Section Menu

Education - Autism MA


A distinctive feature of the MA (Autism) Education is the focus on learning from the authentic voices of people with personal experience of autism and the expectation that students will engage critically with received wisdom about autism.

The MA engages with education across the age range from early years to adulthood, and is relevant to a wide diversity of settings. Students on the programme include experienced professionals, people who identify with autism and parents /allies of people on the spectrum.

The close association between the Centre for Educational Research and the MA provides opportunities to work with like-minded research-active peers within a lively and supportive learning community. LSBU is currently partnering with Research Autism and the University of Cambridge on a study which explores the value of mentoring from the perspective of young adults on the autism spectrum.

Opportunities for accreditation of prior learning are available to students with an appropriate background and this should be discussed with the course director who will also explain the CPD processes on request. Individual MA modules and sessions can be taken as Continued Professional Development (CPD).

National Award for SEN Co-ordinator

You can choose to take the recognised 'National Award for SEN Co-ordination' or options that will further deepen your understanding of autism.

Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
3 years
Start Date
Southwark Campus

Case studies

  • K2 building

    K2 building

    A major feature of our Southwark campus is K2, a new eight-storey building, designed and constructed using the latest in green building technology.

  • Developing education systems in Cambodia

    Developing education systems in Cambodia

    Dr Jane Courtney from London South Bank University (LSBU) has been working with International NGO World Education on a Food For Education (FFE) project to improve food security, access to primary education and learning outcomes in Cambodia.


All modules are assessed by a mix of assignments, presentations, research projects and portfolio development.

Year 1

Two optional modules (list below)

    • Teaching and learning: The needs of learners with special needs, autism and disability  This module will focus on the implications of developments in teaching and learning and changing beliefs about curriculum and assessment – within the school and its local and national context – which have accompanies them. A central aim is that discussion, planning and development, both within the school and across related common modules, will be both encouraged and informed by a shared critical understanding of such changes in practice. Furthermore, this activity will take place within an agreed framework.
    • Special educational needs and disability This module will not simply provide you with a toolkit for educational interventions. The notion of inclusive practice is relevant to all learners in all settings, across the age range into adulthood. While the focus of this module is on disability the content has broader application in relation to positively engaging with diversity. It is necessary to understand before attempting to intervene therefore you will be expected to think deeply (at M level) and engage with theory and policy which underpins practice to enable disabled and disadvantaged pupils /students to achieve in their learning.
    • Understanding autism and learning Participants will gain an evidence-based understanding of ways in which people on the autism spectrum learn at all ages with a view to developing effective interventions. Insights directly from people with lived experience of autism will facilitate appreciation of individuality and strengths as well as challenges associated with autism. Critical disability studies theory will underpin the module and this will involve gaining understanding of societal barriers to social inclusion of people with autism. Participants will combine understanding of characteristics associated.
    • Autism individuality and identity Participants will develop an evidence based understanding of autism at all ages (into adulthood) via insights from individuals on the spectrum. Transitions are notoriously problematic for people with autism, therefore, the focus will be on developing effective mentoring skills (informed by an understanding of individuality and identity) in order to empathically mentor through transitions within/beyond education.  Participants will: appreciate the wide diversity of autism and potential impact of labelling, reflect on barriers to participation including restrictions arising from stereotyping and environmental /societal factors, focus on gender and life span , consider conditions conducive to success in education, relationships and work reflect on mentoring for effective transition.

Year 2

  • Research methods (compulsory)Teaching is an evidenced-based profession and the Researching Education Module concentrates on the research practices and data collection methods that are commonly used in educational research. Most of the teaching on the MA is research-based, so students will have been introduced to reading research within the other modules. In this module we further develop skills in reading research and go beyond that, to start designing and carrying out small scale educational research projects, building on the skills developed through coursework for the MA programme.

In addition to one of the optional modules listed above

Year 3

    • Dissertation The dissertation provides you with an opportunity to probe deeply into educational issues that are of concern or interest to you. The dissertation will require you to make use of methods of research and collection of evidence that apply to education; methods to which, for the most part, you will have been introduced within the contexts provided by earlier modules.


