As contemporary societies become more heterogeneous, and as inclusive education reforms gain currency across the world, educational systems are being challenged to address some fundamental questions about teaching and learning related to the accommodation of and respect for difference.
Underpinning the movement for inclusion is a concern for social justice and wellbeing. Meeting the diverse needs of learners within today's schools, colleges and universities, is one of the most challenging and important tasks facing education today.
This thoroughly revised Master's degree is unique not only because of the disciplinary approaches it employs, but also because students study and apply an approach to wellbeing that has been developed by some of the world’s leading thinkers.
This is an approach that is internationally recognised by, for example, the UN, and whose principles are increasingly found in government policy on education and SEN, namely the Capability Approach. We are one of the very few institutions in the UK to offer this practical and ethical approach to assessing issues of SEN, equality and inclusion.
The skills you will develop include critical thinking skills and how best to be an inclusive practitioner. Importantly, this is a professionally based degree which means that you will apply what you have learned to your own professional practice whether you are a classroom assistant, SENCO or university lecturer.
Closing date for applications: Wednesday 30th June 2021 at 4pm.
Inclusion and Special Educational Needs highlights
Our educational research has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REf, 2014).
- Flexibility This programme is designed to meet the needs of professionals. Diploma and Certificate options are also available.
- Credit transfer Students who have completed other master's-level awards, eg PGCE, within the last 10 years are eligible to credit transfer. The credit transfer application must be submitted at the same time as the online programme application as retrospective applications are not accepted.
“In terms of your career prospects, there is no doubt that completing this MEd will increase your promotion potential as we move towards a Master’s-led teaching profession, and as issues of SEN and Inclusion take centre stage in a society whose ambition is to increase social justice and inclusion.”
Dr Alison MacKenzie, Programme Director
Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (3 years) basis. Individual modules may be studied as a short course. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.
The MEd is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 15,000 - 20,000 word research dissertation (60 CATS points).
Exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught modules.
We've made it easy to study for a master's module as a short course. If you would like to apply for a short course, please contact the Education Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) for advice.
Course Details Core Modules (compulsory, all 20 CATS points):
An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (online)
This introductory research methods module is compulsory for all Masters students in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work and assumes no previous experience or knowledge of research methods. The aim of the module is to provide a general research overview and to contextualise the broad range of approaches and debates that are evident within contemporary educational research. The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the theory and an appreciation of the differing perspectives that underpin quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Students will be introduced to the ethical issues relating to educational research as well as a range of methodological approaches, within which the key theoretical and practical issues will be addressed.
Deconstructing Special Needs Education and Inclusion
We will focus on deconstructing Special Needs Education and Inclusion by exploring how some popular approaches and behavioural theoretical models have influenced our understanding of SEN. Much of the ‘knowledge’ of special education is, arguably, misconceived and promotes inequality, rather than addresses it. In examining the consequences of, for example, labelling or social and emotional behavioural difficulties (SEBD), we will consider a powerful rationale for inclusion based on deconstructing the very notion of ‘need’ and ‘special’ to ask: why special needs education? And whom does it really serve?
Epistemic Injustice: The Ethics of Knowing in SEN/Inclusion
What is a stereotype and how does a stereotype conduce to prejudice? How do forms of ignorance abet injustice against the marginalised? To explore these issues, we will examine how stereotyping and prejudice contribute to forms of ‘epistemic injustice’ whereby what certain groups of people know is given less credibility and weight simply because of their disability, sex, class or ethnicity. The testimony (what they know or experience) of members of stigmatized groups is likely to be discounted because of (often unconscious) prejudicial beliefs and attitudes, which can magnify the effects of injustice as well as create others, such as failing to recognize certain questions as relevant for inquiry, such as the sexual abuse of vulnerable girls and boys, or sexuality of disabled or impaired people. Our judgments, as we will learn, are likely to be affected by implicit biases even when we think we’re making judgments of scientific or argumentative merit.
Social Justice in Special Needs Education and Inclusion: A Capabilities Approach
In this core module we will explore some of the complexities of understanding social justice in education and what it means to flourish, a much vaunted aim in education at present. While education systems across the UK and many parts of the world espouse equal entitlement to education, and the importance of allowing the child and young person to flourish and attain wellbeing, the precise content of this goal is difficult to determine and agree upon. One approach which has emerged with considerable power and application is the Capability Approach (CA). The CA asserts two core normative claims: first, that the freedom to achieve well-being is of primary moral importance; and, second, that freedom to achieve well-being is to be understood in terms of people's capabilities, that is, their real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value. Examples might include getting a degree, travelling, or being a teacher; or being valued, respected, and included.
The Capability Approach is an ethically evaluative framework that, in order to assess well-being, development and justice, simply asks two questions: what is a person able to do and to be? The answer to those two questions will depend on how society, including our educational institutions, are arranged. So, to what extent do our schools include minorities or children with special needs labels? For example, how is a child on the autistic spectrum enabled to be the person she wants to be and to do the things she values?
Two optional modules may be chosen from the Educational Studies (MEd) degree.
People teaching you
Email: A.MacKenzie@qub.ac.uk Dr Alison MacKenzie is a registered teacher. Her main research interests are in SEN/Inclusion, the Capabilities Approach (Nussbaum), education policy, philosophy of emotions, feminism and gender (philosophical liberalism), and literacy/linguistic capital.
Evenings from 5.30pm - 7.3-pm. The evening classes run for six weeks with one Saturday workshop for each module. The Saturday workshop is timetabled for each module from 10am – 4pm.
Graduates from this degree have found it beneficial in their professional institutions in advising colleagues, influencing policy and supporting pupils and students.
The degree helps students reshape their thinking on special needs education and matters of inclusion, to question values and beliefs that were previously taken for granted. Importantly, a Master's degree in SEN/Inclusion will be of great advantage to professionals seeking promotion as we move towards a Masters-led teaching profession.
Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.
Employment after the Course
Most of the students on this course are practising teachers in the nursery, primary, secondary sector. Students from further education and disability sectors also attend. Students take up employment, or continue to work in teaching, apply for promotion, or go on to undertake further degrees.
Further and Higher Education
Learning and Teaching
Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:
Indicative Number of Modules per Semester: Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.
Indicative Proportional Mix of Time in Classes, Tutorials/Seminars/Labs, and Private Study in a Teaching Semester: Varies, depending on module choice and study mode (full-time/part-time). Each class is of two hours’ duration. The evening classes run for six weeks with one Saturday workshop for each module.
Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed through a written assignment of 3000 words that is informed by the student’s own professional practice and experience.
The School is located within a recently renovated building, with state of the art teaching and learning facilities, together with dedicated student space including a large student common room. The teaching facilities enable an interactive learning environment.
Prizes and Awards
- Teachers working on classroom-based dissertation projects may apply for the Northern Ireland Centre for Educational Research (NICER) award.
A 2.1 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject discipline.
Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context.
Closing date for applications: Wednesday 30th June 2021 at 4pm.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £6,140 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £6,900 Other (non-UK) EU £6,140 International £17,700
Unless otherwise stated the tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2020-21 with the exception of international fees which are for the academic year 2021-22. Tuition fees are subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Inclusion and Special Educational Needs costs
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
How do I fund my study?
The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.
A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How to Apply
Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.
Fees and Funding