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Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Key Programme Information

Entry Year


Programme length *

1 year(s)

Places available

No restrictions


Full-Time, Part-Time


Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

* This course is now closed for 2017 entry. To register your interest in the 2018 course please email askahss@qub.ac.uk


Missed the recent webinar?  The recording is now available to watch:

MSc Autism Spectrum Disorder

Speaker - Karola Dillenburger , Programme Director

Click here to watch the recorded webinar

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.

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 & Feedback

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.

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.

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 was 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: qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs

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.

Please click the links below for more information:

  • 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

How To Apply

Applicants for Postgraduate programmes are strongly advised to carefully read the important information and follow the steps set out here before submitting their application via the Postgraduate Direct Applications Portal.

If you have queries on course content please contact the school representative below.

Gillian Beavis
School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
Tel: 9097 5923
Email: g.beavis@qub.ac.uk
WWW: http://www.qub.ac.uk/ssesw

How To Apply

Queen’s University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2017 Entry
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.

Career Prospects

Graduates from this degree have found it beneficial in their workplace when advising colleagues, influencing policy makers and supporting pupils and students with autism and their families, or seeking professional promotion or diversification. Others progress to doctoral-level studies and research or teaching.

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.

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.

Find out more

Fees & Funding

There is a range of funding and scholarship options available to those considering study at Queen's.

Find out more

For tuition fee information see www.qub.ac.uk/Study/PostgraduateStudy/TuitionFees/

Postgraduate loans
From the academic year 2017/18, the Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

Normally self-funded, although the School may offer a limited number of scholarships. For any available funding please see the Scholarships page on the School website.

For fees and funding information, please see the University's website.


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