  • Part 1 SENCO National Award Part 1 This module aims provide students with the skills, knowledge and understanding to enable children and young people with SEND to successfully achieve in their learning.  It is the first of two modules that, on successful completion will provide the student with the National Award for SEN Co-ordination.  The module focuses on the identification of SEND and the teaching and learning strategies needed to improve learning outcomes for children and Young People with SEND.  The module explores why pupils with SEND are more likely to underachieve, experience bullying and barriers to learning.  The module’s content includes examination of current relevant legislation, working with the voice of pupils, pupils’ families and working in a multiagency environment.  The module content and learning outcomes have been designed to enable students to meet the learning outcomes for the NCTL National Award for SEN Co-ordination.
  • Part 2 SENCO National Award This module builds on the previous module, developing the content explored previously in the context of becoming a leader and manager of SEND provision in an educational setting.  The aim of the module is to enable students to achieve the National SENCO award particularly in relation to the standards relating to Leadership and Management.  In particular it enables students to develop and demonstrate the personal and professional qualities and leadership they need to shape an ethos and culture based upon person-centred, inclusive, practice in which the interests and needs of children and young people pupils with SEN and/or disabilities are at the heart of all that takes place.

Study hours

In year one you'll typically study two modules of 36 hours contact time each plus self-managed study hours.


This programme will contribute to your employability and the National SENco award may be a requirement of your workplace.

The Autism Act 2009 and The Adult Autism Strategy 2009 require professionals from a wide variety of disciplines to understand autism. The MA could open up opportunities in areas within and beyond educational settings. Professionals with an MA providing an in-depth and critical understanding of autism may achieve promotion or develop a career in education. Universities are beginning to advertise for autism specific posts within disability services. 

Students wishing to achieve promotion or develop a career in education benefit from having a higher degree. Progression from the MA to the Doctorate in Education. further enhances employability and promotion prospects, particularly in academia and research. CVs are improved by having publications in referred journals and this is encouraged and supported on the MA as well as the Doctorate in Education.

The MA in Education - Autism is designed to deepen your understanding of working with pupils /students in any educational setting, across the age range into adult education. It is therefore relevant to employment in school, college, alternative education settings and to work with disabled students at university. Content is applicable to teachers and staff in non- teaching roles, such as mentor, disability officer or learning support assistant. The content is also relevant to staff in strategic and operational leadership roles.

LSBU Employability Services

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

  • direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
  • Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
  • mentoring and work shadowing schemes.


Access to the workplace (including voluntary work) is essential for most of the modules within the MA. Prospective students who are not currently in (paid or unpaid) employment should talk to the course director.


Gianna Knowles

School/Division: Law and Social Sciences / Centre for Education and School Partnerships
Job title: Head of Partnership (ITE)

Gianna Knowles is a Principle Lecturer and Head of Partnership (Initial Teacher Education).  She began her career in education working in North London primary schools. She has also taught in schools in the Midlands and has worked in Leicestershire's Local Authority educational advisory services. More recently she has been working in universities, lecturing in Educational Studies and Initial Teacher Education, which has included teaching at the Högskolan i Jönköping, the University of Jönköping in Sweden.

Gianna's research interest is in the area of diversity, inclusion and social justice. She has published a number of books aimed at teachers in training and those already working in education to help them understand and explore these issues.

Dr Nicola Martin

School/Division: Law and Social Sciences / Centre for Education and School Partnerships
Job title: Head of Research, Higher Degrees and Student Experience

Nicola has a PhD focussing on inclusive practice with autistic university students. She has 35 years’ experience in education working with disabled pupils and students from nursery age to adults in FE and HE and an international research profile in the field.


Teaching and learning

You'll be taught by Dr Nicola Martin who has substantial experience in the field of autism including working with Professor Baron-Cohen on the Cambridge University Autism Project. She was also formerly director of the Autism Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. Dr Martin is currently a lecturer at LSBU and is a Principal Investigator for Research Autism.

You'll benefit from an up to date Virtual Learning Environment via Moodle and be actively encouraged to make use of the extensive range of support services across the university. You'll have access to a supervisor during the dissertation phase.

Entry requirements

An honours degree (2:2 or above) or equivalent. Please discuss your qualifications with the admissions tutor if you are unsure.

