This programme 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.
The course is hosted by the Centre for Behaviour Analysis at Queens University. 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 autism;
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.
Closing date for applications: Wednesday 30th June 2021 at 4 pm.
Autism Spectrum Disorders Highlights
Our educational research has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REF, 2014).
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 autism.
Innovation One of the core modules of the programme is based on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Task Lists (e.g. Fundamental Elements of Behaviour Change). Optional modules that are based on the BACB list also are online (i.e. Behaviour Change and Education; Concepts and Principles of Behaviour Analysis). However, some of the other optional modules are classroom-based and may require attendance on campus.
Flexibility: This programme is designed to meet the needs of professionals and is delivered via blended learning. Diploma and Certificate options are also available.
Credit transfer: Students who have completed other master's-level awards, e.g. PGCE, within the last 10 years are eligible to credit transfer (max. 60 credit points). The credit transfer application must be submitted at the same time as the online programme application as retrospective applications are not accepted.
“The MSc in ASD is aimed at professionals working in education, health, and social care with a specific focus on the autism spectrum and special needs. The course is suitable for anyone who works with children, adolescents, and/or adults on the autism spectrum. This course is unique in Northern Ireland and Ireland and is easily accessible for students from further afield. This is a blended learning course, taught approx. 75% in class and 25% online. Core modules that require on-campus attendance are taught in 3-day blocks, thus allowing for a flexible learning experience and student mobility.” Professor Karola Dillenburger, Programme Director
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 typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.
The MSc is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 15,000 - 20,000 word research dissertation (60 CATS points). Exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught core modules.
The course includes four core/compulsory modules (these are available online) and two optional modules. A menu of optional modules is available: some of the optional modules are taught online, while some are taught in-class and require attendance on the Belfast campus.
Core Modules (all 20 CATS points):
An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (online)
Fundamental Elements of Behaviour Change (online and 1-day workshop)
Understanding Adults with ASD (3-day on-campus workshop and online)
Understanding Children with ASD (3-day on-campus workshop and online)
Two optional modules may be chosen from the Educational Studies (MEd) programme.
Graduates from this degree have found it beneficial in their workplace when advising colleagues, influencing policymakers 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 help our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.
Learning and Teaching
Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:
Full-day workshops and online
Some of the modules are taught in 3-day block workshops on campus and some are taught in a blended format (i.e., online with an optional on-campus workshop).
Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:
There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed by a variety of assessment methods, e.g. written assignments, project reports, online multiple-choice tests, or weekly contributions to online fora. Active student participation is required for all modules.
The Graduate School
The School is located within a recently renovated building, with state of the art teaching and learning facilities, together with dedicated student space including a large student common room. The teaching facilities enable an interactive learning environment.
Prizes and Awards
Teachers working on classroom-based dissertation projects may apply for the Northern Ireland Centre for Educational Research (NICER) award.
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 experience in education, training or relevant context.
Applicants with a lower level of performance in an Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least three years of experience in education, training or relevant context.
Applicants with a sub-honours degree level qualification or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may also be considered if they have at least five years of experience in education, training or relevant context.
Applicants who do not satisfy the above but who are holders of an equivalent approved professional qualification or work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Closing date for applications: Wednesday 30th June 2021 at 4 pm.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check with us the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
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.
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 the English language for visa purposes.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
Academic English: 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.
Northern Ireland (NI) 1: £6,450
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2: £6,450
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1: £7,250
EU Other 3: £17,700
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however, this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however, this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.
All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2021-22 and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.