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Social Sciences (Critical Autism Studies) PGCert

Challenge the assumption that autism is a disorder or impairment. Learn to provide support. Designed and delivered with support from autistic people, on our PGCert Social Sciences (Critical Autism Studies) course you’ll view autism as a form of cognitive diversity.


Course length: 3 months full-time
Start dates: September 2024
September 2025
Location: Edge Hill University
Subject(s): Sociology and Social Sciences
Faculty: Arts and Sciences
Department: History, Geography and Social Sciences
Four students work together round a table in Creative Edge.

Uncover what life is like for autistic people. Unravel the impact of support available today and how this shapes their experiences.

Studying with us, you’ll map the evolution of autism interventions, and engage with current debates in policy and practice. We’ll also help you develop your own knowledge of autism in the 21st century and sharpen your critical study skills.

Not only will you benefit from specialist training, you’ll also learn from autistic people who work alongside our interdisciplinary department. Listen to diverse stories and learn to appreciate autism as a unique way of being.

We’ve designed this postgraduate qualification for anyone who works or aspires to work, or communicates regularly with autistic people. The course offers an opportunity to take on continuing professional development (CPD) and boost your career prospects. We particularly welcome applications from autistic people, their families and carers.

Course features

  • International students can apply

What you'll study

You’ll challenge perceptions that autism is a disorder or deficit, as well as coming to see it as a form of cognitive diversity. After gaining this new perspective, you’ll apply it in practice environments by working with those in autism services.

As part of this postgraduate qualification, you’ll also trace the history of autism interventions, from early approaches to modern best practice. And take part in current discussions and controversies.

Compulsory modules:

Expand all
Approaches, Interventions and Supporting Autistic People
Contemporary Issues in Autism
Introduction to Critical Autism Studies

If you have already undertaken critical autism studies at undergraduate level, you may have the option to complete a Self-Directed Learning module, instead of the Introduction to Critical Autism Studies module, subject to agreement from the course team.

Self-Directed Learning

How you'll study

The programme is delivered via blended learning, with a combination of face-to-face discussions and online and independent study.

There are six taught sessions per module which are often delivered as blocks of two consecutive days, with the opportunity to participate in additional sessions via the virtual learning environment.

All seminars will be a combination of tutor-led and student-developed interactive learning. You will also engage with tutors on a one-to-one basis.

You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.

How you'll be assessed

You will be assessed through a combination of reports and essays and encouraged to draw and reflect on your experiences, whether gained through employment or as an ‘expert by experience’.

There are no formal written examinations as part of the current assessment methods on this programme.

Who will be teaching you

You will be taught by research-active staff who have expertise in autism studies. Some members of the programme team also have previous experience of working as social workers, youth workers, teachers and project workers prior to embarking on their academic careers.

Entry criteria

Entry requirements

You should have a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject such as social sciences or other human sciences.

It may be possible to join the course without a degree if you are in full-time employment, have a minimum of five years’ work experience, and can demonstrate evidence of continuing professional development through a portfolio and written statement.

Applications are particularly welcomed from ‘experts by experience’, including autistic people, as well as their family members or carers.

An interview will form part of the selection process if you do not meet the degree requirements outlined above.

English language requirements

International students require IELTS 6.5, with a score no lower than 6.0 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

If your current level of English is half a band, one band, or one-and-a-half bands lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.

How to apply

There is an online application process for this course.

Please choose the application form for your preferred intake date and mode of study.

Please see our international student pages for further information about how to apply as a prospective international student.

Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

Visit Edge Hill University

There’s plenty of opportunities to come take a look around campus. Attend one of our open days to see what life at Edge Hill University is all about.

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Geosciences buildingThe Department of History, Geography and Social Sciences is based in the Geosciences building. The contemporary facilities combine with a friendly and supportive learning environment to ensure that your studies are a rich and rewarding experience.

The Geosciences building features a large lecture theatre, small group teaching rooms, IT facilities and smaller tutorial spaces. There is also a large social area which encourages a more informal and interactive style of learning.

Where you'll study



Tuition fees

UK Full-Time


for the course



for the course

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

Financial support

Please view the relevant Money Matters guide for comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University.

EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals can ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). If you are an EU student who does not have settled or pre-settled status, or are an international student from a non-EU country, please see our international student finance pages.

Your future career

By the end of our PGCert Social Sciences (Critical Autism Studies), you’ll be ready to help and work with autistic people.

You’ll understand how autistic people interact with the world and others. You’ll be able to think critically about developments in policy and services, as well as act as an advocate for autistic human rights and offer empowering support.

With this postgraduate qualification on your CV, you can apply for roles in health and social care settings or in international development. With some additional training, you could pursue a career in teaching, social work or counselling. Alternatively, you could continue your studies with a Masters by Research degree.

With this postgraduate qualification on your CV, you can apply for roles in health and social care settings or in international development. With some additional training, you could pursue a career in teaching, social work or counselling. Alternatively, you could continue your studies with a Masters by Research degree.

Course changes

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, however our courses are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of professional bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

Track changes to this course

Download our course leaflet