This programme is designed for parents, teachers, therapists, care workers and other practitioners involved in supporting individuals on the autism spectrum.

This programme is studied by blended learning - a mixture of on campus and online.

The Postgraduate Certificate / Diploma/MEd in Autism and Learning aims to give practitioners an in-depth understanding of the condition and an insight into the workings of the autistic mind. It will equip participants with practical approaches and interventions that will enable children, young people and adults on the autism spectrum access to learning, participate actively, experience success, gain independence, and fulfill their potential.

The aims of the programme are:

  • To develop knowledge and critical understanding of the concept of inclusion and associated principles of equality, social justice, participation and partnership.
  • To develop a deep understanding of the complex conceptual issues in Autism, and the key theories, principles and issues in the field.
  • To critically evaluate current research in the field.
  • To critically review strategies and approaches and their evidence base.
  • To develop collaborative partnerships with individuals on the spectrum, parents, colleagues and other agencies.
  • To use acquired knowledge and understanding of autism to reflect critically upon practice.
  • To apply acquired knowledge and understanding of autism to formulate effective support for learners on the spectrum.
  • To conduct professional enquiries and use research evidence to generate professional knowledge and enhance understanding and practice
  • To apply acquired knowledge and understanding of autism to contribute to staff development and school / workplace improvement.
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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
Blended Learning
Degree Qualification
MEd, PgDip or PgCert
12 months, 24 months or 36 months
Study Mode
Part Time
Start Month

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 3 year part time blended learning MEd programme which runs in September. You will find information about other ways to study this programme in the next section on this page.

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Autism, Inclusion and Participation (ED50HP) - Credits: 30

This course covers a range of conceptual issues fundamental to an understanding of autism in inclusive contexts. Participants will therefore develop a critical knowledge and understanding of policy, literature and research relating to the diagnostic criteria for autism, the key theories of autism, the main strategies used to support learners and the key themes and issues in the field. This will be linked to a critical knowledge and understanding of policy, literature and research on inclusion and issues around its meaning and enactment. The role of interprofessional collaboration and learner participation in facilitating inclusion is emphasised across the course.

View detailed information about this course

Autism, Behaviour and Planning for Change (ED55HQ) - Credits: 30

This course explores the links between the diagnostic criteria for autism (difficulties with social communication, social interaction, flexibility of thought & sensory integration) and behaviour. We critically explore positive, evidence-based approaches to identifying solutions. We also critically examine the links between the national strategy for autism, theory and practice and the meaning of the notion of the ‘autism friendly workplace’. Students are introduced to strategies for reflecting critically upon workplace provision via structured auditing and action planning for change.

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Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Critical Approaches to Academic Literature (ED503Q) - Credits: 15

This course is for students undertaking postgraduate study which requires a good standard of critical reading and writing skills.

The essential aim of the course is to provide participants with a working knowledge of what is required to appraise journal and other material, and be able to present a reasoned argument based on evidence. By the end of the course you will be able to demonstrate the capability to

  • develop a critical understanding of the principal theories and concepts of the topics studied, together with knowledge of major policy issues involved
  • analyse critically evidence and arguments to support professional judgments

View detailed information about this course

Research Methods (ED503R) - Credits: 15

The course is focussed on social science research and applications in professional / work contexts. Participants make critical connections between policy, theory, research and practice in the context of investigating their own practice. Course coverage includes research philosophy and methodology, research implementation (design, methods, data collection and ethics), data analysis and interpretation, and reflective evaluation. Participants conduct a small scale research activity to enable exploration and evaluation of the application of research in their own context. The course offers a supportive, formative learning experience in preparation for a larger project.

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Autism and Learning: Controversies & Dilemmas (ED55HF) - Credits: 30

This course critically explore controversies and dilemmas relating to four themes in Autism & Learning: causation and diagnosis; inclusive service provision; self-understanding and self-determination; relationships and sexuality. We critically explore current policy and legislation in relation to these topics in the light of current literature and research, making links to workplace provision and professional practice. We also draw on the Professional Enquiry course across the programme in order to deepen knowledge and understanding of enquiry methods, practice enquiry skills and undertake a small scale enquiry relating to one of the controversies and dilemmas listed above.

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Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Work - Based Project / Dissertation (ED50PJ) - Credits: 60

This course will support you to frame, specify, plan, implement and report an academic or work-related research-based investigation or development. The course is available if you have successfully completed a postgraduate diploma and allows you to complete your Masters degree. Normally your diploma should have included courses which introduced the process and methods of conducting research. The work based project/dissertation course requires sustained independent research and you will receive individual or small group supervision. You will also have the opportunity to engage with workshops and online resources as part of a community of researchers in education and related areas.

View detailed information about this course

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

All participants will be expected to read a range of research papers, theoretical texts and readings form the literature, and deal with these in a reflective and critical manner. Participants will also be encouraged to reflect critically on their own meetings and understandings, their experience of autism, their professional practice and institutional contexts.

Opportunities for active learning, group work, individual and group presentations, peer feedback and discussions are embedded across all courses. Visiting speakers and video presentations will ensure variety and provide additional stimuli.

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Peer Learning
  • Research

Assessment Methods

Formative and summative assessment is a feature of all courses. All assessments are designed to arise naturally from course content and learning. All summative assessments focus directly on workplace applications.

Why Study Autism & Learning?

  • The Masters in Austism & Learning pathway is an interprofessional programme which offers tremendous opportunities for professional growth in the company of colleagues who share your interests but who may bring very different experiences and perspectives.
  • The programme attracts students from Education, Social Care, Health and the Voluntary sector, as well as individuals with autism and parents of children on the autism spectrum.
  • This diverse student body ensures rich and lively debate and creates a stimulating environment in which we can learn from each other and provide mutual support.

Entry Requirements


Applicants will be graduates or will be able to provide evidence that they can work at postgraduate level. They must have previous relevant experience and be able to undertake studies and related developments in their workplace setting or other appropriate agency.

English Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme.

Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
a reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employer, or another professional person

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Tuition fee rates can be found on our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £305
Modular fee programmes - Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year Charged on a modular basis per 15 credits
International Students £880
Modular fee programmes - Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year Charged on a modular basis per 15 credits

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


Postgraduate and Masters qualifications in Autism and Learning can lead to career development in a wide range of employment settings e.g. the charitable sector, social care, social work, health care, education, autism research, and other services requiring an autism specialism.

Professional Links


This programme was developed in collaboration with the National Autistic Society (NAS) (Scotland), the Scottish Centre for Autism (University of Strathclyde), local authorities and services, and local individuals on the autism spectrum and their parents.

Our Experts

Programme Manager

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Commit to including people with autism

One in five children with autism has been excluded from school (Make School Make Sense (2006))

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Education
University of Aberdeen
MacRobert Building
King's College
AB24 5UA