Sensory Integration

2020/21 Part-time Postgraduate course


Postgraduate Certificate/Postgraduate Diploma/Master of Science


Faculty of Life and Health Sciences


School of Health Sciences


This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.

Start date:

September 2020


This is the first, and only, course of its kind in the world.


This course aims to provide occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists with a career pathway to certification as an Advanced Practitioner of Sensory Integration, equivalent to or greater than the criteria adopted by the University of Southern California and Western Psychological Services in the delivery of their Sensory Integration training pathway, at a postgraduate, post-registration academic level. This is awarded by our partners, Sensory Integration Network.

It aims to provide practitioners with the opportunity to gain further enhanced knowledge and expertise required to apply current theories of sensory integration (SI) to everyday practice.

It aims to provide practitioners with an advanced theoretical basis for the management of people with SI problems and will enable them to further enhance their skills in reviewing evidence to inform practice.

The University regularly ‘refreshes’ courses to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible. The University calls this process 'academic revalidation’. This course has recently been ‘refreshed’, with changes put in place for students entering from September 2019 onwards. Module selection may vary.

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About this course


Recent advances in neuroscience support the application of the theory of Sensory Integration (SI) as a treatment approach with children, adolescents, adults and with older adults. Sensory Integration was developed by Dr A Jean Ayres, an Occupational Therapist in the US, in the late 1960s and has now spread world-wide as a treatment for many aspects of sensory and motor functioning.

Sensory Integration and related sensory integration-based approaches allow therapists to use their understanding of mind, body, brain to facilitate opportunities for clients to actively engage in enhanced opportunities to take in, process and respond to sensory experiences in order to promote both short and long term neurological changes necessary to enhance and promote function..

This course provides a unique opportunity for the practitioner to achieve high quality qualifications integrally linked into current and emerging models of care and also scientific and technological advances. National and internationally recognised experts in their fields ensure that state of the science knowledge is informing tomorrow’s practitioners. The course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills required to apply current theories of SI to your everyday practice. It will provide you with an advanced theoretical basis for the management of people with SI dysfunction and will enable you to further enhance your skills in reviewing evidence to inform practice. It aims to develop your skills in evaluation and administration, scoring and interpretation of standardised assessments.

Membership of Sensory Integration Education is given to all students who register on the modules, to ensure access to the community of practitioners.


All modules are delivered fully online although OTH817 has a classroom-based option that includes a five-day course at various venues throughout the UK (normally Birmingham). The last three compulsory modules included in the PGDip and MSc, OTH812, OTH814 and PTH830 have no required attendance at university.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Theoretical material is introduced through online and face-to-face lectures, and developed and reinforced through directed reading and online workshops.

Lectures provide an overview of the main topic areas, develop the student’s understanding of the key issues, guide the students on how to find out more about the subject and the reading they need to undertake. Workshops and tutorials involve students in online group discussions. Where required, tutorials will also involve one-to-one online mentoring between tutors and students.

Students are expected to undertake self-study.

Practical exercises give the opportunity for students to work within small groups to consolidate the knowledge learnt within the lectures.

Students are encouraged to use online communication tools such as the discussion board to generate a sense of community, provide mutual support and to seek advice on specific issues from the lecturers.

Formative assessment is provided through the submission of practice online assessments and essay plans. Feedback is provided prior to submission of the online test and the essay.

Summative assessment is provided through online assessment, case presentations, case studies, case scenarios, a research proposal, a project report and, finally, a research report.


The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Sensory Integration I: Foundations and Neuroscience

Year: 1

Recent advances in neuroscience support the application of the theory of Sensory Integration (SI) as a treatment approach. It will be centred around the perspectives of people who live with sensory integration difficulties. It will equip students with the knowledge required to apply current theories to their everyday practice. It will provide therapists with a theoretical basis for the management of people with sensory processing disorders and will enable therapists to further enhance their skills in reviewing evidence to inform practice.

Sensory Integration 2: Clinical Reasoning in Sensory Integration: Assessment

Year: 1

Students will learn to synthesise, analyse and interpret assessment data and articulate clear reasoning related to their hypothesis of the sensory integration difficulty. They will learn key concepts of ASI, exploring the patterns of SI dysfunction, models of SI, principles and practice of assessment, clinical reasoning, synthesising the assessment data and the process of interpretation of assessment, drawing on a range of assessment tools.

Sensory Integration 3: Clinical Reasoning and Practice in Sensory Integration: Intervention

Year: 1

Sensory Integration 3 allows successful students to provide sensory integration interventions to people in a range of different settings and across the lifespan. Students will be able to negotiate and set appropriate goals, which reflect both the client's priorities and their sensory processing and integration needs.

By the end of Sensory Integration 3, students' knowledge and skills will cohere with those identified at practitioner level in the proposed International Council for Ayres Sensory Integration (ICEASI) framework, and will be entitled to use the title SI Practitioner, awarded by Sensory Integration Education.

Year two

Research Project Preparation

Year: 2

The aim of the module is to develop research design skills to enable students to produce a working research proposal for the Masters project.

Research Evidence in Health Science

Year: 2

This 15 credit point, online module runs twice per academic year and offers health professionals an opportunity to develop their understanding of a range of research methodologies commonly used within healthcare. They will use this understanding of clinical research methods to develop skills in critically appraising and synthesising literature in order to inform and advance the quality of care and service delivery. For those students proceeding to the Masters award, the module will complement the 'Preparation for Project' module and provide a foundation for the Masters project.

Sensory Integration 4: Advanced Practice

Year: 2

This module will take clinicians forward from the interpretive skills they acquired in earlier modules, to enable clinicians to interact with advanced applied neuroscience, confidently disseminate and share their assessment and research findings with a wider audience, and be an agent of change understanding service-level system change methods.

Year three

Research Project

Year: 3

The aim of this project module is to engage the student in an independent piece of research activity under the guidance of a supervisor from the School of Health Sciences. It is expected that this research will add to the student's knowledge and perhaps inform future teaching, clinical practice or further research. The research activity will be allied to that carried out in the Centre for Health and Rehabilitation Technologies (CHaRT) within the Institute for Nursing and Health Research (INHR).

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have gained an Honours or non-Honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from a recognised awarding body or from an institution of another country which is recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, the World Confederation of Physical Therapists, or other international organisations as being of an equivalent standard; or an equivalent standard in a Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate or an approved alternative qualification; and where applicable be eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and normally, currently in relevant employment or have access to the appropriate patient/client group, as approved by the course committee..

In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

Applicants must be registered as a health professional with the relevant regulatory body. In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experience, and is registered with the requisite Education, Social Work or Psychology regulator, this may be considered to meet the requirements for Sensory Integration 1 (OTH817) only.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for this course is competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent) and for non-native English speakers Academic IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.5.

Ulster University recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Students may be eligible for exemption of modules/credit points within the Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters.

Previous experiential learning taken outside this structure (within or beyond the University) may be considered for accreditation of prior learning through the University system, this allows the student in some cases to bring in professional courses/experiential learning that have level 7 learning and assessment and meets the learning outcomes of the course.

Please seek advice from the Course Director.

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America


Typically we require applicant for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree (usually in a relevant subject area). Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus. We consider students who have good grades in the following:

Typically, we require applicants for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree. 

Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus.

The comparable US qualifications are as follows:


UK 2:1 Degree - Bachelor degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 out of 4

UK 2:2 Degree - Bachelor degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.6 out of 4

Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

English Language

Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

Career options

On successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate, you will be able to practise as a Practitioner of Sensory Integration and you will be eligible for progress to PGDip/MSc in Sensory Integration or Advancing Practice. On successful completion of Sensory Integration 4: Advance Practice, you will be able to practice as an Advanced Practitioner of Sensory Integration.

Participation may enhance your options within the health service and beyond and will provide the development opportunities for you to progress to doctoral level activity.


Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information

Fees illustrated are based on 21/22 entry and are subject to an annual increase.

Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply.

Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.

To find out more about fees related to this course please visit:

Where the postgraduate course selected offers multiple awards (e.g. PG Cert, PG Dip, Master’s), please note that the price displayed is for the complete master’s programme. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are charged at a pro-rata basis.

Find out more about postgraduate fees

Scholarships, awards and prizes

There are three awards:

1.Elizabeth Fairgrieve Award for Outstanding Student on the PGCert in Sensory Integration

2. Elizabeth Stephenson Award Award for Outstanding Student on the PGDip in Sensory Integration

3. Greg Kelly Award Award for Outstanding Student on the MSc in Sensory Integration

Additional mandatory costs

Fees for the modules run in partnership with Sensory Integration Network differ from the University fees:

Sensory Integration 1: Foundations and Neurosciencecosts £1275 for the classroom-based course and £949 for the online course.

Sensory Integration 2: Clinical Reasoning in Sensory Integration - Assessmentcosts £949.

Sensory Integration 3: From Assessment to Interventioncosts £949.

Sensory Integration 4: Advanced Practice costs £949 for the online course.

For Sensory Integration 3, if you are selecting a workplace Clinical Mentor, they may agree to support you without remuneration or they may require a mentoring fee for sessions. If you are selecting a Clinical Mentor from the Sensoty Eduction Register of Clinical Mentors, you will need to pay for three 1-hour Clinical Mentoring sessions if you do not have an appropriate Clinical Mentor in your workplace. We have a register of Advanced SI Practitioner Clinical Mentors who can offer the required mentoring and charge approximately £50 per hour. This is a private arrangement between the mentor and mentee.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.


Cathy Maguire, Advanced SI Practitioner, Clinical Lead Physiotherapist at the Redway School

“It changed the way I work and gave me the tools to become a much more reflective and effective SI practitioner. It encouraged me to take my knowledge and understanding of SI theory and practice to a whole new level and perhaps most importantly of all really link it into my everyday work.”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process and undertaking the modules has provided me with a much deeper understanding of SI theory and how it links to my own practice. I now have increased confidence to use SI effectively in my everyday work.

Simon Curtis, Advanced SI Practitioner, Occupational Therapist at Hannahs at Seale Hayne in Devon

“Taking the SI Modular Pathway has been fantastic for realising my own professional identity. I’ve learnt so much about the role that SI has to play in everyday life. It's had a huge impact on me, I've even used some of the learning to influence the yoga and pilates classes I teach."

Sarika Kaushik, Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner, Paediatric OT (AKA Fun Doctor and Play OT)

“Before completing the SI Modular Pathway, I didn’t realise quite how passionate I am about my job. The learning has completely changed the way I practice. The programme provides phenomenal training backed up with first class support, it really is life-changing.”

Tamsin Jones, Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner, Highly Specialised Occupational Therapist, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

“Taking the SI Modular Pathway has opened up new career opportunities for me. I have now gained the skills that I need to start working one day a week in a private practice and I am looking forward to expanding my client group knowledge base, to really understand human development.