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Undergraduate Courses 2016

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - BSc (Hons)



The BSc (Hons) in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is designed specifically for those who provide community and school-based services, such as home leaders, peripatetic team leaders, instructors, community support staff, special educational needs teachers and teaching assistants.

The programme integrates your learning with practical work carried out in your own organisation (most students continue to work part-time or are seconded by their employers). Each year, you work with at least two children or adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. You complete assignments in the workplace and get feedback from a team of academic experts. You also tackle important practical problems against a background of shared experience with other students.

The course structure details the individual modules that you will study. The fixed structure has been designed in conjunction with employers (please note that there are no optional modules).

Taster sessions

You can find out more about our work and speak to some of our lecturers and students at our taster sessions.

The Tizard Centre: UK centre of excellence

The Tizard Centre is at the forefront of learning and research in autism, intellectual disability and community care and in 2013 received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of its outstanding work in these areas.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2015, 90% of Social Policy students at Kent were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. Social Policy was ranked 4th in the UK in The Guardian University Guide 2016, and received the 3rd highest score for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2016

Course structure

Please note that there are no optional modules

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

SO328 - Academic Development (15 credits)

This module has been developed to facilitate learning of key skills in students with a range of abilities and needs. They will develop competence in: learning subject specific material and preparing assessed written and verbal assignments.These intended learning outcomes are consistent with the broader programme outcomes in terms of development of intellectual, analytical and communication skills.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ309 - Supporting Participation and Independence (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ310 - Person Centered Values and Support (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ311 - Promoting Choice, Well-being and Communication (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ312 - Work-based Learning in Person Centered Support (60 credits)

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

TZ517 - Introduction to Positive Behaviour Support (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ518 - Implementing and Evaluating Behaviour SupportPlans (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ519 - Designing Behaviour Support Plans (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ520 - Assessing and Understanding Challenging Behaviour (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ525 - Work-Based Learning in Positive Behaviour Support (60 credits)

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

TZ526 - Work-Based Learning in Applied Behaviour Analysis (60 credits)

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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TZ521 - Concepts of Applied Behaviour Analysis (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ522 - Values, Ethics and Professional Practice (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ523 - Observation and Analysis of Behaviour (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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TZ524 - Developing and Implementing Interventions (15 credits)

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Teaching & Assessment

For Stages One and Two, modules are taught in four-day workshops at Canterbury (Monday to Thursday 9.30am - 4.30pm).

Teaching methods include formal lectures, individual and group exercises, some with the use of video feedback. Exercises vary in length, with practice ‘simulations’ spread over several hours. There are exercises involving local services and people with intellectual disabilities.

Work-based learning includes the production of assessed work, systematic reflection on practice, participation in supervision/mentoring arrangements and training/leadership of others.

Assessment is mainly based on reports and videos of your practical work undertaken with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autistic spectrum disorders. This allows us to integrate assessment with the development of practice.

To see assessment details for individual modules, click 'read more' within each module in the course structure.

View provisional workshop dates:
Year One
Year Two
Year Three

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • encourage the participation of students from a variety of backgrounds, some of whom may not have ‘traditionally’ recognised qualifications
  • provide the personal, communication and problem-solving skills required for specialist roles within the care sector
  • develop an understanding of the factors underlying challenging behaviour
  • encourage an understanding of the theories applicable to 'applied behaviour analysis' and 'ordinary living'
  • enable students to work in constructive and ethical ways with people who are often marginalized and vulnerable
  • develop person-centred values
  • develop practitioners who can support communication, choice participation and independence in others
  • develop the ability to conduct individual assessments of challenging behaviour and develop interventions
  • prepare practitioners for a leadership role in families, schools, workplaces and communities
  • fulfil the need for specialist practitioners, both nationally and in the region.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain a knowledge and understanding of:

  • social role valorisation, ordinary living and person-centred approaches as a value base for the provision of services
  • behavioural learning theory, its use in skills teaching and service organisation
  • scientific method and its application to evidence-based practice
  • scientific method as the basis for the critical analysis of research material
  • the collection, analysis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data relating to quality of life and challenging behaviour
  • needs assessment within a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency framework
  • active support and the development of social networks
  • the communication partnership and communication strategies with individuals
  • applied behaviour analysis as a way of understanding the development of challenging behaviour
  • the development of multi-element intervention plans
  • organisational psychology related to theories of change, motivation and successful intervention with the individual, carers and organisations.

Intellectual skills

You develop the ability to:

  • review literature that is at the forefront of the discipline
  • analyse data in relation to issues of method, reliability and validity
  • cross-reference data from various sources to draw conclusions on people’s needs and factors influencing their behaviour
  • interpret available data and to aware of alternative interpretations
  • recognise limitations in data or its method of collection
  • use assessment information to develop strategies for problem-solving and improving people’s quality of life.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the use of:

  • tools relating to needs assessment, communication, participation, skills development and the functional analysis of behaviour
  • intervention plans relating to the development of communication, participation and skills for people with learning disabilities
  • intervention plans for the management and replacement of challenging behaviour
  • recognised strategies and techniques to support the provision of high quality care within services including Active Support and Periodic Service Review.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in:

  • communication – how to communicate ideas and arguments to others, both in written and spoken form; make short presentations to fellow students and staff; prepare written assignments and reference the materials referred to
  • working with others – developing interpersonal and team work skills to enable you to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results
  • improving you own learning: how to be reflective, adaptive and collaborative in your learning; explore personal strengths and weaknesses; review your working environment; develop skills in time management by delivering academic work to deadlines and to the required standard
  • problem solving – you learn to identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them
  • information technology – you develop your skills in producing written documents;  online research; studying and learning using library and internet sources.
  • numeracy – you learn to use statistics in your analysis of data and how to represent data visually.


Our programmes provide you with knowledge and skills that will appeal to employers such as the NHS, local authority adults’ and children’s services, and the voluntary and private social and healthcare sector. You also develop transferable skills such as planning and organisation, teamwork, leadership.

This course is ideal for carers or practitioners in services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, including health, social care and education. Special educational needs teachers and teaching assistants will also find this course invaluable.

The 2014 Unistats shows that 85% of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities BSc graduates find themselves in work or further study after 6 months of graduating and 95% are in a professional or managerial role 6 months after graduating.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University carefully considers each applicant on a individual basis. For this programme we consider candidates who meet the academic criteria below and also those with relevant experience.  We usually expect candidates to have been employed for at least six months working directly with children or adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities and often require an employment reference to be provided.

If you would like to discuss your circumstances in more detail, please contact us.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level


Mature students who do not hold appropriate qualifications can apply, but you need to demonstrate that you have the skills/experience to study at degree level.

All students must have appropriate work, volunteering or personal experience.

Access to HE Diploma

The University of Kent will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made candidates will be required to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

Merit, Merit, Pass plus appropriate work, volunteering or personal experience (as above)

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 13 at HL

International students

The University receives applications from over 140 different nationalities and consequently will consider applications from prospective students offering a wide range of international qualifications. Our International Development Office will be happy to advise prospective students on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about our country-specific requirements.

Please note that if you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes through Kent International Pathways.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. Details of our proposed funding opportunities for 2016 entry can be found on our funding page.  

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. For 2016 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications as specified on our scholarships pages. Please review the eligibility criteria on that page. 

Enquire or order a prospectus


Read our student profiles


Related schools


To make a general enquiry, request additional information or arrange a conversation in person, please email us:

Tony Osgood, Lecturer
E: a.osgood@kent.ac.uk

Trish Barton, Undergraduate Student Suppport Officer 
E: p.m.barton@kent.ac.uk

To book a place on one of our taster sessions, please email:

Jo Ruffels, PA to the Director (Tizard Centre)
E: j.ruffels@kent.ac.uk


Key Information Sets

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

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