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.

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.    

Howard Sinclair OBE

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)

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 (Master of Arts/Master of Science)
    • Comprehensive postgraduate degree
    • In-depth study, research, and coursework.
    • Requires completion of credit hours, thesis, and exams
    • Often a prerequisite for further research or PhD
  • PDip (Postgraduate Diploma):
    • Postgraduate qualification
    • Similar academic rigour to MA/MSc
    • Focuses on coursework
    • No research component like a thesis
  • PCert (Postgraduate Certificate)
    • Shorter postgraduate qualification
    • Completed in a year
    • Fewer credit hours/modules than a master's degree or a PDip
    • Focuses on coursework
    • No research component like a thesis

A PDip 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
  • PDip: 120 credits
  • PCert: 60 credits

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

  • MSc: 180 credits
  • PDip: 140 credits
  • PCert: 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 is not currently considering applicants to Research programmes. We will update this page should applications open for September 2023 entry.

Subscribe to our mailing list

If you'd like to be kept informed about the Tizard Centre's activities and research, please sign up to our mailing list.

Stavroula Brouziouti

Kent caught my attention due to the high level of teaching, the well-known teaching staff, and the well-maintained facilities.

Our mission

The Centre has an enduring commitment to social justice and our work is underpinned by values relating to anti-discriminatory practice, social equality and rights. We keep people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families as our main focus, and work enhancing the health, care and education systems surrounding them in proactive ways. This distinctive approach allows us to make a sustained positive difference to people's lives.

We are also pioneering in our focus on people with more complex needs. Our work includes deinstitutionalisation, support for people’s sexuality, supported employment, special education, autism and neurodiversity, and behaviours that challenge.

Yuki Ban

The Tizard Centre is widely known for its research contribution to improving the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The research focus at the centre was the greatest attraction for me.


The Tizard Centre is the leading UK academic group working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and those who support and care for them. It is known worldwide and has an international reputation of excellence. Members of the Centre are selected both for their academic record and for their practical experience in services and in supporting people and their families.

Tizard Learning Disability Review

The Tizard Learning Disability Review (TLDR), is a highly esteemed peer-reviewed journal specifically tailored to professionals working in the field of learning disabilities. Recognised for its readability and thought-provoking content, TLDR brings together the invaluable experiences and insights of managers, practitioners, academics, researchers, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and carers. The journal's primary focus is on applied research that directly benefits practitioners, offering them practical knowledge and innovative approaches to enhance their work. By providing a platform for diverse perspectives, TLDR fosters collaboration and encourages the sharing of best practices in the field of learning disabilities.

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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