Disability Studies is an academic field that recognises disability is fundamental to all human lives. It acknowledges the wider history of oppression and discrimination experienced by disabled people and seeks to educate people to challenge those inequalities. Informed by this perspective, the Special Educational Needs & Disability Studies degree examines the relationship between disability and education in a wide range of educational contexts.
On this degree, you will undertake a critical exploration of disability and education in a wide range of contexts, from the ways in which compulsory education responds to the needs of disabled children, young people and adults, to the ways in which arts-based and cultural organisations work with disabled people and images of disability.
You will have the opportunity to undertake a placement in the second year of your course. This will enable you to enhance your understanding of course themes and demonstrate your abilities to work in a professional context.
Teaching on this degree is structured into lectures, where all students are taught together, seminars of smaller groups of around 15-20 students, tutorials which typically have no more than 10 student, and workshops. You will also have the opportunity to have a one-to-one meeting with your tutor each week.
In your first year of study, there are approximately 12 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 10 teaching hours each week in your second and third years. On top of teaching hours, you will be expected to spend 12-14 hours studying independently each week, as well as studying in groups to prepare for any group assessments that you may have. This degree also has a compulsory placement.
During your degree, there are a variety of different assessments to ensure you are given a range of opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and understanding of the academic and professional components of the degree. These include written exams, essays, portfolios, poster and other presentations, and case studies.
You will receive formative and summative feedback. This will include written feedback with opportunities for a one-to-one discussion of feedback with your tutors.
Your academic development is embedded in the curriculum and progresses through each level of study.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
In your first year, you will begin to develop an understanding of the broader field of disability studies, and how to apply that to education. Themes explored include the history of disability and the education of disabled children, as well as educational ideas and practices that cause disablement and inequality. You will also study cultural representations of disability, including those found in the news, advertising, literature, charities, comedy and film.
Your first year of study also includes an introduction to the broader field of the social sciences. You will explore current social issues alongside students in Criminology, Sociology and studies in Childhood and Youth. This introduction offers you an important introduction to the application of the social sciences to current ‘real world’ contexts.
In your second year of study, you will begin to recognise the importance of cultural representations of disability for young adults and the implications of this for education and society more broadly. You will look at compulsory educational contexts and the relationship between impairment and the educational provision. You will critically explore the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice and contemporary practice.
Your second year includes researching disability and learning the importance of researching alone and undertaking research with your peers. Other topics studied include transitions and sexuality in relation to adolescence and young adults, intersectionality and sexuality, as well as international comparisons of disability, adolescence and working with young adults.
As part of your second year, you will also go on a compulsory work placement. This may be a school setting but may also be a cultural setting or voluntary organisation in order for you to develop an appreciation of education in non-compulsory settings.
In your final year, you will develop and design creative approaches to inclusive education, using ideas and techniques at the forefront of disability studies. Themes studied include the intimate and complex relationship between disability, identity and the cultural representation and production of disability.
You will be able to recognise and challenge dehumanising practice in education, as well as appreciate the relationship between disability and other aspects of identity.
Your final year of study also includes an independent research project for your dissertation.
This degree offers excellent preparation for a range of careers including teaching and social work as well as work with organisations that are led by and on behalf of disabled people. The degree also offers a route into postgraduate study including MA Disability Studies.
On graduating, you will be able to advocate for those identified as having a special educational need and/or disability. You will also have the confidence to further the understanding of others. You will have developed relevant research skills and methodologies and have the ability to critically reflect on theory, policy and practice in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disability.
In your second year of study, there is a compulsory work placement. This may be a school setting but may also be a cultural setting or voluntary organisation in order for you to develop an appreciation of education in non-compulsory settings. The emphasis on work with cultural organisations will enable you to apply your insights from disability studies.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
As well as tuition fees, you will need approximately £200 to purchase any necessary texts during your three years of study. There will also be travel costs when you go on placement, this usually costs around £100.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
The International tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year are yet to be confirmed. Further details will be available shortly.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
With Foundation year, this degree is only available to study as a Single Honours course.