UCL Graduate degrees


Special and Inclusive Education (Specific Learning Difficulties) MA

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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years

Part-time students typically complete three modules in their first year (90 credits) and one module plus the dissertation OR two modules plus report in their second year (90 credits).

Application dates

Visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£10,500 (FT)
£5,250 (PT)
£23,300 (FT)
£11,650 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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.

English language requirements

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: Good

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

International students

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.

Select your country:

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.

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).

This course sits within the MA Special and Inclusive Education (MASIE) programme. Students on the Specific Learning Difficulties route take four compulsory modules (120 credits) and either a dissertation (60 credits) OR a report (30 credits) plus one optional module (30 credits).

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.

Compulsory modules

MASIE Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)/literacy difficulties route students will take the 2 compulsory foundational MASIE modules, plus the 2 compulsory SPLD route modules.

  • Concepts and Contexts of Special and Inclusive Education
  • Research Design and Methodology
  • Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia)
  • Intervention for Literacy Difficulties: Evidence and Application

Optional modules

As part of the SpLD route students who opt to write a report (30 credits) can choose one optional module (30 credits). This can be chosen from the list of modules below or from elsewhere at the UCL Institute of Education (subject to availability) and must be agreed with the MASIE programme team.

  • Autism: Research and Practice
  • Special Topics in Autism Research and Practice
  • Language Development
  • Psychology for Special Needs
  • Social, Emotional and Behavioural Development

Visit the UCL Institute of Education website for more information, including module descriptions, which can be seen by clicking on the module title.


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 11,000 words  (+/- 10%) (60 credits) or a research report of 6,500 (+/- 10%) words (30 credits). Students will work closely with a supervisor who will oversee their self-chosen research project related to special and inclusive education/ Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia)/literacy difficulties.

Teaching and learning

The MA is taught through blended lectures, 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 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).

Additional costs

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


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.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Masters Scholarships

Full tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Tuition fees, stipend, flights (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Deadline: 31 December 2020
Full tuition fees and some allowances (Up to 3yrs)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

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


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.


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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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, 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, the UCL Institute of Education 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.

Department: Psychology & Human Development

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Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

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).

Application deadlines

Visa nationals
31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
30 July 2021

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

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

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021