Skip to main content

MA Specific Learning Difficulties / Dyslexia
School of Education
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
Three years part time.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually be a teacher or teaching assistant, and must have an undergraduate degree and a minimum of two years' experience within an educational context.

See 'Interested in applying?' or contact our admissions team for more information:

A British Dyslexia Association accredited Master’s in Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD).

  • Study while you work. We’ve designed a mix of day, weekend and evening sessions to fit around your current responsibilities.
  • Acquire specialist teaching and assessment skills for dyslexia, to strengthen your professional skills and enhance your career prospects.
  • On successful completion of the course, you’ll be eligible to gain Approved Teacher/Practitioner Status (ATS/APS) and become an Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association.

If you’re a teacher, or have experience working in education, this course has been designed with you in mind. You’ll broaden your career opportunities and develop skill sets for career advancement within and beyond the school context.

Approximately 10% of learners have dyslexia. Schools recognise the need for dyslexia training and teachers with the skills to understand, identify and support children with dyslexia. By acquiring specialist teaching and assessment skills around dyslexia, you’ll become a valuable addition to the school team.

The MA in Specific Learning Difficulties / Dyslexia comprises modules that integrate both theory and practice and are taught through sessions and assessed projects. Through workshops, case studies, assignments and research, you’ll justify your professional practice and become a specialist dyslexia teacher.

This course is approved by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA), and can enable you to apply for: 

  • Approved Teacher Status (ATS)
  • Approved Practitioner Status (APS)
  • Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA)
  • Assessment Practising Certificate (APC). 

With one or more of these qualifications, you become an approved teacher and/or assessor.  

"Embarking on this course changed my life... The tutors are knowledgeable, attentive and inspiring. There is a real sense of coming together to share experiences and ideas, and what's really nice is that I'm still in contact with many people from our course and we continue to support each other professionally."

Student feedback

What you'll learn

Within this course, you’ll focus on the identification, assessment and practical support of children with SpLD/Dyslexia and explore how theory relates to assessment for dyslexia. Wider issues and their connection with specific learning difficulties will also be explored.

You’ll develop the skills to identify, observe and assess SpLD/Dyslexia within the classroom as well as the specialist teaching skills to support students.

Course structure

Year one

Gain the skills and knowledge to become a specialist dyslexia teacher.

You’ll take two 30 credit modules covering the theory and practice of SpLD/Dyslexia leading to ATS/APS knowledge and accreditation.

Year two

Gain the skills and knowledge to become a specialist dyslexia assessor. You’ll take a further 60 credits: 

  • a 30 credit module to continue to deepen your knowledge and skills in SPLD/Dyslexia in order to become an assessor (AMBDA/APC)
  • 30 credits of learning in the area of research skills for social science will also be completed.

Year three

You’ll spend your final year researching and writing up your dissertation project. This is a way for you to consolidate your skills and expertise in an area of SpLD / dyslexia that interests you. 

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document for more information on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Identifying and Supporting Learners with SpLD/Dyslexia - 1
  • Identifying and Supporting Learners with SpLD/Dyslexia - 2
  • Assessment Methodology in SpLD/Dyslexia
  • Independent Study
  • Research and the Professional Part 1
  • Research and the Professional Part 2
  • Research Methods in Social Science
  • Dissertation
How will I be assessed?

All assessments will be coursework based: including presentations, project work, and a professional practice portfolio for BDA accreditation requirements.

How will I be taught?

You’ll be taught through a combination of workshops and lectures, alongside individual tutorial support and extended discussions with your tutors and colleagues. You’ll discuss ideas for problem-solving and analyse current issues both individually and with your fellow students.

You'll also be allocated an experienced professional practice tutor who will observe and advise you as you develop your specialist teaching skills and professional practice portfolio.

To find out more about how we teach and how you'll learn, please read our Learning and Teaching Delivery Statement..

"I am now tutoring and I feel confident - even with my dyslexia - to go out and support others. Helping a young person to understand and embrace their learning differences and then enabling them to experience learning success is proving very rewarding and I'm loving it!"

Student feedback



It’s likely that you’ll already have experience of or be currently working in education, and looking to update your skills, knowledge and the impact you can have on young people’s learning.

On successful completion of this course, you’ll be able to support learners within and outside of schools. As a recognised specialist dyslexia assessor, you can set up your own practice and provide after school support and assessment. You can also work within a school, providing in-school support for learners up to the age of 18.

This Master’s award also provides a solid foundation for PhD/Doctorate study and/or a career in SpLD / dyslexia research.

AMBDA module

Have you completed the PGCert in SpLD/Dyslexia and would like to apply for the AMBDA only module?

AMBDA provides thorough training in the formal assessment of SpLD/Dyslexia.  

Its aims are:

  • To deepen the theoretical and research base underpinning current knowledge of SpLD/Dyslexia, particularly in the area of assessment principles and practice.  
  • To further develop the key principles of identifying, observing and assessing the learning differences associated with SpLD/Dyslexia within a teaching context to enable both the provision of appropriate specialist teaching and classroom support for such learners.
  • To develop the practical skills of specialist assessment for SpLD/Dyslexia while securing an understanding of fundamental psychometric principles.
  • To consider the social, emotional and legal issues for learners with SpLD/Dyslexia.

For more specific information see the BDA website.

There will be an additional cost for taking the AMBDA as a standalone module and an additional Professional Practice fee. Please see the fees section for more information. 

Adobe Creative Campus

Develop a wealth of indispensable digital skills that you can take into your future career. One of only three Adobe Creative Campuses in the UK, we provide all Bath Spa students with access to the full Adobe Creative Suite, giving you the tools to communicate creatively, whatever your course or chosen professional field.   

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Your course will be a mix of virtual and in-person learning. In-person classes will take place at our Newton Park campus. Situated just out of the city centre, the campus offers panoramic views of the countryside and access to our state of the art facilities, including:

  • Commons building, with its superb classroom facilities, social spaces, and specialist digital resources.
  • Our Library offers a wealth of learning resources including books, journals, DVDs and an extensive range of electronic services. Our Subject Librarian for Education provides subject-specific support, including help with research.
  • ASk (Academic Skills), which provides support for your academic work, including feedback on written drafts and other help with academic writing.
  • Virtual Learning Environment, which provides online access to learning materials such as lecture slides, assessment information, discussion boards and other resources. 
  • Access to thousands of business, design and tech courses online via LinkedIn Learning.

During the course, you’ll benefit from access to official British Dyslexia Association approved tests, used to diagnose dyslexia.

Access to these tests will aid you in your professional practice. You’ll meet the British Dyslexia Association requirements of the course through successful completion of a professional practice portfolio. 

"The ATS course at Bath Spa helped me become far more tuned into children’s learning needs. I now know how to plan bespoke support to help children realise they are amazing learners."

Student feedback


2024 entry
Student Annual tuition fee
UK part time (MA) £2,865
UK part time (Postgraduate Certificate) £2,905

Additional costs

AMBDA module fees

Some students may wish to take the Assessment Methodology for SpLD/Dyslexia (AMBDA) as a standalone module. The fee for 2024/25 entry will be £1,433.

There is also an additional Professional Practice fee for the AMBDA module. The fee amount for this will be £590 for 2024/25 entry.

British Dyslexia Association (BDA) approved course

This course is approved by the BDA (British Dyslexia Association), and can enable you to apply for:

  • ATS (Approved Teacher Status) / APS (Approved Practitioner Status)

There are additional Professional Practice fees for both of the points above. The fee for each element for 2024/25 entry is £590. This is subject to inflation and payable to Bath Spa University. These will cover tutoring and support for the Professional Practice element of BDA accreditation, as noted above. Please refer to the BDA website for more details on the requirements for this professional practice.

DBS (if required)

As you're already working in a school, you should be fully DBS checked, but if not you must complete this through Bath Spa University before you can go on placement. DBS checks will incur a cost.

If you have any questions about fees please email

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

You’ll usually be a teacher, teaching assistant, or any other professional working with children. You’ll have an undergraduate degree and at least two years' full-time experience in teaching or supporting learners up to and including 18 years of age.

You’ll be interested in the inclusion of vulnerable learners with SpLD/dyslexia, and have a strong drive to improve outcomes for these learners through specialist intervention. You’ll also need current access to school-aged learners who may be dyslexic (but don’t have other significant identified special educational needs (SEN).

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply pages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

You may be invited to attend an interview after submitting your application.

Get ahead

Read the British Dyslexia Association website to better understand the course requirements, potential careers, and qualifications. 

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Accreditation of Prior certificated Learning (APL) can be offered if you have successfully completed previous Level 7 modules at another university. We accept APL for our PG Dip or Master’s qualifications. As a guide, up to a maximum of 60 credits may be credited towards a Master’s Degree and 60 credits towards a PG Dip. We will require a full transcript from the awarding university.

It is also possible to gain accreditation for other kinds of professional developments by compiling an independent study portfolio of professional development (APEL – Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning). For further information about gaining credits in this way please contact

APL only applies if the credits were gained within five years of the start of your MA studies.

When to apply

Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

Course leader: Dr Georgia Niolaki

“Students find this programme extremely valuable because it is linked to their practical work environment and experience, and apart from an academic qualification they also obtain accreditation from the British Dyslexia Association.”

Dr Steven Coombs

Website feedback to