MSc Autism

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Application deadline: August
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time

Study with us

  • understand complex cognitive and affective theories essential to supporting the autism profile
  • translate theory into practice with a work placement
  • receive input from internationally-respected autism experts
  • suitable for anyone looking to pursue full-time study in this area
  • open to international students
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Why this course?

The MSc Autism provides a critical understanding of the conceptual frameworks relevant to understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This Masters-level course enables you to understand complex cognitive and affective theories essential to supporting the autism profile.

This knowledge will enable you to translate theory into practice and to critically evaluate evidence-based approaches to intervention. Our philosophy that autistic people require a holistic approach throughout their life journey means you can draw upon experiences of our multi-professional student cohort. Our students include leading professionals, students on the spectrum and those with dual professional-parental experiences. Your learning will be inspired from input provided by internationally respected autism experts.

Student in Piece cafe, on campus, drinking coffee.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Interested in postgraduate study?

Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be available to provide you with all of the information you need to kick-start your postgraduate journey at the University of Strathclyde. Join our webinar on Tuesday 18 August from 2pm to 4pm.

Register for webinar

What you’ll study

You'll take four compulsory classes and two optional classes and then complete dissertation. You'll be allocated a dissertation supervisor who will support your studies.

You can complete your final dissertation by distance learning. This allows international students to complete their studies in their home country, potentially reducing the financial cost and time away from your family.

Research project

You’ll carry out a research dissertation in a subject area of your choice. We'll allocate a supervisor for one-to-one support whilst you carry out and report your dissertation. We endeavour to match you with the best fit for your area of specialism.


Our students benefit from a supportive educational practice placement based within our partner schools across North Lanarkshire. Those potential students wishing to apply who don't possess the required autism practice experience can do so but must attend a compulsory placement and complete an additional reflective practice journal.

Please read our important information about the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. This is for all applicants applying for courses which involve placement opportunities (working with children or vulnerable adults).

Programme leader

Dr Anna Robinson joined the University in 2013 and is a Chartered Psychologist and a member of the Counselling Psychology Division.

Read more about Dr Robinson.

Portrait of Dr Anna Robinson

Learning & teaching

The course is taught through a range of student and staff-led research seminars that you’ll participate in.


The course is assessed through written coursework that draws on academic study and reflection on practical experiences in education.

Guest lecturers

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

Visiting lecturers include Professor Tommy MacKay who is a practising Educational Psychologist. In addition, Dr Mike McCreadie has a visiting role. He is Consultant Clinical Director of Studio III and Lead ATLASS Trainer and his area of specialism is stress management in 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)
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Course content

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.
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.
Experiential Placement
Students without any autism practice experience must attend a compulsory placement.
Research Methods & Reasoning

This class provides support in developing a critical and informed understanding of research methods in relation to your own planned dissertation project. It also provides support in understanding research ethics and how they relate to your own research. It provides support in meeting the requirements of the ethical approval process.


This class represents the application of the skills and knowledge you've gained throughout your study. You'll carry out and report on a research project in an area relevant to your MEd study up to this point. This class will provide support for the planning, implementation and writing up of a research project in a professionally and academically relevant area.

One of the following to be chosen.
Becoming an Autism 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.
Independent Study Module
You'll have the opportunity to investigate a topic of your own choosing in any area related to autism and assocated conditions.
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements / experience

A good Bachelor (Honours) degree in a related discipline 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's the potential for accreditation of prior experience. To discuss this route please contact Postgraduate Enquiries.

Applicants must complete a statement as part of their application detailing their experience of working and/or living with people with ASD.

English language requirements

Please check the University's English requirements before making your application.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

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Fees & funding


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



Rest of UK




Additional costs

PVG scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups)

£59 membership fee.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Alumni Discount

10% tuition fee discount is offered to all Strathclyde alumni completing a full-time postgraduate taught course in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2020
Mode of Delivery: full-time

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Contact us

Postgraduate Enquiries

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our team are working from home and can be contacted by email:

Looking to study part-time?

Our MEd Autism is suitable for those looking to pursue part-time study in this area. It's ideal if you'reseeking a qualification while working that will enhance your professional practice.