Professional Diploma/Certificate in Special & Inclusive Education (DCU)

Professional Diploma/Certificate in Special & Inclusive Education (DCU)

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This Certificate/Diploma was jointly developed by St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Special Education Department and ICEP Europe and funded by the Teacher Education Section of the Department of Education and Science. It is now part of DCU's Institute of Education.

This course combines theory, research and best practice approaches in order to give practical support to teachers in meeting the diverse learning needs of pupils with special educational needs. The flexible online delivery facilitates access regardless of geographical or other constraints. This course is undertaken on a part time basis and is modular giving you real flexibility in terms of study and payment.

Who is the programme aimed at?

Participants of the Professional Certificate/Diploma in Special and Inclusive Education include qualified teachers, at primary and post-primary level, as well as graduates with experience of working in an educational, training or educational-related professional context and those holding equivalent qualifications with significant experience of working in an educational, training or educational-related professional context. Through a combination of background reading and online learning and interactive activities, including live classroom sessions, this programme strives to give practical support to educational professionals in meeting the diverse learning needs of pupils with special educational needs.

Future Careers

This specialist qualification allows teachers and other professionals to progress in their careers.  It enables them to effectively meet the diverse needs of students with special educational needs in a wide range of today’s’ inclusive schools and classrooms.  It provides educators with the skills necessary to affect whole school collaboration and implement inclusive practice.

Graduates of the Professional Diploma in Special and Inclusive Education are eligible to apply for the Masters in Special & Additional Learning Needs which ICEP Europe runs in partnership with the University of East London.

The Certificate/Diploma in Special and Inclusive Education is a part-time modular programme. On successful completion of four modules the student may be awarded a Professional Certificate in Special and Inclusive Education, or may choose to continue to Diploma level. The Diploma consists of an additional dissertation module which takes one year part-time. Diploma students are required to engage in an unassessed research methods course and design and implement a small-scale research project in relation to pupils with special educational needs leading to an 8,000 word thesis.

The modules address the following topics:

  • C1: Inclusion for Pupils with Special Educational Needs (required)
  • S1: Understanding Autism: Effective management and teaching strategies
  • S2: Dyslexia
  • S3: Mild General Learning Disabilities
  • S4: Understanding Behaviour as Communication

Modules begin in September, January and April and each module runs for eight weeks. There is flexibility built into this programme to allow students to continuously take modules as they are offered or to skip a term and take up the next module at a more suitable time. It is possible to complete the Certificate in three semesters (18 months).

Participants learn through attendance at one face-to-face Induction Day, via online lectures and engagement in online learning activities and forums. Module assessment is based on the completion of all online learning activities (20% of overall module mark) and successful completion of a written assignment (80% of overall mark). The Certificate should normally be completed within two years, and must be completed within three years of registration.

Those who progress to the Diploma will receive face-to-face input on research methods at Induction Day and via online lectures throughout the course of the year. There is also the opportunity for group collaboration and discussion on research issues that arise through the online support forum. Each student is assigned a supervisor who provides academic support and guidance throughout the year. The Diploma must be completed within 4 years of first registration.

Tuition and Support

Each module is taught over a period of 8 weeks

Each module will be taught online as a distance learning module, and you will have the opportunity to interact with peers in online class discussions

Specialised tutors working in the area of learning disabilities will provide you with individual support and guidance as you complete your studies online

Technical support is provided by a dedicated team of qualified learning technologists, who can be contacted by telephone or email 

(a) Applicants may be qualified teachers and/or

(b) Graduates (with experience or a demonstrable interest in working in an educational, training or educational-related professional context).

(c) Those holding equivalent qualifications with significant experience of working in an educational, training or educational-related professional context.

You do not have to be currently employed as a teacher in order to qualify for a place. But you should hold qualifications with regard to (a), (b) or (c) as outlined above.

How to apply

You can now enrol for this online course through DCU's application system PAC.

We are now accepting applications for the September 2021 intake. 

You can apply right now by clicking on the Apply Now button at the right of this page. You will then need to register on the PAC website. Once you have done this you can search for the course under postgraduate programmes using the course code DC841 (September intake)/DC842 (January intake). 

If you need any assistance with the application process please call us directly on +3536510618.

The online format of the programme offers busy professionals the opportunity to work around their existing schedule and gain a recognised University qualification regardless of location.

Fees for this course are €750 per module. For the cert you complete 4 modules and for the diploma you complete 5. 

In many cases students will be able to claim tax back on these fees.

For more information on fees and funding options please call us on +35316510618.



"I am really enjoying the course and the chance to learn more skills. The course materials are easy to follow, well sourced and relevant to up to date literature. The other students on the course talk about the experiences from their school and I learn from that that too. I feel much more confident about my job since I've started learning. I am developing new skills and knowledge that I can bring into my own work."Michelle McEwan, DCU/ICEP Student 2019
  • Next IntakeSeptember 2021
  • DURATION2 years part time
  • AttendanceFully Online (no in person attendance required)
  • FEES €750.00per module
CPD Course Payment
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