PGCert in Inclusion and Special Educational Needs

Quick links: Entry Requirements | Fees and Funding | How to apply

Across the globe, schools are seeking dynamic and highly qualified teachers to support pupils with a range of different abilities and talents. This is more important than ever in the 21st century.

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long-standing reputation as a centre of excellence for programmes and research in a wide range of areas of educational practice and policy.

This part-time PGCert Inclusion and Special Educational Needs programme is designed to supplement professionals already working in the field. In general, this includes teachers, education advisors, special educational needs coordinators, head teachers in schools, managers of community and charitable organisations (NGOs), support workers in places such as a university or workplace disability service unit, social workers or nurses providing care for persons with disabilities, or a staff member of a Ministry of Education or Ministry of Health. 

Staff within the School of Education have been working closely with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which is responsible for the growth and quality of education, on the development of this high-quality continuing professional development programme which leads to the award of the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert). 

This Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Programme, which has been approved by KHDA, will support the Ministry of Education's aim of enhancing the status of professionals in this field in the UAE and provide opportunities to share the School’s high quality provision internationally.

Further information

View General FAQs for the University of Birmingham Dubai.

If you are a student or teacher and wish to receive further information and updates about this programme, please register your interest at:

Mohammad Abdullah

Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City

“As Dubai International Academic City celebrates a decade of excellence, we are honoured to welcome one of the world’s top 100 universities, University of Birmingham, to our vibrant and diverse higher education community. University of Birmingham’s commitment to knowledge transfer through cutting-edge research makes it an ideal partner of choice, contributing to the enhancement of the UAE’s vision of creating innovative and enduring solutions that meet the demands of key sectors of development such as STEM and Education.”

The Inclusion and Special Educational Needs (ISEN) part-time programme is a 60-credit postgraduate certificate designed for in-service teachers, school leaders, education policy leaders, and others working directly or indirectly with children with disabilities in the UAE, the UK, and around the world.

The ISEN programme is a synthesis of topics, specifically: cross-cultural disability theory, inclusive policy and evaluation, and inclusive classroom practices. Students in the ISEN PgCert programme will take three 20-credit modules over the course of 1 year:

  • Cross-Cultural Issues in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • Inclusion: Individual and Group Differences
  • Evaluation and Policy Analysis for Inclusive Education


  • 1 September 2019. The canvas module will be available
  • 21 September 2019. Induction day

Face-to-Face sessions

  • 4-5 October 2019. Weekend session
  • 29-30 November 2019. The last weekend session
  • There will also be 3 supported study sessions in the evening subject to group availability

Why study this course

  • Increase knowledge and awareness of inclusion and special educational needs to support all students in the classroom
  • Understand cross-cultural and global issues in inclusion and special educational needs
  • Learn from globally-recognised experts on inclusion and special educational needs
  • Develop assignments and projects to support Continuing Professional Development (CPD) portfolios
  • Opportunity to progress to PgDip and MEd in ISEN (based at the UK campus, but offered online)
  • The programme has been approved by KHDA      


The ISEN programme is taught through a blended approach of digital and face-to-face learning. Students will engage in one module per term and modules are designed on activity and project-based learning strategies that engage students to reflect on, and innovate, their professional practices to promote the inclusion of all students.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee AED 29,023


There is no bursary for these courses but there is a chance to apply for a scholarship. Find out more about the scholarships

Entry requirements

To be considered by the University of Birmingham you will need to meet our general entry requirements. 

Applicants for this programme are expected to have an undergraduate degree and relevant professional experience, training, or other qualifications and experience deemed suitable for entry onto this programme. The minimum undergraduate degree result must be at least a 2:1 or equivalent (GPA 3.0/4.0; or 75%). In order to undertake the ISEN programme of study, you will need to demonstrate that you have a fluent level of written and spoken English. You can demonstrate your level of English with IELTS or alternative qualifications (TOEFL, PTE, Cambridge English). The minimum IELTS score for consideration is 6.5, with a 7.5 and above preferred.

If you are unsure about the equivalences of your qualifications do get in touch with us as Admissions tutors are happy to consider applications on a case by case basis. 

Find out more about international entry requirements 

Additional information:

As part of the admissions process you will need to provide the following information on your application form. 

  • Name and address
  • Date of birth
  • Country of residence
  • A personal statement
  • Evidence of your qualifications
  • References 

Evidence of qualifications

You need to supply evidence or transcripts of your degree in the medium of English as specified by the entry requirements outlined on the course page. This will normally be a minimum of a 2.1 or equivalent. 

You will also need to provide evidence that you achieved 6.5 (5.5 in each subject) in your IELTS test. For those without a first degree studied in the medium of English an IELTS score of 6.5 is required.


Two references will be required one academic and one professional. Your professional reference should preferably be someone who can comment on your suitability for working with children. The references should provide supporting evidence in relation to the personal statement and your suitability for the course. You will therefore need to approach your referees to ensure that you are able to provide current contact details. 

How to apply

To find out more information about our application process please visit our 'How to apply page' before starting your application. 

The ISEN programme allows for much flexibility for students in terms of completing the class activities and requirements. There will also be face-to-face teaching in Dubai to accommodate the needs of professionals who study this programme. Students on the ISEN programme will learn from internationally-recognised experts in inclusive education and special needs education based both in the UK and in Dubai.

Class activities will be enquiry-driven and project-led, and students will be encouraged to engage in reflective professional practice in order to relate class material to their own professional settings. Students on the ISEN programme will not be taught ‘best practices’, but will be taught how to evaluate and assess their own professional practices and how to effectively find and try new ideas in their settings. 

Your University of Birmingham qualification is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends.