Course Overview

The programme aims to give teachers a thorough professional knowledge and understanding of special needs and learning difficulties, and to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to support the education of those with special needs and learning difficulties in various contexts. In doing so, the programme also aims to provide enjoyable and rewarding learning experiences and be responsive to learners’ needs.

The programme is supported by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and provides a recognised qualification for teachers working in the area of special educational needs and learning support in mainstream and special settings. Programme fees are paid by the DES. The programme is delivered by a core team supported by a cohort of associate lecturers with a range of experience and expertise.

Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

Application Forms for the Postgraduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs 2021–2022 will be available to download from the Department of Education and Skills website via Circular 0008/2020 at  


Who Teaches this Course

  • Andrea Higgins, Course Director
  • Michael Lally
  • Cohort of associate lecturers

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment is through coursework assignments undertaken during the year and is linked to teachers’ developing practice.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

To be eligible, applicants must be graduates and qualified teachers registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland. Further eligibility criteria are included in the DES circular.

Additional Requirements

Garda Vetting/police clearance is required for this programme.

1 year, part-time

Next start date

September 2021

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

The closing date for completed applications to the programme is given on the DES circular.

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting




Course code


Course Outline

The programme consists of five modules:

  • Inclusion: Perspectives and Implications for Practice
  • Assessment, Planning and Applications
  • Curricular Issues for Special Educational Needs
  • Implications of Educational Disability
  • Specialist Study.

The programme involves release from schools/centres for designated block periods of a total of eight weeks over the academic year, with substitute cover provided. In addition, some lectures and workshops take place on Saturdays. The programme also includes supervised work in teachers’ own schools/centres and a four-day placement in a special setting other than their own.

Key to the programme are inclusive approaches to teaching and learning, which are discussed and demonstrated. Teachers are supported in implementing such approaches in their schools. Participants are encouraged to engage with the programme, and emphasis is placed on developing the skills required to become effective, reflective practitioners in the field of special educational needs.

Modules for 2014-15

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
A module you may choose to study.
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates are recognised by the DES for positions as learning support and special education teachers in mainstream and special settings.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

Fees are covered by the DES for eligible participants.

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  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021 PDF (11.3MB)