PGCert in Adult Autism Assessment

Course Description

The PGCert in Adult Autism Assessment is a joint programme between NSPC and Middlesex University, leading to a PGCert awarded by Middlesex University. This one-year course is entirely online.

The programme provides students with an in-depth understanding of the autism assessment process, including the theoretical foundations of diagnosis and assessment. Students will explore autism spectrum conditions, from an academic, clinical and existential, person-centred perspective. You will explore the neurobiological, psychological, and sociologically theories about autism spectrum conditions, developing the ability to critically examine research, issues and practice within the field. You will develop clinical skills and knowledge through a combination of theoretical teaching and learning within a specialist placement. Students will be learn to conduct comprehensive adult autism assessments.

For further information on possible learning adaptions we can offer neurodivergent students and students with a disability or chronic health condition, contact [email protected]

 Application Deadlines:

  • January Cohorts - application deadline is the 30th November
  • September Cohorts - application deadline is the 1st August

This course follows the Middlesex Research Degree Regulations available here:

Programme of Study

Autism Theory Module

This module critically considers historical and current diagnostic criteria, including examining this from a social disability model and critical autism studies perspective. Students will explore the defining features of autism, as well as the diversity in how autistic individuals experience the world (e.g. issues of intersectionality). We will consider what effective support looks like for autistic individuals, and critically examine some of the historical and current approaches from a neurodiversity affirmative perspective. The module considers develops students' ability to critically consider research and theories of autism, and how this can enhance the support of autistic people.

The summative assessment for this module includes a 1000 word case study and a 1500 theoretical essay.


Autism Assessment Theory

This module aims to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of the strengths and limitations of the diagnostic criteria and autism assessments, including critical appraisal of the medical and social models of autism. We explore the process of assessment, taking a developmental history, using assessment tools, and conducting a clinical interview. Key topics such as differential diagnosis, co-morbidity and the impact of personal, social and cultural factors will be critically considered. The module explores the lived experience of autistic individuals and those close to them, during the assessment process. It also considers how to elicit information in a sensitive and person-centred manner, in compliance with local protocols, legal and professional requirements. Students will explore key diagnostic biases and common errors (including diagnostic overshadowing and masking) and the issues relating to diagnosis in the face of ambiguity incomplete data, and complex presentations. The module will examine the importance of post-diagnostic support and care plans.

The summative assessment for this module includes a 1500 word theoretical essay and creating a 10 mins presentation.


Placement and Supervision units 1 & 2

The aim of this unit is to enable students to develop their assessing skills within a placement settings under clinical supervision, thus allowing students to be appointed within the NHS or private health organisations as autism diagnosticians under the supervision of suitably qualified and experienced consultant psychologists and psychiatrists. The students will work within a placement for two term, receiving supervision from both the placement and NSPC tutors.

The summative assessment for this module includes two 2000 word case studies and a report from the placement supervisor.

Accreditation and Careers

This programme is quality assured by Middlesex University and you will receive a Middlesex award on successful completion. You can view the Middlesex Research Degree Regulations here.

This course teaches students how to complete NICE compliant assessments, as part of a multi-disciplinary team. 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 and Tier 3 of the National Framework Guidelines (the most comprehensive guidelines on autism training to date). 

This postgraduate course provides psychiatrists and psychologists specialist knowledge to complete autism assessments. It is also relevant for other health care and social care professionals with extensive autism experience, who wish to work as specialist assessors as part of multi-disciplinary NHS team.

Fees 2024-25

Year of course 

Units to be completed in year 

Fee payable per year  

(if no units have to be repeated) 

2 x theory units 

2 x clinical placement units 




Validated Courses Additional Charges  

Application Fee 

£50 non-refundable 

Acceptance Deposit 

£100 which will be deducted from the initial invoice when you start the course. It is non-refundable if you do not start. 


Fee is only applicable if your claim for prior learning is approved and will replace the tuition fee for that unit. 

£200 per submission 

Instalment Plan 

£20 per Unit 

Late changes to Course Plan  


Professional registration 

At own expense  


At own expense 


Please note : Students on validated programmes are not eligible for Student Finance or DSA

Students who are employed by NHS may be eligible to receive a 10% discount

Entry Requirements

This course will provide psychologists and psychiatrists (and other suitably qualified medical, health care practitioners, such as SALTs) with the specialist knowledge to offer comprehensive adult autism assessments.

The course is also appropriate for clinicians working in a multi-disciplinary team providing autism assessments. If you are a specialist assessing practitioner, OT, SALT, or other medical health professional, and want to be able to offer adult autism assessments (subject to subject clinical oversight and policies of this setting) this course will give you the skills you need.

Eligible applicants will have:

  • A postgraduate qualification in social science or psychology
  • OR an equivalent professional qualification (e.g. medical professionals, social service/workers)
  • A special case may be made for those without a postgraduate qualification or professional qualification but exceptional professional experience in the field).
  • Extensive experience working with autistic people.
  • A suitable placement in an NHS or private organisation providing autism assessments.
  • Regular, reliable and private access to the internet
  • Fluent English (IELTS score of 7.0 with minimum component score of 7.0 or TOEFL score of 87)
  • Personal suitability to be decided at interview
  • A clear DBS check or equivalent

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 easy 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. Students will also have a weekly online tutorial, at a time and day decided between group members.

In terms 2 and 3 students will being working in their placements and having supervision from their placement, as well as weekly online supervision with NSPC. 

Students may take up to 4 years to complete should they need additional time.

MIddlesex University