Course Overview

In recent years phenomenal changes have occurred with respect to provision for students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) within the education system in this country.  To respond to developments in the area of special educational needs and inclusive education and to enhance best practice in the schools, the Department of Education and Skills (DES) supports a Post-Graduate Diploma in Special Education which is intended to provide a recognised Post-Graduate qualification for Special Education Teachers (SET), teachers in special schools and special classes and other relevant educational settings.

The Post-Graduate Diploma in Special Education at St. Angela's College is delivered by the team in the Centre for Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity within the Education Department, and is designed for teachers who are eligible to apply under the terms of the DES.  The programme leads to the award of a Post-Graduate Diploma in Special Education and is accredited by the National University of Ireland, Galway.  The course is funded by the DES.

Substitution will be allowed while teachers are attending the block release element of the Programme - please review the circular for further information.

Applications and Selections

Application Forms for the Postgraduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs 2020–2021 are now available to download from the Department of Education and Skills website via Circular 0008/2020

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment is through coursework assignments undertaken during the year and is linked to teachers’ developing practice. 


Key Facts

Entry Requirements

To be eligible, applicants must be graduates and qualified teachers registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland. Further eligibility criteria are included in the DES Circular.

Additional Requirements

Garda Vetting/police clearance is required for this programme.

One year, part-time

Next start date

Autumn 2021

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date
NFQ level

Level 9

Mode of study

Blended Learninig.

ECTS weighting


Postgraduate Diploma (Special Education)


Course code

Course Outline

The programme will run from September 2020 until May 2021 and involves 2 block releases from school/centre for a total of 8 weeks over the academic year, 4 Saturdays of face-to-face tuition and distance learning together with supervised work in the teachers own schools/centres. The programme also includes supported on-going study throughout the year using a variety of modes of delivery.  

Fifty teachers are accepted onto the programme annually. The award is based on full attendance at course venue, continuous assessment of course-work and assessment of participant's teaching and record keeping in their own school/centre. 

The programme structure comprises of five modules including a specialist study module:

  • Inclusion: Perspectives and Implications for Practice
  • Assessment, Planning and Applications
  • Curricular Issues for Special Educational Needs
  • Implications of Educational Disability
  • Specialist Study

Further Education

The PDip (Special Education) is a progression pathway to a Master of Arts (Special Education) also offered at St. Angela's College, Sligo.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

This specialist qualification enhances graduates to progress in their educational setting. It enables them to effectively meet the needs of students with Special Educational Needs. It provides graduates with the skills necessary to affect whole school collaboration and implement inclusive practice. 

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Three day placement each week of block 2

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

Fees are covered by the Department of Education and Skills for eligible participants.

Find out More

Ms Mary Kearns
Senior Administrator
Education Department
T: +353(0)71 9195550


Simone McLaughlin |   PDip / MA in Special Education

Having heard for years about the great reputation of St. Angela's for Special Education, I jumped at the opportunity to study the Postgraduate course in Special Educational Needs and was not disappointed. The wealth of expertise offered by every single lecturer, who were all at the forefront of Irish and international educational research helped ensure I was fully brought up to date with current educational thinking. The course offered a good grounding in theory, which I came to really appreciate and value during my studies, but also ensured I returned to my school with loads of practical insight. There was plenty of support to complete assignments and the online journal access through the library facilitated home study with ease. Following the course, I returned to my school with confidence and a wide range of strategies and approaches to try with my students and it has totally transformed the special education provision in my school. I recommend it without hesitation.