University of Chester

Programme Specification
Autism PGCert
2017 - 2018

Postgraduate Certificate



University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester campuses;  educational and professional settings

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year

3 Years

Annual - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

National Framework for Higher Education Qualifications

Academic and Professional Programmes Postgraduate Module Assessment Board.

Wednesday 22nd July 2015

To secure professional learning consistent with a Masters level philosophy, the programme aims to:                                               

  1. promote scholarship.
  2. cultivate original thinking.
  3. facilitate critical reflection.
  4. stimulate research and enquiry.
  5. influence impact and change.

 In all taught modules:

  • Critically engage with theoretical frameworks and literature·
  • Harness insights into subject knowledge·
  • Critically review the ways in which research methodology supports professional enquiry·
  • Apply critical considerations when undertaking research·
  • Make effectual use of professional learning to assess impact on practice.

(CD7014, CD7015, CD7060)

In all taught modules:

  • Make critical use of research evidence·
  • Formulate valid conclusions that link theory to practice·
  • Think independently about essential issues, concepts and ideas.


(CD7014, CD7015, CD7060)

In all taught modules:Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

(CD7014, CD7015, CD7060)

In all taught modules:

  • Write to academic standards required at level 7·
  • Engage in meaningful debate and critical discussion ·
  • Read critically·
  • Synthesise written and oral information ·
  • Maintain a learning journal.

Application of Number·

  • Select and use appropriate research methodology, methods and applications for data handling

Information Literacy and Technology·

  • Use the university’s VLE to access information ·
  • Use electronic research skills·
  • Access data bases for research and information ·
  • Use the University’s e portfolio to maintain a professional learning journal

Improving own learning and performance·

  • Critically reflect on professional practice·
  • Develop new pedagogical and leadership skills·
  • Use initiative and manage own learning ·
  • Make independent use of supervision

Working with others·

  • Engage in group presentations and disseminations·
  • Work with professional colleagues to share ideas, research and good practice.

Problem solving·

  • Generate and apply new knowledge·
  • Analyse complex concepts.

Transferable Professional Skills ·

  • curriculum innovation ·
  • leadership and management·
  • research ·
  • decision making.

(CD7014, CD7015, CD7060)

The Postgraduate Certificate Autism is designed primarily for teachers and others working with learners with autism.

There are 3 x 20 credit core modules, all at level 7 of the FHEQ.

Origins and theory of autism

Pedagogical models of working with autism

Wider Issues of Autism

All modules are compulsory and run consecutively over the period of the Postgraduate Certificate Autism

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
CD7014 7 Origins and theory of autism 20 Comp
CD7015 7 Pedagogical models of working with autism 20 Comp
CD7060 7 The Wider Issues of Autism 20 Comp

  • 60 credits at Level 7 (CD7014, CD7015, CD7060) entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate Autism.

The programme is open to both graduates who hold a good degree and non-graduates with professional experience.  Non-graduates may be admitted to the award-bearing aspects of the programme by virtue of a professional qualification and a compulsory interview with the Programme Leader.

International students will need to evidence a recent IELTS score of no less than 6.5.

The Programme operates within the parameters set by the Department for Education (DfE) supporting teachers to deliver national requirements. There are no QAA benchmark statements for postgraduate study in Education, but the QAA (2010: updated 2015) Master’s Degree characteristics have informed the programme. Qualifications at  level 7 are awarded to students who have demonstrated: 

  • a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice;          
  • a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship;     
  • originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their discipline;         
  • conceptual understanding that enables the student to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline and  to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate to propose new hypotheses.

 Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

a)      deal with the complex issues both systematically and creatively, making sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non specialist audiences;

b)      demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;

c)       continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level;And will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring

d)        the exercise of initiative and responsibility;

e)       decision –making in complex and unpredictable situations; and 

 f)       the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

The programme adheres to the central University Learning and Teaching Strategy. From this, the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services have developed a local level response in the form of the Faculty Learning, Teaching, Assessment Improvement and Development Plan. This commits to pedagogical principles which include:     

  • Promoting professional engagement and reflective practice;      
  • Encouraging independent and autonomous learning;         
  • Supporting continuing professional development;     
  • Valuing students' professional experience and prior learning;        
  • Supporting diversity and personalised learning;       
  • Encouraging dynamic and participative learning;
  • Promoting collaborative learning;
  • Encouraging Internet and Web-based approaches;         
  • Supporting reflective and Practitioner enquiry.

For further details, please access:

The programme includes a range of approaches to learning and teaching:

  • University-based Modules- These modules are held at the University in technology rich environments. A range of methodologies are employed which take account of best practice and maximise active learning, sensitive to the learning styles and needs of students. These methodologies include lectures, seminars, group work, directed tasks, independent research and individual, group tutorials and blended learning.
  • Independent Learning -Independent Learning is a philosophy of education which students are encouraged to adopt. It includes the opportunity to work with a supervising tutor who offers support as students work towards completing assessment tasks but is fundamentally a more over-arching concept about an autonomous approach to work.
  • Electronic Support Materials - The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is an essential feature of the Programme. Each module has a dedicated module site where key information about the module and a range of materials and interactive elements to support learning and assessment, is available.
  • Electronic Tutorial Support – Students are able to contact their module tutor or module supervisor by email whenever they wish. Tutors will endeavour to respond to student queries within 3-5 days but often sooner. Tutorial support includes face-to-face tutorial support meetings and the opportunity for students to engage with online tutorial support. Individual tutorials can also be offered using a range of technologies such as Skype and Facetime.  This is an important feature of the Programme as it enables students who may not live in close proximity to the University to access tutorial support remotely.

The programme strives to maintain a diverse assessment palette and rigorous, consistent assessment practices which aims to enable students to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways.


All modules have a handbook that complies with University and Faculty Guidelines. All handbooks are available to students on the dedicated module space on Moodle (The University's VLE).

The module handbook includes:       

  • Module aims and learning outcomes;       
  • Outline content;       
  • Assessment method;       
  • Procedures for submission of work;        
  • Recommended reading;
  • Appropriate grading criteria;
  • Links to relevant documentation and University Policy eg. The Diversity and Equality Policy, The Disability, Gender and Race Equality Scheme, guidance on regulations governing the assessment of students.


All assessed work is graded according to a percentage scale 0-100 using the University's grading criteria linked to the appropriate QAA requirements All marking procedures comply with the central University Assessment Policies. Feedback to students is available electronically using the Turnitin and Grademark systems. Feedback on the work is intended to identify strengths and points of development. Assignments are not pre-marked.  Students may receive formative, verbal feedback on plans or on a specified amount of work identified by the tutor.

Assessment criteria are communicated to students through Programme and Module handbooks with specific assignment guidance explaining the important features of each assignment.

Students who engage in the PGCert Autism will become reflective practitioners and critical thinkers who can articulate their views with confidence and conviction. They will have expert knowledge of the political arena of education. They will have read widely and engaged with theoretical frameworks which have challenged their values, beliefs and understanding.  They will have become confident researchers, finding solutions to challenges in their professional setting and practice. Their professional integrity will have been affirmed and they will have become sufficiently professionally secure to confront and manage change and to lead others, should they choose. Based on previous trends, graduates from this programme might expect to take one or more of the following routes:

1. Remain in professional practice.

2. Gain promotion within professional practice.

3. Move to an LA's advisory service.

4. Move to work in Higher Education - either part or full time.

5. Move to work in situations other than teaching – for example, social work, research, childcare, bookshops, libraries, publishing, theatre.

The University of Chester is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

This Postgraduate Certificate is for teachers in all phases of education who wish to specialise in teaching pupils and young people with Autism.

Back - to previous page  Print - launches the print options panel