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 Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2021, September 2022
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules


The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

The British Psychological Society accreditation logo

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 MSc 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

Professional accreditation

The course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

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 ‘live’ 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

  • 100% of our Psychology research impact is rated as world-leading (REF2014)

We have one of the leading psychology departments in the UK, which ranked in the top 20 in the recent research assessment (REF 2014). It was one of only seven non-Russell group universities to do so (Times Higher Education magazine).

Our quality of research publications ranked third in Scotland, and the relevance of our psychology research activity to society received the highest possible rating which only four other psychology departments in the UK achieved (REF 2014 results).

In the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020, our Psychology department came in the top 5 in Scotland.

Changes at Stirling

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

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