Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Special Education
The BA (Hons) in Special Education [BA(SE)] Programme aims to nurture committed and skilled practitioners for the well-being of individuals with special needs, particularly in areas related to education and community empowerment. Students will learn about the types and characteristics of special needs, assessment and intervention approaches, the broader environmental, language, and social contexts, as well as issues related to social inclusion, empowerment, and quality of life of individuals with special needs. Graduates of the programme are expected to be competent practitioners in schools and community settings, who possess knowledge, skills, and values needed to contribute to the special education field. Upon successful completion of the programme, students will be able to:
- demonstrate understanding of special needs and the roles of different stakeholders;
- evaluate ethical issues and advocate equal opportunities and rights relevant to special education needs;
- formulate and implement intervention plans for supporting individuals with special needs in school and community settings;
- demonstrate the ability to interact with families, schools, and communities effectively to facilitate inclusion and enhance the quality of life for people with special needs; and
- analyze and solve problems relating to the education and development of people with special needs by integrating theories, empirical literature, ethical considerations and practical experience.
- A strong line-up of teaching staff – specialists in the areas of developmental and learning disabilities, special needs, support services, counselling, and social work - to offer students an immersive learning experience in special education.
- A firm academic grounding in the holistic study of special education – a multitude of courses that weave together the cognitive, physical, and social aspects of special education.
- An interdisciplinary approach to curriculum design, which is responsive to both developmental and learning needs in personal, school, and community contexts.
- Professional preparation through practicum in real work settings and final year project on self-selected topics.
- Designated clinical laboratories with cutting-edge facilities and resources for hands-on training.
The total credit point requirement for the BA(SE) degree is 121 and this normally requires four years of full-time study. The programme structure is summarized below.
|Domain||Credit Points (cps)|
Final Year Project
|Electives (including Second Major or Minors)||30|
|Total (minimum required cps for graduation)||121|
There are three crucial components of the Major study – Foundation Courses, Advanced Courses, and Practical Experience, which altogether require 54 cps.
- The Foundation Courses provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the categories of disability and impacts on the individual, delivery and values of special education services, and the need of family and community engagement. They help students ease into the programme, build an essential and broad knowledge base of special education, and prepare for the Advanced Courses in their later years of study.
- The Advanced Courses serve the purpose of developing a more comprehensive professional knowledge of special education. They are designed for mastery of the practices, in which students will explore the assessment and intervention techniques necessary to be competent practitioners in community and education-related services. To embrace the general trend of an interdisciplinary learning approach, students will also investigate issues on sex, inclusion and rights in a legal perspective.
- Practicum is an integral part of the BA(SE) curriculum that bridges classroom learning and practice realities. Students are required to undertake a 200-hour practicum in community-based centres and/or schools. They will be guided through the process by assigned practicum supervisors. It is expected that students will reflect on and apply learned theories, principles and strategies in a real work setting related to special education, to deepen their understanding of effective skills in serving people with special needs.
- Human Development: Biological Processes
- Sensory and Physical Disabilities
- Learning and Motivation
- Language, Communication and Literacy Development: Process and Instruction
- Multiple Talents of Individuals with Special Educational Needs
- Special Education – Family, School and Community Contexts
- Global Perspectives on Special Education
- Social, Emotional, Behavioural and Developmental Difficulties
- Healthcare, Recreation and Assistive Technology for People with Special Needs
- Counselling Support to Children with Special Educational Needs
- Special Education – Assessment, Intervention and Approaches
- Managing Learning Disabilities – Strategies and Techniques
- Sensory and Physical Disabilities – Communication, Education and Provision
- Social and Emotional Learning – Strategies and Techniques
- Therapeutic Support and Management
- Sexuality Education: Inclusive and Rights-Based Perspective*
* Major Interdisciplinary Course
Final Year Project
The Final Year Project (Capstone Project or Honours Project) is an inquiry-oriented learning avenue that enables our students to consolidate, integrate, and reflect on their undergraduate experiences for transiting to (and even celebrating) their upcoming post-graduation life – be it related to entering higher degree programmes or entering the workplace.
- Research Methods
- Honours Project / Capstone Project
The EdUHK’s General Education programme prepares students to be active agents of change, by broadening their intellectual horizons, helping them make connections among different areas of knowledge and between their formal studies and life outside the classroom, and strengthening their capacity for sound thinking and good judgement. It offers a varied but balanced mix of individual courses across a range of subject areas and disciplines, set within an integrated structure of (i) General Education Foundation Course, (ii) Experiential Learning , (iii) General Education Breadth Courses, and (iv) University ePortfolio at a total of 22 credit points.
General Education Foundation Course (4 cps)
General Education Foundation Course (GEFC) is a 4-credit point course that will run in Semesters 1 and 2, and will be taken by all first year students at EdUHK. The purpose of the course is to introduce first year students to a range of disciplines and methodologies from the perspectives of senior academics who are experts in their respective fields.
Experiential Learning (6 cps)
Experiential Learning (EL) is composed of a 3-cp Co-curricular Service Learning Course (CSLC) and a 3-cp Experiential Learning Course (ELC) which will be offered by departments under the GE domain. Students have to take one of each component for fulfilling the EL (6 cps) requirement.
The 3-cp CSLC provides students with an opportunity to engage in learning in action and through co-curricular learning activities with direct service elements in real-life or work-place context while complementing, connecting with, and mirroring their learning experiences derived from formal curriculum. The 3-cp ELC encourages students to learn through experimentation, observation, reflection and (re-) conceptualization while undertaking a wide variety of activities, such as creative work, field studies, projects, thematic overseas trips, outward-bound training etc. These courses enrich students’ learning experiences and skills through learning, thinking and reflecting on practice, in practice and for practice, while exposing them to authentic and real-life contexts.
CSLCs and ELCs will be made available for all undergraduate students to be taken starting from Year 1 and completed before final year.
General Education Breadth Courses (9 cps)
Under the new curriculum (from 2019/20 onwards), the General Education Breadth Courses (GEBCs) (9 cps) are composed of General Education Breadth Learning Strands (1-3) (GELS) (Level 1-2), Positive and Values Education (PAVE) Course and General Education Interdisciplinary Course (GEIC) (Level 4), students have to take one of each component for fulfilling the GEBCs (9 cps) requirement.
These courses aim to equip students better for the study of the ontological, epistemological and/or methodological issues in a wide variety of disciplines. Side by side with these existing components, a new 3-cp GEIC (Level 4) will be offered on cross-faculty and/ or cross-departmental basis for students from Year 2 Semester 2 to Year 3 Semester 1, in order to enable them to appreciate the complexity of issues and problems that transcend disciplinary boundaries and make sense of them through dialogues across or integration of disciplines.
Students are allowed to take GELS and PAVE Course after the completion of GEFC or concurrently with GEFC in Year 1 Semester 2 if they are interested and their curriculum schedules allow. Students need to complete any course in the GELS or PAVE Course before taking the GEIC from Year 2 Semester 2 and Year 3 Semester 1.
University ePortfolio (3 cps)
After the completion of these courses, students will take a 3-cp course at Consolidation Level to complete their University ePortfolios normally before the final year. Based on their on-going evidence-based reflections on learning since Year One through Years Two-Three/Four, students are required to complete the construction of their University ePortfolios that are made up of the artifacts and evidence derived from a wide variety of learning experiences (e.g. Language Enhancement, GEFC, GELS, PAVE Course and GEIC, Majors, Minors/Electives, Field Experience/Internship, Exchange Programme, CSLCs, ELCs etc.). It provides an intellectual platform for students to synthesize their learning experiences garnered from the academic journey at the EdUHK by critically reflecting on the values and significance of what they have learned, making connections to their lives, and charting or imagining their own future.
Students take two mandatory credit-bearing English enhancement courses during the first two years of studies as part of the English enhancement programme. These two courses will equip students with the academic literacy skills essential to their study at tertiary level. They will also receive 60 hours of mandatory non-credit-bearing English enhancement courses in Year 1 and 2. Optional IELTS preparation workshops will be held periodically on demand.
Besides, students are also required to study three Chinese enhancement courses and up to two Putonghua enhancement courses depending on their level. The Chinese enhancement programme consists of one mandatory credit-bearing course in Year 1 and two mandatory non-credit-bearing courses in subsequent semesters, which provide students with the input on Chinese language skills as well as elements of literature and culture. The Putonghua enhancement programme consists of two mandatory non-credit-bearing courses in Year 1. In addition, students can take up to 120 hours of optional non-credit-bearing Putonghua course after Year 1.
The BA(SE) programme allows a total of 30 credit points in this respect, facilitating students to diversify their learning pathways and suit their career aspirations and interests. Students may:
- study courses available in the Elective Course List, General Education or other elective courses recognised by the programme; or
- design a Second Major or one/two Minors according to their goals and interests.
Career Prospects/Professional Qualifications
The skills and perspectives students developed through the BA(SE) will be of particular value in careers related to social services, community development, and education-related business in government and non-governmental organisations. Possible positions may include:
- Special Education Coordinator/Facilitator in NGOs, rehabilitation centres, sheltered workshops and training units, etc. to provide assessment and case management services, family support, and home care coordination to people with disabilities;
- Project Officer, Liaison Officer or Community Support Officer in government and non-government agencies, charities, private enterprises, community groups etc., to work with community services and other professionals;
- Executive Officer or Equal Opportunities Officer in government, non-government and private organizations to facilitate self-advocacy and/or negotiate on behalf of people with disabilities; and
- Teaching Assistant, Learning Mentors, or Project Coordinator in mainstream and special learning environments such as schools, NGOs, rehabilitation centres, and learning support units.
Graduates may also continue their professional development through postgraduate studies and extend their career horizon to academic/teaching professionals, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, job placement specialists or consultants in the field of inclusive and special education.
*Remarks: The BA(SE) programme facilitates students to pursue careers in relation to education and human services. Completion of the programme will not lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in Hong Kong. Upon graduation, students who are interested in pursuing professional teacher training may apply for a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) or programmes granting a QTS qualification.