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Postgraduate taught

PGCert/PGDip Psychological Therapies Practice
(Children and Young People with Autism
and/or Learning Disabilities) - 2023 entry

Please note: The below is for 2023 entries. Click here for 2022 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year part time
Entry year 2020 (September start)
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Psychology

Programme administrator: Summer Bedford
Tel: +44 (0)1392 722504

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

Two years' experience working within a professional setting concerned with the mental health of children and young people or families

Contextual offers


  • This Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma programme is intended for practitioners working specifically in the field of Autism or learning difficulties, those in the broader CAMHS community who work with CYP with learning disability or Autism.
  • The programme has been developed alongside the CYP IAPT training to equip you with the knowledge and skills in evidence-based psychological therapies for children and young people with autism and/or a learning disability.
  • Enjoy a high quality and stimulating learning experience in a supportive environment
  • The programme is enriched by an internationally-recognised research environment, nationally-recognised innovative clinical teaching approaches and current clinical practice.

View 2022 Entry

Clinical Education Development and Research (CEDAR)

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Programme administrator: Natalie Cook


Phone: +44 1392 723705

This programme is delivered by Clinical Education, Development and Research (CEDAR): an applied psychological practice centre of excellence, focussed on training the new psychological therapies workforce of the future.

Competency-based training, delivered according to the latest evidence-informed clinical pedagogic approaches

Dedicated training facilities equipped with video and audio recording

A strong emphasis throughout the programme is placed upon your personal and professional development

Entry requirements

This programme is intended for practitioners working specifically in the field of Autism or learning difficulties, and those in the broader CAMHS community who work with CYP with learning disabilities or Autism.

  • The programme is open to all staff working or intending to work as part of a multidiscplinary Autism/Learning disability team with graduate level qualifications.
  • All applicants will need to demonstrate a basic level of clinical competence and experience of having worked with this clinical group for at least one year.

Professional experience

  • Practitioners must have training in a mental health related profession (psychology, nursing, social-work, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, special needs teaching, psychiatry, other psychotherapy, counselling).
  • Practitioners must have two years' experence of working within a professional setting concerned with the mental health of children and young people or families, and have some experience of working with families. 
  • If applicants do not have a core profession listed above, yet feel they have sufficent experience , they maybe be able to complete the programme via the KSA route (see below).

Applicants without a core professional background

  • Applicants without a core professional background are required to submit the full KSA portfolio prior to interview for assessment. If you are unsure whether you hold a Core Profession then please refer to the BABCP website for more information.

Entry requirements for international students

Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and further information on English language requirements.

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Course content

Both parents and clinicians agree that children and young people with autism and/or a learning disability often do not receive the psychological help they deserve, because those trained in delivering evidence-based therapies feel inadequately trained in adaptations of these to children and young people with autism and/or a learning disability diagnoses, and those with significant experience of working with these groups are insufficiently trained in evidence-based methods of therapy.

This programme complements existing CYP IAPT curricula in specialist psychological therapies. It focuses on ensuring that clinicians and practitioners are familiar with the best evidenced practice for the treatment of children or young people with autism or learning disabilities. It can currently be completed as a PG certificate (PGCert) consisting of three modules, or coupled with the CYP IAPT core module as a PG diploma (PGDip).

The programme aims to:

  • educate you about the core features of autism, learning disabilities and associated conditions.
  • increase awareness of and aid identification of autism and learning disabilities by increasing your knowledge.
  • develop your assessment and intervention skills in working with young people, families and multidisciplinary teams in context of autism and learning disabilities.
  • increase your awareness and identification of mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders which present in the context of autism and learning disabilities and the distinction between what is a co-morbid mental health problem and what is a core feature of Autism and/or Learning Disability.
  • raise awareness of how environmental and physical factors may precipitate or perpetuate difficulties, including the role of family, education and employment.
  • develop your skills and awareness in collaborative team approaches to setting agreed goals and action plans based on the individualised assessment profile, the child’s/young person’s and carers’ perspectives.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

How to apply

In order to apply for this programme you will need to be either an existing member of staff or a selected for a Recruit to Train practitioner role (PG Diploma only) where you will be employed by one of our NHS/voluntary sector partner services to train at the university while working within service. Please see the SW CYP IAPT website for a full list of services.

Please note that applications to this programme may only be made through IAPT services recruiting trainees and not directly through the University of Exeter.



This course is funded by Health Education England, so fees are not payable by candidates. You will be put forward by your service and will need to be available to attend training at the university between one and two days per week, in addition to individual study and assignments.


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students and have over £2.5 million in scholarships available for students applying to study with us in 2023, including our Global Excellence Scholarships* and Green Futures Scholarships* for international fee paying students.

For information on how you can fund your postgraduate degree at the University of Exeter, please visit our dedicated funding page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

Teaching and research

Teaching consists of lectures and workshops and small group tutorials. Sessions will include role-play, practical exercises and small group discussions. There will also be regular supervision sessions with University supervisors. Guided independent study is expected to take place.

You will complete assessments, background reading and preparation for assessment and therapy sessions, and complete a total of 100 hours relevant clinical practice. You will also undertake weekly supervision by an appropriate supervisor both in service and monthly at the University.

Summative assessments include:

  • essays
  • session recordings
  • case reports
  • case presentations
  • supervisor(s) report(s) and ratings of competencies
  • reflective journal
  • and a clinical portfolio.

A minimum of 80% attendance must also be achieved at the training institute.


This programme is training people already in a career within a children and young people’s mental health service, working with children who have autism or a learning disability. It will provide you with an outstanding opportunity to develop your competencies and knowledge as a practitioner working with autism and/or learning disabilities.

A strong emphasis throughout the programme is placed upon your personal and professional development.

Advantages of the programme are that:

  • You will study within a vibrant, stimulating and internationally-recognised research environment, where members of your teaching team have first-hand experience within the clinical setting.
  • Your learning experience will be enriched by nationally-recognised, innovative, clinical teaching approaches, designed to develop you on your terms.