Skip to content


Recent pages

There are no recent pages yet

Your favourites

Favourite pages

Select up to 3 courses to compare

Please select at least 2 courses

MA/PgDip/PgCert Autism Spectrum

The MA Autism Spectrum gives you a specialist and critical education in theory, research and practice related to autism. You reflect on how autism affects the way in which people experience the world and analyse these experiences in the context of wider disability debates.

The course helps you to identify and challenge the barriers created by society encountered by autistic individuals and to critically reflect upon promoting and developing practice, research, and policy that work towards social justice, inclusion and equality.

The course provides academic, professional, and personal development opportunities for those concerned with both the practice and experience of living and/or working with autistic individuals across all ages.

Course length 1-6 Year(s)
Location City Campus

Course description

The overall aim of this programme is to create academic, professional, and personal development opportunities for those concerned with both the practice and experience of living and/ or working with autistic individuals across all ages and settings.

You engage in informed critical reflection and enquiry to develop and influence practice and policy in your current and/or future contexts. You are supported to identify a relevant knowledge base drawing on theoretical and research literatures, policy and policy critiques, practice guidance and practitioner networks. Through the programme, you identify your own and others' values and assumptions in contributing to socially just policy, inclusive and ethical practice for people with autism.

If you are from a professional background the course supports you in developing a range of academic skills, a professional knowledge base and employability skills that link closely to your specialism and career goals. If you are interested in this course from a personal perspective as an autistic individual, a parent or carer, we support your developing understanding of the autism spectrum.

This course is ideal if you are
• coming to this course from a personal perspective as an autistic individual, a parent, carer, or ally
• a graduate interested in a career in the field of autism
• currently working with autistic individuals or communities

The MA Autism Spectrum is designed to provide a supportive, challenging and inclusive learning experience. You experience and engage in a variety of learning activities as they progress through the course. We have designed a balanced range of activities to recognise the diverse range of experience and expertise of our students. Teaching and learning involves tutor-led seminars, workshops, participant-led activities, group and peer discussion, self-directed study, and independent reading. You take part in both face-to-face and online learning throughout your studies.

The structure of the course recognises the developing skills of a postgraduate student becoming an independent, critical learner. As such, the course begins by developing skills of critical reflection and evaluating evidence, progressing towards the knowledge and skills to develop your own ethical and inclusive research enquiry in the final year.

Typically you study
how the autism spectrum is conceptualised situated within broader disability debates
• how autism might affect how people experience the world around them
• how to critically analyse policy and practice in relation to autism to work towards inclusive, enabling and socially just ends for autistic communities
• research design, ethics and methods for developing inclusive enquiry in the field of autism

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

Typically a degree or equivalent and an interest in the autism spectrum.

If English is not your first language, you need an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with 6.5 in reading and 6.5 in writing. We may invite you to take part in a face to face or telephone interview to ensure your spoken language skills meet the requirements for working with learners in an educational setting or context.

If you do not have such academic qualifications we may consider your application individually, based on your personal, professional and work experience, and other formal qualifications. You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

International and European entry qualifications

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

Course structure

Part-time – typically one year to certificate, two years to diploma, three years to masters, maximum six years

Modules are delivered in a variety of ways, including taught sessions and online. Typically, this includes some modules taught in the evenings once a week over eight weeks and others taught in a series of day schools and online. Please note, there are taught sessions in Sheffield throughout the course, though not always on a regular basis.

For groups of 15 students or more, it may be possible to deliver the course at your organisation if it is in the local region.

Starts September

Typical modules may include


The modules you take depend on whether you are pursuing a PgCert, PgDip or MA.

Critical reflections on the Autism and Asperger Syndrome
This module helps you to reflect on theoretical and practical notions of autism and Asperger Syndrome (AS) and to analyse the impact autism/AS might have on those diagnosed and their families within a professional and/or personal context.

Autism, policy and practice
The aim of this module is to enable reflection on autism/AS in relation to strategy, policy, and/or legislation locally, nationally and, where relevant, internationally. This helps you to contextualise and critique personal and professional practice.

Autism, challenging behaviour and communication
This module interrogates and evaluates different conceptualisations of challenging behaviour and reflects on how these impact upon the life experiences of people on the autism spectrum and their families. Through a critique of theory, research, practice and their own behaviours and communication styles, the module explores the relationship between challenging behaviour and communication, evaluating to what extent these might be interdependent. This module also considers current policy and other 'drivers' to analyse how these might create the cultures and environments in which behaviours and communications are created and played out.

Reflecting on Professional Practice
The nature of this module is to provide the opportunity for students to pursue an individual negotiated study of professional significance. Students are required to make a formal proposal for the study which will be agreed with the tutor. The focus of the study can be on a professional activity that has already been undertaken or is currently being undertaken. Alternatively it may involve the design of a small-scale project or investigation as a specific vehicle both for professional learning and to contribute to developments in the workplace/setting. The choice of focus must be relevant to the specific award for which the participant is registered.

Teaching approaches reflect a process rather than a content orientation supporting the students to design, implement and evaluate the significance of the study that they intend to undertake. Students are expected to demonstrate a high degree of professional independence and autonomy in carrying out the study and in identifying and accessing a suitable knowledge base.

Educational Enquiry
The module is designed to be used in a range of professional or personal contexts, where students have different interests and motivations for undertaking educational enquiry. The content is tailored according to the group. All students undertake an educational enquiry.

Assessment Assessment varies between modules but includes a mixture of professional work-based tasks and academic and critical reflection. There are no examinations.


The course provides a relevant qualification for anyone holding or intending to hold a position related to autism. As this is a part-time course, students are often studying alongside their own career progression. Graduates often go on to progress in their organisation or take on further responsibility as the result of their studies and acquired skills.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Typically £6,300 for the course

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

Typically £6,400 for the course

International student

2016/17 academic year

Typically £12,500 for the course

2017/18 academic year

Typically £12,500 for the course

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

Complete the application form available at

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

Connect with us:

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?