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  • Take a clear progression route into careers where you can help achieve better outcomes for children and young people with SEND
  • Draw upon legislation, theory, research and practice to identify and discuss contemporary issues and dilemmas surrounding inclusion and SEND
  • Explore the growing need for education, health and social services to work closely together and the implications of multi-professional working
  • Gain a better understanding of the legal responsibilities facing practitioners today
  • Develop your ability to interpret, understand and conduct research at masters level, sourcing and harnessing key information as the basis for critical analysis
  • Collaborate with others to generate, articulate and debate your own interpretation and understanding of inclusion and SEND
  • Learn from a dedicated and expert team with a high profile for research in this field

Our MA Inclusion and SEND applies an interpretivist approach, with a focus on exploring and discussing a broad spectrum of understandings of disability, impairment, special education and inclusion.

A specialist MA with broad appeal

This course is aimed at graduates from disciplines such as education, childhood, SEND, and the social sciences who want to advance their knowledge in this important area and to focus on a social model analysis of disability and impairment.

In addition, it is valuable for anyone who holds the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination (NASENCo) or a PGCE (with Level 7 credits). They may be able to use some, or all, of their existing masters credits as the basis for topping up their award to the full MA.

At a time of growing global interest in equality, diversity and inclusion, the course is also an excellent platform for international students keen to pursue careers in this field.

We offer a part-time as well as a full-time route to the MA for those who would like the flexibility to balance their studies with work and other commitments. 

A rapidly evolving area of practice

Our MA has been introduced at a time of major changes in provision for children and young people in England labelled as having SEND.

With legislation undergoing its most significant reform in almost 30 years, the nature of the workforce has altered and more professionals than ever before are specialising in this field, including greater involvement of voluntary organisations and intervention therapies.

This MA will therefore equip you for careers in settings where education, health and social services professionals are expected to work in ever closer contact. We explore the implications of greater multi-professional working and the legal responsibilities faced by practitioners.

Help shape the debate about SEND

Throughout the course, you will be actively encouraged to think reflexively, identify good practice, challenge accepted conventions and ultimately help achieve better outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

As SEND and inclusive provision are areas of education that generate much debate, you will examine contentious issues in relation to contemporary theory, policy and practice. We will encourage you to revisit your current assumptions in order to develop more informed opinions.

You will draw on philosophy as a lens through which to analyse different interpretations of inclusion and SEND. In addition, you will deepen your understanding by considering the lived experiences of individuals who are described as having special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Pursue your personal and professional interests

There is the opportunity for you to focus on themes which match your current working role, professional interests and career aspirations. As the culmination of your studies, you will undertake an independent study into a subject of your choice – designing, implementing, evaluating and reporting on your own research project.

To prepare for this project, you will gain a critical understanding of research techniques and principles, including ethical considerations which are pertinent to inclusion and SEND.  

Expertise to inspire you

Research-informed teaching lies at the heart of this course. You will learn from a dedicated and experienced teaching team with wide-ranging expertise in the areas of inclusion and SEND.

They have conducted influential research into issues such as professional development for practitioners working with SEND and models of teacher education which help promote inclusive classrooms. They have also undertaken studies into autism, ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, attachment disorder and the experiences of learners with social, emotional and mental health needs.

We have a highly regarded Centre for Educational Research and Innovation which places particular emphasis on special needs education and works with a wide range of partners to promote more inclusive and socially just outcomes for children and young people with SEND. 

What you will study

You will study modules such as:

  • Crafting Your Masters Study
  • Inclusion/SEND: Contemporary Issues and Dilemmas
  • Inclusion/SEND: Working with Others
  • Designing Social Sciences Research
  • Philosophical Interpretations of Disability, Impairment and Inclusion
  • The Lived Experience of Inclusion/SEND
  • Independent Study

How you will learn

We have designed the MA Inclusion and SEND to be both innovative and challenging. It includes engagement with real world scenarios and workplace practice where appropriate as a context for your learning.

You will engage actively with varied interpretations and multiple perspectives of inclusion and SEND. This includes learning through seminars, workshop group work, reading group debates, analysis of practice, case studies, problem-solving activities and contribution to collaborative forums.

Latest research – by University staff and other specialists in the field – underpins this course so that you can reflect critically on contemporary issues in the discipline. You will also gain valuable insights through engagement with our programme of visiting speakers.

How you're assessed

Assessment is through written assignments and/or presentations.


Visit the Inclusion and SEND (MA) page on the University of Derby website for more details!

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