Course Description

Graduate Certificate /Diploma/ MA in Autism Studies

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 Patricia Daly, who is a co-organiser of this course on autism.

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 in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Both agencies recognise the need for high quality graduate autism professional development in Ireland and Northern Ireland and the Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies will meet this need.

Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies

The one-year Level 9 Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies 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 is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of research methods and current topics in autism research. This unique course 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.


The face-to-face component of both the Graduate Certificate and the Graduate Diploma will be delivered on a maximum of nine Saturdays throughout the year, both in Mary Immaculate College and in Middletown Centre for Autism (or another agreed location). Students will choose their preferred site in which to complete their studies in the application form. It should be noted that the first on-site day takes place in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick for all students for the purposes of enrolment and orientation. Attendance on this day is compulsory. 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.

CollegeMary Immaculate College
Course LocationLimerick
Course CategoryEducation & Teaching
Course Duration1 year
Course FeePOA
Entry RequirementsA 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. English Language Requirements Applicants for whom English is not a first language must provide evidence of their proficiency level English in the form of an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 6.5 – 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in any one component, or IELTS equivalent accepted by UL. Such applicants will also be required to undergo an interview through English. 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. 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.
Carear PathThe 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 GDAS programme is not geared towards a particular profession or job. Rather, it is designed to support students whom 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.
For information about Mary Immaculate College, please visit our College Profile page on by clicking here.

Course Provider

Mary Immaculate College

South Circular Road Limerick City, Limerick City, Limerick, Republic of Ireland. Eircode: V94 VN26

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Mary Immaculate College
South Circular Road Limerick City
Limerick City, Limerick
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