PG Cert in Autism and Related Neurodevelopmental Conditions

Course Description

A one year course entirely online, which teaches students the fundamentals of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The PGCert in Autism is a joint programme between NSPC and Middlesex University, leading to a PGCert awarded by MIddlesex University.

The programme aims to:

  • To provide students with the neurobiology, psychology, and sociology necessary for understanding and helping people with autism and their families.
  • To instil the ability to critically evaluate evidence and to apply it to practical issues raised by people with developmental disorder, and their families
  • To develop the ability to apply theoretical understanding to practice
  • To ensure that successful students learn relevant research and evaluation methods
  • To demonstrate methods of assessment and intervention in autism 
  • To demonstrate the use of an online environment for teaching and training
  • To enhance the ability to work collaboratively with others
  • To deepen student’s knowledge of, and their ability to apply, accurate and appropriate interpersonal, ethical and cultural sensitivity, and empathic understanding

Programme of Study

Autism Spectrum Disorders: This module develops awareness of diagnosis and presentation of autism. It also provides a comprehensive account of contemporary knowledge about the causes and effective therapies, approaches and interventions in ASD, and to enable the student to be able to combine these personal and scientific perspectives.

Neuropsychological and neurobiological approaches to atypical development: This module aims to provide all of the necessary biological and psychosocial knowledge for a student to be able to read and understand the scientific literature on the causes, development, ascertainment, impact, and management of the neurodevelopmental disorder. Giving students a foundational knowledge base, that also assists completion of other modules of the course.

Development through the life span: Autism and neurodiversity involves issues of development and within this module students will learn to critically appraise developmental theories, demonstrating how physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development interact and how theories of development, and developmental stages, can be applied to counselling psychology. Development stage theories will be evaluated in the context of the existential reflections on the purpose of development as an unfolding project.

One of the following:

Social, Cultural, and ethical issues: This module will cover cultural variations, and the impact of social organization and culture on morals, values, and social expectation. It will enable students to make appropriate decisions about consent, confidentiality, discrimination, exploitation, fairness, duty of care, and other ethical and moral quandaries in professional practice.

Research Methods Module: This module will provide an understanding of the contribution of research to the growth of knowledge and the effectiveness of practice. It will give the student a grounding in research approaches, with particular attention to the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Intellectual Disability: Students will learn about the presentations and aetiology of ID and the impact of these on the individual. It also looks at co-morbidity of ID with other neurodevelopmental conditions and effective support and services for individuals. Students will also consider related issues such as the criminal justice system and safeguarding.

Accreditation and Careers

This programme is quality assured by Middlesex University and you will receive a Middlesex award on successful completion.

The courses also cover the curriculum within the “Expertise Level” of training as outlined by the Scottish Government / NHS for Education Scotland Training Plan for Autism (the most comprehensive guidelines on autism training to date).

These postgraduate courses provide mental health, social care and education focused professionals with the qualifications to work as specialists in their fields of practice. Opening up career opportunities with autism/neurodiversity specialist services and centres (e.g. assessment, mental health, further education). The courses also enhance the skills and knowledge of those already working as autism/neurodiversity specialists.


Year of course

Modules to be completed in year

Fee payable per year

(if no modules have to be repeated)


4 modules over 3 terms


*NB There is one textbook that you are required to buy, but many students also buy books from our recommended reading list.

Fees are charged per module as you take them, so costs are spread across each year rather than by an annual lump sum.

Entry Requirements

  • An undergraduate degree in any subject (equivalent experience may be acceptable)
  • Fluent English
  • Personal suitability to be determined at interview
  • Reliable internet connection

How You Study

The course is delivered wholly online. Modules are undertaken using a bespoke learning platform called Moodle. The theory modules are mainly asynchronous, so can easily to fit around a busy life, or caring commitments and is accessible worldwide. Students work through weekly materials online, posting and discussing in the forum with the group and tutor. A weekly quiz ensures that you are absorbing the materials.

Students will have a weekly online chat with tutors and other students, at a time and day decided between group members.

It is possible to apply for a PGCert in ADHD, or a PGDip or MSc in Autism.

MIddlesex University