Autism Spectrum Disorders

University Certificate

Start date
UCert: 1 year, part-time
Course Type
Continuing professional development, Distance learning

£2,500 (UK)
£9,510 (International)
More Fees and funding details.

Max, describes his experience of studying on the Autism Spectrum Course

The online Autism Spectrum Disorders course is for practitioners who support children and adults on the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome.

The Autism Spectrum Disorders course will not be running in 2022 but details of some exciting new courses will appear soon

This distance learning Autism Spectrum Disorders course is an entry level professional development qualification completed over a year of part-time study, earning 60 credits at Level C (equivalent to the first six months of an undergraduate degree). It will provide you with a broad understanding of the autism spectrum, an introduction to the latest research and an insight into current practice. You will be able to draw upon recognised strategies for meeting the needs of individuals with autism in a variety of settings such as in the home, classroom, college, or supported living environments.

Learning support assistants, support staff and parents will find this distance learning programme particularly helpful. Academic credits and qualifications from the webautism programme can be used as a springboard to further study. 

  • The University of Birmingham is a leading provider of degree-level education in autistic spectrum disorders in the UK.
  • Our Autism Spectrum course develops real insight and encourages reflective practice. You will be tutored by recognized experts in the field of autism inclusion who work in the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER).
  • You will have access to an extensive library and research materials as well as benefiting from other activities such as online seminars. 

The Autism Spectrum Dosorders course has been approved by the British Psychological Society for the purpose of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The british psychological society approved logo




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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

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Module 1: Understanding and responding to the autistic spectrum disorders

Code 14115
Credits: 20

This module will explore what it means to have an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). It will reflect upon how the world might be perceived by the person with ASD. You will be encouraged to examine your own practice and look at ways in which you can meet the specific needs of the person with ASD with whom you work. The module will identify and explore the specific restriction in communication, socialisation and rigidity of thought of a person with ASD and will discuss implications for meeting those needs. It will encourage you to reflect on how the person with ASD best learns within the framework of using the strengths of the individual to manage weaknesses. It will comprise three units with eight sections each.

Module 2: Working with individuals with autistic spectrum disorders

Code: 14117
Credits: 20

The module will introduce you to key approaches in the education of people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and will critically evaluate these. It will examine the importance of partnership with parents and families and will explore the meaning of multidisciplinary/collaborative practice. You will be encouraged to look at how you can create conditions that enable people with ASD to predict their world with a degree of confidence. This includes ways of approaching challenging behaviour. You will also be presented with practical approaches to challenging behaviour and current observation, assessment and recording techniques will be described. You will be introduced to the skills involved in developing and implementing effective teaching and care programmes including the development of behaviour management programmes.

Module 3: Models for Practice when working with people with autistic spectrum disorders

Code: 14116
Credits: 20

You will be encouraged to look at the wider world in which people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) live. The module will cover an overview of the care and lifelong education of people with ASD and it will examine the background to the development of services for people with ASD. This will include understanding the context of the inclusive society. The module will discuss and reflect on the implications of new legislation and inclusion to the design and organisation of service provision in both child and adult services. You will be encouraged to reflect on these issues in relation to your own place of work.


Fees 2021 - 2022


  • Code 5681 UCert £2,500


  • Code 5681 UCert £9,510

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.

For further information contact the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

How To Apply

Applicants for this course will not be required to come to the university for an interview.

Please ensure that:

  • you provide details of any school/college/university qualifications that you have;
  • your referees provide completed reference statements
  • you provide any other supporting documentation as soon as possible. 

The deadline for receipt of applications is July/August each year. However, we do tend to get full quickly, so we would recommend that you apply early to avoid disappointment. 

Our Standard Requirements

  • We normally expect a minimum of one year’s current experience of working or supporting someone on the autism spectrum.
  • Access to an online multimedia computer and a personal email is essential (at home, or an out-of-hours workplace).

Learn more about entry requirements

International Requirements

International Students

English Language requirements 

In order to undertake a programme of study here at the University, you will need to demonstrate that you have a good level of written and spoken English and you may be asked to provide qualifications (less than two years old). You can demonstrate your level of English with IELTS/TOEFL/PTE or alternative qualifications.

