Autism Studies

Autism Studies Foundation - FdSc

UCAS code L515

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


This programme offers a qualification that delivers the knowledge and skills required to support people with autism in a range of different situations. It is designed specifically for students who provide home, community and school-based services, and is therefore flexible, combining intensive workshop teaching, web-based study and work-based learning.


The Foundation Degree (FdSc) is completed by blended learning, usually over two years. It combines web-based guided study and discussions with work-based learning, allowing flexibility and a very practical approach. In the second year of the programme, you complete a work-based learning module that requires you to be working with children or adults with autism. You can either do this as part of your normal job role (including as a family carer) or as a placement, which you organise yourself.

The Tizard Centre: UK centre of excellence

The Tizard 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.

Independent rankings

Social Policy* and Administration at Kent was ranked 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2017 and 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2017.  Social Policy at Kent was ranked 5th in The Times Good University Guide 2017.

Social Policy at Kent was ranked 2nd for graduate prospects in The Guardian University Guide 2017.

*the discipline closest to Health and Social Care

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

What is an autism spectrum disorder? What subtypes are there and how is it diagnosed?

How many people have autism?

What does the condition mean for people with ASD and their families – how does it affect their lives?

Causes of autism – an introduction to the theories

Models of disability applied to the autism spectrum, person-centred approaches.

Issues for services (co-morbidity, structure, sensory and environmental issues, empowerment and advocacy).

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The module will cover the following core content.

Policy, funding, service models (residential and educational), statementing.

Approaches/interventions to working with people – Applied Behaviour Analysis, Positive Behaviour Support, SPELL, PECS, TEACCH, PCAS, Communication. This module would focus on introducing these approaches.

Supporting families

Capacity and empowerment – a brief introduction

Advocacy and child/adult protection

Supporting individuals with ASD in mainstream education.

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A synopsis of the curriculum

This module will cover both the evidence base and practical implications and applications of the following approaches:



Person-centred approaches (active support, PCP etc) and supporting relationships


Positive Behaviour Support and autism.

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This is an assessment module that requires students to integrate knowledge and understanding from a variety of sources.

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This module has been developed to facilitate learning of key skills in students with a range of abilities and needs. They will develop competence in: learning subject specific material and preparing assessed written and verbal assignments.These intended learning outcomes are consistent with the broader programme outcomes in terms of development of intellectual, analytical and communication skills.

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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

There is no set curriculum for this module. This module is a Stage 2 module that is part of a distance learning Foundation Degree. It is an assessment module and will be available to students throughout Stage 2. Students will work on the module throughout all three terms and will submit the portfolio for final assessment at the end of June each year.

Learning and teaching will focus on consolidating the knowledge and skills developed through Level C and other Level I modules, and applying their learning to their workplace or comparable environment and reflecting on this.

The aim of the module is to allow students to both use their work experience to contribute to their learning experience but also to help them to apply their learning from the course in a work-based setting.

In terms of the work that students will undertake, all students will receive some teaching on observational and other assessment methods as part of the preparation for their work on this module. They will develop a plan for assessing the quality of life of one individual with autism (or a very small group of individuals) as well as a plan for their own personal development over the course of the year. Following feedback from their tutor, they will conduct their assessment and then develop a plan for an intervention to improve some aspects of the individual's quality of life. Part of this intervention will be to develop and deliver training to the team who works with the individual. This training will be videoed and assessed as part of the portfolio.

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The module will cover the following core content.

The historical and current approaches to autism spectrum conditions

An analysis of the theories of autism spectrum conditions

Review of the psychological and neuropsychological theories of autism spectrum conditions

Review of the biological theories of autism spectrum conditions

Methods and tools used to diagnose autism spectrum conditions and a review of their effectiveness

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The module will cover the following core content.

The research basis of intervention autism – historical and theoretical context

Assessing the effectiveness of interventions

Applied behaviour analysis and early behavioural intervention in autism.

Other specific intervention approaches in autism – for example, Sonrise, Relationship Development Intervention.

Interventions used for other co-occurring neuropsychological conditions

The use of and the practical application of non specific intervention therapies: music therapy, art therapy, daily life therapy, social skills teaching, diets and treatments used to address sensory perceptual problems

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This is essentially an assessment module that requires students to integrate knowledge and understanding from a variety of sources, including their own experience. It tests their ability to apply their knowledge to a hypothetical cases, demonstrating both understanding and skills to develop an intervention for the situation described. It will assess knowledge and understanding across TZAut4 and TZaut5 but in particular it will explore issues related to Theoretical and diagnostic approaches to autism and intervention in autism.

Students will be expected to conduct a substantial amount of additional reading in order to complete the case studies. However, students will also be provided with information about methods of assessment of quality of life, observational methods and will be provided with the opportunity to practice the methods taught before completing their assignment. In addition they will be provided with web-based information and guidance on bringing together information from different sources and developing a hypothesis of what factors might be influencing the quality of life of an individual they support.

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This is an assessment module that requires students to integrate knowledge and understanding from a variety of sources, but in particular to use research literature to answer an extended essay question. It will assess knowledge and understanding across TZ528 and TZ529 but in particular it will explore issues related to Theoretical and diagnostic approaches to autism and intervention in autism. Students will normally work on this module during Terms 1 and 2.

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Teaching and assessment

We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, case study analysis, group projects and presentations, and individual and group tutorials. Many module convenors also offer additional ‘clinic’ hours to help with the preparation of coursework and for exams.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and examinations; to see assessment details for individual modules, click 'read more' within the course structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • develop awareness and understanding of the needs and characteristics of individuals with autism spectrum disorders
  • enhance students' knowledge about the approaches to supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorders in different settings
  • instil in students a critical appreciation of the research basis of intervention in autism and the application of different intervention approaches.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You develop knowledge and understanding of:

  • the definition and epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders
  • the causes of autism
  • the issues for supporting people with autism spectrum disorders in services and schools
  • policy, funding and service models
  • approaches and interventions in autism spectrum disorders, including early intervention
  • supporting families of children with autism spectrum disorders
  • capacity, empowerment, advocacy and protection
  • theoretical and diagnostic approaches to autism spectrum disorders
  • the research basis for intervention in autism spectrum disorders
  • applied behaviour analysis and autism spectrum disorders.

Intellectual skills

You gain the intellectual abilities to:

  • cross reference information from various sources to draw conclusions on how best to support individuals with ASD
  • interpret available data and make arguments, recognising alternative interpretations and limitations in the data or its method of collection.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • the ability to develop and apply an intervention to provide an autism-friendly environment and promote the quality of life of people with autism.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • the ability to communicate ideas and arguments to others, mainly in written form, prepare written assignments and reference the materials referred to in accordance with accepted conventions
  • to improve your own learning: be reflective, adaptive and independent in your learning, explore personal strengths and weaknesses, and time management – by delivering academic work on time to the required standard
  • abilities in IT: to produce written documents, undertake online research, and study and learn independently using library and internet sources
  • numeracy: to use basic methods of presenting and interpreting data and information from different sources.


Our programmes provide you with knowledge and skills that will appeal to employers such as the NHS, local authority adults’ and children’s services, and the voluntary and private social and healthcare sector. You also develop transferable skills such as planning and organisation, teamwork, leadership.

This programme provides you with both academic and practical knowledge to help you provide better support to children and adults on the autism spectrum.

Entry requirements

Some experience of working with people with autism is recommended. Mature students who do not hold appropriate qualifications can apply, but will need to demonstrate that they have the skills/experience to study at degree level. References will be required. Students will be either in employment supporting children or adults with autism, a family carer of a child or adult with autism, or be able to arrange a placement for the second year of the course.

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level


Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

Merit, Merit, Pass

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 13 at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advise about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events. 

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

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. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £6000 £13810

UK/EU fee paying students

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

In accordance with changes announced by the UK Government, we are increasing our 2017/18 regulated full-time tuition fees for new and returning UK/EU fee paying undergraduates from £9,000 to £9,250. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise from £4,500 to £4,625. This was subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. This fee will ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

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.* 

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.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support for the duration of their course.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact