Postgraduate Diploma (Special Education Needs)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Course overview

The Postgraduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs at the School of Education, NUI, Galway provides a recognised postgraduate qualification for all support teachers working in the area of special educational needs and learning support in mainstream primary and post primary schools, and for teachers in special classes, special schools/units and other relevant educational settings.


The course gives teachers a thorough professional knowledge and understanding of special needs and learning difficulties and it equips them with the necessary knowledge, skills and competencies to be effective in supporting the education of those with special needs and learning difficulties in various contexts. 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.

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.

Duration: 1 year, full-time

Next start date: September 2015

ECTS weighting: 60

Average intake: 30

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

Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

This course is delivered by a core team supported by a cohort of guest lecturers and practitioners with a wide range of expertise. Inclusive approaches to teaching and learning are discussed and demonstrated and teachers are supported in implementing them in their schools. Participants are encouraged to engage actively with the programme and a constant emphasis is placed on developing the skills required to become effective reflective practitioners in the field of special educational needs.


Assessment is based on successful practice in the classroom and a number of course work assignments. 


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 (a total of eight weeks over the academic year with substitute cover) with, in addition, some lectures and workshops taking place on Saturdays. The programme also includes supervised work in the 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 with teachers supported in implementing such approaches in their schools. Participants are encouraged to engage actively with the programme and a constant emphasis is placed on developing the skills required to become effective reflective practitioners in the field of special educational needs.

Applications and selections

Application is via a circular which is issued to all schools by the Department of Education and Skills, usually in the previous January, and which can be downloaded from the DES website. Completed forms must be submitted to: PDip in Special Educational Needs, School of Education, NUI Galway, by the closing date.

Who teaches this course?

  • Dr Patricia Eaton
  • Andrea Higgins
  • Michael Lally
  • Bernie Hanley

Requirements and assessment

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

Find out more

Dr Pat Eaton
T: +353 91 492 369
E: patricia.eaton@nuigalway.ie
www.nuigalway.ie/education

PAC code

n/a

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €2,330 p.a. 2014/15
 - Tuition: €2,106 p.a. 2014/15
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2014/15
Non-EU (Total): €13,250 p.a. 2014/15

If you are funded for this programme please scan your funding letter and email it to fees@nuigalway.ie

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