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

These Autism (Children) programmes, approved by the British Psychological Society (BPS) Continuing Professional Development scheme, are designed for professionals working with children and young people on the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome. They are appropriate for those working in early years provision, schools, residential care, advisory, support or therapeutic services. They draw on the student’s own experience as part of the content and assessment. The courses are offered as either campus taught courses on a full- or part-time basis, or as a part-time course via distance learning. 

Course fact file

Type of Course: Continuing professional development, distance learning, taught

Study Options: Distance learning, full time, part time

Duration: MEd – 1 year full time, 3 years part time/distance learning; PGDip – 1 year full time, 2 years parttime/distance learning; PGCert 1 year part time/distance learning; BPhil – 1 year full time, 2 years part time/distance learning; AdCert – 1 year full time/part time/distance learning

Start date: September

Contact

Distance learning programmes

Dr Karen Guldberg
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3470
Email: k.k.guldberg@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator 
Jessica Oakes 
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6982
Email: autismchildren@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Campus programmes

Dr Kerstin Wittemeyer 
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8148
Email: k.wittemeyer@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator 
Syma Mumtaz
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7486
Email: autismcampus@contacts.bham.ac.uk

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

Details

Student Joanna Hulzenga from Canada talks about her experience of the Autism (Children) programme

The University of Birmingham is the leading provider of degree-level education in autistic spectrum disorders in the UK - offering Continuing Professional Development (CPD) 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.

The Autism (Children) programme is offered as a distance learning programme and as a taught programme on the University of Birmingham campus on a full or part-time basis. Three compulsory modules are studied in the first year and they lead to the award of AdCert (Level H)or PGCert (Level M). For students wishing to gain a PGDip, three more modules from autism or from another field of study are studied in the second year. For students wishing to gain a BPhil or MEd, further modules in autism and/or other fields are studied and a dissertation submitted. The dissertation must be in the area of autism.

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.

You may be interested in our other autism courses. These are both distance learning courses.

There are also other programmes which incorporate modules on autism such as: 

Modules

Module 1: Special Educational Needs of Children with Autism

Campus Code: 21421 (Level H) 21427 (Level M)
Distance Education Code: 11475 (Level H) 05542 (Level M)

This module aims to increase the understanding of the autism spectrum for practitioners (eg teachers, psychologists, speech and language therapists, social workers, nurses and parents), who are currently working or living with children on the autism spectrum, in whatever setting. Study time will vary from one student to another but it is designed to take 200 hours of student time, including tutorials, reading and work on the assignment.

Aims 

  • To increase knowledge and understanding of the autism spectrum 
  • To consider the relationship between diagnosis and education / treatment and to understand some of the individual special needs of children on the autism spectrum 
  • To have knowledge of the range of provision and support needed for the children and their families. 
  • To increase understanding of why the behaviour of those on the autism spectrum may challenge others, and to develop strategies for understanding, preventing and managing this

The distance education module consists of 6 Units: 

  1. Understanding the autism spectrum 
  2. Social and emotional understanding 
  3. Communication and language 
  4. Flexibility of thinking and behaviour
  5. Sensory perceptual issues 
  6. Challenging behaviour 

The campus-based version of the module is comprised of 11 sessions that also cover all of these areas.

Assessment

Students get the opportunity to do a section of an assignment as practice, early on in this first module, which is read for feedback only by your personal or regional tutor and forms the basis of the first assignment. This enables you to check your grasp of academic writing and the procedures followed by the University of Birmingham, such as referencing.

The assignment is 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. Students can negotiate a title at the appropriate level with the University tutors if they do not feel there is a title which is relevant to their situation.

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

Module 2: Curriculum and Approaches for Children with Autism

Campus Code: 21414 (Level H) 21402 (Level M) 20 credits
Distance Education Code: 11470 (Level H) 05505 (Level M)

This module aims to develop awareness of educational interventions for children on the autism spectrum and to explore how decisions might be made as to which to use. Issues in conducting evaluations of the effectiveness of interventions will be examined together with the current research evidence on some of the most frequently used interventions. It is intended for practitioners who have completed the first module in autism 'Special Educational Needs of Children with Autism' and who are practitioners or parents (eg teachers, psychologists, speech and language therapists, social workers, occupational therapists or nurses), working with children with on the autism spectrum, in whatever setting. Study time will vary from one student to another but it is designed to take 200 hours of student time, including tutorials, reading and work on the assignments.

