Students of the Inclusive Education Special Education Graduate Diploma program on campus

Inclusive Education (Special Education) Graduate Diploma

  • Program Length 
    16 Months
  • Credential 
    Graduate Diploma
  • Location Offered 

The Inclusive Education (Special Education) Graduate Diploma Program

This program incorporates a blended online and face to face model. Generally classes meet on campus in Nanaimo during Intersession and online during the fall and spring semesters. Students will have some required courses, as well as some electives. This program will not be cohort based. Students will be able to enroll at any start of a semester and will be able to select courses as they go.

VIU's Inclusive Education (Special Education) Graduate Diploma embodies an innovative approach to the field of Inclusive Education. Grounded in current research and evidence–based practices, our program challenges each educator to critically examine historical and contemporary Inclusive Education policies and approaches to formulate a best practice specific to her/his own context. Faculty bring their expert knowledge and extensive experiences to guide, support and maximize student learning in each part of the program.

The 30 credit program is nested in four frames of reference:

1. Context for Development and Learning: Students consider the context for development and learning including characteristics of the individual with special needs; issues such as social context, cultural perspectives, poverty, and mental and social health; and implications of research.

2. Informative Assessment: Students focus on the purposes, processes, and implications of assessment information.

3. Responsive Teaching: Students demonstrate the ability to develop, implement, and evaluate an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in consultation with classroom teacher(s), parents, students, and district and community resource personnel for students with a variety of special needs.

4. Re–imagining Inclusive Education: Students think beyond current practices and examine critical issues in the field of Inclusive Education that impact children with special needs and their families in order to re–imagine the field of Inclusive Education.

Graduates of the program will command content knowledge, develop skill–specific competencies and acquire relevant experiences prescribed by the BC Ministry of Education for Inclusive Education specialist teachers.

The Inclusive Education (Special Education) Graduate Diploma program is offered as a flexible model for practicing teachers. Continuous intake is available for students. Students will be able to complete courses from this graduate diploma at their own pace, and once completed will be eligible to apply to ladder on to the Master in Education in Special Education where they will complete three more courses in order to qualify for a Master in Education in Special Education degree.

Year 1


Fall Semester


GDSE 620 - (Introduction to Inclusive Education (Special Education))


GDSE 585 - (Collaborative Planning for Student Success)


Spring Semester


GDSE 583 - (Social and Emotional Development)


GDSE 594 - (Learning Disabilities)


Intersession (April/June)

GDSE 591 - (Literacy and Numeracy in Inclusive Education)


Intersession (July/August)

GDSE 584 - (Assistive Technology and UDL: Foundations & Exemplary Practices)


Elective Credits
Options Include*:
GDSE 587
- (Developing Functional Curricula)
GDSE 586 - (Gifted Learners Investigation of Practice)
GDSE 588 - (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Investigation of Practice)
GDSE 595 - (Working with High Risk, Marginalized, and Vulnerable Youth)
GDSE 593 - (Planning for Inclusion: Differentiation)
GDSE 589 - (Autism Spectrum Disorders: Investigation of Practice)
GDSE 590 - (Conference Related Special Project)**


Total Credits


Year 2


Fall or Spring Semester


GDSE 692 - (Individual Intervention Planning)***


GDSE 693 - (Individual Assessment)*** 


Total Credits


Program Total Credits


*Elective credits can be completed at any time through the program.

**GDSE 590 is a required course for those laddering into the Masters of Education Special Education.

***GDSE 692 plus GDSE 693 are the equivalent to the former GDSE 592 course.

Completion Requirements

Grading Policy

Grades for individual courses are given in the manner described under the Grading Policy of this Calendar. The program has minimum standards as follows:
A minimum of a B grade is required in all courses.

Monday, January 11, 2021
  • Possession of a valid BC teaching credential or equivalent.

Recommendations for Admission

A minimum of two years of successful teaching is recommended.

Notes on Admission

  • Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program.
  • Students’ ability to register in classes will be subject to seat availability.

Transfer From Other Institutions

Applicants may apply to the Program Coordinator for possible transfer credits from other accredited Graduate programs.

Domestic graduates of this program will be well–poised to assume Inclusive Education positions at the school and district level. School districts in British Columbia report great difficulty in recruiting qualified Inclusive Education teachers.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Cost per course


Tuition (3 credits x $418.58 per credit)


Student Activity fee (3 credits x $9.41 per credit)


VIU Students' Union fee (4 months x $20.73 per month)





 The Health and Dental Plan fee is in effect only for fulltime students at the Nanaimo Campus.  

Textbooks and/or course packages are required for each course. Contact the Education Department at 250-740-6223 for further information regarding books and supplies. 

All fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

As this program offers continuous intake, applications including submission of all official documents must be received by one month prior to the beginning of each semester. For more information contact the Education Department at 1-888-920-2221, Ext. 2530.

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus
Next Intake(s)
  • September 7, 2021

Application Fee
Testing Required
Admissions Assistant

Name: Carine Hutchinson
Phone: 250-753-3245 ext. 2283

Chair Contact

Name: Elisabeth Kroeker
Phone: 250-753-3245 ext. 2109

Area Secretary Contact

Name: Liana Peterson
Phone: 250-753-3245 ext. 2530

Documentation Deadline

The document deadline is one month prior to the start of the semester: Closing date for September 7, 2021: August10, 2021.


The Inclusive Education (Special Education) Graduate Diploma is formerly known as the Special Education Teacher Specialty Post Degree Diploma Program (SETS) program. Schedule and information page Applications are processed for the next available intake. Applications for an intake close one month prior to the start of the semester: Closing date for September 7, 2021: August,10 2021.

For information on any previous versions please check our Program Archive Page.