Building blocks spelling out the word autism


Why this course?

The MSc Autism is suitable for anyone looking to pursue full-time study in this area. Our full-time MSc version of the programme is open to international students.

The MSc Autism provides a critical understanding of the conceptual frameworks relevant to understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This Master’s 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.                                                                                 

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 theory to practice philosophy means we embed your learning experience with autism practice opportunities. As a student you'll have an opportunity to enhance your learning experience with a practice-study placement within our partner autism organisation. Students who do not have experience of autism practice must attend a compulsory placement.

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


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 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.

Course content

Compulsory classes

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.

Elective classes

One of the following to be chosen.

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.
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.

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.

Entry requirements

  • a good Bachelor (Hons) 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 Enquires
  • 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

You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (with no 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 Vis and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Fees & funding


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


  • £6,500

Rest of UK

  • £6,500


  • £14,650

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 £4,000 towards the first year of tuition fees of a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

International students

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

Strathclyde Alumni

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.

Please note

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

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Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2020, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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