Special Education: Autism (Children)


Start date
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Distance learning

£3,420 (UK)
£9,510 AdCert (International)
£6,480 PGCert/MEd (International)
More Fees and funding details.

Our Special Education: Autism (Children) course is part-time and delivered online, so that you can study from home alongside your other commitments. We have a proud history of using technology to deliver interactive learning in the most accessible ways to our students, across the UK and worldwide.

This distance learning course will develop real insight and will encourage reflective practice. It is a part-time course designed for professionals working with children and young people on the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome. The Special Education: Autism (Children) course is appropriate for those working in early years provision, schools, residential care, advisory, support or therapeutic services. 


Your academic credits and qualifications can be used as a springboard to further study and contribute towards LDAF and NVQ. 

The entry level to the Autism (Children) course will depend on your academic qualifications as well as professional experience. If you don't already hold a recognised degree, the appropriate level for entry will be the undergraduate level. However, you will have the opportunity to progress through to postgraduate level.      


The Level H Advanced Certificate (AdCert) is the equivalent to the third year of Undergraduate Study. It is for those with certificates and diplomas eg: HND, NVQ level 4/5, Foundation degree. It lasts 12 months part-time and consists of 3 modules (Total of 60 credits). 


The Level M Postgraduate Certficate (PGCert) is a postgraduate award and it is available for those who have an honours degree (or equivalent). It lasts 12 months and consists of 3 modules (Total of 60 credits).


The Level M Masters of Education (MEd) is a postgraduate award and it is available for those who have an honours degree (or equivalent). The MEd is taken over 3 years part-time. It consists of 3 modules, plus 2 optional modules plus a dissertation (Total of 180 credits).

We also offer a number of other programmes across a range of SEN and Inclusion that may be relevant to your needs. 

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Compulsory modules

  • Special Educational Needs of Children with Autism 
  • Curriculum and Approaches for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders 
  • Special Studies in Special Education and Educational Psychology 
  • Practitioner Inquiry in Education (MEd only)
  • Dissertation (MEd only)

Optional modules

  • Intervention, Support and Education or
  • SLD/PMLD: Developing Innovations
  • Inclusion of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  • Challenging Behaviour and Autistic Spectrum Disorders 

Other optional modules may also be available.


Fees 2021 - 2022


  • Code 2744 AdCert £3,420
  • Code 2824 PGCert £3,420
  • Code 2907 MEd £3,420


  • Code 2744 AdCert £9,510
  • Code 2824 PGCert £6,480
  • Code 2907 MEd £6,480

Fees are based on students studying 60 credits per year. 

The fees shown above are the first year fees for students starting their courses September in 2021. From September 2020 the fees are fixed at this price for each year of study for the duration of the programme.

Learn more about fees and funding

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

Scholarships and Loans

You may be eligible for a postgraduate loan which provides up to £11,222 for courses starting on or after 1 August 2020 for taught and research Masters courses in most subject areas. This includes Distance Learning. 

Other scholarships may be available, please view the  Scholarships webpage in the School of Education. 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 visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via  online enquiries. 

How To Apply

1 July 2021 is the application deadline for international students applying through the student route who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2021 made after this date. The deadline for Home students is 31 August 2021.

Please ensure you know the specific course code before applying (see under 'fees' for a list of all the codes).

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

Our Standard Requirements

  • MEd: a 2.1 degree and relevant experience
  • PGCert: a 2.1 degree and relevant experience
  • AdCert: Usually a 3rd degree or above or relevant qualification and relevant experience 

Speakers of English as a second language will be required to hold an IELTs 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each band or equivalent qualification.

English language support - during your studies

BIA provides free English language services to international students who are currently studying on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at the University of Birmingham. Services include Open-access English classes, online self-assessment, online materials through CANVAS, email answers to quick questions and individual one to one tutorials. For a small fee, BIA also offers classes for partners of international postgraduate students and staff, social events including day trips and HOST visits.  

International Requirements

On the Special Education: Autism (Children) course, you can study it from anywhere in the UK or internationally (if you 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 on the course 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. Learning and teaching take place through: 

Self-study materials

Self-study materials are available online using the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The course 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, you will be expected to read a range of other books and journal articles.

Regional Tutorials

You will have a regional or online tutor group and attend face to face or online tutorials twice a term. The tutorials with a tutor and other students are to support you in their learning. At the tutorials you will discuss course materials, plan assignments and share your experiences of practice in the field. Attendance at the tutorials is essential so that you learn from each other by listening and contributing. 

Find out more about the tutors

Study Weekends

These weekends, in September and April at the University of Birmingham, are essential in the first year of study. The first study weekend acts as an introduction to the course in a series of lectures. It introduces many of the ideas in the course and prepares you 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.

Learning Assessment

Learning is assessed through a written assignment at the end of each module. The assignments for the first two modules on the course are essays, addressing an issue that is of practical and intellectual significance to the student. You will be expected to draw on the literature and your own experience to support your arguments. The third assignment in the first year is a project module where you will undertake 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, you may stay within the autism field by taking a double project. Masters students may also do a double project module, but in addition they will need to do one or two other subject modules, which may be the second module from the Special Education: Autism (Adults) programme, or a module on Challenging Behaviour and Autism, or a module on Inclusive practice. Masters students will 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. Students who successfully complete three modules at Level M are awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Special Education: Autism (children) at the end of the first year or can continue to study for a Masters degree (two more years minimum).

The aims of the Special Education: Autism (Children) programme are to give you 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 your 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. 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.

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