UCC Adult courses

Autism Studies - Dip

Course Fact File
Duration2 years
Teaching ModePart-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 6/7
NFQ Award TitleSpecial Purpose
Fees€1,500 per academic year. See Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing Date31 May 2024
Next IntakeSeptember 2024

Start DateSeptember 2024

Course Outline

Adult Continuing Education (ACE) at UCC is delighted to offer this innovative Diploma.This course is designed to introduce you to the different ways in which people on the autistic spectrum experience the world. You will learn about the history of autism, the different strengths, challenges and conceptualizations. Mental health and wellbeing will be examined as well the various supports and interventions that are available for people on the spectrum across their lifespan, and the legislation and policies that govern best practice.

Once students have successfully completed year one they can automatically progress to year two. During the second year of the programme students will explore theories and models of autism, how autism is perceived and portrayed by society and the media; the role of the law and legislative changes and daily living experiences of those with ASD. On completion of year two students will receive a level seven Diploma in Autism Studies.

Candidates who successfully complete first year may opt not to proceed to year two and may request to exit the programme with a Certificate in Autism Studies. Students will complete 30 credits per year of the programme.

The Modules for the Diploma are as follows:

Year 1

  • AD1039: Autism in a Historical and Contemporary Context (5 credits)
  • AD1040: Strengths and Challenges of Autism (5 credits)
  • AD1041: Interventions and Supports across the Lifespan (10 credits)
  • AD1042: Policy and Practice (5 credits)
  • AD1043: Autism, Mental Health and Wellbeing (5 credits)

Year 2

  • AD2023: Theories and Models of Autism (10 credits)
  • AD2024: Perceptions and Portrayals (5 credits)
  • AD2025: Autism, Citizenship and the Law (5 credits)
  • AD2026: Autism and Daily Living (10 credits)

Please see below an introductory video on the course. 

Course Queries

For Academic Queries and Course Content Queries please contact the Programme Coordinator: 

Eleanor McSherry at eleanor.mcsherry@ucc.ie.  

For Online Application Support please click here. 

If you require further assistance with your online application please contact the Programme Administrator Sinead Lennon at s.lennon@ucc.ie. 


Important Notice: Course Registration Deadlines

Please take note of the following deadlines for this course:

Round One Application Deadline: Friday, May 31st, 2024

  • If the course fills by this deadline, there will be no round two application process. Early application is advisable as there are limited numbers of places for this course. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications by this date to guarantee consideration.

Final Registration Deadline: August 31st, 2024

  • In the event that there are additional places available, round two applications will open. Round two applications will close on August 31st, 2024.

We highly recommend early application to secure your place in our courses.

Course Practicalities

Lectures will be a hybrid delivery of live online and pre-recorded classes, the live online classes are delivered one evening a week, with occasional Saturday sessions. Students will also be given recommended reading weekly (usually a short paper), but are free to explore beyond the set texts. For further information please contact the relevant co-ordinator.

  • 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.
  • 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.

Classes are delivered through Microsoft Teams and all course material will be provided on CANVAS (UCC's online learning environment.

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 or equivalent).  There is no need to hold a teaching degree or similar qualification to apply.

This course is designed for those with an interest in studying autism. This includes students exploring a change of career path or wishing to develop their current knowledge, students with a diagnosis of ASD themselves, family members or anyone with a personal and/or professional interest in the area of autism. 

Students who successfuly complete the Diploma the Autism Studies are then eligible to apply for the Higher Diploma Facilitating Inclusion, more information about this programme can be found here: Facilitating Inclusion - Disability Studies



  • Candidates must be at least 21 years of age by 1 January of the year of application
  • Hold Leaving Certificate/FETAC Level 5 qualification (or equivalent)
  • 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 (which can be arranged through Skype). Shortlisting may apply
  • English Language Requirement: All applicants whose first language is not English must have attained IELTS Level6 or the equivalent TOEFL score or the equivalent Duolingo score.
  • 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 (maximum one page).

Diploma programmes are offered subject to a minimum number of eligible applicants registering for the programme. Following completion of year 1 of this programme, should a sufficient number of eligible students not wish to progress form year 1 to year 2 of this programme as to make the year 2 viable, students will graduate with a certificate at that point. Programme viability is determined by reference to fee income and applicable costs in running the programme.


Fees and Costs

€1,500 per academic year.

Students who are registered on this programme are eligible to apply for the Financial Aid Fund for Part Time Students. Eligibility criteria applies. For more information see Financial Aid Part Time | University College Cork (ucc.ie)

How To Apply

Applicants need to be aware of the IT student checklist below before applying:

  • You will need access to a laptop or desktop computer running a modern supported operating system with all software updates.
  • Some of UCC’s services (e.g. the Canvas Virtual Learning Environment) link to an external site and also have mobile apps for iOS and Android Devices that you may wish to use as part of your studies.  However, we recommend using your desktop web browser for submission of assessments.
  • You should always use the most current version of your preferred browser. In general, we recommend the Chrome Web browser (Important Note: Internet Explorer will not work with Canvas).
  • We recommend a reliable broadband connection with at least 2Mbps or more.
  • You will require an Office suite of software (Microsoft Office or equivalent) and a PDF reader. You should always use the latest version of this software.  All UCC students will have access to Office 365 which includes software such as Word/Excel/Powerpoint etc. once registered.

To Apply for this course please follow the steps below:

When you log into the Application Portal:

Click Apply Online

Select Start a new Adult & Continuing Education Application 

On the 2nd tab Academic Level 
Select the following options:
Academic Level: Adult Continuing Education (ACE at UCC)
Course Type:  ACE Part-time Courses
Academic Programme: The course title you are applying for.

During your online application you will be required to upload the following documents:

  • Personal Statement
  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Passport Photograph 
  • English Language Test Report [if applicable]
  • 50% of the fees are also required to complete your application. 

Apply Now

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact