Cardiff School of Education & Social Policy>Courses>Education, Psychology and Special Educational Needs - BSc (Hons) Degree

Education, Psychology and Special Educational Needs - BSc (Hons) Degree

Entry Year

The Education, Psychology and Special Educational Needs degree is a unique applied programme offering an opportunity to examine educational issues and additional learning needs from psychological perspectives. There is a strong focus on psychological research throughout the degree, and you will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to understand how applied psychology can inform education policy and practice in a variety of contexts.

You will be taught by staff who are experienced in the application of psychology to educational contexts, both mainstream and special education. Modules will combine aspects of psychology with education and additional learning needs, encouraging an integrated approach to these topics. The BSc (Hons) will equip you with the in-depth theoretical knowledge, practical strategies and critical thinking skills that can be used to enrich educational contexts as a whole and support a range of learners, including those with additional learning needs. 

There will be opportunities to explore how theory and practice integrate through placements in education-related settings across all three years of the degree. This will provide valuable experience that is highly sought after by employers. There will also be opportunities for you to gain additional qualifications, further enhancing your employability.

This degree is an ideal gateway for individuals interested in professional careers in areas such as special education, primary teaching, educational support services, educational social work and educational psychology. It will also provide a range of skills prioritised by employers in many other fields. 

100% of graduates in work or further study within 15 months of graduation (Graduate Outcomes Survey 2023)​

Related courses
For those students looking to gain British Psychological Society (BPS) accreditation for a career in Psychology, Cardiff Met offers an MSc Psychology in Education.​​

Foundation Year

This degree can be studied as a three-year full-time degree or a four-year full-time degree that includes a year of foundational study. Our foundation year is intended to prepare you for your subsequent years of studying, offering you the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence.

The foundation year will be relevant to:

  1. Students who aspire to enrol onto the first year of a social science-based honours degree programme, who have not achieved the standard entry requirements to enter at year one of the chosen degree.
  2. Students who have not studied subjects that provide the necessary background within the scientific disciplines required to enter at year one of the chosen degree.

Find out more about the foundation year.

Please note: You will need to apply using a specific UCAS code if you wish to undertake the 4 years including foundation. Please refer to Key Course Information at the bottom of this page.

Course Content

Year ​O​ne

The Developing Child (20 credits)
What is 'childhood' and how does this relate to development across the lifespan? What impact does poor mental and physical health have on children and their development? These modules will develop your knowledge of child development and will consider both psychological and physical development and factors that influence this. Topics covered include how a child's psychology changes over time and how the social world impacts upon cognitive development. Important milestones will be considered, for example in relation to the emergence of social/emotional behaviour and speech and language, and how these relate to both normal and atypical development.  

Empowering and Safeguarding Children and Young People (20 credits)
Why do children need protecting? To what extent should children have a voice in decisions that impact on them? This module will explore key legislation and policy in place to protect and safeguard children from maltreatment. The module also seeks to explore the balance between ensuring children are protected as well as empowering and listening to the views of children. Topics covered include differing perspectives of childhood, safeguarding in practice as well as exploring the challenges of empowering children with disabilities and complex needs. 

Additional Learning Needs and Inclusive Practice (40 credits)
What are SENs and ALNs and what does it mean to have these needs? What does it mean to be inclusive and how inclusive is our education system? What agencies partnerships collaborate to provide special education? This module considers historical developments in the fields of inclusion, disability and special/additional needs and will examine theories and concepts in these areas. There will also be opportunities to explore what inclusive practice means in the classroom. It will cover topics such as models of disability, inclusive educational practice, support services, legislation and policy and the role of practitioners and parents in supporting learners with learning disabilities and additional educational needs. You will be prepared for a work experience placement within an ALN setting during the module, which in turn is linked to second year work placement module.

Engaging with Learning and Research 1 (20 credits)
What academic skills are essential for success in psychology and education and how can these be developed? How do psychologists go about doing research and creating theories? What makes good evidence? This module aims to support your transition into the academic environment of university by supporting the development of academic and research skills which are essential throughout the degree and beyond.  You will learn about different approaches to research in educational contexts as well as develop skills to evaluate published studies. By the end of this module, you will have begun developing and practicing the academic and research skills necessary to support higher education learning.

The Nature of Education (20 credits)
What is education? Why do we educate people the way we do? How has psychology influenced education? 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. Central to this module is a consideration of the impact of psychological theory and research on educational practice. Keeping up to date with the ever changing landscape of education, the module will also consider current topical issues in education.

Year Two  

Thinking and Learning (20 credits)
How and why do we learn? What are augmentative and alternative communication methods and how do they help those with severe communication impairment? What are the cognitive explanations for dyslexia and how have these supported policy and practice? This module will introduce you to concepts surrounding how humans think and learn. Core topics in cognitive psychology will be covered, such as memory and language and the applications of cognitive psychology to understanding teaching and learning processes. The psychological explanations for specific learning difficulties will also be explored, for example dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia.

Social Behaviour and Communication (20 credits)
How do the interactions between students and teachers affect classroom dynamics? How important are friendships in schools and classrooms? What has psychology told us about the nature of bullying and the effectiveness of anti-bullying strategies? This module explores application of social psychology 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. There will also be an opportunity to complete and externally accredited course aimed at developing interpersonal communication skills.

Explaining Diversity in Education (20 credits)
Why and in what ways do people differ?  Are there more similarities than differences?  Can diverse learners be supported equally?  These questions reflect some of the core issues in psychology and education. Using the concept of neurodiversity (that differences are part of normal human variation), individual differences will be explored. By considering the development of children and young people at a biological, cognitive and environmental level, an understanding can be gained of how and why individuals can differ in terms of personality, intelligence, neurodevelopmental disorders, thinking, speech, language and communication, vulnerability and resilience, and mental health

Investigating Behaviour (20 credits)
What issues should be considered when planning and executing research? How are findings from psychological research interpreted and reported? What are the ethical considerations when conducting psychological research in educational contexts? 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 builds on the first year 'Engaging with Learning and Research' modules and aims to continue developing the practical skills necessary for scientific research in psychology and education. It will equip you with the practical and conceptual skills necessary to conduct psychological investigations in educational contexts so that you are adequately prepared for the final year Independent Research project.

Inclusion in education (20 credits)
How fair is the British education system? Why do girls do better than boys in school? How are more able and talented learners identified, assessed and provided for? What strategies might address inequalities in education and how effective are they? This module provides a critical understanding of contemporary evidence, research and practice in education and equality. Key theories and concepts in education and equality will be examined (e.g. poverty, social justice and exclusion, refugee and asylum seekers, additional learning needs, gender issues and ethnicity). These will be related to relevant examples in contemporary educational policy and practice.

Work Placement (20 credits)
How does what you learn on the course relate to professional settings? What skills do you already have and what skills do you need to further develop that enhance employability? This module requires you to have already completed a work experience placement at the end of the first year, and it will continue to develop employability skills and encourage thinking about careers following graduation. The placement would normally take place in a setting supporting additional learning needs, though this is flexible based on your personal needs and experience of the previous work placement. You may also have the opportunity to further enhance your employability by extending your placement by mutual agreement with the provider.

Year Three  

Future of Education (20 credits)
What impacts do economics and politics have on the education system? How will technological developments will shape the future of education? How does UK education system compare with those in other countries and what effect does this comparison have? This module will provide you with a sound 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.

Issues and Debates in ALN, Disability and Inclusion (20 credits)
What are the trends in multi-agency working in effectively responding to needs? Should all learners have access to the same amount of support? How are individuals with learning needs supported in other countries? This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop a critical approach to current issues and debates in ALN/SEN, including, policy, law and litigation, curriculum planning and pedagogy, identifying needs, continuity, transition and international perspectives. It will also explore some of the challenges faced by professionals in ensuring inclusion. The module will require you to undertake a placement so that issues and debates within the module can be explored in professional settings.

Understanding Learner Behaviour (20 credits)
How does the brain learn new things? Can measurement of brain activity tell us anything about ability differences? Do genes predict learning ability? This module will examine the biological bases of learning and behaviour, sometimes referred to as educational neuroscience. The integration of biology and behaviour will be explored, including how a person's behaviour can affect his or her biological functioning and how brain activity gives rise to cognition. It will also consider biological origins of intellectual and developmental disabilities, for example learning disability, autism and ADHD.

Emerging Themes in Psychology and Education (20 credits)
This module examines a variety of up to date approaches to the growing field of education, psychology and additional learning needs. You will explore new and emerging ideas in the application of psychology to education such as positive psychology and neuro-education, and will bring applied psychology right up to date by investigating educational issues in the news current at the time. This module provides an ideal taster for students who might be considering postgraduate study on the MSc Psychology in Education programme within the School.

Independent Research project (40 credits)
This is an opportunity for you to undertake an original piece of research, under supervision from a member of staff. You will take responsibility for formulating a research question within the context of psychology in education, producing a literature review and designing and implementing a study that resolves the research question. 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. 

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, online materials, virtual learning environments (VLEs), and visits from specialist guest speakers. All students come together for lectures, otherwise you will be taught in a group of approximately twenty students.

Each student is allocated a personal tutor who will assist with academic and pastoral issues, and may be given the opportunity to be mentored by a second or third year student. The course lecturing team pride themselves on being approachable and supportive to students and have an open-door policy. Lecturers have experience in all areas relevant to this programme and are active researchers in the fields of psychology and special/additional learning needs. 


​We're committed to innovative assessment practices that match identified learning outcomes for your modules 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. 

A wide variety of assessment methods are used, include coursework, written assignments, practical projects, presentations, portfolios, and time-constrained exercises. Group work and peer assessment and support will also feature.

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, for example Master's degree or PhD research. At Cardiff Met you can study MA Education

Progression to BPS Accreditation:
For those students looking to train as a psychologist and gain British Psychological Society (BPS) accreditation, Cardiff Met offers an MSc Psychology in Education. This Masters degree will further your understanding of these topics and give you the BPS accreditation you will need for a future career in Psychology.

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 (subject to the course being open with UCAS). An Honours degree with a minimum classification of a 2:2 is currently required, and the statutory entry requirements for training in Wales (including Grade C / Grade 4 or equivalent at GCSE for English language or Welsh Language (First Language), Mathematics or Mathematics – Numeracy and Science) must also be met.​

Entry Requirements & How to Apply

Typical Offers

​The following requirements are based on typical offers relevant to entering year 1 of the degree.

If you do not meet these entry requirements, we also offer a Foundation Year which allows progression to Year 1 upon successful completion.​

  • Tariff points: 104
  • Contextual offer: See our contextual offers page.
  • GCSE: Preferably five GCSEs at Grade C / 4 or above to include English Language / Welsh First Language, Mathematics / Mathematics – Numeracy.
  • English Language Requirement: Academic IELTS 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in all elements, or equivalent.
  • A level subjects: Minimum three A levels to include grades CCC. No specific subjects required. Welsh Baccalaureate – Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate considered as a third subject.
  • BTEC National / Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma: MMM
  • T Level: Merit.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: 2 x H2. No specific subjects required. Higher level subjects only considered with a minimum grade H4.
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: Grade DD. No specific subjects required. Scottish Highers are also considered, either on their own or in combination with Advanced Highers.
  • Other requirements:DBS.

Combinations of the above qualifications are accepted if they meet our minimum requirements. If your qualifications aren’t listed, please contact Admissions or refer to the UCAS Course Search.

Further information on Overseas qualifications can be found here.

If you are a mature applicant, have relevant experience or RPL that you would like us to consider, please contact Admissions.

How to Apply

Further information on how to apply can be found here.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email askadmissions@cardiffmet.​

For course specific enquiries, please contact: ​Pierre Gaite, Programme Director

We endeavour to deliver courses as described and will not normally make changes to courses, such as course title, content, delivery, and teaching provision. However, it may be necessary for the university to make changes in the course provision before or after enrolment. It reserves the right to make variations to content or delivery methods, including discontinuation or merging courses if such action is considered necessary. Please read our Terms and Conditions for the full information.

Key Course Information

UCAS Codes:
XSEN - 3-year degree
XSEF - 4-year degree (including foundation year)

Place of Study:
Cyncoed Campus

Cardiff School of Education & Social Policy

Course Length:
Three years full-time.
Four years full-time if undertaking foundation year.​

Degree Highlights

In this short introduction video, Programme Director Dr Emily Abbinett explains what the BSc (Hons) Education, Psychology and Special Educational Needs degree at Cardiff Met has to offer.

Making positive change in Education and ALN with the EPSEN degree at Cardiff Met

EPSEN student Romey blogs about her placement working at a special educational needs facility, and career ambitions for working with young adults with ALN or mental health conditions.

Read more

Making the most of my EPSEN studies at Cardiff Met

Hear from graduate Chloe about why she chose the degree, her placements and becoming a Student Ambassador.

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My EPSEN studies and journey to Primary PGCE

Graduate Gareth talks about the degree and the outdoor learning opportunities available before progressing to the Primary PGCE at Cardiff Met.

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Transformative Learning

See our staff and students getting creative with local primary school children at the Cyncoed Campus - including Clay Play, Froggy Maths and Bee Hives and Beekeeping!

Master's Degree
MSc Psychology in Education

If you're thinking about becoming an Education Psychologist learn more about our MSc Psychology in Education and obtaining BPS accreditation.

Find out more.