The part-time Autism Spectrum Disorders course is unique in that it weaves the interactive power of the Internet with audio and video material. This doesn’t just make learning more engaging, it makes it more accessible too.

By studying online at a distance, you will be able to tailor your studies to meet your professional and/or personal needs. There are many benefits to using electronic resources for distance learning programmes. It enables you to be in touch with a variety of students in all sorts of places, cheaply and efficiently as well as giving you access to a vast range of resources for learning. 

The course has been carefully designed to enable you to learn in a variety of ways. These include viewing video, discussion practice with your fellow students, accessing online course materials, reading printed material to name but a few. This programme offers real flexibility that allows you to study around your work and family.

To help you through the course, you’ll also be allocated an online tutor. You will have regular online tutorials in small groups and also individual support from your tutor via email and/or phone.

Find out more about the tutors

In this video, Charlotte talks about her experience on the Autism Spectrum course - why she joined and what it is like being a distance learning student.

What course materials will I receive?

Each module includes its own selection of online course materials – including audiovisual clips and essential reading material. All of your reading material is provided through our e-library. The materials combine to form what we call ‘Blended Learning’. You’ll work your way through the online course materials referring at times to essential reading and the audio visual (AV) clips. As well as the online content, you’ll have access to online discussion forums (bulletin boards). Here you can interact with your tutor and the students in your tutor group, with all the other students on the programme, or with us here at the University.

How much studying will I have to do?

We would normally recommend that you spend about nine hours a week studying. That’s three hours online, and six hours self-study (background reading, note taking, tutorial time, etc). However, because the Webautism course is so flexible, you’re free to work around your other commitments. There are also timetabled elements to the course, where we expect you to participate regularly and meet certain deadlines – but don’t worry, we’ll give you clear instructions.

I know the course is web-based, but how ‘techie’ do I have to be?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a computer whizz to use our web-based content and activities. Everything is written for ordinary people. And where we do have to use the odd techie word, we’ll put a clear explanation of what we mean right next to it. Here are the kinds of things that we’re looking for:

  • You know how to use a computer 
  • You can find information on the web 
  • You can use your web browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari,etc) 
  • You can send and receive emails 
  • You can download and install software from the web

What technical equipment do I need?

We don’t expect users to have the latest, greatest computers and blistering-fast, high-speed broadband Internet connections. However, once again, there are a few things we’d like you to have:

  • You need to have Administrator access to a computer. Or, in other words, you’re able to download and install software, make changes to your web browser, etc. 
  • A fairly modern computer running Windows 2000 or later (or a comparable Mac or Linux operating system), and with web browsing software. 
  • Broadband Internet connection.

How is the programme structured?

The programme runs from September to September.

Module 1: September – January
Module 2: January – April
Module 3: May – September

Each module is divided into three units, with each unit further divided into six sections. Each section usually consists of elements such as an introduction, audio or video clip, a ‘pause for thought’, a presentation and a summary.

How will I be assessed?

You’ll complete a portfolio of work at the end of each module. Each portfolio consists of an assignment with three parts; a 1,500 word short essay based on course material, a 1,500 word individual study showing evidence of caring or work-based practice and a 500 word synopsis (summary) of web-based discussions. 

Could I take my studies in autism higher?

There is no automatic progression route but the University of Birmingham offers a range of programmes in autism and other related fields , and many of our students do progress onto higher level study. 

I live in the UK but I’m a non-UK national, can I claim ‘Home’ student fees?

The University adheres to Government legislation when making fee status classifications, so all students are treated equally and according to this legislation. For further information, please see the UKCISA website (UK Council for International Student Affairs), For guidance regarding fee status classifications, please see the UKCISA ‘Will I Pay the Home or Overseas Rate’ 

The programme is primarily developed for practitioners and carers who do not already have qualifications at this level but who are already working in the field or caring for someone on the autism spectrum.

Students have taken on a variety of new roles as a result of their study of the programme. These roles have included becoming higher level teaching assistants, taking on autism specific roles in outreach teams, becoming the lead person for autism within their services or provision or taking on wider training roles in the field.

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