ece top online masters autism spectrum disorder education 01

The word “autism” comes from the Greek word “autos” which means “self.” As the famous quote from Stephen Shore states, “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” He was of course referring to the very unique and autonomous nature of autism spectrum disorder. Though each person with autism is unique, there are still a number of hallmarks shared by autistic people including differences in:

  • social communication
  • sensory processing
  • behavior

If you are an educator, you know that children, youth, and young adults with autism are part of your classroom. The time has come to address the needs of these unique learners. With 1 in 68 people in the United State diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders today, you understand that addressing their specific learning needs is more than just a nice idea- it’s essential.

There is no diagnosis quite like Autism Spectrum Disorder ASD.  With such unique minds, it will take unique educators like yourself to put in the hours to learn how to design curricula that makes sense for people who think differently. You will need to:

  • learn how to assess your students
  • select adaptive technology to aid in communication (when necessary)
  • understand the ethics of being a quality special educator
  • gain the support of the greater community

If it takes a village to raise a child, it will take the world to make way for these divergent thinkers. If you are a mover and shaker in special education, you might want to consider earning a masters in autism spectrum disorder.  Fortunately, you can earn your autism degree online, allowing you to continue working in the classroom while advancing your education.  Not sure where to start?  We showcase some of the best online degrees in autism spectrum disorders in the United States.  These programs are sure to help you reach your career goals.

1.) The University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, Arkansas

Master of Education in Special Education with a micro certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders

University of Arkansas Master of Education in Special Education with a micro certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders

The University of Arkansas (U of A) is a public land and space grant university that was founded in 1871. It is located in Fayetteville and enrolls 29,068 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits U of A to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. There are hundreds of academic programs available appropriate for both traditional and non-traditional learners in a vast range of disciplines including the sciences, arts, and humanities.

The University of Arkansas offers a Master of Education in Special Education with a micro certificate in autism spectrum disorders. We selected this degree for its affordable online tuition rate and for the high level of academic prestige. This degree requires 36-45 credit hours for completion. This includes the online master’s in education in special education and the certificate in autism spectrum disorders. The program of study consists of three components: core courses, special education core, and the ASD certification material. The autism certification includes three courses:

  • Teaching Communication Skills to Persons with Autism
  • Teaching Students with ASD
  • Characteristics and Assessment of Persons with ASD

Students will also need to complete a practicum experience to earn this online master’s in autism.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $7,875/year in state and $21,420/year out-of-state

2.) The University of Kansas – Lawrence, Kansas

Online Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder

KU Online Master's in Autism Spectrum Disorder

The University of Kansas is a public research university located in Lawrence, Kansas. There are 26,780 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 17:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the University of Kansas to award bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees as well as post-baccalaureate certifications and post-master’s certifications. Carnegie classifies University of Kansas with the highest research activity. The academic offerings are robust and include unique programs like aerospace engineering astronomy and clinical psychology.

The University of Kansas (KU) offers an online master’s in autism spectrum disorder.  We selected this program for the high-quality academic prestige and for the flexibility-enhancing features like the accelerated format and the high number of emphases available. This is a 36-credit hour degree, and each course lasts just 8 weeks. This program will take about 2 years to complete.

Students can personalize their masters in autism by choosing from three elective tracks including:

  • Behavior
  • Leadership
  • Secondary/Transition

Master’s in autism core course offerings include:

  • Methods for Learners with Higher-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Teaching Language and Communication Skills to Learners with Autism and Developmental Disabilities
  • Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities: Autism Spectrum Disorder

If you are looking for a high-quality autism masters program that prepares you for a wide range of employment opportunities working with this fun and unique population, this is a great choice.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $9,989/year in state and $23,951/year out-of-state

3.) The University of Missouri – Columbia, Missouri

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism

University of Missouri Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism

The University of Missouri is a public land-grant research university located in Columbia, Missouri. There are 31,401 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 18:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits UM to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. The student body represents all 50 states and over 150 nations. When it comes to academics UMC offers over 300 degree offerings from 18 colleges and schools including – a law school, medical school, and veterinary medicine school.

The University of Missouri offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education with an emphasis in autism. We selected this program for the affordable online tuition, and for the high-quality academic offerings. This 30-credit hour program is one of the most affordable autism degrees online in our ranking.

The high-quality academic programming includes courses like:

  • Collaboration and Consultation in Special Education
  • Advanced Behavior Management: Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Methods of Instruction for Students with Autism

You will also learn about the best practices for addressing any problem behavior. If you are looking for a high-quality comprehensive autism masters degree program that sets you up for a number of careers in special education, this is a great pick.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $9,950/year in state and $27,245/year out-of-state

4.) Arizona State University – Scottsdale, Arizona

Master of Arts in Special Education Autism Spectrum Disorders

ASU Master of Arts in Special Education Autism Spectrum Disorders

Arizona State University is a public research university that enrolls over 50,000 students and maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 25:1. The Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College is considered to be one of the best graduate colleges of education in the country.  There are also a number of online Master’s of Education degrees available that cover specializations like special education and instructional technology.

Arizona State University offers a Master of Arts in Special Education Autism Spectrum Disorders.  We selected this online masters degree in autism spectrum disorders for its high-quality academic prestige and for the flexible and accelerated online format. Classes are just 7.5 weeks in length and there are 10 classes required for completion. Your concentration fulfills 18 of the 30 credit hours and includes courses like:

  • Foundation of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Measurement, Data Display, Interpretation and Experimental Design
  • Family-Centered Practices

This degree is for any individual who is looking to learn how to implement best-practice educational offerings and design curriculum appropriate for students with ASD.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $10,710/year in state and $12,984/year out-of-state

5.) University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, North Dakota

Master’s in Special Education with a specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders

UND Master's in Special Education with a specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders

The University of North Dakota (UND) is a sea-grant university located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There are 13,772 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits UND to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees programs and professional certifications.  There are 6 academic colleges and three professional schools including the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences and the College of Education and Human Development.  Degree offerings are vast and include unique programs like American Indian/Native American Studies and wildlife biology.  When it comes to online courses, UND offers over 20 degree and certification programs in a variety of fields.

The University of North Dakota offers a master’s degree in Special Education with a specialization in autism spectrum disorders. We selected this degree for the affordable online tuition and for the high-quality academic offerings. This autism masters degree requires a minimum of 32 credit hours for completion. Course offerings include:

  • Methods for Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Methods for Students with Asperger Syndrome
  • Intensive Early Intervention

In this specialization, you will learn about autism and how it affects children, adolescents, and adults. All students will learn how to assess and identify characteristics specific to autism spectrum disorders and also how to work collaboratively. This degree includes field work and a capstone experience. If you are looking for an affordable route to help you move forward in the field of special education, the online masters degree in autism from UND is a great option.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $11,503/year in state and $17,254/year out-of-state

6.) The University of Massachusetts – Lowell, Massachusetts

Master of Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies

UMASS Lowell Master of Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies

Founded in 1894, the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) is a public research university located in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts. UMass Lowell enrolls over 17,500 students.  They are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to offer over 3,720 degrees and certificates. The online program alone offers over 50 fully online degree and certificate programs.  Additionally, student-to-faculty ratio is low at 18:1. Meaning you are getting quality education and more opportunity to interact with professors. UMass Lowell offers over 50 degrees and certification programs online- the highest number of degrees offered by a school in New England.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers a Master of Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies.  We selected this hybrid degree program for the high level of academic prestige and for the affordable online tuition rates. The autism studies pathway requires 39 credit hours for completion.

The Masters in Autism Studies breaks down into three component parts: core courses, electives, and a supervised practicum and thesis.  Foundational courses include:

  • Autism and Developmental Psychopathology
  • Social and Community Interventions
  • Behavior Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis

This degree is perfect for the individual who is ready to improve their curricular design to help autistic people in the classroom.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $14,590/year in state and $26,370/year out-of-state

7.) Bowling Green State University – Bowling Green, Ohio

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education with a specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders

BGSU Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education with a specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Bowling Green State University is a public research university located in Bowling Green, Ohio that enrolls 17,645 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. The student body is diverse representing all 50 states and 70 nations where 20% of the entering Freshmen are ethnic and racial minorities. The Higher Learning Commission accredits BGSU to award bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. The Carnegie Foundation classifies Bowling Green State University as having “high research activity.” Bowling Green lists its diversity and safety as some of its core values, with emphasis is on areas like respect and collaboration.

Bowling Green State University offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education with a specialization in autism spectrum disorders. This online master’s degree was selected for the affordable online tuition rate, the high-quality academic content, and accelerated online format. Each course is just 8 weeks in length and the whole degree requires just 34 credit hours for completion. Students of this degree will take courses like:

  • Nature and Characteristics of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Assessment, Methods and Materials for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Social, Sensory, and Communication Issues for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Classroom and Behavior Management for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

You will have an opportunity to culminate your degree with either a master’s project, comprehensive exam, or a master’s thesis. This is a great masters in autism online that lends nicely to a wide variety of career opportunities.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,017/year in state and $14,009/year out-of-state

8.) Grand Canyon University – Phoenix, Arizona

Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Grand Canyon Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Grand Canyon University is a private for-profit university located in Phoenix, Arizona. There are 103,072 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits GCU to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Academic offerings at GCU include a number of programs in fields like healthcare and education. Online offerings at, Grand Canyon University include an impressive number of degrees that range from the bachelor’s to doctorate level.  The most popular programs by enrollment are in the fields of business and education.

Grand Canyon University offers a Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders. This online master’s in autism was selected for the affordable tuition and the accelerated online format. The degree requires 32 credit hours.  Courses are just 6 weeks in length and students may transfer up to 12 credit hours.

All students will learn about brain-based learning along with methods and assessment for autism spectrum disorders.  Core courses include:

  • Data-Driven Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Instructional Strategies and Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Assistive Tech and Communication Strategies for Autism Spectrum Disorder

If you are looking to improve your understanding of this unique population and provide quality programming to aid and assist these exceptional minds, this Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders is a great pick.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $10,621/year

9.) Florida International University – Miami, Florida

Master of Science (M.S.) in Special Education with an endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorder

FIU Master of Science (M.S.) in Special Education with an endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Florida International University (FIU) is a public 4-year institution located in Miami, Florida. There are 56,664 students currently enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 24:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits FIU to award comprehensive degree programming and professional certifications. We love the diverse student body FIU represents as well as the diverse academic programs like their master’s in architecture and master’s in special education and teaching. The online presence includes over 30 online degrees and professional certifications. The most popular programs are in the fields of business and education.

Florida International University offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Special Education with an endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorder. We selected this online degree for its accelerated format. This degree may be completed in one year. This online degree requires 36 credit hours for completion. The M.S. is divided into 2 components: the special education core and the autism core. The autism courses include:

  • Assessment and Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Behavioral Management and Positive Behavioral Supports for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Nature and Needs of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

This is a great online master’s degree for educators who are looking to expand their understanding of autism and implement best practice for these unique learners.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,912/year in-state and $21,393/year out-of-state

10.) George Mason University – Fairfax, Virginia

Master of Education in Special Education with a certificate in Autism

George Mason University Master of Education in Special Education with a certificate in Autism

George Mason University is located in Fairfax, Virginia. There are 38,628 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. George Mason offers a number of the nation’s top online degree programs in the fields of business and education. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits George Mason to offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs including postbaccalaureate certifications and post-master’s certifications. George Mason offers a number of online degree programs including programs for both undergraduates and graduate students. No need to forgo a life in the capitol or rearrange your family life or career when enrolled in one of George Mason’s online degrees.

George Mason offers a Master of Education in Special Education with a 15 credit hours certificate in autism spectrum disorders ASD. This program was selected for its high-quality academics. Students are required to fulfill 30 credit hours for completion.  Half of the degree content are ASD courses which focuses on the following:

  • Characteristics of Individuals with Autism
  • Supporting the Behavior and Sensory Needs of Individuals with Autism
  • Supporting Communication and Literacy for Individuals with Autism

George Mason also offers a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis.  Students interested in using Applied Behavior Analysis to support individuals with autism should consider this program that meets the requirements needed to sit for Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam.

The online master’s in special education focused on autism is comprehensive and focuses on ASD across the lifespan. If you are making a career focused on helping autistic people inside and outside of a classroom, try this online special education autism degree from George Mason.

  • Homepage
  • Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,912/year in-state and $21,393/year out-of-state