University of South Wales' MA SEN/ALN (Autism) course is unique in Wales, and is for professionals working in the field of education, health, social care and the third sector who have contact with children or adults on the autism spectrum. The course is designed for those who wish to become an advanced practitioner in autism by acquiring a relevant qualification. As the only practice-based study of autism in the region, our course draws a wide range of students from south Wales and the west of England, as well as many international students.
The MA SEN/ALN (Autism) course is also of relevance to newly qualified practitioners who are interested in gaining a specialism in autism, and to those coming from a personal perspective on autism who would like to deepen their knowledge and find out more about current research and relevant theoretical ideas.
The autism course explores theory, policy and practice in relation to all aspects of autism as it is currently understood within different contexts. Modular content is designed to provide the opportunity to tailor your postgraduate degree to meet your individual professional or personal needs.
There are two specified modules focused on autism:
Autism: Contexts and Concepts
This module examines the development of current theories of autism and explores the implications of these for autistic individuals, families and practitioners. It is designed to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the sensory perceptual differences of autism and consider the ways in which these may give rise to a different way of being in the world.
Managing and Supporting Autism
This module critically examines national and international developments in policy and practice in relation to autism education and support within a variety of settings and contexts. It will enable you to evaluate the continuum of provision for people with autism in the light of theories of learning and with reference to important models of disability.
In addition to these two modules, you are able to select two or three additional modules from the Professional Learning Programme, for example:
Child and Adolescent Mental Health
This module focuses on the causation, presentation and implications of mental health difficulties in children and young people.
SEN: Contexts and Concepts
This module examines practice in SEN/ALN, learning disabilities and inclusive education and critically reflects on the tension between identification of need and the philosophy of inclusion
Leading and Managing SEN/ALN
This module is designed to provide students with a better understanding of theory and practice in relation to the role of SENCo/ALNCo and so respond to the changing landscape of SEN/ALN.
In common with all of the Professional Learning programmes, you must take the core module Research Methodology if you are studying the full Masters course.
A full range of the modules is available from the course leader, Dr Carmel Conn.
Awards are available at Postgraduate Certificate level (after completion of two taught modules); Postgraduate Diploma level (after completion of four taught modules) and the full MA (on completion of a dissertation).
Each module is taught during weekly on campus sessions over 10 week terms. Learning takes place in teacher and student-led seminars, group discussions, individual tutorials and through active learning tasks. Content is delivered in engaging and interactive ways, with clear direction and support provided for critical reading and academic-level writing. Teaching usually takes place in the evenings and sessions are delivered by the course leader together with guest speakers. For the autism modules, guest speakers include people with autism, as well as senior practitioners in health and education.
Each module is assessed by an assignment, which may take the form of a 5,000 word written assignment or an alternative practical assessment task. To complete the full Masters award, you will need to complete a 15000 word dissertation which is based on a topic of your choice. You will be supported by a tutor during the assignment writing process via individual tutorials. If you are not in professional practice, but would like to gain experience of working professionally in relation to autism education and support, help with setting up an internship can be provided.
If you are not in professional practice, but would like to gain experience of working professionally in relation to autism education and support, help with setting up an internship can be provided.
We are able to arrange to consult and use some of the resources available at the Dyscovery Centre such as standardised assessment tools.
Most students who study part-time, work in this specific field of work. Our full-time students quickly find work locally within education or the care sector, which offers them opportunities to apply theory to practice. A Masters degree in Autism is a major boost to a career. Whatever your profession, experience has shown us that success on the course leads to enhanced employment prospects. Parents of children diagnosed with an ASD feel empowered both from their success and the increased insight gained.
A number of students have gone on to present at national and international conferences on an aspect of the autism spectrum. Other students have secured promotion and or employment in organisations that specifically support or educate individuals on the spectrum.
The overall aim of this programme is to create academic, professional, and personal development opportunities for those concerned with both the practice and experience of living and/ or working with autistic individuals across all ages and settings.
You engage in informed critical reflection and enquiry to develop and influence practice and policy in your current and/or future contexts. You are supported to identify a relevant knowledge base drawing on theoretical and research literatures, policy and policy critiques, practice guidance and practitioner networks. Through the programme, you identify your own and others' values and assumptions in contributing to socially just policy, inclusive and ethical practice for people with autism.
If you are from a professional background the course supports you in developing a range of academic skills, a professional knowledge base and employability skills that link closely to your specialism and career goals. If you are interested in this course from a personal perspective as an autistic individual, a parent or carer, we support your developing understanding of the autism spectrum.
This course is ideal if you are
The MA Autism Spectrum is designed to provide a supportive, challenging and inclusive learning experience. You experience and engage in a variety of learning activities as they progress through the course. We have designed a balanced range of activities to recognise the diverse range of experience and expertise of our students. Teaching and learning involves tutor-led seminars, workshops, participant-led activities, group and peer discussion, self-directed study, and independent reading. You take part in both face-to-face and online learning throughout your studies.
The structure of the course recognises the developing skills of a postgraduate student becoming an independent, critical learner. As such, the course begins by developing skills of critical reflection and evaluating evidence, progressing towards the knowledge and skills to develop your own ethical and inclusive research enquiry in the final year.
Typically you study
Part-time – typically one year to certificate, two years to diploma, three years to masters, maximum six years
Modules are delivered in a variety of ways, including taught sessions and online. Typically, this includes some modules taught in the evenings once a week over eight weeks and others taught in a series of day schools and online. Please note, there are taught sessions in Sheffield throughout the course, though not always on a regular basis.
For groups of 15 students or more, it may be possible to deliver the course at your organisation if it is in the local region.
The modules you take depend on whether you are pursuing a PgCert, PgDip or MA.
Assessment varies between modules but includes a mixture of professional work-based tasks and academic and critical reflection. There are no examinations.
The course provides a relevant qualification for anyone holding or intending to hold a position related to autism. As this is a part-time course, students are often studying alongside their own career progression. Graduates often go on to progress in their organisation or take on further responsibility as the result of their studies and acquired skills.
This course will help you to develop your knowledge and skills in the field of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion, specialising in the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome. This specialist pathway is ideal for professionals working in early years, primary or secondary schools, further and higher education, voluntary sector, advisory roles, and residential settings. You can also study this course if you have a personal interest, subject to entry requirements.
This course will give you in-depth knowledge and understanding of various aspects related to autism. Our modules will help you to understand autism from the perspective of the individual and the family, focusing on theories that explore the strengths and needs of individuals. In order to help you evaluate best practice, including your own, we will take you through a thorough analysis of evidence-based approaches. Overall, we aim to help you to reduce the barriers that individuals with autism face in education and wider society.
The modules undertaken will vary depending upon the selected exit award (PG certificate, diploma, MA). Each module is equivalent to 30 Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points at level 7, except the dissertation which is 60 CATS points. If you want to complete the full MA, you will complete three compulsory modules, an optional module and a dissertation.
The Special and Inclusive Education MA will develop a student's knowledge of key concepts and issues related to special and inclusive education, enhancing their understanding of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. It will give students the ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise evidence, theory and practice, and help them to apply conceptual and theoretical frameworks to professional policy and practice.
By the end of the programme, students should be able to:
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), and either two optional modules (60 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits) or three optional modules (90 credits) and a research report (30 credits).
In addition to the two core modules students take at least one module from the following:
Students choose either one or two further options from the list above or, subject to the Programme Leader's approval, from elsewhere at the UCL Institute of Education.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 10,000 to 12,000-word dissertation or 6,000 to 7,000-word report.
Teaching and learning
The MA is taught through lectures, group discussions, small group one-to-one tutorials, and computer lab classes. Compulsory and optional modules are assessed by a range of assessment strategies including presentations and a 4,000-5,000 word written assignment; students may choose from a range of assessment titles. In addition, students may choose to write either a report (6,000-7,000 words) or a dissertation (10,000-12,000 words).
NB: This MA is not a teacher training programme and does not aim to train students via school-based training and teaching placements.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Special and Inclusive Education MA
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as managers in mainstream and special schools and other educational settings, while others support those with special educational needs and disabilities directly. Graduates can also be found working as staff in specialist services for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
This programme provides students with the opportunity to study in one of the country's leading specialist departments in special educational needs and disability, and educational psychology, working with internationally recognised tutors who have published widely in the areas of special education, inclusion and disability studies, and who contribute to Master's and doctoral programmes worldwide.
The programme team is committed to creating an intellectually challenging context in which students are encouraged to discuss practical knowledge, experience and ideas in order to extend their understanding of special and inclusive education.
This programme attracts students with rich and varied professional and personal experience, both nationally and internationally, and fellow students provide a valuable networking resource.
The Educational Neuroscience MA/MSc will introduce students to the methods and findings from the emerging field of educational neuroscience. It will develop their understanding of key issues in educational neuroscience and the application of neuroscience to education, and provide the opportunity for them to undertake research in educational neuroscience.
