The Tizard Centre is a leading UK academic centre working in autism, learning disability and community care.

About us

The Tizard Centre is at the forefront of research into autism, intellectual disability and community care. Celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2019, our work is highly influential and has helped to improve lives across the UK and internationally. 

We aim to share our expertise via study programmes and research projects. The Centre has strong links with health and social care organisations and many students come to Tizard thanks to a personal recommendation. 

Our pioneering approach dates back to our first Director, Jim Mansell who in 2012 was awarded a CBE. In 2013, the Centre received a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of its outstanding work in the field.

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Female student taking notes in University library

Our mission

The Centre has a commitment to social justice and our work is underpinned by values relating to anti-discriminatory practice, social equality and rights. We keep people with IDD and their families as our main focus, and work on the health, care and education systems surrounding them. This distinctive approach allows us to make a sustained positive difference to their lives.

We are also pioneering in our focus on people with more complex needs. This work includes deinstitutionalisation, work on sexuality, supported employment, autism and challenging behaviour. 

Brittany Chan, postgraduate student at Kent

The most useful aspect of the course is listening to the academics who are pioneers in the field. They ask pressing questions and have shaped the way I think.

Postgraduate study

Our programmes are designed for practitioners, giving you the confidence to apply an advanced level of knowledge to many real-life situations.

  • MA/MSc: a Master's degree that can be studied over one year (full-time) or two years (part-time)
  • PCert: A postgraduate certificate
  • PDip: A postgraduate diploma (takes longer than a PCert and is worth more credits)

The PCert and PDip are qualifications at the same level of study as a Master's degree but are shorter and you don't have to write a dissertation. 


Typically, each qualification is equivalent to:

  • MA/MSc:180 credits
  • PGDip: 120 credits
  • PGCert: 60 credits

But ABAI verified courses (ie ABA/PBS), are typically equivalent to:

  • MSc: 180 credits
  • PGDip: 140 credits
  • PGCert: 100 credits

Taught programmes

Funding your studies: The University offers a range of funding opportunities for Master’s students.

Research programmes

You can study full-time or part-time, with expert supervision from an experienced member of staff:

The Tizard Centre has reached its full quota of self-funded PGR students and we have closed applications for September 2021 and January 2022 entry. We will update this page once applications open for September 2022 entry for self-funded students. In the meantime, we are currently recruiting to our fully funded Tizard PhD Studentship (see below).

Tizard PhD Studentship

Looking for a different scholarship?

Scholarship value

The award will cover UK tuition fees and an annual stipend based on the current ESRC studentship maintenance (TBC; 2020/21 rate £15,285). The Tizard Studentship is offered as a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. So, in return for the award, you will be expected to do a limited amount of teaching within the department on a regular basis.


  • The deadline for applications to this scholarship is Friday 17 December 2021
  • Interviews will be held on Wednesday 26 January 2022.


Candidates will have obtained a First or good 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant subject and normally an MA/MSc at Merit or Distinction.

Further details

Download this PDF document for further details about the Tizard PhD Studentship (including how to apply)

I was in the first cohort of MA students. The experience was definitive for me – I still apply the learning from that time to my work on a daily basis.

Howard Sinclair OBE Chief Executive, St Mungo’s (UK charity)

Taster events

If you’re thinking about studying at the Tizard Centre, we run 'Taster' events regularly. These events are a perfect opportunity to find out more about what we do and hear about our pioneering work. For further information or to register your interest, please get in touch.


The Tizard Centre is the leading UK academic group working in learning disability and community care. It is known worldwide and has an international reputation. Members of the Centre are selected both for their academic record and for their practical experience in services.


Our consultants are either staff who work within the Tizard Centre or highly-skilled professionals from external organisations who we have experience of working with. These include clinical psychologists, social workers and Tizard graduates (with a Master's or a PhD). All our external consultants are supervised by staff within the Tizard Centre. 

Tizard Learning Disability Review

The Tizard Learning Disability Review (TLDR) is a journal valued as readable and challenging for those working in the field of learning and intellectual disabilities. It brings together the experiences of managers, practitioners, academics, researchers, users and carers, offering a unique opportunity to share their different perspectives.

Tizard Practitioners’ Network

Join our growing network of practitioners in the field – open to professionals who have been involved with our work as well as to Tizard Centre students, past and present.

As a member of the network, you will receive information about:

  • Job opportunities
  • Consultancy opportunities
  • Requests for peer-to-peer support

Please complete our registration form if you’d like to join. 

A black and white portrait photograph of Jack Tizard
By Jenny Tizard. CC BY-SA 4.0.

Research psychologist Jack Tizard

Jack Tizard

Jack Tizard (25 February 1919 – 2 August 1979) was a research psychologist, Professor of Child Development, Research Unit Director, an international adviser on learning disability and childcare, and a President of the British Psychological Society. 

He was among the first psychologists to undertake epidemiological research, study the learning potential of adults with learning disabilities experimentally, and promote the de-institutionalisation of people with learning disabilities. 

He was a great pioneer of the scientific approach to social policy, particularly in developing services for adults and children with learning difficulties. The influence of his work is evident to this day. Our research centre has been named after him to honour his contributions to improving the quality of life of people with learning disabilities. 

More information on Jack Tizard’s contributions can be found in Volume 10, Issue 1 of the Tizard Learning Disability Review 

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