Fact File

Course Code: DAUS

Course Title: Autism Studies

College: Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, Adult Continuing Education

Autism Studies

Duration: 2 years

Teaching Mode: Part-Time

One evening per week with occasional Saturdays.


Qualifications: Cert / Dip

NFQ Level: Level 6/7

NFQ Award Type: Special Purpose

Costs: €1,250 for UCC venue per academic year and €990 per academic year for outreach venues

Entry Requirements: 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. English Language Requirement: All applicants whose first language is not English must have attained IELTS Level6 or the equivalent TOEFL score. 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.

Closing Date: 15th September 2017

Next Intake: September 2017


Venues for September 2017

Adult Continuing Education (ACE) at UCC is delighted to offer this new and innovative course, which was shortlisted for an Aontas STAR Award, 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 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. The different perceptions and conceptualizations of autism will also be discussed, as well as theories which attempt to explain this condition that has been described as ‘puzzling and fascinating’ by researchers.

Course Details

Students will complete 30 credits per year of the programme as follows:

Year 1 Modules:

  • AD1009: 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.
  • AD1010: Policy and Practice (5 credits)
    Overview of relevant legislation and policies; best practice guidelines; models of service; monitoring practice, policy and standards.
  • AD1019: 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.
  • AD1036: 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.
  • AD1037: Interventions and Supports across the Lifespan (10 credits)
    Key approaches in the education of people with autism throughout the lifespan; diverse approaches to inclusion.

Year 2 Modules:

  • AD2016: Theories and Models of Autism (10 credits)
    Syndrome models (Kanner, Asperger, triad/ dyad), cognitive (theory of mind, executive function, weak central coherence), psychological / psychoanalytical, biological (hormonal, 'extreme male brain', genetic causes), autism and the social model of disability, the concept of 'neurodiversity'.
  • AD2017: Perceptions and Portrayals (5 credits)
    Novels, art, movies and television shows which depict autism, the role of social media, the portrayal of autism in the news media, the language of autism.
  • AD2018: Autism, Citizenship and the Law (5 credits)
    The hierarchy of Irish law and legislative change. Legal framework providing services and conferring rights on people with autism. Concepts of citizenship, autonomy and decision-making. The history of citizenship and concepts of citizenship for disabled people, with reference to autonomy, resources and participation in society and employment. Adovcacy and assisted decision-making. Landmark legal cases regarding autism and disability in Ireland.
  • AD2019: Autism and Daily Living (10 credits)
    Emotions, family, relationships and sexuality; the economic, educational and social impact of autism; the various factors that affect people who have autism and the impact on daily living.

Detailed Entry Requirements

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.

Course Practicalities

Lectures will be delivered one evening a week, with occasional Saturday sessions. Students will be given recommended reading (usually a short paper), but are free to explore beyond the set texts.


This course is assessed entirely by continuous assessment.  Assignments include a journal article review, a legal case study, a reflective log and an academic essay as well as learning journals

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.

Further Contact Information


Ms Eileen McBride (Programme Coordinator – UCC)
E. eileen.mcbride@ucc.ie 
T. 021 4904731 

Ms Christine Chasaide (Limerick)
E: c.chasaide@ucc.ie
T: +353 (0)87 9461472 

Ms Virge Connery (Kilkenny enquiries)

Ms Siobhan Murray (Letterkenny enquiries)
E: siobhanmurray@ucc.ie 
T: 087-7734422

Apply Online

Click Apply Now to make an online application for this programme.  

Please note you will need to upload the following during your application:

1) Birth Certificate/Passport
2) Photograph (this will used for your student id card, so please ensure the quality of the image is suitable for that purpose).
3) Personal Statement (must upload a Personal Statement, detailing their motivation to take this course and any work or life experience relevant to the subject of ASD).

You can also download an application form and apply via post ACE Application Form 2017 (740kB) (740kB)

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