Graduate Certificate/Diploma/MA in Autism Studies
Duration: 1 year
Location: MIC Limerick/Dublin
Certificate: Essay, presentation, case study & sample supports for autistic individuals. Diploma: Research proposal and review of current literature. MA: Research proposal & dissertation.
- Programme Overview
- Programme Content
- Entry Requirements
- How to Apply
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The Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, and MA in Autism Studies are accredited by the University of Limerick and are delivered as a partnership between Mary Immaculate College and Middletown Centre for Autism. They are taught by experienced professionals from both MIC and Middletown Centre for Autism using both online and face-to-face teaching methods. Both agencies recognise the need for high quality graduate professional development and research opportunities in autism studies in Ireland/Northern Ireland, and offer the programmes in response to this need.
Mary Immaculate is a College of Education and the Liberal Arts and has been providing teacher education since 1898. Mary Immaculate has considerable experience and expertise in the provision of teacher education in the area of Special and Inclusive Education including autism. The College’s Department of Educational Psychology, Inclusive and Special Education is led by Dr Johanna Fitzgerald.
Middletown Centre for Autism is funded by the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Education in Northern Ireland to promote excellence in the education of people with autism. As such, the Centre works on a referral basis with children who have complex needs in school and the Centre is one of the main providers of training for parents and educational professionals on the island of Ireland.
Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies
The one-year Level 9 Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies (GCAS) is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of autism and explores overlapping areas from experiential, educational and supportive perspectives.
Graduate Diploma in Autism Studies
The one-year Level 9 Graduate Diploma in Autism Studies (GDAS) is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of research methods and current topics in autism research. This unique programme combines training and teaching in practical research methods, the impact of research on current practices, and the opportunity to complete a project incorporating a practical model for reflection on practice.
MA in Autism Studies - Due to run Academic Year 2024-2025
The one-year Level 9 MA in Autism Studies is designed to equip students with the requisite knowledge and skills to design and conduct an empirical study on a topic within the field of autism studies. Students will develop expertise in research design, data collection, and analysis, and will demonstrate the capacity to interpret and critique research findings in the context of policy, practice, and research.
The live component of the programmes will be delivered on approximately eight Saturdays throughout the year, with approximately 4 live lectures being delivered on campus and 4 being online. Programme timetables will be made available to students in advance of the academic year. Students will also be required to engage weekly with a range of research papers, podcasts, videos and reflective exercises as part of the programme. The online content is delivered through, and supported by, Mary Immaculate College’s Moodle platform.
What does the GCAS/GDAS/MAAS qualify me to do?
The Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies (GCAS) programme is designed to provide a graduate certificate award to all people interested in studying autism. It is not geared to any particular profession or job. The award acknowledges an in-depth exploration of autism and the characteristics, theories and interventions that support working well with people who have autism.
For particular jobs or promotion opportunities you may apply for, the GCAS award allows you to make a case or argument that you have evidence (in the form of an academic qualification) of being more knowledgeable about autism than competitors may be.
Similarly to the GCAS, the Graduate Diploma in Autism Studies (GDAS) programme is not geared towards a particular profession or job. Rather, it is designed to support students who wish to further their expertise within the area of autism research. The GDAS will enable students, independently and with others, to critically evaluate autism research and develop methods of integrating research into daily practice. It will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the key milestones in autism research and how these have impacted on practice. Students will develop an understanding of the critical nature of research and how it is used to inform both practice and policy. Critically, students on the GDAS will be empowered to foster an inclusive and equitable approach to research which promotes the voice of the autistic person, reflecting a ‘nothing about us without us’ philosophy.
Consistent with both GCAS and GDAS, the MA is not designed with a specific profession or student profile in mind. This is in an effort to ensure that students from a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds can engage in cutting edge research in the field of autism studies, and apply their research in whatever professional or personal context is most relevant and appropriate for them.
Lillian Durack, GCAS Graduate
"My youngest child was diagnosed with ASC IN 2018 and since then my goal has been to be the best possible support to her. I decided to enrol in the GCAS initially to extend my understanding of Autism and to obtain the knowledge to establish effective home supports. It was the best decision I ever made. I have learned so much throughout the programme, all of which is beneficial to my daughter but also to me in the progression of my career. The programme content is excellent and also highly interesting. The lectures are engaging and there is variety between live and recorded lectures. The topics are covered extensively and the voice of the autistic individual is always at the forefront.
"I have no doubt that the programme will benefit me greatly as I continue with further learning.
"The support from programme lecturers and coordinators is excellent and while we have missed out on face to face sessions this year due to Covid, I have never felt like I was alone. I have had constant contact with other students, staff from Mary Immaculate and Middletown.
"I would recommend anyone considering this programme to go for it. It is a decision you will not regret."