Institute of Education

Master of Education in Autism

Course Code:
Course Type:
NFQ Level:
Delivery Modes
2 Years
call programme contact
+353 (0) 1
700 9071
DC972 will not be running for the 2024/25 academic year

The Masters of Education in Autism (MEdA) is a unique, part-time, two year programme focussing on the needs of educators working with autistic children and young people. A blended format is used to make it accessible and sustainable for practicing teachers from primary, post-primary or special schools, and from other recognised educational centres.

Delivered at DCU, the world’s first Autism Friendly University, this course has a practical aspect focussing on developing expertise among graduates in supporting autistic young people.

There has been a rapid increase in the number of autistic pupils in the education system in recent years, with the NCSE (2015) reporting a total of 14,000 autistic pupils in the education system. Developing expertise and whole school understanding regarding the educational needs of pupils on the autism spectrum is, therefore, of essential importance.

There are a number of fee scholarships available for entrants to the Master of Education in Autism each year.

Graduates of two DCU accredited postgraduate qualifications may be considered to enter the 2nd year of the MEdA. These are Graduate Certificate in the Education of Pupils on the Autism Spectrum (GCEAS) and the Graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education, Learning Support and Special Education (GDILS).

The Masters of Education in Autism is designed to meet the professional and personal needs of educators seeking to acquire deep expertise in the area of evidence informed education for autistic pupils. There is a particular focus on the translation of research evidence and theory into best practices in schools.

Graduates will develop the skills and knowledge to effectively collaborate with others and lead the development of a culture of inclusion for autistic pupils in primary, post-primary or special schools, and other recognised educational centres.

Aims of the programme

  • To develop expertise in fostering and supporting whole-school inclusive practice for autistic pupils.
  • To develop a deep understanding regarding the strengths and profiles of autistic pupils,
  • To gain practical support and expert guidance in using assessment to inform accurate pupil profiles and facilitate individualised planning to support inclusive education.
  • To develop awareness regarding a range of evidence-informed pedagogical approaches shown to be appropriate for autistic pupils.
  • To develop the skills to lead and collaborate with colleagues, young people, and parents to foster inclusive school settings that meet the needs of an increasingly diverse pupil population.

Programme structure and content

The role of evidence-informed practice in the classroom, innovative approaches to collaboration, and whole-school approaches to supporting inclusion will be emphasised in this programme. Learners will also master a range of relevant research methods and complete a level 9 dissertation.

You will take five core modules in first year, with classes delivered on campus and online. There will be two teaching practice visits to scaffold translation of programme content to professional practice. Second year will comprise of three modules focusing on collaborative practice, whole-school inclusion and educational inquiry and thesis.

View the current course structure

Dublin City University is widely recognised as a dynamic and innovative institution that is distinguished both by the quality and impact of its graduates and by its focus on the translation of knowledge into societal and economic benefit. Excellence in education and research activities has led to DCU’s ranking in the top 1.5% of universities globally. In a foreword to the Strategic Plan, 2017-2022 Talent, Discovery and Transformation, Chancellor Dr. Martin McAleese notes that DCU’s “responsibility to the coming generations is realised in the massive investment we have made in creating Ireland’s first Faculty of Education. Our graduate teachers will be world-class and their pupils will receive the gift of a wonderful life-enhancing education, the single most important basic investment any society can make”

The DCU Institute of Education is the newest faculty of Dublin City University. Established through the incorporation of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Mater Dei Institute of Education, Church of Ireland College of Education and the DCU School of Education Studies, it has a staff of more than 125 full-time academics and a student body in excess of 4,000. It is and is a recognised centre of excellence in teacher education nationally and internationally, and has a distinguished record in providing continuing professional development offering a range of taught and research programmes to masters and doctoral level.

DCU facilities at St Patrick's Campus are first class. Online learning facilities draw from the most up-to-date technologies whilst employing innovative teaching and learning methods. Students have access to two extensive libraries that include a vast array of educational resources and diverse study spaces for both collaborative and independent work. Remote access to journals and Ebooks enable and enhance study at a distance.

This programme will be of interest to educators seeking to hold special education teacher roles or to lead inclusive education provision for autistic pupils across whole school systems.

The number of students on the autism spectrum within the Irish education system increased 83% in the years between 2011 and 2018 (Cambell at al. 2017) and inclusive education provision to diverse groups of young people is the reality in an increasing number of mainstream schools. 

This programme supports graduates to learn the skills to work effectively and lead within collaborative whole school settings, student-support teams, and work effectively with colleagues in fostering inclusive practice.

 The programme will be of particular interest to:

  • Teachers with a post-of-responsibility for special educational needs provision in schools at primary level, post primary level and in adult education settings.
  • Teachers working in special class settings for autistic pupils in mainstream schools.
  • Teachers working in special schools who work with autistic pupils.
  • Teachers who wish to further develop their expertise in the education of autistic pupils in relation to content knowledge and research-informed approaches to evidence informed teaching.


The Master of Education in Autism (MEdA) programme is being offered as a two-year level 9 blended Master level programme open to teachers working in primary and post-primary schools, or in special schools or classes. Participants will be eligible to apply who hold a Level 8 qualification in education, at minimum H2.2  and be registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland (or its equivalent in other jurisdictions). Additionally, participants must also be working with pupils on the autism spectrum for the duration of their enrolment on the MEdA. Standard entry procedures for international applicants and for applicants with disabilities apply.

Applicants should meet the minimum entry criteria outlined above and will be interviewed to assess their application. Each interview will be scored according to a predetermined criterion, with places being offered to those with the highest scores.

Direct Entry into Year 2

Graduates of two DCU accredited postgraduate qualifications may be considered to enter the 2nd year of the MEdA. These are;
-    The Graduate Certificate in the Education of Pupils on the Autism Spectrum (GCEAS), and
-    The Graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education, Learning Support and Special Education (GDILS). Selection criteria may apply to all candidates.



Part time

EU Status Fee Part-time
€4,700 per annum
Non EU Fee Part time
€9,300 per annum

Next Steps

To apply for this programme:

  • All Applicants must apply through DCU's Student Application Portal which is available here.  Here's a quick step by step guide if you need help with your application.

All Applicants must submit

  • Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study
  • Please upload a CV under the "Supplemental Items & Documents" section. The CV should highlight relevant work experience, including at least one year in area of Special and Inclusive Education.
  • Personal statement of 500 words maximum indicating area of research interest
  • Non Native English Speakers must submit evidence of competence in the English language as per DCU entry requirements see link

Non-EU Applicants
Applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of gaining entry into Ireland are ineligible to apply for this programme.
DC972 will not be running for the 2024/25 academic year