Management of Special Education in Developing Countries MA

The Management of Special Education in Developing Countries is a full-time programme for teachers, administrators and non-governmental organisation staff who are working in special education in developing countries and who wish to develop their management or leadership expertise. Although most students are not from the EU, this course is also suitable for UK/EU students.

Download information on all the postgraduate study programmes in the School of Education (PDF)

The Management of Special Education in Developing Countries programme is for teachers, administrators and NGO staff who are working in special education in developing countries and who wish to develop their management or leadership expertise. The programme combines modules in Special Education with modules in International Studies in Education, using theory and practice from both in order to enable participants to improve management practice in the national context in which they work. A research dissertation also enables participants to put together management and special education in a uniquely relevant way for them.

This International Studies in Education programme has been taught at the School of Education for 50 years, and the School has one of the largest SEN departments in the UK. In consultation with tutors, you will choose modules totalling 100 credits from those available in the International Studies in Education and Special Education programmes, with a minimum of two modules from either field. You will also need to take the Researching Education module. A research dissertation will enable you to put together management and special education in a way which is uniquely relevant way for you.


In consultation with tutors, students choose modules from those available in International Studies in Education and Special Educational Needs programmes, with a minimum of two modules from either field.

Compulsory modules

  • Researching Education (Autumn)
  • Dissertation (Summer)

International Studies in Education

Students can choose from the following modules:



Special Educational Needs

Students can choose from the following modules:



Each module is taught in either term one or term two of the academic year. Teaching takes place during three-hour sessions, once per week per module. Teaching methods include seminars, small group discussions, and presentations by participants. Assessment is through written assignments (normally one major essay per module) and other means, and can be based on your interests. Dissertation topics are negotiated with supervisors and the research and writing process takes place over the whole year, but mainly during the summer months.

The modules listed on our website may occasionally be subject to change. For example, as you will appreciate, key members of staff may leave the University and this might necessitate a review of the modules that are offered. Where a module is no longer available, we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Fees and funding

Fees 2019 - 2020


  • Code 234B MA £9,250


  • Code 234B MA £16,995

Learn more about fees and funding

For further information contact the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to eligible financial support via the Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan for the duration of their course. For more information visit the website.

You can also visit our EU Referendum information page for more information and updates.

Scholarships, Studentships and Loans

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

The postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will provide up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas including part-time and distance learning. For more detailed information view our Postgraduate funding page

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. 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.

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to have a first degree in a related field such as education, development, policy. However individuals from a range of educational and professionals will be considered. 

A clearly demonstrated interest in education is importants and whilst some teaching experience is an advantage, it is not an essential requirement.

International students

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

VISA Requirements

Obtaining a visa can be a lengthly process. Please allow sufficient time to obtain your visa. Find out more on the visa requirements and process

English language support - before your course starts

The University offers Presessional English courses for students who wish to improve their knowledge of spoken and written English in preparation for academic study at the University of Birmingham. Students with conditional offers have the option of attending one of these courses instead of retaking IELTS 

English language support - during your studies

BIA provides free English language services to international students who are currently studying on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at the University of Birmingham.  Services include Open-access English classes, online self-assessment, online materials through CANVAS, email answers to quick questions and individual one to one tutorials.  For a small fee, BIA also offers classes for partners of international postgraduate students and staff, social events including day trips and HOST visits.   

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

The course permits a choice of modules from the International Studies in Education, and Special Educational Needs, courses. Students attend regular lectures and seminars for the first two terms, have personal dissertation supervision for the third term, and are assisted to access a wide range of library and online learning resources. The course is assessed by coursework assignments and a dissertation, and topics can be chosen to match the interests, expertise and needs of students. Some students do fieldwork for their dissertation in another country, but this is not a requirement. It is helpful if students have experience of working with disabled children in different countries, and bring relevant materials, which are not available online, for their coursework, e.g. printed project evaluations, reports in local languages, health education materials, photos and videos.

The MA in Management of Special Education in Developing Countries is ideal for graduates who wish to develop their management or leadership expertise within special education. Upon completion of this course, you will have experience in managing a variety of learning needs within your school and support colleagues to take a more inclusive approach in their own pedagogy.

With this Master’s degree, graduates will become eligible to apply for a range of international posts in relation to SEN, Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR), and project management. Sites such as ‘Devnet’ and ‘UN Jobs’ provide many examples of relevant opportunities. The degree does not give qualified teacher status in the UK or elsewhere, but is a valuable additional qualification for those who have a relevant first degree (e.g. international studies, psychology, social work, development studies, public policy), and/or a teaching or health care qualification.

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. The excellent careers advice provided by personal tutors has encouraged many of our graduates to successfully apply for leadership roles related to inclusion and diversity in schools and other educational settings. These include: lecturers, policy developers, head teachers, special educational needs coordinators and managers of community and charitable organisations.


Snib Musonda is working as a lecturer in the University of Zambia

Heba Kholeif is currently a freelance disability consultant and an embassy of knowledge officer at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina  in Egypt