Online Master of Art in Special Education (Autism Spectrum Disorders)

Learning about the unique aspects of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can encourage educators to use effective and compassionate techniques for supporting autistic individuals. The ASD master’s program offers a useful theoretical and applied curriculum to students. You’ll gain the ability to conduct supportive interventions and facilitate effective learning strategies.

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Quick facts

Next start date: 10/13/2021


Total classes: 10

Weeks per class: 7.5

Total credit hours: 30

Degree questions, answered.

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Earn your graduate degree in autism spectrum disorders

The master’s in autism, offered through the special education department, allows you to pursue an ASD concentration. Through this degree, you can study techniques for supporting autistic children and adults in a variety of contexts, including:

  • Clinics.
  • Community and home settings.
  • Educational environments.
  • Workplaces.

The curriculum emphasizes a fact-based approach to understanding various and distinct ASD characteristics. You’ll have the opportunity to dispel common misconceptions and determine the credibility of sources. Students in the program also learn strategies for sharing reputable information with family members of autistic individuals to ensure parents and caregivers are properly informed about ASD and how to support their loved ones.

By studying practical examples and sharing knowledge with your classmates, you can develop techniques for collaborating with other professionals as you design and implement support strategies.

Work with autistic children and adults

 

Educators perform a crucial and essential service, and specialists from different backgrounds help ensure that all people can reach their full potential. In addition to being useful for teachers, graduate programs in ASD can benefit family members and a variety of professionals including:

  • Administrators.
  • Interventionists.
  • Paraprofessionals.
  • Psychologists.
  • Speech therapists.

The practicum component of this curriculum enables you to apply the topics covered in theoretical courses to practical scenarios. You’ll build experience supporting autistic learners by delivering 45 direct contact hours of approved activities under the direction of a supervisor and instructor. 

Please note: You should have access to an autistic individual to practice skills learned in class. This can be in a school, community or family setting.

What is the difference between the master’s in special education and the master’s of applied behavior analysis?

The Master of Arts in special education program with a concentration in ASD specifically focuses on understanding ASD and delivering a broad array of associated supports. Graduate programs in ASD are tailored to understanding the needs of autistic individuals as well as facilitating their learning and success. 

The applied behavior analysis (ABA) program prepares students to use ABA, a systematic approach to assessing and changing behavior. ABA may be used to assist individuals who would benefit from behavioral support due to several different conditions, including ASD and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

The ABA program leads to the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. The ASD master’s program requirements align with the autism special education standards of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Does my master's in autism say 'online'?

No, Arizona State University’s diplomas don’t specify whether you earn your degree online or in person. All diplomas and transcripts simply say “Arizona State University.” That’s because ASU Online students learn from the same faculty and receive the same course content as in-person students receive.

Autism spectrum disorders courses

The program employs a combination of real-time courses and small group meetings. You’ll develop a theoretical foundation in ASD and practice strategies for applying the discipline. Students also explore how the CEC standards function in practical scenarios. Classes in the ASD master’s program include:


Core course

Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorders


Core course

Measurement, Data Display, Interpretation and Experimental Design


Core course

Family-Centered Practices


Core course

Consultation Frameworks and Issues


Core course

Applied Behavior Analysis in Inclusive Settings


Elective course

Verbal Behavior


Applied Project OR Capstone


Practicum


What can I do with a master’s degree in autism spectrum disorders?

The master’s in autism program is a useful specialization in the field of education. The degree can also provide you with the understanding and experience needed to support individuals with autism in a variety of contexts. Additional education or professional licensure may be required for some professions.

Potential paths you might consider include:

Educator.

Interventionist.

Paraprofessional.

Psychologist.

Speech-language pathologist.

Therapist.

Courses developed and taught by PhD faculty

The faculty of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College draws from a range of academic disciplines — including cognitive science, psychology and economics — to gain insight into important questions about the process of learning, the practice of teaching and the effects of education policy. The faculty is committed to connecting research to schools and other learning environments. Our teacher and leadership preparation programs combine scholarly rigor with practical application.

Courses developed and taught by PhD faculty

The faculty of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College draws from a range of academic disciplines — including cognitive science, psychology and economics — to gain insight into important questions about the process of learning, the practice of teaching and the effects of education policy. The faculty is committed to connecting research to schools and other learning environments. Our teacher and leadership preparation programs combine scholarly rigor with practical application.

Autism degree admission requirements

Applicants to the Master of Arts in special education program who wish to pursue a concentration in autism spectrum disorders must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

Application requirements

Additional application information

Learn from leading faculty at a highly respected university

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College brings people and ideas together to increase the capabilities of individual educators and the performance of education systems. ASU is ranked #17 in the world in the subject area of education, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. According to U.S. News & World Report, 2021, our college ranks in the top 15 best online graduate programs in the nation.

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Tuition calculator

Our tuition calculator can help you estimate full-time tuition fees for this program without financial aid. Keep in mind: More than 80% of our students receive financial aid.

Tuition calculator

Our tuition calculator can help you estimate full-time tuition fees for this program without financial aid. Keep in mind: More than 80% of our students receive financial aid.

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