Special and Inclusive Education (Specific Learning Difficulties) MA

London, Bloomsbury

This route within the Master's in Special and Inclusive Education focuses on Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)/literacy difficulties. Students will be introduced to cutting-edge theory and research and consider how it links to policy and practice. This MA will appeal to students looking to consolidate and enhance their knowledge; develop their professional practice and/or progress to doctoral study or employment in this specialist field.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of a lower second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants will also normally have some related professional experience.

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 3

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Students will gain a comprehensive and critical understanding of theory and research relevant to special and inclusive education, as well as its applicability to policy and practice; with a specific focus on Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)/literacy difficulties.

Through a variety of taught sessions, independent activities and group/individual assessments, students on the programme will graduate with a broad range of knowledge (including subject-specific knowledge), intellectual, academic and research skills; and practical and transferrable skills. Learning will prepare students for a future within the field of inclusive education and/or the specialism outlined.

Who this course is for

This programme would appeal to those working within education (e.g., teachers, teaching assistants) who have an interest in working with children, young people or adults with special educational needs and disabilities. We particularly welcome those with personal experience of SEND (e.g., family members, individuals with disabilities, including dyslexia).

What this course will give you

This unique programme provides students with the opportunity to engage with the latest theory and research on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), whilst specialising in Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)/literacy difficulties. Led by academics from the internationally recognised UCL Centre for Inclusive Education (CIE); together with a team of world leading tutors (researchers, academics, and professionals) from the Department of Psychology and Human Development (PHD), students will benefit from a cutting-edge programme of taught sessions, independent activities and group/individual assessments; all of which will deepen their knowledge, challenge their thinking and enhance their employability or current workplace practice. London offers a rich and diverse population so students can focus on neurodiversity within a wide range of communities and study at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, which is repeatedly ranked #1 in the world for education (QS World University Rankings by subject).

Students choosing this MA benefit from a rigorous academic programme. Critical engagement with current research and evidence-informed practice on special and inclusive education (focusing on Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)/literacy difficulties) provides a thorough grounding for those new to the field. It also challenges the thinking and deepens the knowledge of those with prior (academic, personal or professional) experience in special and inclusive education and/or Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)/literacy difficulties. Input from a broad range of experts ensures strong relevance to practice. This highly regarded course will hugely benefit any educational setting, as well as the individual student.

The MA programme is designed for national and international students with rich and varied professional and/or personal experiences; offering valuable opportunities for networking and collaborative learning. The programme would also be suitable for less experienced applicants hoping to develop new skills and knowledge for future careers in the field. 

At the end of the programme, students are encouraged to join our Professional Learning Networks (PLNs); to continue their personal and professional development and to provide further opportunities for peer-to-peer learning alongside fellow alumni. This programme, alongside the diverse range of events and initiatives provided by PHD, IOE and UCL and our centres of excellence (such as the Centre for Inclusive Education), offers a transformative experience for students interested in special and inclusive education and/or Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)/literacy difficulties.

The foundation of your career

Students on this programme can broaden their career horizons within the educational settings in which they work (if applicable) and/or develop skills that can be used in a wide range of careers within or outside the field of special education and Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)/literacy difficulties. Students will also develop skills in the areas of personal organisation and time management; oral and written communication; collaborative working; computing and IT; critical, adaptive and reflective thinking; problem solving; research and inquiry.


Graduates could seek future employment in a broad range of areas, for example: as senior leaders in mainstream, special schools and other educational settings; and/or directly supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Graduates may also pursue pathways as literacy leaders or working in the field of Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia). Graduates may choose careers within specialist services for children and young people with SEND or SEND charities; or consider opportunities in government and policymaking positions. Some will choose to follow research pathways and/or work in Higher Education or as consultants.

Teaching and learning

The MA is taught through a combination of face-to-face lectures / seminars, plus online materials and lectures (mixed mode), group discussions, small group and/ or one-to-one tutorials.

Compulsory and optional modules are assessed through a range of different assessment types; including presentations, written assignments, case studies and multiple-choice questions. For some modules students may choose from a range of assignment titles or may be able to negotiate their own title. In addition, students will be required to choose to write either a report or a dissertation in the final year of the programme.

Contact hours are module dependent, but each 30 credit module will equate to 300 hours of study time. Each module will include contact with faculty via a range of forums (e.g., individual tuition, whole/small group lectures/seminars, online materials on learning platform Moodle).


Full-time students over the course of a year will undertake four compulsory modules: Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia); Intervention for literacy difficulties: Evidence and application; Concepts and Contexts of Special Inclusive Education and Research Design and Methodology (total 120 credits). Students will also choose either a dissertation (60 credits) or a research report (30 credits) plus one optional module (30 credits). 

Part-time students will take three compulsory modules in their first year: Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia); Intervention for literacy difficulties: Evidence and application; Concepts and Contexts of Special and Inclusive Education (total 90 credits). 

In their second year students will take the fourth compulsory module (Research Design and Methodology) and complete either the dissertation or an optional module, plus the research report (total 90 credits).

Flexible modular students must complete the programme between 2 to 5 years. Students must take the compulsory module Concepts and Contexts of Special and Inclusive Education in their first year of study. The compulsory ‘Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)’ module, should be taken before the compulsory module ‘Intervention for literacy difficulties: Evidence and application’. Optional modules can be taken at any point during the remainder of the programme; students can take one optional module if choosing the Report. The Research Design and Methodology module, and either a Dissertation or Report, must be taken in the final year of study.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Special and Inclusive Education (Specific Learning Difficulties). Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a in Special and Inclusive Education (Specific Learning Difficulties).


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £11,800 £5,900
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their report or dissertation. Where school visits are planned as part of the course students will be expected to fund their own travel.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Special and Inclusive Education at graduate level
  • why you want to study Special and Inclusive Education at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

We would additionally like to learn:

  • Why you are interested in following the specialist SpLD route and what attracted you to this programme

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.