UCC Adult courses

Autism Studies [online programme] - Cert / Dip

About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

Adult Continuing Education (ACE) at UCC is delighted to offer this new and innovative course fully online. This course, which contains the same content as Year 1 of the classroom-based Autism Studies Diploma, was shortlisted for an Aontas STAR Award, and is designed to introduce you to the different ways in which people on the autistic spectrum experience the world. This online version of the course offers those who cannot or do not wish to commit to attending classes the opportunity to achieve this qualification entirely through online learning. You will learn about the history of autism, the different strengths and challenges of autism, and how autism affects a person’s mental health and their daily living. You will examine the various supports and interventions that are available for people on the spectrum across their lifespan and explore the legislation and policies that govern best practice. You will explore how a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may contribute positively to society. Once you have successfully completed the Level 6 Certificate, you can progress onto the Level 7 Diploma in Autism Studies.

Students will complete 30 credits per year of the programme 

Additional Teaching Mode Information

Part-Time Online. Access to a computer and internet is essential.

Course Practicalities

Lectures will be delivered entirely online via UCC’s virtual learning environment ‘Blackboard’. All lectures will be pre-recorded for the online learner and released on a weekly basis as the course progresses. Lectures can be viewed at any time, from anywhere, and as often as desired.  Detailed lecture notes will accompany each lecture as well as recommended reading. Each week a learning activity will be provided to the learner which will focus and foster active learning directly relevant to the weekly topic. This will usually take the form of a knowledge check quiz. Discussion forums will be used on a weekly basis which will involve the lecturer and the learners discussing various topics related to the module. This is an academic online ‘chat room’ where students can ask questions publically which ensures collaborative and enhanced learning for all. The module lecturers will be available to answer your queries as the relevant module is running and our communications policy ensures a response within 48 hours, Monday – Friday.


This course is assessed entirely by continuous assessment.  There will be an assignment in each of your modules which will be submitted on successful completion of each module. There are no examinations.

Who teaches this course?

Lectures will be delivered by a diverse and highly qualified lecturing team, which may include academics, researchers, clinical psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, support workers and those involved in policy. Some of our lecturing team have a diagnosis of ASD themselves. This diversity ensures students are given a wide range of perspectives on many important issues that may not be found in other courses.

Why Choose This Course

This course has given me an enormous sense of achievement, a sense of empowerment and a sense of self-belief."



Find Out More

This course is open to all with an interest in learning more about autism. Unlike some other university level courses, the only prerequisite is a Level 5 qualification (such as the Leaving Certificate).  There is no need to hold a teaching degree or similar qualification to apply. 

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in studying autism. This includes people with autism themselves, as well as those who are working, caring, volunteering or unemployed who want to develop an understanding of the issues affecting the lives of peoples who experience ASD. It also includes people who have changed or want to change their career path. You will also develop your writing and academic skills, which are useful in many career paths (not just those which involve working with people on the spectrum).


  • Applicants will be asked to submit a Personal Statement, detailing their motivation to take this course and any work or life experience relevant to the subject of ASD.
  • Candidates must be at least 21 years of age by 1 January of the year of application AND Hold Leaving Certificate/FETAC Level 5 qualification (or equivalent) OR Candidates who do not hold a Leaving Certificate/FETAC Level 5 qualification but have experience of Autism Spectrum Disorder will be considered.
  • Candidates may be required to attend for interview. Shortlisting may apply.

Fees and Costs

€1500 per academic year

How Do I Apply

Applications open in May/June 2018.

Contact details for this course

Autism Studies Online

Year 1 Modules

  • AD1039: Autism in a Historical and Contemporary Context (5 credits)
    A history of autism: the concept and diagnosis of the 'autistic spectrum': autism as a social construction: medical and psychological theories of autism; autism and the social model of disability, perceptions of autism.
  • AD1040: Strengths and Challenges of Autism (5 credits)
    The triad of impairments at different stages of development; sensory and motor difficulties; emotions, relationships and sexuality; living with autism; autism in the workplace and community; different ways in which people on the autistic spectrum experience the world.
  • AD1041: Interventions and Supports Across the Lifespan (10 credits)
    Key approaches in the education of people with autism throughout the lifespan; diverse approaches to inclusion.
  • AD1042: Policy and Practice (5 credits)
    Overview of relevant legislation and policies; best practice guidelines; models of service; monitoring practice, policy and standards.
  • AD1043: Autism, Mental Health and Wellbeing (5 credits)
    The effect of ASD on an individual's mental health; explore the possibilities of receiving differentiated diagnosis between ASD and mental issues; living with ASD and mental health issues for families, services and society; promoting well-being for people with ASD and their families.

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules