BA Education, Psychology & Special Educational Needs

BA (Hons) Education, Psychology and Special Educational Needs

Key Facts

UCAS Code: 71P2​

Place of Study: 
Cyncoed Campus

Cardiff School of Education

Course Length:
Three years full-time.

Course Overview

The BA Education, Psychology and Special Educational Needs degree focuses on the theory, practice and policy of mainstream and special education, as well as offering a unique opportunity to examine educational issues and additional learning needs from a psychological perspective. 

The degree will equip you with the in-depth theoretical knowledge and practical strategies needed to support a range of learners, including those with special educational needs. There is a strong focus on psychology throughout, and you will explore the varying fields of psychology and how they can contribute to our understanding of such things as social, emotional and physical development, intellectual differences, school behaviour, decision-making and problem-solving skills, and the influence of self-esteem and motivation on learning and achievement.

This programme offers an excellent gateway for individuals interested in professional careers in areas such as special education, teacher training, educational support services, educational social work and educational psychology​.

Course information on this page relates to September 2017 entry.

Course Content

Year One:

The Developing Individual (10 credits)

This module will develop your knowledge of child development the psychology of child development and will cover topics such as how a child's thinking changes as it grows and how the social world impacts upon this intellectual development, the process of gender development, moral development, and the development of a child's sense of self. Important developmental milestones will be considered, for example in relation to social/emotional development and speech and language development, and how these relate to both normal and a typical development.

Approaching Psychology and Education (10 credits)

This module sets psychology in its historical and philosophical context. It will consider some of the heated debates and controversies that have marked the evolution of psychology as a discipline. It will also look at some of the contemporary issues with which it deals, particularly those related to applications of psychology in education.

Investigating Behaviour (I) (20 credits)

Many of the most important insights into the workings of the human mind and the complexities of human behaviour derive from scientific research. This module introduces psychological research and begins to develop practical methods that are necessary for scientific progress in psychology. It will introduce students to the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct psychological investigations, including the statistical analysis of psychological research data.

Thinking and Learning (10 credits)

This module will introduce you to basic concepts surrounding how humans think and learn. Core topics in cognitive psychology will be introduced, such as memory, language and problems solving and the application of cognitive psychology to the understanding of teaching and learning processes.

Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion (10 credits)

This module considers historical developments in the fields of inclusion, disability and special educational needs and will examine theories and concepts in these areas.  It will cover topics such as models of disability, inclusive educational practice, educational psychology services, legislation and policy and the role of practitioners and parents in supporting learners with additional educational needs.

Psychology in Education (20 credits)

There are many ways in which psychology can positively influence teaching and learning, and this module will consider some of the more prominent ones. It will explore the application of psychology to education and will consider theory and research on development and learning, how these relate to aspects educational practice and how this knowledge can contribute to the effectiveness of teachers and schools and challenge aspects of accepted educational practice.

Education Past, Present and Future (20 credits)

Building on foundation disciplines such as history, sociology, philosophy and social policy, this module will explore how social, cultural, political and economic developments have impacted on our education system. There will be a detailed examination of how education has changed over time and the social and economic pressures currently shaping education policy and practice, and consideration of current topical issues within education.

Core modules:

Skills for Success in Higher Education (10 credits)

This module will help you develop an awareness of the essential skills required for successful academic engagement, including the skills of writing for different audiences, presenting, referencing and accessing/using academic sources. You will be encouraged to develop critical self-reflection skills which will enable you to set targets for further academic development.

Developing Work-Based Skills (10 credits)

Using lectures, e-lectures and workshops you will be introduced to the knowledge and skills required for graduate level employment, including self-employment and entrepreneurship. You will evaluate your own skills and related career intentions and investigate opportunities and challenges with respect to your own employability.

Year Two

Education and Equality (20 credits)

This module provides a critical understanding of contemporary evidence, research and practice in education and equality. Key theories and concepts surrounding education and equality will be examined (e.g. additional learning needs, gender issues and ethnicity). These will be related to relevant examples in contemporary educational policy and practice.

From the Cradle to the Grave – Lifelong Learning (10 credits)

This module provides a detailed understanding of lifelong learning and the widening participation agenda in education. It will consider key philosophies in the lifelong learning sector, including those related to additional educational needs, and will explore the effects of political and economic forces on the sector.

Supporting Learning (20 credits)

This module considers the practical and theoretical issues associated with supporting learners in a range of educational contexts. It will cover issues such as inclusive practice, behaviour management, assistive technology, supporting learners with additional educational needs, and the role of teachers, classroom assistants and other professionals in the education and well-being of learners.

Explaining Diversity in Education (20 credits)

How and why we differ as individuals is a core issue in psychology and education. The module will explore some of the many ways human beings differ, including in terms of personality and intelligence. It will consider why some learners do better than others, issues around around child and adolescent mental health, and the nature of intellectual impairment and learning disability.

Understanding Learner Behaviour (20 credits)

This module will examine the biological bases of behaviour. The integration of biology and behaviour will be explored, including how a person's behaviour can affect his or her biological functioning and how neural activity gives rise to cognition. It will also consider biological origins of learning difficulties and learner disabilities, for example autism and ADHD.

Investigating Behaviour (II) (10 credits)

This module will cover a range of statistical methods used within psychology. You will learn how to understand and analyse data, and how to design and plan a project of your own. You will be supported in developing the critical skills needed to evaluate the data and methods presented in published research.

Core modules:

Work-related Placement:  Managing Yourself and Others (10 credits)

Linked to a week-long placement in a work setting and building on the first year Developing Work-based Skills module, this module aims to develop key employability skills, developing core communication skills relevant to employment in professional contexts. The placement takes place in a setting of your choice (where possible). You may also have the opportunity to further develop your employability skills by extending your placement by mutual agreement with the provider.

An Introduction to Research Skills (10 credits)

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of key concepts relating to academic research and the research process so that you will have the requisite knowledge to enable you to conduct the extended empirical research project in your final year. In addition to generic content relevant to all students, you will receive support tailored towards psychological research.

Year Three

Issues and Debates in SEN (10 credits)

This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop a critical approach to issues and debates in ALN/SEN including international perspectives, policy, curriculum planning and pedagogy and how these impact learners. It will cover topics such as identification of educational needs, intervention and inclusion, continuity and transition, and the integration of theory and practice. 

Teaching and Learning with ICT (10 credits)

This module seeks to develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of the use of various ICT in pedagogy, curriculum and practice in a range of education contexts. You will explore a range of contemporary applications of a variety of forms of technology.

Future of Education (20 credits)

Through studying this module you will gain a detailed understanding of contemporary issues within the education sector. Political, economic, social and technological issues within 21st Century education will be considered, and future trends in education policy and practice will be explored.

Social Behaviour (20 credits)

This module explores social psychology, especially its application to our understanding of social behaviour in educational settings. It will address key concepts, theories and research in social psychology, and consider how social psychology contributes to our understanding of the individual as a social being.

Specific Learning Difficulties (20 credits)

This will encourage you do develop an appreciation for the role of psychology in understanding the nature of cognition and learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. The impact of these specific learning difficulties on learning and behaviour in educational settings will be considered, as will their wider impact in relation to social and emotional development.

Core module:

Empirical Research Project (40 credits)

You will take responsibility for formulating a research problem, producing a literature review and designing and implementing a study that resolves the research problem. Your findings will then be analysed, written up and discussed. This will enable you to demonstrate independence in your approach to research and enhance your project planning experience. You will receive guidance and support from a supervisor.

Learning & Teaching

​A variety of learning and teaching approaches will be used to suit a wide range of learning needs and preferences. This will include lectures, seminars, practical workshops, recorded materials online, virtual learning environments (VLEs), and talks from guest speakers who are specialists within relevant fields.

The lecturing team have experience in all areas relevant to this programme and are active researchers in the fields of psychology and special/additional learning needs. They pride themselves on being approachable and supportive to students.


​We're committed to innovative assessment practices that match identified learning outcomes for your module and degree. This means assessment, wherever possible, is linked to enhancing not only your subject knowledge but also skills vital in developing your employment opportunities.

Assessment methods will include coursework, written assignments​, practical projects, presentations, portfolios, and exams. Group work and peer assessment and support will also feature.

All students are also supported with access to a personal tutor who will assist with academic and pastoral issues.

Employability & Careers

This degree leads to a diverse range of career options including working in the private or public sector, social and educational research, teacher training, educational support services, educational development within the community, academia, education-related work within charity organisations, the health sector, and the full range of psychology careers.

During the programme, you will have opportunities for work experience within a range of educational settings including special needs schools. This will help prepare you for employment or further study. There is potential for you to undertake postgraduate study relating to careers in teaching and Educational Psychology and to undertake Master’s or PhD level research.

Progression to PGCE Teacher Training:

We are pleased to guarantee entry to the interview process for the PGCE Primary Course at Cardiff Met for all graduates of this programme.  An honours degree classification of a 2:2 or above is currently required, and the statutory entry requirements (including B grades or equivalent at GCSE for English and Maths, C grade for Science) must also be met.

Entry Requirements & How to Apply

Please note: The following entry requirements relate to September 2017 entry and use the new UCAS tariff. Please refer to our Entry Requirements for further information on the new tariff, or contact Admissions if you have any questions. 

No previous knowledge of Psychology is required for this programme. However,whilst not a prerequisite, due to the statistical components of this degree, successful completion of GCSE Maths at grade C or above is recommended.

Applicants should have 104 points from at least 2 A levels (or equivalent). Typical offers may include:

  • ​104 points from at least 2 A levels to include an A level grade C. Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma will be considered as a third subject​

  • BTEC QCF Extended Diploma with an overall grade of Merit Merit Merit
  • CACHE Diploma with an overall grade C
  • 104 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 2 x H2 grades (minimum grade considered is H4)
  • 104 points from Scottish Advanced Highers to include a grade D
  • 102 points from the Access to Higher Education Diploma 

If you are studying combinations of the above, or if your qualification isn't listed, please either contact Admissions or refer to UCAS Course Search for the entry requirements.​

If you are a mature applicant and have alternative qualifications or experience that you would like us to consider, please contact a member of staff.

Entry to this programme is also subject to a satis​factory DBS check. More details about criminal records procedures can be found at​

International Applicants:
Before making an application, international students (those outside of the EU), should contact the International Office at Cardiff Met to discuss the necessary procedures in relation to studying with us. For further information visit

Selection Procedure:
Offers are made based on application via UCAS with specific attention paid to the personal statement.

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made online to UCAS at For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact, Dr Sue Wilkinson
Email: ​
Tel: 029 2020 5598​

Full terms and conditions in relation to accepting an offer to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University can be found by visiting