MA Autism Spectrum Conditions

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This award provides students with the opportunity to study the autism spectrum in depth. The programme aims to build upon students’ existing knowledge, understanding and experience of working with young people and adults with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). During the course we aim to share and increase understanding of theoretical perspectives on the nature, causation and impact of ASCs, and further develop students’ knowledge and skills with regard to assessment and the range of approaches used to support  people within the spectrum.  Individual approaches are evaluated and students are invited to reflect upon how to enhance learning opportunities and to consider how to work more effectively with colleagues, other professionals and parents.  Particular issues within the field are explored and students are encouraged to reflect upon the implications for their own practice. In particular, we seek to provide insight into different perspectives on autism and to enable students to adopt a critical stance in relation to the research literature and current practice.

The programme has been developed over a number of years and has achieved a positive reputation in the field. It is intended for students from a variety of professional backgrounds, including teachers, therapists, social workers and other staff in health and social care. However, the programme may also be undertaken by parents and others with a personal interest in the subject.  At the outset there is the opportunity to claim credit for prior learning relevant to the field of autism. 

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

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:

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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

Course details

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 a 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 September 2018, unit conference dates are: (please note these, it’s important that students can attend):

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.

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.

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.

Assessment weightings and contact hours


School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies

Our School of Childhood, Youth and Education Studies specialises in teaching and research around education disciplines focused on children, young people, families and communities.

The department works collaboratively with communities, partners, local authorities and arts organisations on social enterprise projects, and has been at the forefront of developments in its field for over 20 years.

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Taught by experts

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.

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UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £1084 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2417 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £400

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Up to £10,609 available to students who live in England

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

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.

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


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
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