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Special Educational Needs

Your course
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 the ability to be responsive to learners' needs.

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.

3 Good Reasons To Study This Course

1. DES support: The programme is supported by the DES and provides a recognised qualification for teachers working in the area of special education needs and learning support in mainstream and special settings. Programme fees are paid by the DES.

2. Expert associates: The programme is delivered by a core team supported by a cohort of associate lecturers with a range of experience and expertise.

3. Innovative teaching: 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.

Entry requirements

Minimum 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.

Garda Vetting/Police Clearance:
Garda vetting/ police clearance is required for this programme.


1 year part-time

Careers or further progression

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

Further enquiries

Ms Andrea Higgins
T: +353 91 495 136

Application date

Application is via a circular issued by the DES, usually in the previous January, 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.

Course fee

Fees are covered by the DES for eligible participants.

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