The Masters of Education in Autism (MEdA) is a unique, part-time, blended, two year programme focusing on the needs of educators working with children and young people with autism. Open to educators working in primary and post-primary schools, in special schools, classes or in other recognised educational centres, this part-time course is delivered in a blended format to make it accessible and sustainable for practicing teachers working in schools. Delivered at DCU, the world's first Autism Friendly University, this course has a practical aspect focused on developing expertise among graduates in supporting access to the education for young people with autism across the range of the education system in Ireland.

There has been a rapid increase in the number of young people with autism in the education system in recent years, with the NCSE (2015) reporting a total of 14,000 pupils with autism in the education system. The focus of this programme is on developing graduates who are teacher researchers with a deep understanding of the educational needs of pupils with autism. The role of evidence-informed practice in the classroom, innovative approaches to collaboration, and whole school approaches to supporting inclusion will be emphasised. Learners will also master a range of relevant research methods and complete a level 9 dissertation.

There are a number of fee scholarships available for entrants to the Master of Education in Autism each year. These scholarships will be offered following a competitive application process. For more information, criteria, contact the course chair, Dr. Neil Kenny.

Graduates of two DCU accredited postgraduate qualifications may be considered to enter the 2nd year of the MEdA. These are the Graduate Certificate in the Education of Pupils on the Autism Spectrum (GCEAS) and the Graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education, Learning Support and Special Education (GDILS). The first intake for second year will be in September 2020.


Why do this programme?

•This programme is aimed at educators working with pupils on the autism spectrum across primary, post-primary and special school settings, with a particular focus on developing expertise in educational practice and inclusive approaches.

•The part-time blended delivery makes it accessible and sustainable to those currently working in schools.

•Learners will develop a deep understanding regarding the strengths and profiles of pupils with autism, with an understanding of the role of whole school approaches in supporting inclusive education.

•Gain practical support and expert guidance in using assessment to inform accurate pupil profiles and facilitate individualised planning to support inclusive education.

•Develop awareness regarding a range of evidence-informed pedagogical approaches shown to be appropriate for pupils on the autism spectrum.

•Value the importance of collaboration with young people, parents and colleagues to foster whole school inclusion for pupils with autism.


Dublin City University is widely recognised as a dynamic and innovative institution that is distinguished both by the quality and impact of its graduates and by its focus on the translation of knowledge into societal and economic benefit. Excellence in education and research activities has led to DCU's ranking in the top 1.5% of universities globally. In a foreword to the Strategic Plan, 2017-2022 Talent, Discovery and Transformation, Chancellor Dr. Martin McAleese notes that DCU's "responsibility to the coming generations is realised in the massive investment we have made in creating Ireland's first Faculty of Education. Our graduate teachers will be world-class and their pupils will receive the gift of a wonderful life-enhancing education, the single most important basic investment any society can make"

The DCU Institute of Education is the newest faculty of Dublin City University. Established through the incorporation of St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Mater Dei Institute of Education, Church of Ireland College of Education and the DCU School of Education Studies, it has a staff of more than 125 full-time academics and a student body in excess of 4,000. It is and is a recognised centre of excellence in teacher education nationally and internationally, and has a distinguished record in providing continuing professional development offering a range of taught and research programmes to masters and doctoral level.

DCU facilities at St Patrick's Campus are first class. Online learning facilities draw from the most up-to-date technologies whilst employing innovative teaching and learning methods. Students have access to two extensive libraries that include a vast array of educational resources and diverse study spaces for both collaborative and independent work. Remote access to journals and Ebooks enable and enhance study at a distance.

Entry requirements


General Entry Requirements

This proposed Master of Education in Autism (MEdA) programme is being offered as a stand-alone two-year level 9 blended Master level programme open to qualified experienced teachers working in primary and post-primary schools, or in special schools or classes. Participants will be eligible to apply who hold a minimum Level 8 qualification in education, at minimum H2.2. Applicants must be registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland or its equivalent in other jurisdictions. Additionally, participants must also be working with pupils on the AS for the duration of their enrolment on the MEdA. Standard entry procedures for international applicants and for applicants with disabilities apply.

Applicants should meet the minimum entry criteria outlined above and will be interviewed to assess their application. Each interview will be scored according to a predetermined criterion, with places being offered to those with the highest scores.

Direct Entry into Year 2
Graduates of two DCU accredited postgraduate qualifications may be considered to enter the 2nd year of the MEdA. These are;

- The Graduate Certificate in the Education of Pupils on the Autism Spectrum (GCEAS), and

- The Graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education, Learning Support and Special Education (GDILS). Selection criteria may apply to all candidates.

Subjects taught

Programme Structure:

Successful applicants entering the MEdA in year one will complete 90 credits over two academic years, 30 credits in Year One and 60 credits in Year Two. The programme is blended, with some content being delivered on-campus in Drumcondra, while the remainder will be delivered online for access at home.

Year One:

In year one, learners will complete five modules delivered in a blended and online format. Face-to-face content delivered in Drumcondra will consist of

•a week-long summer school between July 1st – 5th

•four weekends across the year (Friday evening and Saturday 9am - 4pm)

Online content will consist of 16 online classes between September and March. These will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evening.

Candidates who have successfully completed the requirements of Year 1 will then progress to Year Two which is likely to begin with a Summer School in the first week of July 2020.

Year Two:

Year two comprises 60 credits which entails completing two 15 credit modules and a 30 credit thesis. The year usually comprises a week's summer course, online lectures, and a small number of face-to-face lectures on campus.

Face-to-face course content will be delivered on campus in Drumcondra during a week-long summer school during the first week of July, and three weekends across the year.

Online classes will consist of 16 online classes delivered across the year which will take place on Tuesday and Thursday.


2 years Part-time

Post Course Info


The Masters of Education in Autism is designed to meet the professional and personal needs of teachers seeking to acquire deep expertise in the area of evidence informed education for pupils on the autism spectrum. The programme offers participants the opportunity to develop as research informed and expert educators in appropriate education for pupils on the autism spectrum. There is a particular focus on the translation of research evidence and theory into best practices in schools. Graduates will develop the skills and knowledge to effectively collaborate with others and lead the development of a culture of inclusion for students on the autism spectrum in schools.

The programme will be of particular interest to:

•Teachers with a post-of-responsibility for special educational needs provision in schools at primary level, post primary level and in adult education settings.

•Teachers working in special class settings for pupils on the autism spectrum in mainstream schools

•Teachers working in special schools who work with pupils on the autism spectrum.

•Teachers who wish to further develop their expertise in the education of pupils on the autism spectrum in relation to content knowledge and research-informed approaches to evidence informed teaching

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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