The Tizard Centre

Postgraduate programmes in Autism Studies


Please note that all applications received before April 4th are guaranteed to be considered for 2014 entry.

Applications received after April 4th will be considered for 2015 entry. It may be possible in exceptional circumstances to consider some post-4th April applications for 2014 entry, should spaces become available through students being withdrawn.

All students offered a place for 2014 entry should meet their conditions of offer by May 23rd 2014. If this is not done, we will defer them to 2015.


Programme Options

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Autism Studies
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Autism Studies
  • MA in Autism Studies

All three programmes can be completed either as a campus based programme or by distance learning. Full-time (FT) students complete the course in 1 year; Part-time (PT) students in two years.


Fees 2014/15 **

Course Award Home/Eu Home/EU Overseas Overseas
    Full-time Part-time Full-time Part-time
Autism Studies MA-T 5,100 2,550 12,450 6,240
Autism Studies PDip-T 3,435 1,710 8,350 4,180
Autism Studies PCRT-T 1,710 860 4,180 2,100
Autism Studies (distance learning) MA-T 4,690 2,350 6,425 3,220
Autism Studies (distance learning) PDip-T 3,160 1,517 4,310 2,160
Autism Studies (distance learning) PCRT-T 1,570 790 2,160 1,080


** The fees are correct to the best of our knowledge but definitive fees are available on university website


Students need fast broadband internet access and will need to buy a small number of books.

Required attendance at Canterbury

If completing the course on campus, then students will be required to attend the Tizard Centre for a workshop (usually two days part-time and 4 days full-time) once a month with seven workshops in the year. The workshops are shared with the intellectual and developmental disabiilty students (workshop dates). The detailed timetable for the first workshop (usually the last week of September) will be sent to new students prior to starting the course.

Distance learning students will be required to attend for the first workshop and a special workshop for distance learners at the Tizard Centre in May, prior to the exams. This workshop will allow time for dissertation supervision, face-to-face tutorials and revision sessions, personal study and access to the library or other university facilities. Students will be required to attedn the Canterbury Campus for exams in May of each year. 

It is recommended that, even if studying part-time students should set aside at least 1 day a week for the PG Certificate and substantially more for the MA. A full-time Masters is a demanding course and students should not expect to be able to work full-time while also studying full-time for the Masters. If studying part-time you do two modules in Year 1 and 2 modules plus a 6000 word essay in Year 2.


Course components

All students complete the academic modules in:

  • Research Methods (statistical or non-statistical options)
  • Service Issues
  • Behavioural Analysis and Intervention
  • Social Psychology of Autism Spectrum Conditions
  • Extended essay (6000 words requiring integration of material from the academic modules)

PG Diploma students complete a 10,000 word dissertation OR a case study and intervention project.
MA students complete a 20,000 word dissertation OR a 10,000 dissertation AND the case study and intervention project.

Please note: on the Distance Learning Programmes, dissertations will normally be non-empirical. Campus based students have the choice of whether to do an empirical or non-empirical dissertation.

The Social Psychology of Autism module will cover the following topics:

  • Definitions of intellectual and developmental disabilities with particular emphasis on autism
  • Epidemiology of autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Causes of autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities (including social class/race/gender issues)
  • Theories of autism
  • Sensory issues in autism
  • The research basis for intervention and early intervention in autism
  • Approaches to supporting people with ASD:
    • Early intervention
    • Transition.
    • Communication
    • Creating a helpful environment (covering SPELL, TEACCH and other frameworks and approaches)
    • Effects on the family
    • Social relationships and social networks
    • Sexuality (attitudes of staff, issues of abuse and offending)
    • Vulnerabilities (to physical and sexual abuse, to exploitation, to wrongful conviction; bereavement)
    • Mental health and autism


Teaching methods

Modules will be taught via a mixture of web-based texts, recommended reading, guided study, campus-based teaching, video resources and online discussions. Moodle will be used as the virtual learning environment. Students will be provided with substantial reading material but will also be expected to pursue their own reading through journals (mostly available online or via document delivery) and books (through Kent library and local libraries).

Campus-based students will have regular support during workshops and by e-mail from their dissertation supervisor/tutor. All distance learning students will have an assigned dissertation supervisor and/or tutor who will provide them with support by e-mail, via online discussion and via SKYPE or other video-conferencing software. Distance learning students can also meet their tutor in person if they live within travelling distance.


It will be possible to progress from PGCert to a higher level qualification and to swap between distance learning and campus based options. Students who successfully complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Autism Studies will be able to apply for progression to the Postgraduate Diploma or MSc in Analysis and Intervention in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, subject to meeting the other requirements for the Analysis and Intervention options (satisfactory interview, service reference and one year’s experience with people with intellectual or developmental disabilities). 

Admission requirements

Students are expected to have a first degree (equivalent to a lower second class degree (2:2) or higher), ideally in a social science relevant discipline. However, we will consider other qualifications on a case by case basis. Admission normally requires prior voluntary, professional or family experience of children or adults with autism spectrum conditions.Applicants may be admitted without such experience if they undertake to obtain relevant experience prior to or during their studies.


For non-UK based students, evidence of ability to read, understand, write and speak English will be required.

Two references are required, at least one of which should be an academic reference. Students who completed their first degree a long time ago should contact us for advice.

To Apply

You can use the university online application system to apply.


For further information please contact:
T: +44 (0)1227 827373


Tizard Centre, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7LR

Telephone: +44(0)1227 827373 or contact us

Last Updated: 03/04/2014