Aims 

  • To give students ways of assessing, evaluating and recording children’s skills and behaviour and evaluating practice
  • To critically examine a variety of educational approaches in relation to children on the autism spectrum
  • To examine ways of developing language, communication, and social and emotional understanding in children on the autism spectrum
  • To examine some of the problems and possibilities in the transition from childhood to adulthood.

The distance education module comprises of 6 Units: 

  1. Educational approaches for children on the autism spectrum 
  2. Assessment, Evaluation and Recording 
  3. Providing a Broad and Relevant Curriculum 
  4. Parent Partnership: Supporting the parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum
  5. Preparing for adulthood: Curriculum for Life
  6. Technology Enhanced Learning

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

 

What Next?  

Following completion of the two autism modules your choice depends which level and which award you want to obtain. The projects for all levels should be a reflection or evaluation on an aspect of your practice, the focus and title of which will be negotiated with your regional tutor. 

For those students studying at Level H for an Advanced Certificate in Education (Autism) you do a single project module, which is an assignment of 3,000 words.  

For those students studying at Level H for a BPhil (Autism), you can do a single or a double project module, which is an assignment of 3000 or 6,000 words respectively. If you write a single project, you can choose another subject module from within the autism programme or from a different area of special needs. You will discuss which modules are available nearer the time with the tutor. You will then write a dissertation of 10,000 words on a topic discussed with your personal or regional tutor. 

For those students studying at Level M for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Autism) you do a single project module, which is an assignment of 4,000 words. 

For those students studying at Level M for a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Autism) you can do a single or a double project module, which is an assignment of 4000 or 8,000 words respectively. You can then choose two or three other subject modules from within the Autism programme and/or 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 may do a single or a double project module, which is an assignment of 4,000 or 8,000 words respectively. You will then study one or two other modules from the autism programme or from a different programme of study. Following this, you need to do the research module (PIE), which prepares you for your dissertation. On completion of PIE, you will then write a dissertation of 15,000 words on a topic discussed with your personal or regional tutor.

Fees and funding

Fees Home/EU 2015-2016 

Campus Based programmes

  • Code 2743 AdCert part time £2,100
  • Code 2791 BPhil full time £4,200
  • Code 2792 BPhil part time £2,100
  • Code 2823 PGCert £2,070
  • Code 2854 PGDip full time £4,140
  • Code 3640 PGDip part time £2,070
  • Code 2904 MEd full time £6,210
  • Code 5964 MEd part time £2,070

Distance Education Programmes 

  • Code 2744 AdCert £3,090
  • Code 2793 BPhil £3,090
  • Code 2824 PGCert £3,060
  • Code 2855 PGDip £3,060
  • Code 2907 MEd £3,060

Fees for distance learning and part-time programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year. 

The fees shown above are the annual fees for students starting their courses September in 2015. 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 2015-2016

Campus Based programmes

  • Code 2743 AdCert part time £6,597.50
  • Code 2791 BPhil full time £13,195
  • Code 2792 BPhil part time £6,597.50
  • Code 2823 PGCert £4,714
  • Code 2854 PGDip full time £9,427
  • Code 3640 PGDip part time £4,714
  • Code 2904 MEd full time £14,140
  • Code 5964 MEd part time £4,714

Distance Education Programmes

  • Code 2744 AdCert £6,597.50
  • Code 2793 BPhil £6,597.50
  • Code 2824 PGCert £4,714
  • Code 2855 PGDip £4,714
  • Code 2907 MEd £4,714

Fees for distance learning/part-time programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year. 

The fees shown above are the annual fees for students starting their courses September in 2015. Please note that where courses last more than one year, the annual fees for subsequent years on the course may increase due to inflation.

Please view our Fees for International Students page for further details

Learn more about fees and funding

Funding for part-time students

The UK Government provides 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 webpage 

International students

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

VISA Requirements

Obtaining a visa can be a lengthly process. Please allow sufficient time to obtain your visa. Find out more on the visa requirements and process

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

Distance learning programmes

Dr Karen Guldberg
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3470
Email: k.k.guldberg@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator 
Jessica Oakes 
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6982
Email: autismchildren@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Campus programmes

Dr Kerstin Wittemeyer 
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8148
Email: k.wittemeyer@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator 
Syma Mumtaz
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7486
Email: autismcampus@contacts.bham.ac.uk

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

Learning and teaching

Meghan from Trinidad and Tobago talks about her time on the campus based programme

Campus based Programme

This programme is offered on a full or part-time basis.

