Autism Spectrum Conditions

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • Masters level continuing professional development tailored for your own context, priorities and interests, drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives
  • A multi-professional student group for the sharing of experience cross-fertilisation of ideas, and collaborative approaches
  • Encourages reflection on aspects of individual professional practice
  • Enables professional enquiry into areas of the field that are of particular relevance to individual students
  • Participation in a large dynamic and forward-thinking taught postgraduate community
  • Course design and delivery to fit with busy work, and other, commitments

About the course

MA Autism Spectrum Conditions is intended for a range of education professionals, and those in related health and social welfare/care (and in inter and multi-professional settings); it is also open to parents of children/young people with ASC and others with a personal interest in the field. The course encourages and facilitates students to identify, explore and develop thinking salient for their own practice and (academic and) professional development. 

Structure and commitment

Following enrolment, students attend an induction event. Induction includes a welcome and introduction, library and resources briefing, and academic student support session.  Further details will be available on the Welcome Website following enrolment. Please note that as well as the beginning of the academic year, it is also possible to start this MA in February (or June by request).

A full Masters is 180 credits at level 7, and at MMU this is divided in to 4 x 30 credit taught units, plus a (60 credit) dissertation. 

Each 30 credit taught unit lasts four months (units start in October, February and June) and begins with a unit conference event from 6pm Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime.  Unit conferences are non-residential (and we appreciate most students like to get back to their own beds/families if possible) but good value accommodation options are available close to the Brooks Building for those students coming from distance (information on these will be provided). 

Keynote speakers will normally be timetabled for Friday evenings and will introduce key debates of broad relevance and at the forefront of thinking about practice in education (and related areas such as health and social care). On Saturday and Sunday (morning) students will largely be working in small, award-specific groups with specialist tutors. You should leave with ideas for the assignment you will be working on!

The unit conference is followed by (a minimum of) two further (evening) group seminars/tutorials, supported by a dedicated VLE resource, and individual tutorial contact with an award tutor to support assignment work. For students at distance participation in group seminars may be possible via Skype or similar. 

Every unit offers opportunities for formative assessment – feedback on a draft or plan, before final submission. 

The dissertation is supported by individual and group supervision, a dedicated electronic resource, and group events.  

All students are also invited to our ‘MMU Postgraduate Sessions’ – monthly evening sessions where staff and doctoral students present their ongoing research (sessions are also podcasted where possible).  

For students starting in February or June 2018, the unit conference dates are: (please note these, it’s important that students can attend):

  • 9-11 February 2018 
  • 8-10 June 2018 

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Specialist Supported Project:

This unit enables students to undertake a project that has particular relevance to their own professional practice.  Students identify and explore significant themes, issues or challenges, select a relevant focus for their project, and appropriate approach/tools/methods. Projects might be library, practice, or enquiry-based, but in all cases students  are encouraged to develop and demonstrate specialist knowledge through the use of evidence, analysis, reflection and evaluation, as appropriate to their project. The unit provides an introduction to the nature of knowledge, knowledge generation for practice and enquiry/investigation approaches and underpinning inter/disciplinary footprint.

Shaping the Future

This unit asks students to address critical challenges, tensions or contradictions, and professional dilemmas within their own practice and in the field of autism more generally. The aim is to enable students to broaden and deepen their understanding of autism spectrum conditions and to engage with current debates, to explore different perspectives on the subject, and to consider in more detail the different forms of provision that are made.

Mapping the Territory: critical concepts and issues  

This unit invites students to reflect upon the nature of ASC and practice that has been developed to support young people within the spectrum. It starts with a discussion of the complex nature of the  autism spectrum before differences in the development of a young person with ASC are considered, with particular reference to cognitive models. The impact of ASC on the individual, the family and society is then considered before a focus is brought to bear on different approaches and their evidence-base. Throughout the unit, students are encouraged to reflect upon their personal experience and practice and there is an emphasis on analysing and reflecting on theoretical, conceptual and contextual issues within the field.

Research and Practice

The unit aims to develop a greater understanding of the relevance of research to professional practice. Students examine different approaches to conducting research, and their limitations and possibilities for generating knowledge in their own practice area. The unit also explores the ethical tensions and dilemma inherent in the research process, especially those particular to practitioner research. As part of the assessment of the unit, students produce a research proposal (that can be taken forward to final dissertation) to demonstrate understanding and capacity to carry out a coherent and credible small research project.


This unit is designed to support and facilitate students in planning, conducting and evaluating a significant, practical and coherent (practitioner) research project. Participants finalise a research proposal for approval and for ethical clearance, and will then undertake the research project. Whilst undertaking the project students are offered tutorial support, this constitutes a blend of group tutorials as well as individual supervision. The entire process is supported by a suite of online resources as well as on-site activities that are aimed at enriching the students’ experience and improving the quality of the final dissertation.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

Assessment is by coursework for each unit and a full assignment brief is available for each unit. Assessment tasks always allow you to pursue your own thinking and interests within the parameters of the unit and award. Formative feedback is available and built in for every unit. 

For taught units (30 credits) the assessment is 5000 words equivalent. The final (60 credit) dissertation is 12-14,000 words.

Waiver of some credits may be possible (under the MMU Accreditation of Prior Learning Policy) if you have a recent and relevant certificated award at Level 7.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

Standard Manchester Met entry requirements for taught postgraduate programmes apply.

You also need to have experience relevant to the award area (or taking up employment or similar related to the award area).

For Further Information

Tutor Contact: Dr Harriet Cameron

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

Download our course application form. There are instructions on what to do next and who to send the form to in the Word document.

Career options after the course

Many students find that these courses are helpful in their professional development and are valued by services providing education, care and support to people with children, young people and adults with ASC.

Specifically the MA Autism Spectrum Conditions in the Faculty of Education at Manchester Met:

  • Demonstrates to employers a level of intellectual rigour, and the capacity for sustained and systematic engagement.
  • The course also brings the students’ continued professional development into sharp focus - it offers channels to support your current priorities, targets and aspirations
  • Further, it encourages students to apply their new thinking in practice in systematic ways. As such, it creates opportunities for its participants to form creative and innovative modes of practice - and also the impetus for them to actually carry these forward. In this way, our students are able to build their reputations as systematic, evidence-driven innovators.
  • The MA Autism Spectrum Conditions is also a good option for practitioners to develop more critical and theoretical insights about practice. If you are considering continuing with your studies on completion of your Masters by pursuing a research degree (MPhil, EdD or PhD) then you will find the MA Autism Spectrum Conditions a good foundation.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.