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Special Educational Needs & Disability Studies

Liverpool Hope University
Program overview
3 years
Full time
Bachelor's degree
Scholarships available

Start dates
October 2023

October 2024

October 2025
Special Educational Needs & Disability Studies

About this program

Special Educational Needs & Disability Studies

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 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 and on behalf of disabled people

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 the relevance of disability studies to a professional context.

Admission requirements

  • A-Levels - BBC
  • UCAS Tariff Points - 112 UCAS Tariff points must come from a minimum of two A Levels (or equivalent). Additional points can be made up from a range of alternative qualifications
  • BTEC - DMM
  • Access to HE - 112 Tariff Points
  • IB - 28
  • Irish Leaving Certificate - 112 Tariff Points from Higher Level qualifications only
  • Welsh Baccalaureate - This qualification can only be accepted in conjunction with other relevant qualifications
  • Subject Requirements - No specific subject requirements

International entry requirements

IELTS - 6.0 overall (with reading and writing at 6.0) and no individual score lower than 5.5. We also accept a wide range of International Qualifications.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

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Program content

Year One

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 via a course in the Applied 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 with a particular focus on Liverpool.

Year Two

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.

Year Three

In your final year, you will select an area of study from a range of Advanced Research Courses relating to disability studies. Themes studied include the intimate and complex relationship between disability, identity and the cultural representation and production of disability as well as courses designed to more specifically engage with the application of disability studies to education.

You will be able to recognise and challenge dehumanising practice in education and society, 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.

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the university website for more information.


  • Total tuition fee for local/EU students is £9,250.
  • Tuition fee for International/Non-EU students is £12,500.


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.

Career paths

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.

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About this institute

Liverpool Hope University

With a history extending 175 years, Liverpool Hope has developed a strong tradition of scholarship and research in key disciplines. The University places emphasis on bringing together research excellence and top-quality teaching. This research-informed teaching enables our students to develop...

Read more about this school

Why study at Liverpool Hope University

Liverpool Hope University is a vibrant community of scholars, students and support staff. We are proud of our past, confident in our present and ambitious for our future.

With a history extending over 175 years, Liverpool Hope has developed a distinctive ethos that brings together scholarship, research and teaching.

Just one in five UK Higher Education providers achieved the gold standard, which measures excellence in teaching quality, learning environment, and student outcomes - the extent to which all students achieve their educational and professional goals. The city of Liverpool is a wonderful place to study. With a rich culture and heritage and an International airport on the doorstep, why study anywhere else?

Message the school

Want to know more about Special Educational Needs & Disability Studies? Fill out the following form and we'll pass your details on to a representative from the school, who will respond to your enquiry.


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