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Course content

The Autism MA at Northumbria is designed to support ASD professionals and carers develop their knowledge and critical thinking around the characteristics of autism spectrum disorders. Students explore the needs arising from ASD and the different approaches to meeting these needs, particularly through teaching and learning.

This course offers motivated, passionate people working in the field of autism the opportunity to study for a specialist qualification that will accelerate and focus their contribution towards better lives for people with ASD.

You will learn from leaders in the field of autism. In addition to the highly respected staff based at Northumbria, you will have contact with a cohort of visiting lecturers with key specialisms including aging and autism, the biochemistry of autism, and anxiety and anger management.

Northumbria University is the largest North East provider of CPD in Education, and Ofsted has rated our department ‘outstanding’ for the past 14 years. We are the only university in the UK to have held this accolade for so long.

Learn From The Best

Staff are all leading experts in the field of autism, specialising in areas such as psycho-education, Asperger syndrome and the development of inclusive methodologies. Academic standards are high, but you will also benefit from a practitioner viewpoint.

The Autism MA is for people with experience of ASD, so teaching is at an advanced level. We invite visiting lecturers to connect students with exceptional people and practice in the field of autism. You will learn from specialists in contemporary issues such as mental health resilience, ageing and autism, regional services and communications needs of autistic children.

Teaching And Assessment

The Autism MA offers a flexible framework for busy professionals studying part time. You will benefit from adult learning approaches such as work-based learning. The focus is on enabling students to tailor the course to their own needs.

In the classroom you will engage in a mixture of teacher-led discussions, peer group work and individual presentations. With the core modules we aim to engender Master's level critical understanding of the complex issues around research, policy and practice in autism.

In many cases you will be able to customise the project modules towards your specific area of interest through the selection of your research questions.

In all of the modules that constitute the course, there are both formative and summative assessments. A variety of approaches are used across the framework, including assignments, presentations, portfolios and reports, which will show evidence that you have achieved the learning outcomes.

Module Overview
Year One
TE7046 - Understanding Autism (Core, 30 Credits)
TE7047 - Autism: Social Behaviour and Promoting Learning (Core, 30 Credits)

Year Two
TE7038 - Research Methods in Education and Training (Optional, 30 Credits)
TE7048 - Autism - Analysing Issues in Teaching & Learning (Core, 30 Credits)
WB0715 - Preparation for Project Management (Optional, 30 Credits)

Year Three
PP0724 - The Empirical Project (Optional, 60 Credits)
TE7039 - Systematic Appraisal in Education and Training (Optional, 60 Credits)
WB0716 - Work Based Dissertation (Optional, 60 Credits)

Learning Environment

Northumbria University is the largest North East provider of CPD in Education.

Specialist facilities include the Library and the experiences of fellow students who are all professionals in the field of autism. Peer support is important in developing understanding from a range of perspectives and educational contexts and developing your skills in working collaboratively with others.

You will benefit from technology enhanced learning. Each module within the course will have its own e-learning site. This will enable the sharing of all learning materials, enhance rapid communication with all group members and enable students to use peer forums.

Research-Rich Learning

The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning has a range of research experience and interests. Academic staff have extensive experience of leading, conducting and managing autism research in all areas of education, from early years and schools to post-compulsory and higher education.

During the course your research will be supported by rigorous critical enquiry and discourse. As a result you will extend, develop and enhance your ability to evaluate and challenge the underlying assumptions surrounding educational policy and practice within the context of autism. In addition, you will develop your capacity to re-interpret practice through participation in the learning and teaching strategies employed throughout the course.

Many students choose to research the key areas of difficulty in autism: social understanding, sensory issues, communication, sexuality and forensic issues.

Give Your Career An Edge

Most students who enrol on the Autism MA are currently employed, and seeking to enhance career opportunities through a specialist knowledge of autism. There is significant evidence that this course will give your career an edge.

Assessments throughout the course offer you opportunities to consider, discuss, analyse and evaluate your practice in relation to theoretical concepts and ideas. This process facilitates critical reflection on work related problems and how they might be resolved.

The skills that are required in such assessments reflect many of the component features of employability, such as independent learning, team working, communication, analysis, critical reflection and self-awareness.

These advanced skills are valued in many fields including teaching, speech therapy, occupational therapy, nursing and social services.

Your Future

The Autism MA will equip you with a valuable range of transferable skills from the academic to the practical and interpersonal. The focus on independent, critically reflective learning, teamwork and self-awareness will ensure that your employability and potential for career progression is escalated.

By undertaking the Masters in Autism, you are laying strong foundations for career development as a leader in autism in organisations such as schools, hospitals, the community, social services inspectorate, the police service, charities and parent organisations.

Whatever you decide to do, you will have strong employability as a result of having acquired the characteristics of a Northumbria graduate. These include the ability to think creatively while at the same time applying rigorous structure to solve complex problems. You will be a big step closer to your goal of improving the lives of people with ASD.

Visit the Autism - MA page on the Northumbria University website for more details!




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