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Past Questions

  1. Hello Re: Inclusion and Special Educational Needs, MEd/Postgraduate Certificate I work with young adults with varying learning difficulties and complex needs. I have a desire to gain a degree in this subject in the next 6 years. (Before I'm 60!!) I need advice as to which course to do please? Is the above course one, going into another or two stand alone courses? As in, a MEd and a Postgraduate certificate. Is one the degree and the other a certificate. I clicked on the 'Apply' button and they come up as two separate courses? Thank you.

    Hello, The MEd and Postgraduate certificate are separate courses, the MEd is a three year course and the post graduate certificate is a one year course. Both courses are post graduate, ie. further study following your initial degree. If you search through the under graduate courses I’m sure you will find a suitable degree program. You could have a look at the BPhil, I believe this is degree level. If you are studying part time it may be worth looking at a foundation degree, followed by a degree and then the post graduate qualification. Good luck and I hope you achieve your degree!

  2. Hi Joanne,

    Hope you are doing well. I have been looking for a dental Masters degree with a scholarship so I have decided to take the course online since it usually has lower tuition fees.

    Would you be able to advise if there are scholarships provided or financial aid to international students for such courses?

    I am not sure if you would be able to help me with such query. However, awaiting your reply for guidance. Much appreciated.

    Hello, thank you very much for your question and apologies in the delay getting back to you. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    There are various funding opportunities available for both home and international students. Please refer to our funding database (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgfunding) for possible funding opportunities. You may also find information on our international pages useful, including our page on international scholarships (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/International/students/finance/scholarships/index.aspx).

    Please be aware that our Dentistry courses are on campus, rather than online, due to the nature and content of the course.

    Best wishes, PG Recruitment

  3. Hello Joanne,

    Thank you for offering to be part of this informal network and to offer your responses to questions about post-graduate studies at Birmingham.

    I already have a Masters in Teaching and Learning from Cambridge University for which I gained a double A grade for my thesis (2004-2006).

    Since 2012, I have left mainstream education (full details on my comprehensive LinkedIn profile). Frustrated by the factory model of education which seemed so predominant, I have moved into individual needs.

    Most of the young people I teach in my current role at Hertfordshire County Council's ESMA service have autism and/or anxiety. Each is unique in their particular sensitivities and environmental needs. I absolutely love my role; I 'get through' to all my delightful young folk; and, really, wondered whether and how an academic study of the subject might further progress my teaching and their learning.

    This is a wide-open question and I would love to know your comments. Could you help, please?

    Hello,thank you for your question and apologies for the delay in response. It sounds like the young people you work with are lucky to have you! In my view, further study is a personal goal and achievement. Yes, you will read lots of articles and journals, some of which will give you fresh ideas which will enhance teaching and learning. You have to bear in mind an academic qualification doesn't necessarily guarantee a progression in the workplace. Hope this is helpful.

  4. Hi, I am a Special Education Teacher and I have applied for the Social Emotional Behavioural Difficulties PGCE. Does this count as a PGCE in education (would this help with my teaching qualifications abroad? Or is it more specific for psychology?

    Hello, thank you for getting in touch, unfortunately I am unable to answer your question. Please could you email the recruitment team who will be able to help, sebd@contacts.bham.ac.uk. Thanks!

  5. I’m really interested in studying for a Masters in SEN distance learning. I’m a learning support teacher at an international school in Switzerland. I’ve got a PGCert SENCO and for many reasons would like to study for a Masters in the areas of autism, anxiety disorders, and the Dys special needs. How does one develop a good study habit when one is working, has been away from studying for a while and when one has ones own kids? How many hours per week did you study?

    Hello, returning to study is a commitment, you do need self discipline and time. I read books and journals each evening and spent weekends writing. I think I spent, on average, 15 hours per week studying. Good Luck!

  6. Hi, I am looking at the postgraduate courses of ISEN and SEBD. I would like to chat about work load and the different options available. Would you be able to chat to me or put me in contact with someone on those courses (I have emailed the University admin staff from each course)?

    Hi, thank you very much for your question. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    Have you tried emailing sebd@contacts.bham.ac.uk, or isen@contacts.bham.ac.uk? If you have, apologies, but thought I would check! It might be worth emailing again, but if you can wait, there is a live chat for postgrad programmes in the School of Education happening at the end of May (https://www.pg.bham.ac.uk/events/event/pg-programmes-education-28-05-2020/). This will be staffed by members of the team and you should hopefully be able to get answers that way.

    Best wishes, Emma

  7. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Education from Makerere University in Kampala Uganda. I am currently a Biology and Chemistry (Science) and Math teacher under student support services at Heritage International School in Kampala (www.heritage.co.ug).

    What online courses do you have in the area of special needs, and how much is the cost for each?

    Hello, I think your best option is to have a look at the website, select postgraduate study and browse through the courses available. All the information regarding the modules, method of assessment and fees is given.

    Best wishes Jo

  8. I’ve competed what I thought was my personal statement however since submitting my application it says 5000 characters, mine is only 1304. How did you lay your personal statement out and what are they looking for? Hoping I can re-upload. I’m looking into the social emotional and behavioural difficulties course but it is also an MED. Thank you

    Hi, when completing my personal statement I gave a brief overview of my background, why I wanted to complete the course, what I hoped to gain from it and how it would benefit me in the future. For me, a personal statement should demonstrate an understanding of the subject coupled with a commitment to learn. Hope this is helpful, good luck!

  9. Hi- I’m considering undertaking a SEN Postgrad MA course whilst working full time and managing a young family- I’m worrying about the work load commitment. How many hours per week on average would you think the additional work would be? I know that really hard to answer! I’m just trying to be realistic about whether I can do the extra qualification. Thanks

    Hi, To be successful and gain high marks you need to write critical essays, this involves lots of reading and research! It is hard to give an exact time, however, I read journals, papers and books for around two hours each evening. I then spent around eight hours over the weekend writing and researching. I did complete my studies whilst working full time but not with a young family! It is a huge time commitment but it may be worthwhile for your future career plans. Hope this is helpful, good luck!

  10. I am interested in gaining a qualification in Autism. I want to study both adults and children with Autism. I work in a Autism Specialist school catering from 11-17. However I am very much interested in learning about adults who have autism for personal reasons. Is it posible to study for both?

    Thank you for your question, it s good to see you would like to extend your knowledge on working and supporting autistic people. As far as I am aware there is no combined children and adults programme of study. I have experience of working with young people aged 11 - 25, however, more specifically with those transitioning from secondary school to sixth form and then into university. I studied on the Autism Adults course and was able to research the impact of further and higher education. If you work with younger people, maybe the Children with Autism course may be more suitable. Once on the course, you will have access to the on line resources and fantastic library. You will be able to view and download lots of journals and Ebooks, all of which will be invaluable for developing your knowledge of autistic adults. I hope you find this helpful, it all depends on how long you want to study, the Masters is three years but you can complete other qualifications in a year. You may decide to complete two courses! If you need more information, please send me another question. Good luck and best wishes, Jo.

  11. Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

    The University of Birmingham has an excellent reputation within the field of autism. It is the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER). As a postgraduate student you automatically have access to the ACER hub and the renowned authors in autism. The study weekends are an excellent opportunity to listen to speakers who are held in regard within autism practice and research. In addition, the study notes are written by leaders in the field of autism research, therefore, to be able to study amongst such professionals is something unique to the University of Birmingham.

  12. Can you describe your journey from school to where you are now?

    I left school in the mid-eighties with a handful of O levels and a level three qualification. I embarked on a career in the world of insurance. Life progressed, leading to a change in career direction into education in 2008. I found, to my surprise, I really enjoyed working with young people and supporting them on their journey through education. In order to progress professionally and personally, I made the decision to return to education. Initially, I began part time study on a Foundation Degree programme. This was a challenge, returning to the classroom and the demands of academic study. Whilst I could write reports and document facts, additional critical academic writing techniques took longer to develop. I resisted the urge to abandon the books and towards the end of the Foundation Degree, I finally understood the requirements of successful academic writing. The following year, I progressed on to the BA (Hons) programme in Education Studies. Here, I was able to put into practice my academic writing skills together with my professional experiences working in education. I graduated with a first class degree, something I never expected to achieve when I left school in 1985! I work in the field of autism supporting autistic students at varying stages of their education, therefore, it seemed the natural progression to continue studying!

  13. What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

    I am keen to develop my knowledge within my specialist area. Not only will this develop my knowledge of the current research published, it will also stand me in good stead when representing the autistic people and their families I support to access the services available. In addition, it is a personal goal I would like to achieve.

  14. How have you funded your postgraduate studies?

    I have financed my postgraduate studies with a combination of personal funds together with the postgraduate loan from Student Finance England.

  15. What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?

    Embrace the programme of study, at MEd level, there is an opportunity to not only develop your subject knowledge but also to increase your level of understanding on areas which interest you. You are able to tailor your studies, in line with your current caseload, leading to better practice. The distance learning programme is great for those who want to continue studying whilst working, however, self-discipline and organisational skills are a must.

  16. I have just graduated with a 2:1 in Learning Disabilities Nursing and am currently working with adults with autism, I want to expand my knowledge on autism but I'm unsure which of the Autism courses to take, PGcert, PGdip or MEd.. any advice?

    Congratulations on your graduation! The first year modules for the PG cert, PG diploma and the MEd all cover Intervention and Support & Understanding and working with the continuum of need followed by a special studies module. Therefore, the first year of either programme will enable you to develop your knowledge. If you choose the PG diploma or the MEd route you are able to develop your knowledge and expertise in an area of interest through the special studies module. This can be linked to your practice and could be invaluable in your work. It is great to be able to study at MEd level, researching and reading fascinating materials, however, you have to bear in mind the time commitment together with the financial costs involved. Good luck with whichever course you choose at Birmingham!

  17. What are future prospects of MED Autism?

    Hello, Thank you for your question. Studying for the MED Autism qualification enables you to develop your knowledge and understanding of autism and the impact this has on the individual.

    With respect to the future prospects, it is dependent on the area in which you are employed. If, for example, you support students in higher education, a post graduate qualification is a requirement. I would recommend researching roles in which you have an interest to clarify whether the MEd qualification is a requirement. Whilst studying at postgraduate level is both rewarding and a huge achievement it does not, unfortunately, guarantee employment.

    Hope this is helpful. Jo

  18. I am interested in studying on the MEd Autism(children) or SPMLD or ISEN distance learning postgraduate programmes. In 2019-2020, I will teach in a Greek public school and I would like to know the obligations I will have if I am accepted? Thank you for your time and your help.

    Hello, thank you for your question. If you gain a place on the MEd programme you will be expected to complete an assignment each semester. Each assignment is approximately 5000 words.  You will be allocated a tutor to support you in your learning.  All course material is on Canvas and can be accessed at any time. Once you are enrolled on the course you will have access to the library. The library is fantastic with all relevant journals, articles and books available to you. The library staff are extremely helpful and offer an online chat to support you with your studies.  The MEd is a great programme to study, the work is so interesting, however, you will have to make time to study and be very self disciplined.  If you require further information, please ask! Hope this is helpful. Kind regards Jo

  19. I am interested in doing a postgrad cert in Social, Emotional, and Behavioural Difficulties but I am unsure whether my current qualification supports me. I have an NVQ5 in; Leadership for Health and Social care and children and young peoples services.

    Hello, The post graduate certificate is a higher qualification. I would suggest you check with admissions whether your current qualification meets the entry requirement.