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 programme was developed in consultation with the education, health and social care, and voluntary sectors, as well as individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and is designed to facilitate the professional development of teachers and other related professionals who work, or wish to work, in this area.
Students explore the theories and practice underpinning ASD and can engage in associated experiential work. In line with the needs identified in the Northern Ireland Executive's Autism Strategy (2013-2020) and associated Action Plan, the course has been attuned to raising awareness, addressing issues specifically related to children and adults on the autism spectrum, and increasing knowledge and skills in relation to evidence-based interventions.
The aim is to enable the study of the theory and practice underpinning the specialist area in order to enhance understanding and ability to engage in research- and evidence-based practice. On completion of the degree, students will have:
In order to be awarded the MSc, students must successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a dissertation (60 CATS points).
Two exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught pathway modules or an Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS pointsfrom taught pathway modules.
Core Modules (all 20 CATS points):
This module will provide you with an understanding of differing perspectives that underpin quantitative and qualitative methodologies and is required preparation for your research dissertation.
We will focus on pedagogical methods and practices for inclusion that emanate from the scientific discipline of behaviour analysis. This includes a range of pedagogical methods, including intensive behaviour interventions, incidental teaching, contingency management, precision teaching, dealing with challenging behaviours, and integrating systems support. We will also introduce the practice of measurement of behaviour change and displaying and interpreting behavioural data.
You will be assisted to develop and extend your skills in understanding the needs of adults with ASD and their families. We will examine issues of identification, adult diagnosis, mental health, and transitions, as well as challenging behaviours, communication, and sensory issues, relationships, sexuality, self-advocacy, and neuro-diversity. We will consider the implications of an ASD diagnosis for the nuclear and extended family, for schools, homes and employment.
You will be assisted to develop and extend your skills in understanding the needs of children (aged 0-18) with ASD and their families. We will examine issues of definition, identification, diagnosis and assessment, and early intervention, as well as communication, and sensory issues across childhood and adolescence. We will also consider the implications of an ASD diagnosis for the nuclear and extended family, for teaching and learning in school and home-based programmes as well as transitions between school and home.
Two optional modules may be chosen from the Educational Studies (MEd) programme.
Graduates have found their Master’s degree to be beneficial in the workplace when advising colleagues, influencing policy makers and supporting pupils and students. Others progress to Doctoral level studies and research.
The 2015 Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (DfE/DoH) specifies that all teachers must be seen as teachers of pupils with SEN and take responsibility for the progress of all learners in their class.
With an estimated 1.1 per cent of the population diagnosed with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and an increased focus on inclusion, this course allows you to develop your knowledge and understanding of pupils with ASC.
This is a new and innovative postgraduate course that will enable you to study and research current, relevant issues concerning autism spectrum conditions and to develop knowledge of inclusive pedagogy and practice.
It is suitable for teachers and allied professionals working within educational settings who wish to deepen and extend their knowledge of ASC and inclusion.
This course will help you to develop the skills to reflect critically on your own practice and current research. It will enable you to contribute to school development and strategic vision concerning ASC.
These programmes are consistent with the philosophy and criteria set out in the Autism Act (2009) and Autism Strategy (2010). The philosophy and outcomes are also consistent with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence 2012 guidelines on autism.
The overall aims of the programmes are to:
You focus on the person-centred support of service users and apply supportive interventions and strategies in ways that build on your previous study, employment and/or practice experiences. You are prepared to conduct research that is linked to the field of autism practice and to advance your knowledge of the discipline of specialist autism practice. You will apply theories and constructs related to autism in a workplace setting to make sense of complex situations and enhance your skills development through action or problem-based projects and practical experience. These programmes also facilitate the development of leading change and service improvement, developing services to meet diverse needs of people with autism, underpinned by a sound ethical framework.
You focus on the person-centred support of service users and apply supportive interventions and strategies in ways that build upon your previous study and employment/practice experiences. You are prepared to conduct research linked to the field of autism practice to advance your knowledge and understanding of autism spectrum conditions, enabling you to develop your knowledge of specialist autism practice. You ares also enable to apply theories and constructs related to autism in a workplace setting to make sense of complex situations and enhance your skills development through action or problem-based projects and practical experience.
The programme is underpinned by a sound ethical framework and facilitates the development of leading change and service improvement, developing services to meet diverse needs of people with autism.
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
These programme use e-learning as a key resource to enhance your learning and support. You use our virtual learning environment, [email protected] for all of your modules. we provide links to useful online resources and web-based interactive activities related to autism.
You also learn through discussion boards remotely from your home or at your practice placement site. In addition you learn through keynote lectures, seminars, case-study and scenario-based discussions and critical incident analyses in the form of group work. This enhances your learning and provides support for your modular assessment.
We use debate and argument to stimulate you to be an active participant in your reflective learning process. The programme team includes members with research experience and there is an emphasis on research-informed teaching.
How you are assessed
Each module carries an assessed element which is integrated with the learning outcomes of the module and award. It requires a critical appreciation of the subject matter and its implications for practice.
Your work is assessed through essays, case studies, project work and a final dissertation if you are enrolled on the MSc Autism Practice.
You must work in a practice setting for this programme within your own area of employment.
Career opportunities include a range of services in health and social care settings where individuals with autism require support.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Autism and Related Conditions at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
Autism is a spectrum of lifelong neurodevelopmental conditions that presents various challenges for those people living with Autism and the services in place to provide care, education, training and support. There is an emphasis on the need to increase general awareness and specialist training for all professionals involved in the delivery of autism related services. However, it has been recognised that Autism and its related conditions are prevalent globally, and this programme explores the international context to highlight best practice initiatives.
The Master's in Autism and Related Conditions, which is also available at Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate level as well as on a part time basis, is a unique training and development programme leading to a postgraduate qualification for those professionals who are seeking to advance and specialise their knowledge and practice in Autism.
In response to the Autism Act (2009), the UK government produced statutory guidance for health, social care and educational organisations, which highlighted the strategic need for staff training at all levels, service planning and the creation of local leadership. Part of this guidance places an emphasis on the need to increase general awareness and specialist training for all professionals involved in the delivery of autism related services.
Key features of the Autism and Related Conditions programme include:
- Innovative and integrated curriculum that reflects the various aspects in the provision of autism services (i.e. clinical, social care and specialist education).
- Flexibility for you to gain specialist knowledge in your respective professions
- People living with Autism are involved in the delivery of the programme
- Teaching is supported by online learning and support
- Strong links with various third sector organisations
- Research informed teaching
- Multiprofessional teaching team with vast experience and expertise in Autism and related conditions
- Choice between a research project or a work based portfolio for the MSc dissertation
- Available as either a full time or part time study
The Autism and Related Conditions programme is modular and structured in three levels, each building on the next. You can elect to take either the full Master's programme or the Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma, depending on need and circumstances. The programme is designed to allow you to complete either as full time or part time study. For part-time students, each of the three components are scheduled to take a year each to complete.
Any health care professionals (medical, nursing and allied health), educators (primary, secondary, FE and HE), social care professionals and psychologists who wish to develop their understanding, skills and leadership in Autism.
Students are required to attend the University for 1 week (5 consecutive days) for each module in Part One (Taught Element). Attendance during Part Two (Dissertation or Portfolio) is negotiated with the supervisor, with a minimum of 4 supervisory meetings. You are also encourage to attend the Postgraduate Taught Induction Event during the induction week and any programme associated seminars.
Modules on the Autism and Related Conditions may include:
Diagnosis and Assessment of Autism and Related Conditions
Living with Autism and Related Conditions
Critical Appraisal and Evaluation
Data Analysis for Health and Medical Sciences
Management of Autism and Related Conditions
Foundations of Behaviour
Childhood and Adult Services for Autism and Related Conditions
Rights and Responsibilities for Autism and Related Conditions
Additionally, you will be able to choose to complete a research based dissertation or a work based reflective portfolio.
Elizabeth Clatworthy was the first person to graduate from the MSc in Autism and Related Conditions course in 2014. She had both a personal and professional reason to be the first person to gain a Master’s degree in a new course that specialises in the study of autism, as she fosters an eight year old boy who has the condition. Elizabeth said: ‘However a five year old boy came to me to be fostered, which resulted in him being placed with me full time. He was non-verbal and had behavioural issues, but now he talks, has learned to manage his own behaviour and now I feel that there is no limit to what he can achieve. This experience led me to apply for my Master’s degree and I have found that my learning has helped me understand more about my foster child, and equally my foster child has helped me gain greater insight into my studies.”
Rhys Jenkins, now aged 24, was diagnosed with Autism when he was 16 years old. He had successfully completed a Law Degree at Cardiff University prior to coming to Swansea University to complete the MSc in Autism and Related Conditions course.
This course is suitable if you are an individual with autism or Asperger Syndrome or a parent, teacher, clinician or professional associated with people with autism and Asperger Syndrome.
It gives you an in-depth understanding of what autism is and delves into many of the associated issues across the age ranges. It gives you an insight into some of the ways of developing appropriate support for individuals, as described by autistic individuals themselves, as well as investigating how to develop appropriate professional practice across all disciplines.
You explore some of the specific cognitive differences as well as sensory perceptual profiles and experiences in autism and Asperger Syndrome. Forensic issues are examined as well as reasons behind why individuals may be vulnerable in a variety of ways, and how risk of vulnerability might be reduced.
You are provided with an in depth exploration of the main autism theories, with alternative perspectives identified with supporting rationale. The course is deeply embedded in an inclusive model, and embraces the social model of disability; as such, the notions of inclusion, models of disability, and what it means to be autistic in the modern age are all explored within the course. You are given the opportunity to discuss these perspectives in your own writing.
You are given the opportunity to explore and critique current autism practice as related to your circumstances - personal, professional, or both.
The course is designed to be applicable to a wide range of students from all professional and personal backgrounds.
Part-time – typically one year
The course is delivered on rotation at different locations around the UK. Call us to find out the location of the next course.
Your studies are part taught and part online learning with online tutor support.
Two cohorts per year - see National Autistic Society website for details
Included on the course are individuals on the spectrum who present on their lived experiences, and on their academic research in the autism field.
Autism and Asperger syndrome module one – 6,000 word assignment
Autism in practice module two – 6,000 word assignment(alternative forms of assessment may be available to suit differing learning needs)
This course can help you gain a better understanding of autism and Asperger Syndrome within a working context such as teaching or a clinical environment, representing continuing professional development in these specialties.
As an individual with autism or Asperger Syndrome this course can help you better understand yourself, offering you potential opportunities to develop in your career and other areas of your life.
The aim of the course is to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and to critique models of autism and modes of practice that may be deemed as disabling and exclusionary. Many students report that as a result their perspective of autism has changed considerably.
Behaviour analysis has been recognised as the basis for medically necessary intervention and educational provision for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. With the growing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (now estimated to be 1:68) behaviour analysis has experienced a significant rise in popularity.
There are over 13,000 Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBAs) worldwide and this number is predicted to rise given that professional approval is seen as the key to delivering high quality services to individuals, families, in schools and in related settings. Furthermore, behaviour analysis is increasingly being applied to general education, special education and organisational leadership settings.
This programme is a highly interactive blended learning programme (mostly online with some face to face workshops) providing professionals from a wide range of backgrounds with scientifically validated expertise that is applicable to mainstream and special needs education, inclusion, curriculum, learning, and pedagogy. It should be of interest to professionals wishing to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA®), to those in the ‘helping’ professions (e.g. teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists) and students preparing for PhD studies.
Please note that unfortunately this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. has verified the six core modules of the MScABA toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (Option 1) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.
◦As a prestigious Russell Group University, Queen’s is ranked 8th within the UK in relation to research intensity;
◦Education at Queen’s has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% of the research undertaken within the School assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REF, 2014);
◦The programme offers an economically attractive option as online/blended delivery of the content allows UK/EU/international students to participate without relocating to Belfast;
◦Belfast is easily reached from mainland UK and Europe by a variety of low-cost airlines;
◦The on-campus workshops are timetabled on consecutive days for all the modules in a semester, thus reducing travel requirements;
◦The supervised practice element is not included, but contacts for placements can be provided;
◦An exit award is available. The PGDip (ABA) includes the BACB course sequence without the MSc dissertation
Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 or 3 years) basis. Individual modules may be studied as a short course. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.The MSc is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS) and a 15,000-20,000 word dissertation (60 CATS) as well as audit 'An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education' online module in Semester 2.
Students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught pathway modules.
Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.
Students are expected to audit 'An introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education' online module in Semester 2.
The majority of students are already in relevant jobs and the job market is healthy for BCBAs at present. Professionals who are certified BCBAs have the skills and knowledge to develop, implement and evaluate quality interventions that help to produce positive behavioural changes in a range of settings. Typically, behaviour analysts work in the ‘helping’ professions (e.g. teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists). Increasingly, jobs advertised for behaviour managers or specialists require BCBA status.
There is an increasing demand for BCBAs in Europe and worldwide, especially in North America. Teachers as well as allied health professionals should find this degree beneficial in their workplace.
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.