University of Chester

Programme Specification
Autism PGCert
2015 - 2016

Postgraduate Certificate



University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester campuses;  educational and professional settings

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year

3 Years

Variable - January - March - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

QAA (2010) Master’s Degree characteristics

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, CD7033)



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, CD7033)

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, CD7033)

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, CD7033)

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

Practitioner Enquiry

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
CD7033 7 Practitioner enquiry 20 Comp

  • 60 credits at Level 7 (CD7014, CD7015, CD7033) 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 7.0

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) 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.

Working within the framework of the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy which defines four strategic aims:

  • to develop successful learners;
  • to design inclusive curricula; 
  • to promote excellence in teaching practice;      
  • to build institutional capacity for change.

The programme also reflects the Learning and Teaching Strategy for the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services which commits to pedagogical principles that:

  • promote professional engagement and reflective practice;
  • encourage independent and autonomous learning; and
  • support continuing professional development.

and to principles of teaching that:

  • value students’ professional experience and prior learning;
  • support diversity and personalised learning;
  • encourage dynamic and participative learning;
  • promote collaborative learning;
  • encourage Internet and Web-based approaches; and
  • support reflective and Practitioner  enquiry. T

The main methods of teaching are:

  •  Lectures 
  •  Tutor led seminars 
  •  Group sessions 
  •  Individual tutorials 
  • Independent study
  • Formative progress feedback is available during the modules.

The programme adheres to the Assessment Policy of the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services. The programme adheres to the University’s policy for the assessment of students with disabilities or special circumstances.

General principles

  • Work is returned to students by post within four weeks of submission. 
  • Extensions or deferrals can be granted if students produce documentary evidence of mitigating circumstances in support of their request. 
  • Appeals against assessment decisions can logged in accordance with the University’s academic appeals regulations.  


All modules have a handbook or module agreement.

All handbooks are available to students in hard copy and are posted into a dedicated module space on Sharepoint (The University’s VLE).The module handbook includes information on:

  • module aims and learning outcomes      
  • outline content     
  • assessment method (outlined below) which includes weighting
  • dates and procedures for submission of work       
  • recommended reading session by session        
  • M level assessment criteria       
  • information about plagiarism      
  • policy on late submission        
  • regulations relating to extensions and deferments
  • regulations on appeals against assessment decisions


All assessed work is graded according to a percentage scale 0-100% using the University’s level 7 grading criteria linked to the QAA requirements for level 7. Feedback to students is typed using a standard pro-forma. Feedback is given against the module learning outcomes and the M level criteria.   All assessments are linked to the University’s level 7 assessment and marking criteria 

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 teaching.

2. Gain promotion within teaching.

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.

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