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University of Birmingham Featured Professional Doctorate Programmes
Queen’s University Belfast Featured Professional Doctorate Programmes

Professional Doctorate in Autism (Children) - MEd/PGDip/PGCert

About This Professional Doctorate

Course Description

These Autism (Children) programmes, approved by the British Psychological Society (BPS) Continuing Professional Development scheme, are designed for professionals working with children and young people on the autism spectrum, including Asperger syndrome. They are appropriate for those working in early years provision, schools, residential care, advisory, support or therapeutic services. They draw on the student’s own experience as part of the content and assessment. The courses are offered as either campus taught courses on a full- or part-time basis, or as a part-time course via distance learning. 

Download information on all the postgraduate study programmes in the School of Education (PDF)

Course details

The University of Birmingham is a leading provider of degree-level education in autistic spectrum disorders in the UK - offering professional development courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Our courses develop real insight and encourage reflective practice. You will be tutored by recognized experts in the field who work in the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) and will have access to an extensive library and research materials. Academic credits and qualifications can be used as a springboard to further study. Our courses contribute towards LDAF and NVQ.

Student Amelia Devi from Indonesia talks about her MEd in Autism (Children)

Learning and teaching

Campus based Programme

This programme is offered on a full or part-time basis on campus.

Learning and teaching takes place through:

  • Teaching sessions: There are weekly teaching sessions every Tuesday evening at the University from October to December and from January to March 
  • Tutorials: with the programme of study tutors, either as a group or individually. 
  • Reading books, journals and using electronic resources. 
  • Reflecting on and critically evaluating your everyday practice within your schools and services

Students will have access to the facilities within the School of Education and also across the wide campus, including the new library and Sports C entre.

Distance Learning Programme

Students can study this distance learning programme on a part-time basis from anywhere in the UK or internationally (if they 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 in the programme 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 on and off campus. Learning and teaching take place through: 

Self-study materials

Self-study materials are in the form of booklets, and resources on a memory stick and on-line using the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).The programme 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, students are expected to read a range of other books and journal articles.

Regional Tutorials

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


The aims of the Autism (Children) programme are to give students 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 the student’s 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 or EdD. 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.

Read the Alumni Profile of Trudi Rainsbury, BPhil 2010 followed by the MEd in special education: Autism (Children)

Visit the Autism (Children) - MEd/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

Entry Requirements

See website for admission details.

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