This programme will develop students' understanding of research processes and give them the opportunity to be taught by staff with a wide range of expertise in psychology of education and developmental cognitive neuroscience. Students will also benefit from strong links with psychological expertise in other colleges of the University of London, especially Birkbeck, with whom this is a joint award.
Students undertake modules to the value of 210 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (90 credits) - four taught at Birkbeck and one at UCL - two optional modules (60 credits) - taught at the IOE - and a dissertation (60 credits).
* indicates modules taken at Birkbeck
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 10,000-word dissertation.
Teaching and learning
This programme is delivered by face-to-face daytime or evening sessions and attendance may vary depending on your choice of optional modules. It is assessed by coursework assignments of up to 5,000 words and a 10,000-word dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Educational Neuroscience MA/MSc
Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as research assistants, while others have jobs as teachers. Graduates can also be found working as PhD students.
Students gain experience of thinking critically about how to apply scientific theories and findings to educational practice, and how to build an evidence base for education. These are crucial skills that aid career development in both the science and the education sectors.
The Department of Psychology & Human Development brings together staff with research and teaching interests that encompass psychological approaches to learning, development and teaching from early childhood to adulthood.
The Centre for Educational Neuroscience (CEN) was formed in 2008 to promote applications of cognitive neuroscience within educational research, and build partnerships with professionals to translate findings into new practice. The CEN involves 30+ academic staff with expertise in developmental psychology, pedagogy and learning technologies (UCL Institute of Education), cognitive neuroscience and educational psychology (UCL) and developmental neuroscience and computational modeling (Birkbeck).
The CEN established the MA/MSc in Educational Neuroscience, with an intake of psychology graduates and education professionals, which feeds into an ESRC-accredited doctoral training pathway.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Psychology & Human Development
78% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
The MA SEN/ALN (Additional Learning Needs) will appeal to those who are working in the field of SEN/ALN and Learning Disabilities, in particular those who are working in education (SENCos/ALNCOs, specialist teachers, one-to-one tutors within FE/HE together with learning support staff across a range of settings). This Special Educational Needs qualification is also of interest to professionals working in health, such as speech and language therapists and occupational therapists and other non-statutory organisations.
The SEN/ALN course has been designed to enable experienced practitioners in education and related professions to critically engage in the social, political and global debates relating to the living and learning experiences of children, young people and adults who have special educational needs and learning disabilities. It will encourage greater understanding and a critical appreciation of the trends and developments in SEN/ALN and disability provision across schools and relevant settings. Our SEN/ALN course also offers an in-depth focus on contemporary perspectives of SEN/ALN, learning disabilities and inclusive practice together with the opportunity to widen students’ theoretical understanding through research and evaluation within their respective professional roles. Awards are available at Postgraduate Certificate level; Postgraduate Diploma level and the full Masters degree.
There is a wide range of modules to choose from, providing the opportunity to have a postgraduate course specifically tailored to meet your individual professional needs. You will study the specified module of the MA SEN/ALN (Additional Learning Needs) course – SEN/ALN: Contexts and Concepts – and in common with all of the professional learning programmes, you will study the Research Methodology module.
You will also select two or three additional modules from the Professional Learning Programme. Examples of modules include:
This explores theory, policy and practice in relation to all aspects of autism
Dyslexia Theory and Assessment and Working with Dyslexia: Linking Theory, Assessment and Practice
Both modules are externally accredited by the British Dyslexia Association at either an approved teacher/practitioner (ATS/APS) level or the associated membership (AMBDA) level. They are ideal for those who are working with children, young people or adults with specific learning difficulties and want a recognised qualification in this field.
Leading and Managing SEN/ALN
Designed for educational practitioners who have or aspire to the role of SENCo./ALNCo. The module is designed to equip students with a better understanding of the theory and practice relating to the varied and challenging skills required of the SENCo/ALNCo. in order to respond to the changing landscape of SEN / ALN.
A full list of modules is available from Amanda Kelland, award leader.
Awards are available at Postgraduate Certificate level (after completion of two taught modules); Postgraduate Diploma level (after completion of four taught modules) and the full MA (after completion of a dissertation).
Modules are normally assessed by a written assignment of 5,000 words.
Those who undertake the SpLD modules, with a view to gaining accreditation from the British Dyslexia Association, will undertake a specialist teaching practice. For other students, there may be opportunities to link with specialist settings on a voluntary basis.
An Additional Learning Needs qualification demonstrates that you have developed advanced level skills in analysis, evaluation and research.
If you are interested in the possibility of gaining a higher degree by research, your tutors will be pleased to discuss the opportunities at the University of South Wales.
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Servicethroughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.