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Graduate Certificate/Diploma/MA in Autism Studies

Note: The 'At a Glance' section below is indicative only.

Part-time:

Level: 9

Duration: 1 year

Location: MIC Limerick/Dublin

Delivery Mode:

Blended

Assessment:

Certificate: Essay, presentation, case study & sample supports for autistic individuals. Diploma: Research proposal & systematic literature review. MA: Research proposal & dissertation.

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question
  • Programme Overview

    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.

    Key Features

    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, supportive and behavioural perspectives.

    Graduate Diploma in Autism Studies - DUE TO RUN ACADEMIC YEAR 2023-2024

    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 systematic review focused on the priorities of the autistic community.

    MA in Autism Studies

    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 qualify me to do?

    The 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.

    What does GDAS/MAAS qualify me to do?

    GDAS

    Similarly to the GCAS, the 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.

    MA 

    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.

    Graphic for Graduate Certificate/Diploma in Autism Studies
    GCAS Student Testimonial
    Siobhán is a graduate of the GCAS programme and a current student on the GDAS programme.
    Graphic for Graduate Certificate/Diploma in Autism Studies
    GCAS Student Testimonial
    Alan is a graduate of GCAS with a background & training in engineering & mobile product design.
    Graphic for Graduate Certificate/Diploma in Autism Studies
    GCAS Student Testimonial
    Carmel is a graduate of the GCAS programme and a current student on the GDAS programme.

    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. 

    Graphic for Graduate Certificate/Diploma in Autism Studies
    GCAS Student Testimonial
    Gina is a graduate of the GCAS programme and a current student on the GDAS programme.

    Contacts

    Mary Immaculate College

    Co-Ordinator: Dr Laura Ambrose

    E: Laura.Ambrose@mic.ul.ie

     

    Administration: Ms Jennifer Ryan

    E: Jennifer.Ryan@mic.ul.ie

     

    Middletown Centre for Autism (NI)

    Majella Nugent

    T: +44 28 3751 5750

    E: GCAS@middletownautism.com

    Programme Content

    Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies
    Understanding Autism (AUT500): The aim of this module is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of autism. This will include how autism presents and is diagnosed, both in adults and children; the core challenges associated with autism and how these impact on the child and the adult; additional difficulties that people with autism can experience; how autism interfaces with other difficulties.  Students will explore the importance of understanding these differences when supporting an autistic individual.
    Visual Learning and Environmental Support for Individuals with Autism (AUT505)The aim of this module is to provide students with the theory and practical application of the use of structure and visual teaching strategies for children and young people with autism across learning environments. Participants will gain practical knowledge and an understanding of the theory and research that supports this practice. This will result in a set of core competencies, as well as practical experience in the development of resources that support the thinking and learning style of individuals with autism.
    Managing Anxiety for Individuals with Autism (AUT506): The aim of this module is to provide participants with an overview of the relationship between autism and anxiety. This will involve a review of how the core features of autism can trigger an anxiety response; an examination of a model of the anxiety process and a comprehensive appraisal of current anxiety management strategies. This is all delivered within the context of current research and best practice in the area of autism and anxiety management.
    Positive Behaviour Support for Individuals with Autism (AUT507): This module will view behaviour management in a positive, proactive manner taking into account the particular sensory processing difficulties, that can present in individuals with autism. This will include an overview of the neural mechanisms that modulate sensory input, the presentation of sensory processing difficulties and strategies that can be used to support individuals who experience sensory processing difficulties.  Participants will learn how to analyse the environment and manage it to prevent behaviour difficulties and support appropriate behaviours in individuals with autism. Functional approaches for solving challenging behaviour will be presented.
    Graduate Diploma in Autism Studies
    Autism Research and Practice: Autism Research and Practice: The aim of this module is to provide students with an overview of the key research-based milestones in autism and how research has and continues to change practice and develop our understanding of Autism. Students will explore current research trends and will develop critical evaluation skills to distil key implications for practice from research publications and research- based policy documents. This module will encourage students to create a culture of research into practice.
    Systematic research review methods: This module will teach students the process of conducting a desk-based research using a systematic review of relevant literature. This process is an essential pre-requisite to conducting their own focussed systematic literature review in the second semester of the programme.
    Research in Autism: Systematic Literature Review: This module will enable students to complete a systematic review of relevant literature on a topic of interest to them in autism. This process is intended to prepare students to pursue further study and research within the field of autism studies.
    MA in Autism Studies
    Principles and Practices of Research: The aim of this module is for students to develop the range of skills required to conduct a research project which both rigorous and inclusive, in that it expressly addresses the needs and interests of the autism community. Students will develop their ability to interrogate a range of literature and policy, and to develop a research question which is relevant and meaningful to contemporary discourse in autism research. Students will gain familiarity with a range of research methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative, and will develop a critical understanding of the research process.
    Dissertation Modules 1 and 2: Within these modules, students will design and conduct an empirical research project on a topic of their choosing. Students will work under the close supervision of faculty from Mary Immaculate College and/or Middletown Center for Autism, and will receive mentoring and feedback on an ongoing basis. These modules include workshops, discussion sessions, and lectures, alongside supervision.

    Assessment Modes

    Students will be required to engage weekly with a range of content (e.g. lectures, readings, videos, etc.). The online content is delivered through and supported by MIC’s Moodle platform. All students will be enrolled as students of Mary Immaculate College and will be required to complete formal assessment prior to the award of the Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, and MA in Autism Studies. Successful completion of each programme provides candidates with 30 ECTS at Level 9.

    Entry Requirements

    Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies

    FAQs: Click here for Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies (GCAS) programme frequently asked questions.

    A Level 8 qualification or equivalent in any discipline or a Bachelor’s degree at Level 7 or 8 is required for entry to this programme.

    • Click here for English language requirements.

    Graduate Diploma in Autism Studies

    This module is designed to build on the existing Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies programme.

    A Bachelor’s Degree at Level 7 or 8 in any discipline AND a post-graduate qualification in Autism Studies with a minimum of 30 ECTS.

    • Click here for English language requirements.

    MA in Autism Studies

    This programme is designed to build on both the existing GCAS and GDAS programmes. Graduates of the GDAS programme must earn a minimum 2.1 award to be eligible for entry to the MA programme.

    In cases where the applicant has not completed the GCAS and GDAS programmes but can demonstrate comparable expertise and training, the applicant can be assessed on prior learning in line with University policy and procedures on the Recognition of Prior Learning. The admission procedures will include an interview wherein the prior learning and experience of applicants in education will be assessed.

    • Click here for English language requirements.

    How to Apply

    Please Note: This programme is not open to applications from non-EU countries. Application fees are non-refundable due to applicant ineligibility. See International programme listing here.

    While the GCAS programme is offered each academic year, the GDAS and MA programmes are offered on alternating years, as follows:

    • Academic Year 2022-23: GCAS and MA
    • Academic Year 2023-24: GCAS and GDAS
    • Academic Year 2023-24: GCAS and MA
    • Academic Year 2024-25: GCAS and GDAS

    Applications are currently being accepted for both the GCAS and MA programmes, for academic year 2022-23.

    Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies

    Closing date for receipt of completed applications: 15 August 2022

    Fees: Click here.

    Complete all the steps below:

    1. Download and complete the application form here.
    2. You will be required to send your university transcripts (and applicants may be required to name one or more referees on request).
    3. In the case of non-native English speakers, a copy of IETLS (or equivalent) is required. 
    4. Please pay the non-refundable €50 application fee using Realex hereand return the completed application and transcripts by email: to TaughtProgrammes@mic.ul.ie.

    MA in Autism Studies

    Closing date for receipt of completed applications: 22 July 2022

    Interviews will be held July 28 and July 29 2022

    Fees: Click here.

    For applicants who have completed the GDAS programme:

    Complete all the steps below.

    1. Download and complete the application form here.
    2. You will be required to send your university transcripts (and applicants may be required to name one or more referees on request).
    3. In the case of non-native English speakers, a copy of IETLS (or equivalent) is required.
    4. Please pay the non-refundable €50 application fee using Realex here, and return the completed application and transcripts by email: to TaughtProgrammes@mic.ul.ie.

    In cases where the applicant has not completed both the GCAS and GDAS programmes but can demonstrate comparable expertise and training (e.g. GCAS programme and an additional graduate programme in autism studies or a related field), the applicant can be assessed on prior learning in line with University policy and procedures on the Recognition of Prior Learning. Such applicants will be required to submit a research proposal alongside the application form.

    Complete all the steps below.

    1. Download and complete the application form here.
    2. You will be required to send your university transcripts (and applicants may be required to name one or more referees on request).
    3. In the case of non-native English speakers, a copy of IETLS (or equivalent) is required.
    4. Please email jennifer.ryan@mic.ul.ie to request a copy of the research proposal template, which must be submitted alongside the application form and transcripts.
    5. Please pay the non-refundable €50 application fee using Realex here, and return the completed application and transcripts by email: to TaughtProgrammes@mic.ul.ie.
    Contact
    Mary Immaculate College
    Administration: Jennifer Ryan
    Contact
    Mary Immaculate College
    Dr Laura Ambrose
    Contact
    Middletown Centre for Autism (NI)
    Majella Nugent
    +44 28 3751 5750

    Ask a Question

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question