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Autism Spectrum Disorders

This MSc was developed in consultation with the education, health and social care, and voluntary sectors, as well as individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and is designed to facilitate the professional development of teachers and other related professionals who work, or wish to work, in this area. Students explore the theories and practice underpinning ASD and can engage in associated experiential work. In line with the needs identified in the Northern Ireland Executive's Autism Strategy (2013-2020) and associated Action Plan, the course has been attuned to raising awareness, addressing issues specifically related to children and adults on the autism spectrum, and increasing knowledge and skills in relation to evidence-based interventions.

The aim is to enable the study of the theory and practice underpinning the specialist area in order to enhance understanding and ability to engage in research- and evidence-based practice. On completion of the degree, students will have:

•developed a breadth of knowledge and understanding of the special needs of children, young people and adults diagnosed with ASD

•shown evidence of critical reflection on their professional practice and be able to apply relevant research literature to both personal and professional experience

•acquired a range of specialised practical skills which will enhance their ability to support pupils and students in a variety of settings

•developed teamwork skills required to work in partnership, supporting and advising other colleagues

Why Queen's?
Flexibility: this programme is designed to meet the needs of professionals and is delivered via blended and online learning. Diploma and Certificate options are also available.

Innovation: some modules of the programme are based on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Task Lists (eg, Fundamental Elements of Behaviour Change).

Employability: the programme provides a range of specialised practical skills for teaching and supporting pupils and students in a variety of settings; the teamwork skills needed to support and advise colleagues; and, the knowledge and understanding of the special needs of individuals with ASD.

Course Details
Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (up to 3 years) basis. Individual modules may be studied as a short course. Part-time students normally complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students normally complete three modules per semester.

The MSc is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS) and a 15,000-20,000 word dissertation (60 CATS). Exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught pathway modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught pathway modules.

We've made it easy to study for a Masters module as a short course. If you would like to apply for a short course, please contact the Education Secretary (contact details below) for advice.

Entry requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any subject discipline. Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context.

Please note: The closing date for applications to this programme is Tuesday 1st August 2017 at 4pm. Applications received after the closing date will be regarded as LATE and will be considered only if vacancies exist when all applications received by the closing date have been processed.

International Qualifications
For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes. Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this programme, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfastoffers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this programme.

•English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level

•Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English


1 year full-time or up to 3 years part-time. Individual modules may be studied as a short course.

Learning and Teaching
Full-day workshops and online.

Some of the modules are taught in 3-day block workshops on campus and some are taught entirely online. There is no weekly attendance requirement.

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
Graduates from this degree have found it beneficial in their workplace when advising colleagues, influencing policy makers and supporting pupils and students. Others progress to doctoral-level studies and research.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Further enquiries

Gillian Beavis
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
Tel: 9097 5923

Subjects taught

Modules (all 20 CATS points):
•An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (online)
•Fundamental Elements of Behaviour Change (online/1/2-day workshop)
•Understanding Adults with ASD (3-day workshop/online)
•Understanding Children with ASD (3-day workshop/online)

Two optional modules may be chosen from the Educational Studies (MEd) programme. Full details of this programme are available on the School website.

Assessment method

Modules are assessed by a variety of assessment methods, eg written assignments, project reports, online multiple choice tests, or weekly contributions to online fora. Active student participation is required for all modules.

Application date

Postgraduate Taught

In general, there are no closing dates for the majority of courses (those with closing dates will be highlighted in the Course Finder). However we advise you to apply as early as possible, particularly for those courses where there is a high demand for places. Early application is also important for international applicants to allow sufficient time to obtain a student entry visa.

Postgraduate Research

There is no standard closing date. You should however check both the University’s website and refer to the relevant School/Institute webpage for information on deadline dates for postgraduate funding applications, as these will also determine when your application for admission should be submitted.

Enrolment and start dates

Year of entry: 2017

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!