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Graduate Diploma / M.Ed. in Special Education

(Combined Post-Graduate Diploma Programme of Training for Learning Support & Special Education Teachers)

This programme, which is organised by the Department of Special Education, is for Learning Support teachers, Resource Teachers, LS/RTs, teachers in Special Schools, qualified teachers who are designated Learning Support or Resource Teachers, and who spend a minimum of 11 hours per week with students who need learning support or special education. Teachers employed by VECs as literacy and/or numeracy tutors in Youthreach, Community Projects or in the Prison Service who meet the criteria in the Circular. This leads to the award of a Graduate Diploma in Special Education, accredited by the University of Limerick.

This programme provides a broad overview of special education and provision in the Irish context. In addition to offering an in-depth exploration of an SEN area of choice (Autism, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Mild General Learning Disabilities, Emotional & Behavioural Disorders, Down syndrome, etc.) for each participant, this course provides particular expertise in both ICT and the analysis of behaviour.

The course runs from September to May of the following year and involves block release from school for designated periods (a total of eight weeks), and four weekends (Friday evening, Saturday).

The Timetable of the weekends and designated blocks will be posted here when it is finalised:

Students' perceptions of this course include:

  • I thought it was an excellent course, I am only sorry I didn’t do it years ago.
  • Very informative, lots of good humour and understanding of how real situations are in schools.
  • It has been great to get some resources and valuable information in what I’m actually supposed to be covering.
  • Throughout the year, all areas were covered in sufficient detail to allow for implementing strategies next year.
  • Very good – picked up relevant information from every lecture.
  • Very interesting information and extremely practical & useful ideas.


The aims of the programme are to provide substantial theoretical and practical training for teachers working with pupils with special education and for teachers working with pupils requiring learning support teaching. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to acquire a wide range of practical skills, which will be of continuing benefit throughout their careers. Key aspects of the programme include:

  • Special Education: Theory, Research and Practice
  • Exploring Influences on Child Development, Learning and Behaviour • Language, Communication and Literacy
  • Curricular Provision: Meeting the holistic needs of pupils with SEN
  • Roles and Responsibilities in relation to SEN
  • Identifying and Managing SEN
  • The Enabling Role of ICT

Supervised placement in the teacher's own school is an integral part of the programme. Continuous assessment applies throughout the academic year.

Course participants who meet certain criteria are eligible to undertake the Master's Degree programme in Mary Immaculate College. The M.Ed., programme comprises all the taught modules of the Graduate Diploma programme, a module on research methods and the writing of a dissertation on an approved topic.

Contact Details

Ms. Mairéad Horan
Department of Special Education
Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick.
Telephone: 353-61 204563
email: mairead.horan@mic.ul.ie


Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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