Autism (Adults) MEd/BPhil/Postgraduate Diploma/ Postgraduate Certificate/Advanced Certificate

The Autism (Adults) programme is a distance learning programme which is studied part-time. It draws upon each student’s own experience as part of the content and assessment and is appropriate for practitioners working with adults across the autism spectrum across a range of services and in both specialist and mainstream environments.

The University of Birmingham is the leading provider of degree-level education in autistic spectrum disorders in the UK - offering Professional Development courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Our courses develop real insight and encourage reflective practice. You will be tutored by recognized experts in the field who work in the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) and will have access to an extensive library and research materials. Academic credits and qualifications can be used as a springboard to further study. Our courses contribute towards LDAF and NVQ.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Continuing professional development, distance learning

Study Options: Distance learning

Duration: MEd – 3 years; PGDDip – 2 years; PGCert – 1 year; BPhil – 2 years; AdCert – 1 year

Start date: September

Contact

Ms Andrea MacLeod
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8442
Email: a.g.macleod@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator, Syma Mumtaz
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 7486
Email: s.mumtaz.1@bham.ac.uk

Approved by the British Psychological Society Learning Centre for the purposes of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Details

The programme aims to provide you with the knowledge of the autism spectrum disorder, including Asperger syndrome, based on theory, research and practice. As a result, you are then able to interpret that knowledge for the support and education of adults with autism throughout the range of ability and in different settings. You will also develop skills in identifying and meeting the needs of adults with autism, and to improve your awareness of different approaches and models of service delivery. It gives a broad coverage, encouraging students to think for themselves and use their professional skills to select and research topics of relevance to their own situation. 

The Autism (Adults) programme is offered by distance learning. You will have a personal tutor in a regional or online tutor group, with study supported through study packs, tutorial groups, telephone, email and the online virtual learning environment network, encouraging you to develop through shared experience. Internet access is required for the programme. There are two University-based study weekends in the first year. (Find out more in the Learning and Teaching section).

The following awards are offered for this programme.

  • AdCert (Level H) Three core modules
  • PGCert (Level M) Three core modules
  • BPhil (Level H) Three core modules plus one optional module and a 10,000 word dissertation
  • PGDip (Level M) Three core modules plus three optional modules
  • MEd (Level M) Three core modules plus two optional modules, PIE and a 15,000 word dissertation

The entry level will depend on your academic qualifications as well as professional experience. Learn more about the structure of the pathways for progression on the programmes (A Single module is worth 20 credits).

pdficonsmallDownload a summary flyer for the Autism (Adults) flyer (PDF, 92.7KB) 

We also run two more autism programmes which may interest you:

Modules

Autism Adults: Understanding and Working with the Continuum of Need (Core module)

Module Codes

Level H: 11 11532
Level M: 11 05716

This is the first module for the Autism (Adults) programme of studies. Study time will vary from one student to another but it is designed to take 200 hours of student time, including tutorials and work on the assignments.

Aims

  • To give knowledge of the diverse and common needs of individuals on the autism spectrum, based on current research and theoretical understandings and to enable students to understand the implications of this for the support and further education of adults on the autism spectrum throughout the ability range and in a range of different settings.
  • To develop observational, assessment and recording techniques and effective strategies for developing communication, social interaction and flexibility in thinking and behaviour
  • To understand the causes of so-called 'challenging' behaviour in adults on the autism spectrum and the ways in which difficult behaviour can be minimised through effective support and adaptations.

The seven units in this Module are: 

  1. Diversity within the Autism Spectrum 
  2. Communication and Language 
  3. Social and Emotional Understanding 
  4. Flexibility in Thinking and Behaviour 
  5. Sensory Perceptual Issues 
  6. Challenging Behaviour 
  7. Collaborative working and the Participation of Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Assessment

You will get the opportunity to do a short (around 400 words) practice assignment early on in the module, which is marked for feedback only and forms the basis of your first assignment. This enables you to check your grasp of academic writing and procedures, such as referencing. The assignments are chosen from a list of titles, which change from year to year, to enable you to choose a topic of relevance to your own situation. In addition, you may negotiate a title at the appropriate level with the University tutors.

Level H: Essay Length: 3,000 words
Level M: Essay Length: 4,000 words

Autism Adults: Intervention, Support and Education (Core module)

Module Codes

Level H: 11 19701
Level M: 11 19702

This is the second module of the Autism (Adults) programme and cannot be taken unless the student has already taken the module 'Autism Adults: Understanding and Working with the Continuum of Need' module. The module aims to give you knowledge of models of best practice for supporting and enabling adults on the autism spectrum. Study time will vary from one student to another but it is designed to take 200 hours of student time, including tutorials and work on the assignments.

Aims

  • to provide knowledge of approaches to the support, education and empowerment of adults on the autism spectrum that address fundamental needs, based on current research and theoretical understandings.
  • to explore the way models of support for adults on the autism spectrum can identify and respond to these needs through the provision of appropriate educational and support programmes in a variety of settings.

The module contains seven units

  1. Promoting social, emotional and physical well-being
  2. Current approaches to adults on the autism spectrum.
  3. Observation, Assessment, Recording and Evaluation 
  4. Information and Communication Technology
  5. The Development of an Autism Culture
  6. Life Skills
  7. Vocational Programmes

Assessment

In order to demonstrate their learning in this module students select an assignment from a range of titles reflecting the content of the module or you may negotiate a title with the University tutor.

Level H: Essay Length: 3,000 words
Level M: Essay Length: 4,000 words

A Special Studies (project) Module (Core module)

An independent investigation on a topic relating to the support or education of adults with autism, allowing students to
develop their investigative skills and reflect on their own practice.

Assessment

AdCert (Level H): Single project module of 3,000 words 

PGCert (Level M): Single project module of 4,000 words

BPhil (Level H): You can do a single or a double project module, which is an assignment of 3,000 or 6,000 words respectively. 

PGDip (Level M): You can do a single or double project module, which is an assignment of 4,000 or 8,000 words respectively.  

MEd (Level M): You can do a single or double project module, which is an assignment of 4,000 or 8,000 words. 

What follows these modules in autism (adults)?

For those students studying at Level H for an Advanced Certificate in Education (Autism: Adults) if you have achieved good passes in your first two assignments, you can opt to progress on to the BPhil programme.

For those students studying at Level H for a BPhil (Autism: Adults) If you do a single project for your core module, then you can choose to do your fourth subject module in either Challenging Behaviour and the Autism Spectrum, or an option from outside the Autism Programmes. You will then write a dissertation of 10,000 words on a topic discussed with your regional tutor.

For those students studying at Level M for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Autism: Adults), if you have achieved good passes in your first two assignments, you can opt to progress on to the MEd/PGDip programme.

For those students studying at Level M for a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Autism: Adults) you can then choose two or three other subject modules from another programme of study at the University to complete the 6 module requirement for the Diploma.

For those students studying at Level M for a Masters degree in Autism, you can then choose one or two other subject modules from another programme of study at the University, plus the research module PIE, to complete the 6 module requirement for the MEd, before your dissertation. The research module (PIE) prepares you for your dissertation of 15,000 words on a topic discussed with your regional tutor.

Fees and funding

Fees Home/EU 2014-2015

  • Code 2742 AdCert £2,968
  • Code 2790 BPhil £2,968 each year 
  • Code 2822 PGCert £2,930
  • Code 2853 PGDip £2,930 each year 
  • Code 2905 MEd £2,930 first year; £2,930 second year; £2,280 third year. 

Fees for distance learning programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year. 

The fees shown above are also annual fees for students starting their courses September in 2014. Please note that where courses last more than one year, the annual fees for subsequent years on the course may increase due to inflation.

Fees Overseas 2014-2015

Code 2742 AdCert £6,282.50
Code 2790 BPhil £3,142 each year
Code 2822 PGCert £4,555
Code 2853 PGDip £4,555 first year; £4,400 second year
Code 2905 MEd £4,555 first year; £4,400 second year; £4,250 third year.

Fees for distance learning programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year. 

The fees shown above are also annual fees for students starting their courses September in 2014. Please note that where courses last more than one year, the annual fees for subsequent years on the course may increase due to inflation.

Learn more about fees and funding

Funding for part-time students

From September 2012, the UK Government will provide non-means tested loans to cover the full cost of part-time tuition for all eligible English resident or non UK EU undergraduates. Find out more about the funding for part-time students.

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More details may be found on the international scholarships page

For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.  

Entry requirements

Please refer directly to the School of Education entry requirements web page. 

International students

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Contact

Ms Andrea MacLeod
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8442
Email: a.g.macleod@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator, Syma Mumtaz
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 7486
Email: s.mumtaz.1@bham.ac.uk

Approved by the British Psychological Society Learning Centre for the purposes of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Learning and teaching

Students can study this distance learning programme on a part-time basis from anywhere in the UK or internationally (if they have access to the Internet). By studying at a distance, you remain in your work setting and can therefore tailor the programme to meet your professional needs or your particular interests and experiences.Learning and teaching take place through:

Self-study materials

Self-study materials in the form of booklets are sent to students and other online resources are available within the virtual learning environment (VLE) and the e-library which has an extensive collection of online journals and ebooks. The VLE is designed to enhance your studies, giving you immediate access to resources and documents including interview footage with prominent autistic authors and researchers. It is designed to be viewed alongside your reading to help you translate theoretical ideas into actual practice. The VLE also offers you an important opportunity to make contact with students, not only in your own tutor group but across the Autism programmes, through bulletin boards and online chats.

The programme is structured as Modules and divided into Units. Each Module has overall aims and outcomes and the specific aims and outcomes of the Units contribute to achieving these. By keeping the aims and outcomes in mind as you study, you will be able to check your own development and make sure that you are 'on target'. The core reading materials are designed to provide a comprehensive overview of theory and practice in relation to adults on the autism spectrum. Depending on your work setting, previous experience, and your personal goals in pursuing this study, you may choose to either work methodically through all of the materials, or to select parts that are relevant to your particular area of interest. Some students wish to develop a broad spectrum of knowledge and have never studied autism before; others join the course with an existing knowledge base and wish to use the course to develop one particular area of interest through their study. You will know best how best to utilise the study materials to suit your own personal study needs. In addition to the programme booklets, you are expected to read a range of other books and journal articles, especially at Masters level.

Regional or online tutorials

Regional tutors or online tutorials with a tutor and small group of other students support students in their learning. At the tutorials students discuss course materials, plan assignments and share their experiences of practice in the field of autism. The tutorials are a compulsory part of the course and must be attended.

Residential weekends

Study weekends at the University of Birmingham are arranged for September and March/April. The next study weekend will be 19th - 21st September 2014 Attendance is required in the first year of study and if attendance is missed for other than medical reasons, the University tutor will negotiate another activity with the student. Study weekends operate from Friday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime. In the second year, students may be attending other study weekends but will also be invited to attend the second autism study weekend. The first residential school acts as an induction to the course. It introduces many of the ideas in the course and prepares students for the particular approaches to study. The second weekend offers a mix of lectures and workshops. In both weekends, it is a chance to visit the University, buy relevant books, mix with students and tutors and meet people on the autism spectrum who are able to articulate what their autism means to them.

Assessment

Learning is assessed through a written assignment at the end of each module. The assignments for the first three modules on the programme are essays, addressing an issue that is of practical and intellectual significance to the student. Students are expected to draw on the literature and their own experience to support their arguments. The third assignment in the first year is a project module in which the student undertakes and writes up a piece of reflective practice. These first three modules form the 'core' and are compulsory for an award to be made in Autism (Adults).

The modules are sequential; information in Module 2 building on the prior unit. In the second year, students may stay within the autism field by taking a double project (which is all that is needed at Level H for a BPhil, followed by the dissertation of 10,000 words). Masters students may also do a double project module, but in addition they need to do one or two other subject modules, which may be the second module from the Autism (Children) programme of study or a module on Challenging Behaviour and Autism, for example. MEd students then take the research module (PIE) followed by a 15,000 word dissertation.

Students who successfully complete three modules at Level H are awarded the Advanced Certificate in Autism (Adults) or are permitted to proceed to BPhil. Students who successfully complete three modules at Level M are awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Autism (Adults) or are permitted to proceed to a Postgraduate Diploma or MEd.

Related research

Contact

Ms Andrea MacLeod
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8442
Email: a.g.macleod@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator, Syma Mumtaz
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 7486
Email: s.mumtaz.1@bham.ac.uk

Approved by the British Psychological Society Learning Centre for the purposes of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Related staff

Employability

All of our Autism (Adults) courses fall under the umbrella of Continuing Professional Development. They are regarded as evidence of professional specialism for practitioners working in the field, in whatever sector. Anecdotally we know from feedback that many of our students gain promoted posts or other means of formal recognition as a direct result of their Autism (Adults) qualification.

Testimonies from Former Students

“As a result of taking the course I am to be manager of a new 6 bed home for people with learning disabilities and autism and my recommendations are being used in design and interior of the house.”

“My job role is to train staff to work with people on the autism spectrum. My studies have increased my own knowledge and understanding and impacted on the training I deliver.”

“The course has introduced me to a vast range of important information and opportunities to develop my professional role. I feel I have a greater knowledge of autism and an awareness of how much I don’t know! It’s been inspiring.”

Contact

Ms Andrea MacLeod
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8442
Email: a.g.macleod@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator, Syma Mumtaz
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 7486
Email: s.mumtaz.1@bham.ac.uk

Approved by the British Psychological Society Learning Centre for the purposes of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).