Learning and teaching takes place through:

  • Teaching sessions: There are weekly teaching sessions every Tuesday evening at the University from October to December and from January to March 
  • Tutorials: with the programme of study tutors, either as a group or individually. 
  • Reading books, journals and using electronic resources. 
  • Reflecting on and critically evaluating your everyday practice within your schools and services

Distance Learning Programme

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. All activities and assignments in the programme have a practical as well as a theoretical perspective. We hope you will find that your own experiences with children and young people on the autism spectrum will link with the ideas and activities in the programme. However, as well as being a practitioner, you are also very much a student and will have the resources of a large university to help you on and off campus. Learning and teaching take place through: 

Self-study materials

Self-study materials are in the form of booklets, and resources on a memory stick and on-line using the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The programme materials are written as Units which make up a Module. Each Module has overall aims and outcomes and there are activities (which are not assessed) which you can do to relate the text to your own situation. In addition to the Units, students are expected to read a range of other books and journal articles.

Regional Tutorials

The tutorials with a tutor and other students are to support students in their learning. At the tutorials students discuss course materials, plan assignments and share their experiences of practice in the field. Attendance at tutorials is essential so that you learn from each other by listening and contributing. For international students, and in some exceptional cases in the UK, it may not be possible to find a local tutor group, and students will then be supported by a tutor using email.

Residential Study Weekends

These weekends, in September and April at the University of Birmingham, are essential in the first year of study. The first residential weekend acts as an introduction to the course in a series of lectures. It introduces many of the ideas in the course and prepares students for the particular approaches to study. The second weekend is a mixture 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 autism means to them. Study weekends operate from Friday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime.

The first residential weekend will be on 19-21st September 2014

Learning Assessment

Learning is assessed through a written assignment at the end of each module. The assignments for the first two 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 where 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 (Children). The three modules are sequential; information in Modules 2 and 3 building on the earlier units and the modules must be taken in sequence.

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 (Adults) programme, or a module on Challenging Behaviour and Autism, or a module on Inclusive practice. Masters students then take the research module (PIE) and write a 15,000 word dissertation.

Students who successfully complete three modules at Level H are awarded the Advanced Certificate in Autism (children) at the end of the first year or they can proceed into a second year to complete the BPhil degree. Students who successfully complete three modules at Level M are awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Autism (children) at the end of the first year or can continue to study for the Postgraduate Diploma (one more year) or a Masters degree (two more years minimum).

Related research

Contact

Distance learning programmes

Dr Karen Guldberg
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3470
Email: k.k.guldberg@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator 
Jessica Oakes 
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6982
Email: autismchildren@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Campus programmes

Dr Kerstin Wittemeyer 
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8148
Email: k.wittemeyer@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator 
Syma Mumtaz
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7486
Email: autismcampus@contacts.bham.ac.uk

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

Employability

The aims of the Autism (Children) programme are to give students knowledge of the autism spectrum, based on theory, research and practice. It aims to develop skills in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people and to improve the student’s awareness of different approaches and models of service delivery (particularly in the area of education). Taking the perspective of the individual child or young person on the autism spectrum is paramount, and listening to parents, carers and families on what they need and value is also stressed.

There is the opportunity to work towards a further professional qualification in the field of Education both within schools and in other settings, including progression to a PhD or EdD. The excellent careers advice provided by personal tutors has encouraged many of our graduates to successfully apply for leadership roles working with children with autism. These include: specialist teachers, education advisors, special educational needs coordinators, teaching assistants and youth workers.

Contact

Distance learning programmes

Dr Karen Guldberg
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3470
Email: k.k.guldberg@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator 
Jessica Oakes 
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6982
Email: autismchildren@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Campus programmes

Dr Kerstin Wittemeyer 
Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8148
Email: k.wittemeyer@bham.ac.uk

Programme Administrator 
Syma Mumtaz
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7486
Email: autismcampus@contacts.bham.ac.uk

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