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MSc: Autism Research

Course Description


Autism is a developmental disorder diagnosed on the basis of social-communication impairments, and fixated interests and repetitive behaviours. Recent studies estimate that around 1 in every 100 individuals in the UK have autism. Research in autism spectrum disorders is important, not just to understand the causes and symptoms of autism, but to make sure that individuals with autism receive the best possible support.

This MSc in Autism Research is a unique course designed to provide students with an in depth understanding of the autism spectrum. While studying on the course, students will learn about key areas of theory and research in autism, from classification and diagnosis, to socio-cognitive and developmental theories of autism, and interventions.

The course’s innovative approach combines training and teaching in psychological research methods with hands-on experience during a practical placement in an autism-relevant context, and the opportunity to engage in an autism-based research project.

Key information

- Degree type: MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
- Study methods: Full-time, Part-time
- Start date: September
- Course Director: Dr Catherine Grainger

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:
- IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
- Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
- IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

For more information go to English language requirements https://www.stir.ac.uk/study-in-the-uk/entry-requirements/english/

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View the range of pre-sessional courses http://www.intohigher.com/uk/en-gb/our-centres/into-university-of-stirling/studying/our-courses/course-list/pre-sessional-english.aspx .

Structure and content

Psychology has powerful methods to help better understand the puzzling condition of autism. The course comprises modules designed to provide training in the fundamentals of research methods and how these apply to the study of autism. Our styles of teaching research skills range from explicit hands-on demonstrations of tools, to discussion of different approaches to research.

The modules include:
- Autism Research
- Psychological Research Methods I and II
- Advanced Statistics
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Key Skills for Psychology Researchers
- Research placement

Alternative modules from the other taught MSc courses can also be taken for credit or audit with the agreement of the Course Coordinator.
Approximately half of your time is devoted to a research project, leading to a substantial dissertation.

Delivery and assessment

Delivery is by seminars, lectures, a research placement in a relevant context, and research supervision. Master's students have their own dedicated suite and are integrated into the thriving research culture of the Division.

Why Stirling?

In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


Psychology at Stirling is one of the leading psychology departments in the UK. It ranked in the top 20 in the recent research assessment (REF 2014) and is one of only seven non-Russell group universities to do so (Birkbeck, Royal Holloway, Sussex, Essex, St Andrews and Bangor; source Times Higher Education magazine). Its quality of research publications ranked third in Scotland after Aberdeen and Glasgow. Furthermore, the relevance of its research activity to society received the highest possible rating which only four other psychology departments in the UK achieved (REF 2014 results).
Psychology at Stirling University is small enough to fully involve MSc students in our lively and collegial community of research excellence.
Your three month full-time dissertation is supervised by leading UK academics.

Career opportunities

The course is designed for those going on to do further research in autism or as the foundation for a career as an autism professional. The structure of the course includes both a placement and research project, allowing you to develop relevant skills for both research and applied careers.

Visit the MSc: Autism Research page on the University of Stirling website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

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Recipient: University of Stirling
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