Inclusive & Special Education

Ireland's ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has increased expectations around the creation of more inclusive schools and systems. In addition, the Teaching Council has identified Inclusion as a key learning area in Cosán - Framework for Teachers' Learning. The Professional Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education (ISE) has been developed by DCU to support teachers to meet the needs of all learners in an inclusive classroom. This fully online programme provides continuing professional development in a structured and sustained way at convenient times, in an easily accessible manner regardless of location, to support the practical application of skills learned at classroom level. It is a Level 9 programme on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

The overall aim of this programme is to support primary and post-primary mainstream subject/class teachers, and special education teachers to develop inclusive practice. In particular, the programme aims to provide an opportunity for teachers to develop knowledge, skills and competencies in key areas of inclusive and special educational provision and planning at school and class level. It also aims to create a community of learners who will communicate and collaborate with each other in support of the teaching and learning of all learners , including those with special educational needs.

On successful completion of the three Certificate modules, students may choose to exit with the Certificate award or to continue to Year 2, which involves completion of the Diploma module: Individually Relevant Learning. Students who wish to complete the Diploma module must be working in a teaching role as it involves the development of assessment skills in order to accurately identify an individual learner's current level of performance, strengths and areas for development and to plan appropriately to meet those areas for development in varying contexts and school settings.

Subjects taught

Certificate: The programme includes three Certificate modules in Year 1: Si420 Inclusion and Special Educational Needs (10 credits), Si421 Understanding Dyslexia (5 credits), Si422 Understanding Autism (5 credits), Total: 20 credits, minimum study time: 1 year

Diploma: completion of 3 Certificate modules plus one year long Diploma module: Si902A Individually Relevant Learning (10 credits), Total: 30 credits, minimum study time: 2 years

Entry requirements

Application is open to qualified teachers, at primary and post-primary level, who hold a recognised qualification, Level 8 Pass Degree / Third Class degree, from an awarding institution in Ireland or elsewhere.

Consideration will also be given to Graduates with a level 8 degree (with experience of working in an educational, training or education-related professional context).

Candidates must submit the following:
· Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study
· Personal statement of 250 words outlining your reasons for applying

Due to the specialist nature of this programme, additional criteria may be used to assess suitability to undertake this programme. For further information, please contact the Programme Chair using the contact details below.

Application dates

Applications Closing Dates:
Applications will be accepted until the programme is full.
EU Applicants: 28th June 2024
Non EU Applicants: 1st July 2024

All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal which is available at the Application Weblink.

All Applicants must submit·
• Evidence of Teaching Council Registration / a reference from current employer for those working in other educational contexts
• Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study
• Letter of Recommendation (see application portal)
• Personal statement of 250 words outlining your reasons for applying
• Non Native English Speakers must submit evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements see link
• Non-EU Applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of gaining entry into Ireland are ineligible to apply for this programme.


2 years part-time, online.

Post Course Info

On successful completion of the three Certificate modules, students can exit with the Certificate award or continue to the Diploma module.
On successful completion of the Diploma module, students are eligible to exit with the Diploma award.

More details
  • Qualifications

    Special Purpose Certificate (Level 9 NFQ),Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider