GradDip Inclusive & Special Education

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 60)

This course is designed to develop the skills of special education teachers who work in primary, post-primary and special school or specialist unit settings, in all aspects of theory and practice related to teaching pupils with additional educational needs.

The ethos of the course is that of maximizing inclusion of pupils while providing students with the skills and knowledge to support the most challenged and most challenging pupils within the education system within the most appropriate setting for those pupils.   

It develops students’ knowledge and skills in identification and assessment of pupils with additional educational needs and in planning, monitoring, and evaluating the effectiveness of, interventions  for such pupils

This professional full-time course is delivered over an academic year, with two four-week periods of fulltime attendance at college, supplemented by attendance on four Saturdays spread throughout the year.  The vast majority of students on the course are funded by the Department of Education and full substitution cover is funded by the Department of Education while those students attend college.

When not attending college, students on the course are otherwise teaching in their own schools, where they are supported by site visits from UCD tutors.  The format of delivery combines lectures, tutorials, workshops and visits to other schools considered to be centres of excellence.

UCD School of Education also invites applications from self-financed applicants to complete the course. 

Careers & Employability

Completion of this course will significantly enhance the knowledge and skills of Special Education Teachers and will render them considerably more competent and confident in fulfilment of their roles. 

It will further the careers of Special Education Teachers in schools, enabling them to perform a co-ordinating and managerial role in relation to provision for pupils with Additional Educational Needs in schools.

It will enable SET teachers to apply for national and regional roles within the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), including, but not confined to, the roles of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) and Visiting Teachers providing consultative services to schools.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

Please see the relevant Department of Education circular for more information on eligibility.

  • This course covers a comprehensive range of topics pertinent to teaching and supporting pupils with additional educational needs.
  • It examines a range of types of disabilities and additional educational needs, in relation to aetiology, characteristics and appropriate inclusive interventions. 
  • It critically examines various approaches to the organisation of provision for students with disabilities/additional educational needs, including an exploration of the role, if any, of special schools within an inclusive education system.
  • Due to the small number of students on the programme, participants are provided with very high levels of support.   
  • Many sessions are collaborative in nature, allowing for sharing of ideas and expertise; each unit of learning is delivered by expert practitioners and top-class academics drawn from UCD and beyond
  • Access to services, including the UCD library, on-line journals,  and a wide range of specialised resources, is an important feature for students
  • Assessment methods related to each of the five modules allow for considerable variety and are expertly matched to lecture content and to relevant classroom practice.

  • Perform effectively in schools as Special Education Teachers. whereby they will be able to identify pupils with additional educational needs, conduct appropriate assessments with these pupils, formulate intervention plans and be a consultative resource for teachers, parents and school management.

Students who complete the full-time Graduate Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education W424 have the option (within 5 years of graduating)  of transferring directly into Year 2 of the MEd Inclusive Education and obtaining this Masters qualification by completing one module in Research Methods and a thesis. 

View All Modules Here


  1. Inclusive Education
  2. Exploring Diversity
  3. Inclusive Therapies/Approaches
  4. Inclusive Pedagogy
  5. Professional Practice & Portfolio Development

GradDip Inclusive & Special Education (W424) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 7680
nonEU    fee per year - € 15070

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website.  Support under the terms and conditions of the relevant annual Department of Education Circular  is available to suitably qualified primary and post-primary teachers who currently hold, or are eligible to hold, permanent positions in their schools.  

Applicants to the Graduate Diploma in Inclusive and Special Education must be working in a Special Education Teacher role and have Teaching Council recognition

  • When reflecting on my time in UCD, it would be difficult not to mention the huge level of support we received throughout the duration of the year. The staff that are involved in coordinating and delivering this course went above and beyond to ensure that all students were supported and provided with a positive environment to learn and grow.’
  • ‘Having come to the end of the course, I will look back on my time in UCD with fond memories. It was an extremely challenging yet thoroughly gratifying experience.’

(from 2 students 2019/2020)

The following entry routes are available:

Graduate Diploma Inclusive & Special Education FT (W424)
1 Years
Full Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised

For the September 2024 intake, applicants for the Department of Education funding must complete the UCD Application Form. Applicants are strongly advised to read this year’s Department of Education circular (Circular No 00019/2024) prior to submitting the UCD  Application Form. The circular contains details on eligibility set out by the Department of Education and other important information. Prior to submitting the UCD Application form, please also ensure that your principal and your Board of Management Chairperson are familiar with the Department of Education circular governing these courses (especially in relation to eligibility).

Applicants must complete the UCD Application Form electronically and email it to UCD ( on or before 5pm on April 22nd, 2024.

Please note that a number of places on the course are reserved for self-financing teachers. Applications will open for those who are self-financing (ie paying their own course fees and not being subsidised by the Department of Education) once all Department of Education funded places have been filled. These self-financing applicants can apply online via when applications open. Fee information for self-financing students is available on our fees webpage.  Applications for self financing applicants will remain open until all places have been filled, early application is advised. Please only apply to the course via if you are a self-financing applicant

If you have any queries on the Graduate Diploma Inclusive & Special Education FT, please do not hesitate to contact us at