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Graduate Diploma/M Ed in Special Education

Note: The 'At a Glance' section below is indicative only.


Level: 9

Duration: 1 year

Location: MIC Limerick

Delivery Mode:

Blended, including lectures, workshops and presentations from external professionals during the 8 weeks and 4 Saturdays throughout the year spent on campus.


ICT classroom-based project, Applied Research project, practicum, review of Special Education in school and Differentiation project.

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question

Programme Overview

The aim of this one-year postgraduate programme in Special Education is to provide substantial theoretical and practical continuing professional development to teachers working with students with Special Educational Needs (SEN). From the broad perspective of inclusive practice, and general special education policy and practice in Ireland, the programme provides specific inputs in assessment, language, literacy, mathematics, social, emotional and behavioural content areas as well as incorporating ICT at all levels to support instruction and learning.

Key Features

This PGDSE programme is open to all serving teachers who are employed in a position funded by the Department of Education and Skills and who provide Special Education Teaching in recognised Primary schools, Post-Primary schools, and other recognised Educational Services. Teachers serving in special schools and special classes are also eligible to apply. The programme is designed specifically to assist teachers in meeting the learning and teaching needs of students with special educational needs. Potential applicants must therefore have a teaching role in relation to students with special educational needs. Please refer to the circulars listed in Appendix 1 for information on the qualifications necessary for Special Education Teaching posts at Primary and Post-Primary levels and qualifications necessary to teach in Special Schools.

It 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 Saturdays.

Assessment & Career Opportunities

Six modules focus on both theory and application with a view to change the planning and practice of teachers working with children with additional needs in primary, post-primary and special schools. Assessment modes used include inclusive and special education provision mapping, case study, reflective essay, documentation of planning and teaching, and practise in schools. Supervised placement in the teacher's own educational setting is an integral part of the programme. Continuous assessment applies throughout the academic year.

The PGDSE programme provides opportunities for teachers to progress to management roles in their schools as well as applying for national level posts with agencies and organisations charged with providing CPD for teachers in special education. Successful completion of this graduate diploma provides an access route to the Master’s Degree in Special Education.

For queries relating to the PGDSE course please contact

M Ed in Special Education

The M Ed Special Education 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. 

For further information on the M Ed in Special Education, please contact


For queries on the Postgraduate Diploma in Education please contact:

For queries on the M Ed in Special Education please contact:

Programme Content

The aim of the PGDSE programme is to provide substantial theoretical and practical training for teachers working with pupils with special educational needs 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:

  • Theory, Practice, Roles and Responsibilities in Special Education
  • Critical Influences on Child Development, Learning and Behaviour
  • Communication, Language and Literacy 1 and 2
  • The Role of ICT in Special Education
  • Special Education in Practice 1 and 2
  • Curricular Provision: Meeting the Holistic Needs of Learners with SEN
  • Curricular Provision: Collaborative Practice in Special Education
  • Identifying and Managing Special Education

Entry Requirements

Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education (PGDSE)

The PGDSE programme is open to teachers in positions funded by the DES and who provide special educational teaching in recognised Primary schools, Post-Primary schools and other recognised educational services. Teachers serving in special schools and special classes are also eligible to apply. For more information download the 2022-2023 DES circular here.

A limited number of places are available at six higher education institutions in Ireland including Mary Immaculate College.

Particular requirements are accessed in the current Circular.

For further information regarding the PGDSE programme contact:

M Ed in Special Education

At the moment the MEd in Special Education is only open to graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education. For further details contact


How to Apply

Please Note: This programme is not open to applications from non-EU countries. Application fees are non-refundable due to applicant ineligibility. See International programme listing here.

Information for Irish and EU applicants below.

Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education

The application process for the Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education (PGDSEN) course for the year 2023-2024 is not yet open. As this course is DE funded we are awaiting the Circular and Application forms for the coming year.  We hope to have same by the week of the 20th February. 

s soon as they are available, they will be posted on this page.

In order to apply you must submit:

  1. Online Application Form
  2. Teaching Council Certificate
  3. Principal's Form


Fees: Programme funded by Teacher Education Section of Department of Education & Skills.

If you have any questions or queries relating to this Programme, please email

M Ed in Special Educational Needs

To register for the M Ed Special Educational Needs (SEN), students must have completed the PGDSE in Mary Immaculate College and have obtained a B1 or higher in the Applied Research Project.

Applications for September 2023 M Ed SEN are not yet open.

When applications open again for 2023 entry, please use the Master of Education (M Ed) application form clearly stating that it is the M Ed SEN programme you are applying for.

For further information on the M Ed in Special Education please contact

For fees click here.

Education Office
Elaine Gleeson
+353 61 204550

Ask a Question

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question