Autism Studies

Autism Studies (Distance Learning) - PCert, PDip, MA

Virtual Open Event

Join our Postgraduate Virtual Open Event on Thursday 20 May from 16.00 - 19.00 GMT. Meet and talk to specialist academics and admissions staff about postgraduate study in the UK and Europe.

Book your place
This programme is an advanced professional development programme involving some or all of the following: distance learning; study workshops. Autism Studies can be completed mainly by distance learning.

Overview

Deadline for Tizard Postgraduate Taught Applications for entry in September: 1 JULY

Due to a high number of applicants we have been forced to put in place a deadline for receipt of applications for those wishing to be considered for entry to September intake.

Please therefore ensure that your full application (containing reference, all required documentation and evidence of English Language qualifications if relevant) is submitted online via the “Apply Now” link no later than 23:59 BST on 1 July.

Incomplete applications, or applications received after 1 July, will be considered for next year's September cohort.

About the Tizard Centre

The Tizard Centre is part of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR) and has excellent links with health and social care organisations, and other relevant establishments.

The Centre is at the forefront of learning and research in autism, intellectual disability and community care, and in 2013 received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of its outstanding work in these areas.

The Centre has excellent links with health and social care organisations, and other relevant establishments. Our primary aims, through research, teaching and consultancy, are:

  • to find out more about how to effectively support and work with people with learning disabilities
  • to help carers, managers and professionals develop the values, knowledge and skills that enable better services
  • to aid policymakers, planners, managers and practitioners to organise and provide enhanced services.

The Tizard Centre is recognised as leading the field in deinstitutionalisation and community living, challenging behaviour, quality of staff support, sexuality and autism, and has had a significant impact on national policies in these areas. We are committed to addressing issues arising from social inequality.

Entry requirements

Smiling female postgraduate student
You are more than your grades

For 2021, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Entry requirements

A good honours degree, typically in psychology or other relevant social sciences, or comparable professional qualifications and experience.

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes.

English language entry requirements

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Form

Keep updated

Sign up here to receive all the latest news and events from Kent  

Sign up now

This field is required
This field is required
Please enter a valid email address
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required

View our Privacy Notice

Course structure

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time

Coursework is taught through a mixture of web-based resources, directed reading, videos, lectures, seminars and practical sessions, supported by a number of workshops, where you work with skilled professionals and have the opportunity to share ideas and experiences with fellow students.

Note:  Workshop one and exam attendance is compulsory for all postgraduate distance learning students on this course.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Compulsory modules currently include

The aim of this module is to teach students about research methodology and the knowledge needed to access and interpret the research literature. For those who take the statistical analysis element, the aim is also to teach appropriate statistical techniques for the analysis of quantitative data. The emphasis will be on methods of data collection and analysis which will be useful in practice settings, so that advanced multivariate techniques will not be taught.

Find out more about TZRD8300

Students will learn a range of techniques to analyse and assess challenging and antisocial behaviour in the context of individuals with learning disabilities. Indicative topics are: cognitive behaviour analysis; definitions, measurement and epidemiology of challenging behaviour; teaching communication skills to individuals with learning disabilities; functional analysis and identifying appropriate interventions; supporting individuals with special needs including profound and multiple handicaps.

Find out more about TZRD8620

The aim of this module is to give students an understanding of organisational issues involved in learning disability services, including institutionalisation and deinstitutionalisation, theories of normalisation and criticisms of these theories, methods of analysing quality of life and care and ways of producing change in services. This module is taught as a web-based guided study module with seminars at several points in the first term. For AIIDD students, this module is closely linked to the service placement and discussion and application of web-based units will occur during placement supervision.

Find out more about TZRD8630

All students will write one essay on a topic which requires them to draw on material from the service issues, social psychology and behavioural analysis and intervention modules. This will be done over the course of the year for full time students and in the second year for part time students and will be submitted during the third term of the final year.

Find out more about TZRD8650

The aim of this module is to teach the basic facts about the nature and origins of autism, including definitions, epidemiology, biological, social and environmental causes. In addition, characteristics and needs of people with autism will be considered (including cognitive and social characteristics). All of this information will be set within the wider context of intellectual and developmental disabilities and students, although focusing primarily on autism, will be required to learn and know about these issues more widely. Over 50% of people with autism have a co-morbid condition and therefore this is an essential approach.

Find out more about TZRD8660

The aim of this module is to teach advanced facts about the nature and origins of autism, including definitions, epidemiology, biological, social and environmental causes and autism specific interventions. This module will build on the knowledge of characteristics and needs of people with autism (including co-morbidities), set within the wider context of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Whist TZ866 introduced students to intervention and approaches to supporting people with autism, this module will expand this knowledge to include the critical understanding of the research evidence around intervention in autism. Theories used to explain autism will be discussed in depth, with students supported to critically interrogate the evidence base. The knowledge and understanding developed will be used to compare and contrast approaches to intervention and draw intelligent conclusions about policy and practice. Issues from across the lifespan will be addressed, including early intervention.

Find out more about TZRD8730

This module is intended for health or social care professionals who are working with people with autism (either in a paid or voluntary basis), or those who are family carers. Students will be able to apply their theoretical learning from TZRD8660 (Social Psychology of Autism) and TZRD8730 (Social Psychology of Autism: Advanced) to case studies.

Students will work their way through the case study material provided. As they do so, they will use their knowledge of the following to analyse case study data, produce formulations, plan interventions, interpret outcome data and describe methods of implementation, monitoring and evaluation:

Characteristics, diagnosis and epidemiology of autism

Cognitive, communicative and social characteristics of people with intellectual disabilities

Biological, social and environmental causes of autism

Behaviour analysis

Intervention and approaches to supporting people with autism.

Challenging behaviour and other associated complex needs;

Ideology, policy and service development;

Definition and measurement of service quality;

Relationships between service organisation and quality

Find out more about TZRD8740

Compulsory modules currently include

The aim of this module is to teach advanced facts about the nature and origins of autism, including definitions, epidemiology, biological, social and environmental causes and autism specific interventions. This module will build on the knowledge of characteristics and needs of people with autism (including co-morbidities), set within the wider context of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Whist TZ866 introduced students to intervention and approaches to supporting people with autism, this module will expand this knowledge to include the critical understanding of the research evidence around intervention in autism. Theories used to explain autism will be discussed in depth, with students supported to critically interrogate the evidence base. The knowledge and understanding developed will be used to compare and contrast approaches to intervention and draw intelligent conclusions about policy and practice. Issues from across the lifespan will be addressed, including early intervention.

Find out more about TZRD8730

This module is intended for health or social care professionals who are working with people with autism (either in a paid or voluntary basis), or those who are family carers. Students will be able to apply their theoretical learning from TZRD8660 (Social Psychology of Autism) and TZRD8730 (Social Psychology of Autism: Advanced) to case studies.

Students will work their way through the case study material provided. As they do so, they will use their knowledge of the following to analyse case study data, produce formulations, plan interventions, interpret outcome data and describe methods of implementation, monitoring and evaluation:

Characteristics, diagnosis and epidemiology of autism

Cognitive, communicative and social characteristics of people with intellectual disabilities

Biological, social and environmental causes of autism

Behaviour analysis

Intervention and approaches to supporting people with autism.

Challenging behaviour and other associated complex needs;

Ideology, policy and service development;

Definition and measurement of service quality;

Relationships between service organisation and quality

Find out more about TZRD8740

During the first term of the course students will develop ideas for their research project and will be given the opportunity to choose a research project proposed and supervised by members of the course team or other Tizard staff (see Appendix 4 of course handbook for the list of topics for the current year). Students who choose to design their own project will be allocated a dissertation supervisor. Students following the MSc in Analysis and Intervention in Intellectual and Developmental Disability are required to do an empirical dissertation. All other students can choose between either an empirical or a non-empirical (e.g. policy or research review) dissertation.

Students develop a proposal (assessed) for their research project with advice from their supervisor and apply for ethical approval either to the Tizard Ethics Committee (Ethical Review Checklist available on web-based resources) or to another ethics committee such as those in the NHS.

Find out more about TZRD9940

Teaching and assessment

Each of the five taught modules is assessed by a computer-based exam and an extended essay. In addition, the Research Methods module involves short assignments and a worked problem.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide you with a detailed knowledge of autism and other developmental disabilities
  • provide you with experience of conducting research or intervention in the field of autism.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the characteristics, diagnosis and epidemiology of autism
  • cognitive, communicative and social characteristics of people with intellectual disabilities
  • biological, social and environmental causes of autism
  • behaviour analysis
  • intervention and approaches to supporting people with autism
  • challenging behaviour and other associated complex needs
  • ideology, policy and service development
  • definition and measurement of service quality
  • the relationships between service organisation and quality research methodology.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • appraising and interpreting evidence from the academic literature and personal/work experience
  • presenting critical, balanced arguments.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • (applies to MA and PDip only) conducting research on a topic relevant to autism and / or conducting an intervention study and case study assignment relevant to autism.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • communication: the ability to organise information clearly and respond to written sources
  • numeracy: if you are doing the statistical element of the research methods module, you will make sense of statistical materials and integrate quantitative and qualitative information. You will also become familiar with ways of summarising and presenting data
  • information technology: the ability to produce written documents, undertake online research
  • working with others:  the ability to work co-operatively on group tasks both within the virtual learning environment and during the residential workshops
  • improve your own learning: the ability to explore your strengths and weaknesses, time management skills and review your working environment
  • problem-solving: the ability to identify and define complex problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Autism Studies (Distance Learning) - MA at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £6000
  • EU full-time £6100
  • International full-time £8100
  • Home part-time £3000
  • EU part-time £3050
  • International part-time £4050

Autism Studies (Distance Learning) - PCert at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £2000
  • EU full-time £2100
  • International full-time £2700
  • Home part-time £1000
  • EU part-time £1050
  • International part-time £1350

Autism Studies (Distance Learning) - PDip at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £4000
  • EU full-time £4100
  • International full-time £5400
  • Home part-time £2000
  • EU part-time £2050
  • International part-time £2700

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2021, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.

Complete University Guide Research Intensity

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research was ranked 2nd for research power in the UK. The School was also placed 3rd for research intensity, 5th for research impact and 5th for research quality.

An impressive 94% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 99% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research, gaining the highest possible score of 100%.

Research areas

Current research areas include: social inequalities and community care; intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Careers

Our postgraduate courses improve employability prospects for both those with established careers and new entrants to the field. Many of our students already work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in professional, management or supporting capacities.

Our programmes support their continuing professional development and enhance their opportunities for career advancement. Other students, who are at the beginning of their careers, move on to a range of professional roles in health and social care including working as psychologists in learning disability or behavioural specialists in community learning disability teams; service management of development roles; clinical psychology training or a PhD.

Career destinations include working as a clinical specialist, special needs advisor, autism teacher and ABA tutor for various health and special needs organisations such as the Step by Step School, Special Help 4 Special Needs and WA Health.

Study support

All teaching takes place at the Tizard Centre. Postgraduate research students have a shared office space with a computer and telephone.

Acclaimed active department

The Tizard Centre runs an annual seminar series where staff or guest lecturers present the results of research or highlight recent developments in the field of social care. The Jim Mansell Memorial Lecture invites public figures or distinguished academics to discuss topics that could interest a wider audience. The Centre also publishes the Tizard Learning Disability Review (in conjunction with Emerald Publishing) to provide a source of up-to-date information for professionals and carers.

The Tizard Centre provides consultancy to organisations in the statutory and independent sectors, both nationally and internationally, in diversified areas such as service assessment, person-centred approaches, active support and adult protection. The Centre also teaches a range of short courses, often in conjunction with other organisations.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Journal of Mental Health; Journal of Applied Research and Intellectual Disabilities; American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; and Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Contact us

bubble-text

United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MA at Canterbury

PCert at Canterbury

PDip at Canterbury

Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

E: information@kent.ac.uk

Subject enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 823684

E: sspssr-pg-admin@kent.ac.uk

earth

International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk