training
- BC Children’s Hospital/Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children
- Blind Beginnings
- Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults
- Pacific Autism Family Centre
- Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired
- Provincial Services for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
- School Districts in the Lower Mainland and rural areas of BC
- Special Education Technology-BC
- Well-Being Program for Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, and Deaf-blind
- Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

3. We offer opportunities for research and funding through faculty partnerships.

4. We offer opportunities to change practice for the better through Special Education faculty initiatives.

5. Outstanding support through a world-class faculty and staff to guide you on your academic journey!

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The Special Education area concerns the habilitation and education of students with exceptionalities, such as students with visual impairments, physical disabilities, emotional or behavioural disorders, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Read more

Program Overview

The Special Education area concerns the habilitation and education of students with exceptionalities, such as students with visual impairments, physical disabilities, emotional or behavioural disorders, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The program also includes a focus on gifted and talented students. The master's programs focus on both research and practice. The M.A. is a research degree, appropriate preparation for doctoral studies, and incorporates a research thesis. The M. Ed. provides advanced professional preparation in areas of Special Education. Topics addressed in the master's programs include cognitive, language, and social development; learning and instructional design; and cultural and individual differences in relation to exceptional students.

UBC does not offer an undergraduate degree in special education.

The undergraduate courses in special education are open to students enrolled in the regular B.Ed. program or in one of the following post-B.Ed. special education programs: (1) Master of Education (M.Ed), (2) Master of Arts (M.A.), and (3) Diploma in Special Education. Most undergraduate courses are also available to Unclassified students.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Education
- Specialization: Special Education
- Subject: Education
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Major Project/Essay required
- Faculty: Faculty of Education

Special Education

The Special Education program at UBC concerns the education of students with exceptionalities, such as students with visual impairments, developmental disabilities, emotional or behavioural disorders, learning disabilities, gifts and talents, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Faculty are committed to promoting practices that facilitate inclusion, empowerment, and self-determination of individuals with disabilities and other special needs in home, school, and community settings.

Mission

Our mission is to collaboratively engage a range of diversity, expertise, and research endeavors to promote or enhance the learning and well-being of individuals with exceptionalities in home, school, and community settings.

Top 5 Reasons to Apply

1. Only university in the country to offer graduate coursework in special education across all areas of exceptionality.

2. Opportunities for practical experiences with a variety of district and community partnerships:
- American Printing House for the Blind
- Autism Community Training
- BC Children’s Hospital/Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children
- Blind Beginnings
- Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults
- Pacific Autism Family Centre
- Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired
- Provincial Services for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
- School Districts in the Lower Mainland and rural areas of BC
- Special Education Technology-BC
- Well-Being Program for Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, and Deaf-blind
- Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

3. We offer opportunities for research and funding through faculty partnerships.

4. We offer opportunities to change practice for the better through Special Education faculty initiatives.

5. Outstanding support through a world-class faculty and staff to guide you on your academic journey!

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This distance learning course is aimed at teachers with Qualified Teacher Status who work with children and young people with vision impairments. Read more
This distance learning course is aimed at teachers with Qualified Teacher Status who work with children and young people with vision impairments.

The aims of the programme are:

To develop knowledge, understanding and skills to enable professionals to work confidently and effectively with children and young people who have vision impairments in a variety of settings, their families and other professionals who support them.
To develop critical and analytical enquiry-based learning skills to prepare professionals to work in range of contexts where children and young people with vision impairments are educated.
To provide a conceptual framework which has reference to relevant literature as well as government legislation and guidance pertaining to the education of children and young people with vision impairments at a national and international level.
Students will be required to attend University based study-weekends and regional tutorials as specified throughout the programme. The programme includes an assessed Braille component, a teaching placement and a negotiated programme of visits to specialist provision. Most of the module content will be delivered online and as such students will require suitable internet access prior to commencing their studies.

On successful completion of the PG Diploma students may transfer to the MEd programme (Education of Children and Young People with Vision Impairments). This is usually undertaken as an additional year of study and requires completion of a research methods module (4000 words) and a dissertation (15,000 words). An additional fee is payable for this period of study.

