Autism Studies

Autism Studies - Cert

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


If you work or live with children or adults with autism, the Certificate in Autism Studies delivers the knowledge and skills required to provide more person-centred, autism-friendly support.


This programme produces graduates competent in the co-production of strategies likely to result in better support. Graduates are able to take up employment in education and adult services in specialist roles.

The Certificate in Autism will attract parents, teachers and health professionals, social care specialists, support workers, team leaders and those eager to further both their knowledge and practice, and career opportunities. You can discuss options to ‘upgrade’ from the Certificate in Autism to the Diploma in Higher Education in Autism or the BSc in Autism with your tutor during your studies.

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.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

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 ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Teaching and assessment

It requires around 1,200 hours of study. Students cannot undertake this programme full time whilst working full time, unless seconded by their employer to do so. This course is an introductory level 4 programme of study. 

The Certificate in Autism is taught by blended learning, a combination of exciting workshops and interactive web-delivered materials, case studies and real-world assignments. Expert practitioners on best practice and the latest research teach and lead the programme. You will work individually and collaboratively with other students, be supported by Tizard Centre tutors, and participate in group activities, discussions, as well as sharing your experience with others.

Students attend campus for one workshop at the commencement of each academic year, as well as for an exam workshop toward the end of the year. The programme comprises four modules, some unique to Autism students, some shared with Tizard students taking our Positive Behaviour Support programmes. On completion students will have knowledge of person centred best practice

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • Deliver content reflecting best clinical practice and national standards to support effective work with people with autism spectrum conditions.
  •  Offer flexible methods of learning that will appeal to students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Produce graduates  with the knowledge  and skills to take up employment  in education or adult human  services,  undertake  further  studies,  and  display  the  transferable  skills  necessary  to demonstrate personal responsibility and decision-making  in local and national leadership roles.
  • Prepare students to support children or adults with autism spectrum conditions and their support networks using a range of evidence-based approaches including Positive Behaviour Support.
  • Enable students to work in constructive, inclusive, and ethical ways with people  who are often marginalised and vulnerable as well as with staff or families often lacking support.
  •  Provide students with a sound knowledge base and opportunities to develop analytical skills that can be applied in human service provision for children, young people and adults.    
  • Encourage participation in Higher Education of people from diverse backgrounds  some of whom may not have 'traditionally' recognised qualifications.
  • Support  the development  of high-quality  and  appropriate  services  for children  or adults  with autism spectrum conditions by preparing students to fulfil the need for specialist workers locally, nationally and internationally in a key sector of the economy.
  •  Promote good practice in those supporting individuals with autism spectrum conditions through the systematic application of knowledge derived from theory and research.
  • To  encourage  practitioners  to  develop  a  clearly  articulated  person-centred   values  base  to underpin support for people on the autism spectrum.
  • To encourage a critical understanding  of policy and legal contexts in human services, including education, for children or adults with autism.
  • To develop awareness and understanding of the needs and characteristics of individuals on the autism spectrum.
  • To  develop  an  understanding  of  the  features  of  evidence-based   support  amongst  people supporting children or adults on the autism spectrum.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • Causes,  characteristics  and epidemiology  of autism  spectrum  conditions.
  • Person centred  approaches  as a value base for the provision of services.
  • The policy  and legal contexts  of education  and human  service  provision  for individuals with autism spectrum conditions.
  • Evidenced-based  intervention  options  in designing  support  systems for individuals  with autism spectrum  conditions whose behaviour  is described  as challenging  (with particular reference to positive behaviour support).

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual abilities to:

  • The ability to review and critically comment upon academic literature.
  • The ability to critically  analyse  data in relation to method,  reliability  and validity.
  • The ability to use assessment  information to develop strategies for problem solving and improving people's quality of life.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • The  selection   and   use  of  a  range   of  recognised   assessment   tools  relating  to  the understanding of autism and quality of life.
  • The development  and application  of intervention plans to intervene  in autism support  and quality of life.
  • The use  of recognised  strategies  and techniques  to support  the provision  of high quality support within services, educational or family settings

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • Communication:   Communicate   ideas  and  arguments  to  others,  both  in  written  and spoken form; make short presentations to fellow students and staff; prepare written assignments and reference the materials referred to in accordance  with accepted conventions.
  • Working with others: Develop interpersonal  and team work skills including the abilities to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and implement change.
  •  Improving  own learning: Be reflective,  adaptive and collaborative  in one's own learning; explore personal  strengths and weaknesses;  review working environment;  develop skills in time management  by delivering  academic work on time and to the required  standard.
  •  Problem   solving:   Identify   and   define   problems;   explore   alternative   solutions   and discriminate between them.
  • Information  Technology:  Produce  written  documents; undertake  online research;  study and learn independently using library and internet sources.
  • Numeracy:  Use descriptive statistics  in the analysis of quantitative  data; represent  data visually.


Our programmes provide you with knowledge and skills that will appeal to employers such as the NHS, education, 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 and to create autism friendly environments.

Entry requirements

Students lacking the appropriate qualifications but who have professional employment or familial experience of autism are encouraged to apply but will be required to provide evidence of their ability to study at a Higher Education level through interview and the completion of an access task.

All students should have appropriate work, volunteering or personal experience.

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. 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)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

IB 34 points overall or 15 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. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

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 advice 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 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas

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.* 

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.

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.


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.