Deaf Education

MA/Postgraduate Diploma

Start date
MA: 3 years PT; PGDip: 2 years PT
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Distance learning

2024 - 2025
UK £4,200
International £7,770
More Fees and funding details.

Our programmes in Deaf Education provide opportunities for professional development for those who want to make a difference to the lives of deaf children and young people.

Approved by the Department of Education and designed to fit around busy working lives, the PGDip/MA Mandatory Qualification in Deaf Education are blended learning programmes that enable qualified teachers (QTS or QTLS) to gain specialist skills and knowledge that make a difference to the lives of children and young people in the classrroom. You will be able to work through online learning materials at your own pace and will be supported by both online tutorials and live lectures. There are also two face to face study weekends that you must attend if you wish to gain the mandatory qualification. 

Please note: an alternative course (MA Deaf Education) is also open to teachers (as well as other professionals with appropriate qualifications) working with deaf children who do not wish, or are not eligible, to obtain qualified teacher of the deaf status.

Why study this course?

  • This blended learning course for teachers of deaf children is the largest in the UK and one of the leading programmes in this field both nationally and internationally
  • The course is strongly rooted in practice and makes strong links with mainstream settings, special schools and sensory support services to help keep provision up to date and relevant to practice 
  • Our courses develop real insight and encourage reflective practice. You will be tutored by senior practitioners and researchers in the field of deaf education
  • The programme with its three sensory pathways exists within the Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) with its strong international reputation for professional development, in a culture of research across inclusion, special education and educational psychology.  

We also offer a number of other programmes across a range of SEN and Inclusion that may be relevant to your needs. 


Those completing the MA (Mandatory Qualification) will need to complete all the modules below (worth 20 credits each) and a dissertation worth 60 credits. Those completing the MA in Deaf Education will study the same modules as in the MA mandatory qualification programme but will not undertake the ‘Effective Teaching of Learners with Sensory Impairment’ module which includes teaching placement. Instead, in the summer term of the second year will take the 'Inclusion: Universal and Specialist Approaches' module. 

Unless indicated otherwise, these modules are for students starting in 2024.

Communication and Language Development in Deaf Children and Young People

This module will examine language and its acquisition and will establish this in the context of the educational, developmental and audiological needs of deaf children, their parents and teachers. It aims to develop your understanding and skills in order that you may facilitate optimum language development in deaf children and young people. The areas covered include: expressive and receptive use of language, development of spoken language of deaf children, development and linguistics of sign language, assessment of language, language interventions and different aspects of children’s development and language.

Policy and SEND Professional Identity

This module has been designed to enable you to relate your experience to the overall developments in provision for children and young people with sensory impairment at both regional and national levels. A key emphasis will be on roles and responsibilities within the context of inclusion and the changing role of the specialist teacher and other professionals.

Audiological Management

On this module, you will consider issues related to the science of audiology and its application in the educational and developmental management of deaf children and young people.

It aims to develop your skills in order to facilitate efficient audiological management of deaf children. The areas covered include: anatomy and physiology; causes of deafness and types of hearing loss; the assessment and diagnosis of hearing loss in children; personal hearing technologies (hearing aids and cochlear implants), functional use of hearing, room acoustics and the use of assistive listening devices.

The Development of Deaf Children and Young People

On this module you will develop an understanding of the effect of deafness on the child and the family. The module discusses the impact of diagnosis, and considers family life, social and cognitive development, and those deaf children with additional disabilities. The concept of deafness and disability will also be examined.

Curriculum Access for Deaf learners 

The module explores the range of pedagogical approaches, strategies and resources (people and material) which can be utilised effectively to facilitate optimal engagement, inclusion and attainment based on current assessment and evaluation of deaf individuals in a range of settings. It will also focus on how assessments for deaf children can be interpreted and effectively communicated to parents and other professionals to ensure that appropriate individualised technologies, resources and strategies are in place to optimise deaf learners’ engagement, inclusion and attainment. 

Effective Teaching of Learners with Sensory Impairment (For the mandatory qualification only)

The module has a focus on practical skills across all standards and includes teaching placement. The aim of this module is to enable you to meet outcomes that can only be acquired, developed, and demonstrated within the classroom. The teaching placement, will provide a valuable opportunity for you to develop as a reflective practitioner. You will be observed by a colleague who works with learners with sensory impairment.

The module will include:

  • a sustained period of teaching practice (15 days) to practise special skills teaching, receive feedback  and assessment. You will be appointed a teaching placement supervisor and the assessment will be based on the standards;
  • reflective comments on visits to a range of settings/organisations with relevant foci e.g. clinics, schools, technology companies, therapy sessions;
  • a ‘portfolio’ in which you present evidence of a range of relevant skills linked to the standards, including workplace evidence (e.g. specialist assessment, multi-agency working, working with families);
  • a summative assignment.

You will undertake the teaching practice in a setting other than your own place of work to gain a fuller picture of provision.

Inclusion: Universal and Specialist Approaches (For the non-mandatory qualification only)

This module will consider the broad universal-specialist dimension and how this fits in inclusive of educational practice.

Key areas of curriculum, teaching strategy, educator knowledge, assessment and educational placement will be broadly mapped and you will be presented with analyses and evidence in relation to different SEND groupings as example case studies (as conceptualised in many educational systems), e.g. Autism, dyslexia, hearing impairment / deafness, emotional and behavioural difficulties, MSI, PMLD, SLD, vision impairment. The analyses form introductions to key aspects of these different groups (in relation to curriculum, pedagogy and educator knowledge), which also provide examples of broader inclusion debates, dilemmas, positions and solutions.

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees 2024 - 2025


Mandatory qualification

  • Code 194H PGDip £4,200
  • Code 193H MA £4,200

Non Mandatory qualification

  • Code 205H MA £4,200


International students may only apply for the non Mandatory qualification.

Non Mandatory qualification

  • Code 205H MA £7,770

Additional expenditure

You will be required to cover any travel expenses and accommodation costs incurred during the programme. These include travel to teaching placements, educational settings visits and to the University for on-campus study weekends.

Fees for distance learning programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year. The fees will be first year fees for students starting their courses September in 2024. The fees are fixed at this price for each year of study for the duration of the programme.

For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries

Scholarships and Loans

You may be eligible for a postgraduate loan which provides up to £12,167 (for 2023/2024 entry) for taught and research Masters courses in most subject areas. This includes Distance Learning. 

Other scholarships may be available, please view the Scholarships webpage in the School of Education. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More details may be found on the  international scholarships page.

For further information contact the School directly or visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via  online enquiries. 

How To Apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

Applicants are normally required to have a first degree or diplomas or five years of relevant professional experience, training or other relevant qualifications.

In addition to the general entry requirements, applicants must have:

  • Department for Education (DfE) Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or Qualified Teaching and Learning Skills (QTLS) status or equivalent. Submission of evidence for QTS/QTLS is mandatory for admission, along with documentation clearly confirming your Teacher Reference Number (TRN).;
  • normally, a minimum of one years’ teaching experience;
  • mentor support from a qualified teacher of deaf children either paid employment, or a formalised volunteer role with a view to employment as qualified teacher of the deaf, in a capacity that involves regular and ongoing teaching of deaf children and young people throughout the duration of the programme.
  • either paid employment, or a formalised volunteer role with a view to employment as qualified teacher of the deaf, in a capacity that involves regular and ongoing teaching of deaf children and young people throughout the duration of the two year programme. 

Entry to the programme will be subject to a satisfactory Enhanced DBS check with barred list for children and adults.

Please note that for enrolment onto this course, Early Years Teaching Status does NOT count as qualified teacher status (QTS).

Programme staff will discuss the course with all suitable candidates.

International Requirements

Our PGDip/ MA programmes are delivered and assessed online. Some activities are scheduled – like meetings with your tutor – but otherwise you can work through the online learning materials at times to suit you. Each module is broken down into weekly study units. And each week you will have a mixture of reading, videos/recordings and interactive activities to work through at your own convenience. All you need is some time, and an internet connection.

We also know how important it is to provide you with opportunities to meet, collaborate and network with like-minded students. We do this in three ways:

  • Firstly, we provide a live online induction event when you join the programme. You will get the opportunity to meet the teaching team, fellow students and we will provide a step-by-step guide to working through materials on your first module of study.
  • Secondly, in every module of study there are live (real time) opportunities to engage in module group work and seminars. This gives you the chance to discuss key topics, share your learning and to reflect on workplace experiences.
  • Thirdly over the first two years of your study you will be required to attend four 2-day study weekends held at the School of Education. Dates for 2023-24 are Saturday 11th and Sunday 12 November 2023 and Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May 2024.

How you will learn 

  • Interactive teaching materials and study skills resources available via our online learning platform            
  • Three live online tutorials per module within your own tutor group, hosted by a tutor experienced in your field of study      
  • A live workshop hosted by your Module Lead            
  • Access to our extensive online library, research materials and a vibrant community of students with shared interests         
  • Access to a range of other study and research activities hosted by our department and the School of Education. 

Time for Study

Your involvement on the course will require you to be released from some of your current work, and it will be helpful for applicants to consider carefully these issues with your line manager/sponsor:

The tutors strongly recommend that students are allowed a minimum of half a day per week for study and research.

  • Full participation in the Study Weekends requires attendance on both days
  • Teachers may require extended release for the 15 day teaching placement. An additional day may be required for a visit to the host school/service prior to commencing the practice. 
  • The time needed by you for study may decrease your ability to help with other types of activities. 


You will be assessed through a range of work, enabling you to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and understanding of the theory and practical application of the module material. 

You will have one specific formative assessment (where you receive informal feedback, but it does not count towards your module grade) and two components of summative assessment (which are each graded).  Assessments have a single submission date at the end of the module.

Through this comprehensive range of assessment components, your professional and academic careers will be enhanced.

Support for Deaf and Disabled students

The University of Birmingham welcomes applications from deaf and disabled students. We strongly encourage students applying to this course who may require support (including communication support) or who may require reasonable adjustments to be made as a result of a physical, sensory, mental health or learning support need to register with the disability, learning support and mental health team. Eligible students are also encouraged to apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) which may provide funding towards equipment, software and support where required.    


The MA and PGDip in Deaf Education (Teachers of deaf children) is ideal for teachers who are already qualified to teach school-aged children in England but require the mandatory qualification to achieve qualified teacher of the deaf status from the Department for Education. The non mandatory MA qualification is suitable for professionals who do not wish, or are not eligible, to obtain qualified teacher of the deaf status – for example lecturers of deaf students, communication support workers and educational psychologists.

There is the opportunity to work towards a further professional qualification in the field of Education both within schools and in other settings, including progression to a PhD or EdD. The excellent careers advice provided by personal tutors has encouraged many of our graduates to successfully apply for leadership roles working with deaf children and young people. These include: specialist teachers, educational audiologists, teaching assistants, speech and language therapists, youth workers, social workers, counsellors and BSL interpreters.