About the School of Education

The School of Education has a long-standing reputation as a centre of excellence for teaching and research in a wide range of areas of educational practice and policy. It is an international leader in education with a history of top rated research. In the 2016 QS World Rankings, it was ranked 28th in the World and joint 7th in Europe/UK.
The School employs over 100 academic staff who teach more than 2,500 students. It is home to a number of departments and research centres with a history of top rated research and is an international leader in education.
School of Education ranking:
- Ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Tables 2017
- Ranked 10th in the 2017 Complete University Guide
- In Top 3 for HEI provision in the Good Teacher Training Guide
- Ranked 28th in the World in the 2016 QS World Rankings
- Ranked 9th overall for Research in the 2014 REF (with more than 82% of research rated as ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) or ‘world leading’ (4*).
- Rated 'outstanding' in latest Ofsted inspection (2013) for its Teacher Training programmes
- Ranked third for Education in The Times Good University Guide 2017

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgfunding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgopendays

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

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Designed to meet the professional development needs of teachers working with children and young people who have a visual impairment, this programme develops skills that will allow you to work in a variety of settings, ranging from specialised contexts to mainstream school placements. Read more

Programme description

Designed to meet the professional development needs of teachers working with children and young people who have a visual impairment, this programme develops skills that will allow you to work in a variety of settings, ranging from specialised contexts to mainstream school placements

Our Additional Support for Learning programmes are designed to meet the needs of practising teachers and other professionals.

You will learn to apply theory effectively and engage with and influence policy that relates to the role of a teacher of visually impaired children within an inclusive environment.

You will build on your existing skills, gaining knowledge and attitudes that you can apply in cooperation with colleagues, professionals, families and carers of learners, as well as the learners themselves.

On a more technical level, you will become familiar with the effects of a range of ocular and cerebral visual impairments and be able to apply structured observation or standardised tests to identify the thresholds of functional vision or blindness of pupils and plan and teach programmes appropriately.

Programme structure

Your learning will be in the form of lectures, seminars, small-group discussions and skill-development sessions.

Most courses are offered in e-learning or blended learning format, combining on-campus and online study.

All the courses are studied part time, and you can select individual courses for your CPD needs, complete 60 credits for a Postgraduate Certificate, or complete 120 credits for a Postgraduate Diploma.

Career opportunities



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Cognitive neuropsychology is a branch of cognitive psychology that aims to understand how the structure and function of the brain relates to specific psychological processes. Read more
Cognitive neuropsychology is a branch of cognitive psychology that aims to understand how the structure and function of the brain relates to specific psychological processes. It places a particular emphasis on studying the cognitive effects of brain injury and neurological illness with a view to inferring models of normal cognitive functioning.

Evidence is based on case studies of individual brain damaged patients who show deficits in specific brain areas and from patients who exhibit double dissociations between cognitive impairments. From these studies, and from studies of functional brain imaging, researchers can infer the components of the cognitive system that are responsible for our ability to remember, perceive and communicate.

Our MSc Cognitive Neuropsychology provides you with an advanced education in the core areas of cognitive neuropsychological research, plus knowledge of appropriate statistical methodology and neuropsychological research methods. You study topics including:
-Brain structure and function at the molecular and cellular levels
-The cognitive processing of words
-Psychology in the real world
-Visual attention

Our research is challenging and ground-breaking, with 90% rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014), placing us in the top 15 in the UK. We are supported by some of the most prestigious funding bodies, including the European Commission and the Leverhulme Trust.

We are a warm and friendly Department, and we wish to welcome both recent graduates of psychology (or a related subject), and mature students who may wish to upgrade their qualifications, refresh their CV, or return to academic study after a period of time away from education.

Our expert staff

Our academic staff include award-winning teachers and prize-winning researchers who are international experts in their own research areas.

The Cognitive and Developmental Psychology Group are researching attention, language, decision-making, and memory. Recent projects have investigated the psychology of energy reduction, the enhancement of human memory through technology, and improvements in the usability and design of transport maps.

The Social and Health Psychology Group work on motivations, needs, intercultural contact, and sexual attraction. Recent projects include the impacts of living and studying abroad, and how personal relative deprivation is linked to problem gambling.

The Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience Group research brain function and human behaviour. Recently they have been working on projects on the neural processes underlying language production, how motivations are communicated through tone of voice, and how the brain performs 3D vision. They previously developed the BioAid mobile phone app that turns an iPhone into a biologically inspired hearing aid.

Our department is expanding, and has recently appointed a number of excellent researchers whose expertise increases the diversity and depth of our skills base.

Specialist facilities

We are committed to giving you the best access to state-of-the-art facilities in higher education, housed entirely within our purpose-built psychology building on our Colchester Campus:
-Dedicated laboratories including a virtual reality suite and an observation suite
-Specialist areas for experimental psychology, visual and auditory perception, developmental psychology and social psychology
-Study the development of perceptual and cognitive abilities in infants in our Babylab
-Our multimillion pound Centre for Brain Science (CBS) contains specialist laboratories, office space for research students, and research rooms and social spaces which foster opportunities for innovation, training, and collaboration

Your future

With the skills and knowledge you acquire from studying within our Department of Psychology, you will find yourself in demand from a wide range of employers.

Our graduates have been employed in clinical psychology, educational psychology, criminal and forensic psychology.

We also have excellent links with the research community; we are recognised by the ESRC as providing excellent postgraduate training and are an accredited Doctoral Training Centre, offering several studentships.

Our recent PhD students have taken up post-doctoral positions in other top UK universities and international universities (in the US, Italy and Australia), as well as being appointed to lectureships.

Example structure

-Research Project (MSc)
-Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Neuropsychology
-Research Methods and Statistics in Cognitive Neuropsychology
-The Social Voice (Advanced) (optional)
-Critical Literature Review (optional)
-Cognitive Neuropsychology of Language (optional)
-Research Management (optional)
-Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience (optional)
-Psychology at Work and in the Real World (optional)
-Special Topics in Individual Differences and Developmental Psychology (optional)
-Special Topics in Neuroscience and Neuropsychology (optional)
-Special Topics in Perception and Cognition (optional)
-Visual Attention: From lab to life (Advanced) (optional)
-Interviewing and Qualitative Data Analysis (optional)

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The Qualifying Certificate in Psychology is designed to enable students with no previous experience of psychology in higher education to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills to study at FHEQ level 5/6 (second or third year of full-time study) at a UK university. Read more
The Qualifying Certificate in Psychology is designed to enable students with no previous experience of psychology in higher education to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills to study at FHEQ level 5/6 (second or third year of full-time study) at a UK university.

The certificate is offered as an entry qualification for the Oxford Brookes MSc Psychology, but it also meets the entry requirements for other universities' psychology conversion courses.

The course is available from September for part-time students, and from January for full-time and part-time students.

See the website http://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-at-brookes/courses/postgraduate/2015/psychology-qualifying-certificate/

Why choose this course?

- Oxford Brookes has one of the largest groups of developmental psychologists in the UK along with expertise in cognitive neuroscience and qualitative methods.

- Our professionally-accredited courses allow chartered membership of the British Psychological Society.

- Excellent opportunities for progression into courses across psychology, education and health.

- State-of-the-art facilities including a video observation lab, Babylab, action research lab and perception lab.

- Strong connections through joint research projects with partners in health, education and industry.

- A comprehensive programme of research seminars offered by the department as well as specialist seminars organised by individual research groups.

Teaching and learning

Our department has a thriving community of research-active staff and research scholars. We include aspects of our research in all our courses, teach specialist modules in our areas of expertise and supervise dissertations in our specialist subjects. Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, seminars and practical work.

Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, each involving approximately 150 hours of student effort and approximately 36 hours of staff contact.

Each course module is assessed individually, generally on the quality of written work. Assessment methods may include essays, formal written examinations or in-class tests.

Specialist facilities

The Psychology Department boasts state-of-the-art facilities including a video observation lab, Babylab, action research lab and perception lab. In addition, postgraduate students have a dedicated study and social working space to facilitate group projects and provide a venue for our research seminar series.

Careers

The department offers advice on future career opportunities, including practical help with applications to future training and employment. For many of our students, their postgraduate psychology qualification is a stepping stone to professional training for careers in educational and clinical psychology. Some choose to continue their academic studies, progressing to PhD.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Research highlights

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) 95% of our research was internationally recognised and 60% of the impact of our research was rated internationally excellent.

Prof. Margaret Harris has been awarded a grant of over £315K from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to find out whether technological advances to aid children and babies with hearing loss have had a positive effect on deaf children’s literacy.

Prof. Anna Barnett and her colleague Dr Luci Wiggs have been awarded a grant of £59K from The Waterloo Foundation to examine sleep disturbance in children with and without Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). This condition is characterised by significant movement difficulty and associated psycho-social and educational problems. Previous work suggests that sleep disturbance may be a relevant factor and this project will examine sleep in DCD with extensive and objective measures in relation to child and parent functioning.

Dr Kate Wilmut has been awarded a prestigious ESRC grant of over £160k to conduct research into forward planning of movement in children with and without Developmental Coordination Disorder. It is hoped that furthering our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this condition may lead to the development of effective intervention programmes.

With funding from the Leverhulme Trust, Prof. Vince Connelly is leading an interdisciplinary project conducting research into the writing problems of children with language difficulties. Embracing psychology, education and linguistics, this ground-breaking project is aimed at bridging the gaps in current knowledge and will help practitioners to develop literacy strategies to help this already disadvantaged group of children.

Dr Clare Rathbone has been awarded a grant from the ESRC to examine the relationship between memory and identity across the lifespan. Memory impairments can lead to more than mere forgetfulness; they can affect our sense of self and identity. This work will explore the changes in memory that take place in both normal ageing and in dementia.

Professor Margaret Harris and Dr Mark Burgess were awarded £640k by the Technology Strategy Board, a public research council that facilitates innovative technological collaboration between businesses and researchers. They are conducting multi-method research into the critical socio-psychological factors that underpin people’s transition from traditional combustion engine cars to ultra low carbon vehicles and are feeding their results back to car manufacturers, energy companies, and the government.

Research areas and clusters

Developmental Psychology Research Group
There are three main strands to research in this group:
1. Cognitive & Social Development - this includes work on the impact of socio-cultural contexts on human cognition and identity development, children’s evaluation of other people as sources of information, children’s understanding of emotion, the nature of mother-child interactions, children’s interactions with their peers and explanations for school bullying

2. Language & Literacy - this has a focus on the development of speech, reading, spelling, writing and handwriting

3. Developmental Disorders - this includes research on children with hearing impairment, Specific Language Impairment, Dyslexia, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Autism and sleep disorders.

Some of our research focuses on the description of typical development and explanation of developmental processes in different domains. Other work is concerned with understanding the mechanisms underlying atypical development and an examination of ways to support children and their families. Several staff in this research group work with professionals from other disciplines including health and education and are concerned with the production of practical assessment tools and the evaluation of intervention approaches to help children achieve their full potential.

- Adult Cognition Research Group
Research in this group covers the exploration of basic mechanisms as well as higher order processes in normal and atypical populations. A variety of methods are employed (behavioural and psychophysical measures, eye-tracking, movement analysis, and neuropsychological instruments). Specific research interests include: memory processes in ageing, autobiographical memory and identity processes, visual and attentional processing, reading and, perception and action

- Applied Social Psychology
The work of this group involves the application of a variety of different research methods and theoretical perspectives to investigate a range of contemporary issues and social problems. Members of the group share research interests in the psychological processes that underpin significant life transitions, the self and identify, mental and physical health experiences, attitudes, autism and sex differences.

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Learn how different brain functions contribute to cognition, mediate social interaction, and determine mental health, well-being and psychiatric illness. Read more
Learn how different brain functions contribute to cognition, mediate social interaction, and determine mental health, well-being and psychiatric illness.

Who is it for?

This Masters is ideal for those who have an undergraduate degree in Psychology or a related discipline and would like to build more knowledge and skills highly valued both in academic research and the clinical professions. The MSc is an ideal platform from which to progress to PhD studies, particularly in Cognitive or Social Neuroscience. Students will also be well-equipped should they wish to undertake further professional training in Clinical Psychology, or a related discipline.

Objectives

This Masters degree bridges three research and clinical disciplines:
-Cognitive neuroscience (the study of human brain functions such as memory, perception and language).
-Clinical neuroscience (the understanding of neurological, psychological or psychiatric illness via their neural and cognitive antecedents).
-Social neuroscience (the investigation of brain processes that help us communicate, feel, learn and interact with others).

The major aim of this programme is to provide you with a thorough grounding in the neuroscience that underpins human cognitive brain function, clinical, social and affective interaction, and neuropathology.

Teaching will comprise of seminars, lectures, computing and statistics classes, and supervision of an individual research project. Your learning experience during the programme will be enhanced by an invited speaker’s programme of external experts who work in clinical, social or cognitive neuroscience.

Academic facilities

You will have access to all the facilities and laboratories in the Psychology Department. Our members have experience with a wide range of neuroscientific techniques, including neuropsychological testing, psychophysics and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

We have particular strengths in the use of Electroencephalography (EEG), Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Transcranial Electric Stimulation (a weak current applied to the scalp), in addition to measures of human behaviour (e.g. response times, response errors, and eye movements) and physiological measures (e.g. galvanic skin response and heart rate).

We test neurologically normal individuals, special populations (e.g. people with synesthesia) and people with expertise or acquired skills (e.g. dancers, musicians, athletes), as well as people with brain damage (e.g. neglect or split-brain patients), psychiatric diagnoses (e.g. schizophrenia), sensory deficits (e.g. visual and hearing impairments) and developmental disorders (e.g. dyslexia or autism).

Placements

We help facilitate Clinical placements and are able and offer Research placements within our department.

Clinical placements: Center for Psychological Wellbeing and Neuroscience (CPWN) in collaboration with City and Hackney Mind (CHM).

Teaching and learning

Teaching will be comprised of lectures, seminars, group work and discussions, workshops and tutorials, reports, computing and statistics classes and the individual research dissertation.

You will undertake independent study, supported by the teaching and learning team, and will receive detailed feedback on your coursework. You will be provided with assessment and grade-related criteria which will outline your intended learning outcomes, along with the skills, knowledge and attitudes you are expected to demonstrate in order for you to complete an assessment successfully. You will also be assigned a personal tutor as your primary contact, who will advise you on academic matters and monitor your progress through the programme.

You will find a supportive vibrant research environment in the Department. The course is taught by academics, who are internationally recognised experts in their field with different backgrounds in clinical, social and cognitive neuroscience.

Assessment

Your learning will be assessed through essays, examinations, oral presentations, research methods projects and interpretation of statistical analyses, formal research proposals and a dissertation.

Modules

The programme consists of eight taught modules worth 15 credits each with around 30-34 hours of face-to-face contact, supported by online resources and an empirical research project (worth 60 credits).

You will learn about the latest advances in clinical, social and cognitive neuroscience and develop an appreciation of the reciprocal nature of research and practice in these domains. For example how insights from functional neuroimaging inform our understanding of neurological disorders and how clinical observations inform neurocognitive modelling.

Course structure
-Principles of Neuroscience: Brain anatomy, techniques and paradigms
-Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
-Mental Health, Well-being and Neuroscience
-Fundamental Processes in Cognitive Neuroscience & Neuropsychology I
-Fundamental Processes in Cognitive Neuroscience & Neuropsychology II
-Social Cognition and the Social Brain
-Statistical models and Research Methods and Programming
-Research Dissertation
-Invited speakers programme

Career prospects

This course will provide you with knowledge and skills highly valued both in academic research and the clinical professions. The MSc is an ideal platform from which to progress to PhD studies, particularly in Cognitive or Social Neuroscience. You will also be well-equipped should you wish to undertake further professional training in Clinical Psychology, or a related discipline.

The knowledge and skills you will acquire in this programme are highly valuable, whether you choose to pursue further research or an applied occupation. They will enhance your employability prospects in a wide range of sectors including the pharmaceutical industry, neuromarketing, the computing industry, science and the media, science and the arts, business or education.

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