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MSc Autism Research

A unique course giving you an in-depth understanding of autism research. It combines teaching in psychological research methods with hands-on experience.

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September 2024
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study full time, part time
  • Delivery on campus

Overview

Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition, whereby autistic people experience and perceive the world differently to non-autistic people. Autistic individuals experience a constellation of different strengths and challenges, and autism is typically characterised by differences within social communication and social interaction, sensory sensitivities, focused interests and repetitive behaviours. Autism research has the potential to help us better understand and support autistic people and their families.

The MSc Autism Research is a unique course designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of both psychological research methods and current topics in autism research. You'll learn about key areas of theory, current debates and ethical practices within autism research. The course aims to give you the skills and knowledge needed to conduct high quality autism research, focused on the priorities of the autistic community.

Our innovative approach combines training and teaching in psychological research methods with hands-on experience during a practical placement in an autism-relevant context, and the opportunity to engage in an autism-based research project.

Masters students have their own dedicated office and are integrated into the thriving research culture of the Psychology department.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Have learned about key issues not only in autism research, but more broadly within Psychology.
  • Mastered key research skills both in quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Be able to communicate about research more effectively to a range of audiences.
  • Have a wide range of transferable skills for the next steps in your career, such as project management, written and oral communication, analysing information.
  • Have gained practical experience through a work placement.
  • Completed your own autism research project with an expert in the area.

Work placements

You’ll undertake a practical placement in an autism-relevant context, identifying areas where you would like to enhance your experiences and skills. Past placements have included working with autism researchers across the UK, helping autism charities with policy, doing support work with autistic people, or gaining experience with social enterprises related to autism.

Flexible learning

This course will include a mixture of teaching that you can access in your own time via our virtual learning environment, as well as lectures or seminars.

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Faculty facilities

The Psychology department has outstanding laboratory space fitted with high-quality equipment. It has excellent computing infrastructure, and both research and teaching activities are supported by in-house technical staff with computing, programming, electronic and audio-video expertise.

We’ve invested heavily in research infrastructure, including our own  Kindergarten on campus which provides an outstanding facility for developmental research and teaching. Purpose-built laboratory space has also been created to support human electrophysiology research (EEG/ERPs), health research (including GSR and heart rate monitoring), face research (including eye-tracking) and vision research (including stereoscopic displays).

Research overview

In REF 2021, 100% of our research impact and environment, and 87% of our overall research in Psychology is classed as world leading or internationally excellent - positioning us 2nd in Scotland for research impact in Psychology.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Other routes of entry

If you don't currently meet our academic requirements, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need to progress onto some of our courses. Explore INTO University of Stirling to see the pathway and pre-masters routes available.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

Psychology has powerful methods to help us better understand and support autistic people and their families. The MSc Autism Research is made up of modules designed to provide training in the fundamentals of research methods and how these apply to these to autism research.

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2023). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

Teaching is done via seminars, lectures, a research placement in a relevant context and a research project supervised by a relevant expert. The way we teach research skills ranges from explicit hands-on demonstrations of tools to discussion of different approaches to research. In 2022/23, we will be using a mix of online (blended) teaching and small, in-person teaching on campus.

Assessment

The course includes a wide range of different assessments that aim to test and develop your skills in writing, reflecting, analysing and communicating. One of the most significant assessments of this course is the Dissertation, which is based on the autism research project you conduct.

Key staff

You will be taught be a range of experts on autism research, and both autistic and non-autistic scholars. You will also learn from people who are not in academia. More broadly, you’ll also benefit from the methodological expertise from across the Psychology department in Stirling.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023/242024/25
Students from the UK and Republic of Ireland£10,350£10,900
International (including EU) students£23,825£25,000

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our  Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course. 

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees. 

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry. 

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Eligible students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course. 

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees. 

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry. 

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

Funding 

Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

The Autism Research MSc is designed for those going on to do further research about autism, or as the foundation for a career working with autistic people. The structure of the course includes both a practical placement and a research project, allowing you to develop relevant skills for both research and applied careers.

Students who complete this MSc may also be eligible to apply for an ESRC 1+3 PhD studentship.

96% of our graduates were in employment or further study 15 months after graduation (Graduate Outcomes 2020-21, HESA).

Employability skills

You will gain a range of skills that will help you with your future career.

  • How to talk about research in an accessible and engaging way.
  • How to work with, listen to and support the autistic community.
  • How to analyse both statistics and qualitative data to an advanced level.
  • How to manage and deliver complex projects on time.
  • How to do incorporate different perspectives into your work.
  • How to work efficiently both independently and with others.
  • How to apply your knowledge to practical contexts.

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MSc Autism Research

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