MEd/PgDip/PgCert Autism

Why this course?

Our multi-professional programme in autism is the first of its type in Scotland. The course is available on a full-time, part-time and distance learning basis and is open to:

  • teachers
  • medical and healthcare staff
  • educational psychologists
  • speech and language therapists
  • residential, community care or social work staff
  • voluntary sector personnel

The course aims to promote effective practice and develop empathy and understanding of the needs of individuals with autism and their families and carers.

Applications from parents, family members and individuals on the spectrum are welcome.

You’ll study

On the Certificate programme you’ll study three compulsory modules.

At the Diploma stage you’ll take one further compulsory module, along with two options modules. These two option modules are offered based on those selected for that academic year.

If you’re interested in continuing to Masters level, you’ll undertake the compulsory Research Methods module followed by an individually supervised research project.

Research projects

MEd research projects can be undertaken within your place of employment, nationally or internationally. You’ll be supported in your projects through University links within a range of organisations, such as Autism Initiatives and Scottish Autism.

The National Centre for Autism Studies

The centre has been responsible for a number of key policy and research outputs aimed at improving autism practice throughout Scotland. You’ll have access to these projects which include:

  • A National Training Framework for Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Dunlop, A-W & MacKay, T. A. W. N. (2004)
  • The Autism Toolbox: An Autism Resource for Scottish Schools, Dunlop, A-W., Tait, C., Leask, A.; Glashan, L., Robinson, A. & Marwick, H. (2009)
  • Policy into Practice: Accreditation Project Report. A Collaborative Autism Education & Training Project Supporting the Development of ASD Accreditation Standards for Trainers and Developing personal accreditation routes for ASD training participants, Dunlop, A-W., Tait, C. & Robinson, A. (2009)

Guest lecturers

We work with leading autism professionals to provide expert input throughout the modules.

Visiting lecturers include Professor Tommy MacKay who is a practising Educational Psychologist. In addition, Dr Mike McCreadie has a visiting role in the Pg Diploma module. He’s Consultant Clinical Director of Studio III and Lead ATLASS Trainer and his area of specialism is stress management in Autism.

Course content

Compulsory classes

Postgraduate Certificate & Postgraduate Diploma

Conceptual Frameworks in Autism
This class will introduce key conceptual frameworks in relation to understanding the impact of the spectrum of autism. Focus will be given to the uniquely differing social, emotional, sensory and cognitive profiles for those with an ASD. Understanding these conceptual frameworks will enable participants to reflect on how and why these influence and inform practice.
The Spectrum of Autism

You'll consider the issues that impact on practice when supporting individuals with an ASD with and without an additional intellectual or learning disability.  

Responding to the Impact of Autism: Approaches and Interventions
You'll consider the broad range of approaches to intervention, their application and theoretical basis and practical stance. A range of approaches will be systematically reviewed in relation to key features of their application, functional focus of the approach, the personal or interpersonal focus of the approach and the social context of the approach.

Postgraduate Diploma

Emotional Wellbeing
This class is concerned with both theoretical and practical issues of understanding and responding to the emotional needs and resulting distress that having an ASD can cause and the stress it places on the individual.

Elective classes

Postgraduate Diploma

Becoming a Trainer
This class is concerned with both theoretical and practical issues of understanding the importance of raising standards in ASD training and the impact this can have for the individual with ASD, their carers and the service provider.
Counselling Skills in Autism
This class provides an opportunity for those working in the field of ASD to develop their understanding and awareness of the relevance of counselling skills to their work with parents and carers and people on the autism spectrum. In addition it seeks to provide opportunities for participants to develop their individual competence in offering active listening skills to others, pre-therapy skills and counselling skills.

Learning & teaching

The course is available on a full-time, part-time and distance learning basis.

Campus-based modules are taught one evening each week during term time.

Online learning involves attendance at an induction day after which learning is web-based.


The nature of assessment is in accordance with the learning outcomes for each specific module. This typically takes the form of a 4,000-word essay or equivalent submission.

Entry requirements

  • undergraduate degree in a related discipline, or equivalent qualification and direct experience of living or working with individuals on the autism spectrum
  • experience is essential as students must demonstrate theory to practice links
  • there is the potential for accreditation of prior experience; to discuss this route please contact the course leader
  • applicants without a degree/significant professional experience may apply for the non-graduating MEd. Please contact the course leader for further information on the requirements of the non-graduating structure
  • applicants should upload an ASD statement to the application with their experience of working and/or living with people with ASD

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 6.0) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Visa and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.



  • MEd: £3,600
  • PgDip: £2,400
  • PgCert: £1,200

Each 20-credit course costs £400 (2016/17)

Rest of UK


  • MEd: £3,600
  • PgDip: £2,400
  • PgCert: £1,200

Each 20-credit course costs £400 (2016/17)



  • MEd: £11,000
  • PgDip: £7,200
  • PgCert: £3,600

Each 20-credit course costs £1,200 (2016/17)

Part-time fees

Fees for this programme can be paid each year of study and split into instalments. For example:

Year 1

  • Deposit - £300 – payable prior to registration
  • 1st instalment - £100 – on or before date of registration
  • 2nd installment - £400 – on or before due date
  • 3rd installment - £400 – on or before due date
Year 2*
  • 1st instalment - £400
  • 2nd instalment - £400
  • 3rd instalment - £400

Year 3*

  • 1st instalment - £400
  • 2nd instalment - £400
  • 3rd instalment - £400

*If you have secured partial funding for the programme, this will be deducted and instalment amounts will be calculated for the remaining balance.

Find out more information about payments. 

How can I fund my course?

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £3,000 for entry onto a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English/EU students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs. Students resident in the EU may also apply.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


As a graduate, you’ll be able to take an educated understanding of autism into your profession. This course exists to provide professional development to teachers, carers and professionals working with or aiming to work with individuals affected by autism. 

Where are they now?

Here’s some roles our graduates are working in:

Job titles include:*

  • Deputy Head Teacher
  • Family Support Worker
  • Primary School Teacher
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Specialist Support Leader
  • Unit Manager

Employers include:

  • Local authorities
  • Autism Initiatives
  • Riverside Childcare
  • South Lanarkshire Council

*Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey.



Qualification: , Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Autism by Distance Learning

Qualification: PG Diploma, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

Autism by Distance Learning

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: distance learning, part-time

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