How to apply

Instructions for Home/EU applicants
Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
3 years
Start date
Application code
Application method

Full-time/part-time postgraduate students and research students apply through the UK Postgraduate and Statistical Service (UKPASS). Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply section for postgraduate students and our How to apply section for research students.

Postgraduate applicants are required to provide up to two references as part of their application.


Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses. Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.


It's a good idea to think about how you'll pay university tuition and maintenance costs while you're still applying for a place to study. Remember – you don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as a postgraduate student.

Postgraduate Application Service

Book a session with one of our specialist Postgraduate Advisors. Over a one on one Advice Session they'll advise you on postgraduate degrees at LSBU that match your interests and experience. Book an Advice Session.

Fees and funding

Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursary Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.

The fee shown is for entry 2017/18.
UK/EU fee: £2366.67International fee: £4166.67
AOS/LSBU code: 4425Session code: 1PS00
Total course fee:
UK/EU £7100
International £12500

For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for postgraduate students.

Postgraduate loan (PGL) for Masters study

If you are starting a postgraduate course, studying for a Masters-level qualification either full- or part-time from 1 August 2016, you may be entitled to apply for a £10,000 postgraduate study loan. Find out more at our postgraduate fees and funding section.

Postgraduate Advice Service

You are invited to book a one-to-one appointment with one of our Postgraduate Advisors. They offer a 30 minute face-to-face session where you can get tailored advice on fees and funding.
Book a 1-2-1 Advice Session


We offer students considerable financial help through scholarships, bursaries, charitable funds, loans and other financial support. Many of our scholarships are given as direct Tuition Fee discounts.

Overview of scholarships and fee discounts for postgraduate students. Key scholarships and discounts below.

Vice-Chancellor Scholarships

Students holding an offer of a place on a postgraduate course will be invited to apply for a Vice-Chancellor Scholarships.

LSBU Graduate Loyalty Scheme

This scheme gives eligible undergraduate students and alumni a discount of their taught postgraduate tuition fees when they enrol on one of our postgraduate taught courses starting this year. Read more about the Graduate Loyalty Scheme.

International Scholarships

As well as being potentially eligible for our postgraduate scholarships, International students can also benefit from a range of scholarships just for them. Find out more about International scholarships.

Case studies

Select a case study and read about practical project work, students' placement experiences, research projects, alumni career achievements and what it’s really like to study here from the student perspective.

  • K2 building

    K2 building

    A major feature of our Southwark campus is K2, a new eight-storey building, designed and constructed using the latest in green building technology.

  • Developing education systems in Cambodia

    Developing education systems in Cambodia

    Dr Jane Courtney from London South Bank University (LSBU) has been working with International NGO World Education on a Food For Education (FFE) project to improve food security, access to primary education and learning outcomes in Cambodia.

Prepare to start

We help our students prepare for university even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read How to apply tab for this course.

Enrolment and Induction

Enrolment takes place before you start your course. On completing the process, new students formally join the University. There will be an online data gathering exercise that you will complete yourself, then you will be invited to a welcome meeting. At LSBU, you will confirm your qualifications by showing relevant certificates, and also bring proof of identity.

In September, applicants who have accepted an unconditional offer to study at LSBU will be sent details of induction, which is when they are welcomed to the University and their School. Induction helps you get the best out of your university experience, and makes sure you have all the tools to succeed in your studies.

Read more about Enrolment and Induction on MyLSBU, our student portal.

Suggested reading

  • Baggs, A. (2007) In My Language.  Accessed from:
  • Beardon, L., Martin, N., and Woolsey, I. (2009). 'What do students with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism want at college and university? (In their own words).' Good Autism Practice. 10 (2), 35 - 43
  • Baron-Cohen S. Hastwell, J. Harding, J. Martin,N. Asperger Syndrome Student Project, 2009-12:Final Project Report, June 2013.
  • Lawson, W. (2010) The Passionate Mind: how people with autism learn. London: Jessica Kingsley
  • Runswick-Cole, K. and Hodge, N. (2010) Educational Rights: challenging the discourse of special education. British Journal of Special Education, 36 (4) 198–203.
Top of page
Open Days and Events
Teaching excellence framework
Contact information

Course Enquiries - UK/EU

Tel: 0800 923 8888

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6100

Get in touch
Top of page