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. Though each person with autism is unique, there are still a number of hallmarks shared by autistic people: differences in social and emotional learning, sensory processing differences, and different ways of comprehending reading.
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 disorder 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 the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and becoming educated on how to address ASD in the classroom is very important. 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, and how to gain the support of the greater community. If it take 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 will need to know what the following 10 master’s degrees in autism spectrum disorders have to teach you.
1.)The University of Arkansas
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 27,194 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. 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 disciplines including the sciences, arts, and humanities. With over 30 online degrees and certifications, UofA has online courses for all types of interests. The largest online courses are in the fields of business, education, engineering, and health.
The University of Arkansas offers a Master of Education in Special Education with a graduate 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 costs just $420 per credit hour and requires 36-45 credit hours for completion. This includes M.Ed. 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 teaching communication skills to persons with autism, teaching students with autism spectrum disorders, characteristics and assessment of persons with ASD, instructional methods for students with ASD as well as practicum experience.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $420
2.)The University of Kansas
The University of Kansas is a public research university located in Lawrence, Kansas. There are 27,565 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. U.S. News ranks University of Kansas as the 115th best college in the nation, 70th best college for veterans, and as the 53rd best public school in the nation. The academic offerings are robust and include a some unique programs like German studies, aerospace engineering astronomy and clinical psychology. Their online programming is impressive, highly ranked by U.S. News, and includes an online master’s in museum studies, and online PhD in nursing practice, and an online master’s in special education and teaching.
The University of Kansas (KU) offers a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Special Education and a emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). We selected this program for the high quality academic prestige- KU is ranked as the 2nd best special education school in the country according to U.S> News 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. Those following the ASD track will learn about assessment for exceptional children and youth, methods for learners with Asperger, how to teach language and communication skills, family and interprofessional collaboration in special education, and much more. If you are looking for a high quality degree that covers all known hallmarks of ASD and prepares you for a wide range of employment opportunities working with this fun and unique population, this is a great choice.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $595
3.)The University of Missouri
The University of Missouri is a public land-grant research university located in Columbia, Missouri. There are 33,239 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 19:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits UM to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. U.S. News ranks UMC as the 51st best public school in the nation and 73rd best college for veterans. UMC ranks as the 61st best school for online graduate education programming.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. It may be of no surprise that the online offerings offer a vast range of opportunities where that is an online bachelor’s in natural resources, or an online Master’s of Education in special education.
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 online master’s degree will cost just $12,494 upon completion. This is our most affordable pick. The high-quality academic programming includes an examination of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with autism, how to identify students who are high-functioning and have a diagnosis of Asperger’s’ syndrome, providing intervention and supports in home, community and classroom settings, promoting and enhancing social competence, and examining curriculum and approaches based on current research. You will also learn about the best practices for addressing any problem behavior. If you are looking for a high quality comprehensive program that sets you up for a number of careers in special education, this is a great pick.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $416
4.)Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university that enrolls over 50,000 students and maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 23:1. U.S. News ranked Arizona State #1 for Most Innovative School above Stanford and MIT. Additionally, ASU ranks 61st for top public schools and 129th in the nation and among the best graduate schools in the nation. The Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College is considered to be one of the best graduate colleges of education and ranked 11th according to U.S. News The online degrees include fields of study such as anthropology, communication, global leadership, social policy, and marketing among others 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 Education in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We selected this program for its high quality academic prestige and for the flexible and accelerated online format. U.S. News ranks the graduate education program as the 14th best in the nation. Classes are just 7.5 weeks in length and there are 10 classes required for completion. The curriculum is divided into five components: required core, concentration, elective, a special education practicum, and a capstone experience. Your concentration fulfills 18 of the 30 credit hours and includes consultation frameworks and issues, family centered practices, research and evaluation, foundation of autism spectrum disorders, and reading and communication strategies for autism. 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.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour:$659
5.)University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota (UND) is a sea-grant university located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There are 14,648 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 21:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits UND to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees programs and professional certifications. According to U.S. News UND ranks the 110th top public school. There are 6 academic colleges and three professional schools including the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, College of Education and Human Development, and more. Degree offerings are vast and include unique programs like American Indian/Native American Studies, pharmecology, wildlife biology,Chinese studies and more. When it comes to online courses, UND offers over 20 degree and certification programs in a variety of fields. The most popular online degrees are in health, engineering, and education.
The University of North Dakota offers a Master of Education 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. The cost per credit hour is $432 and requires a minimum of 32 credit hours for completion. 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 ASD 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 Master of Education in Special Education from UND is a great option.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour:$432
6.) The University of Massachusetts Lowell
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, and has been 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. US News ranked UMass Lowell 152nd for best national university and 78th for its public university ranking. Additionally, student-to-faculty ratio is low at 17:1. 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 Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Autism Studies. We selected this degree program for the high level of academic prestige and for the affordable online tuition rates. The Masters in Autism requires 30 credit hours for completion and cost just $470 per credit hour. The UMass Lowell ranks 16th for best online graduate education programs according to U.S. News. The Masters in Autism Studies breaks down into three component parts: core courses, specialization, and capstone programing. The specialization meets 15 of the 30 credit hour requirements and includes an introduction to behavioral intervention in autism, positive behavioral support in autism, measurement and experimental design in behavior intervention, legal and ethical issues in practice, and behavioral intervention program models that explore various modes of evidence-based behavioral interventions. This degree is perfect for the individual who is ready to improve their curricular design to help autistic people in the classroom.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $470
7.)Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University is a public research university located in Bowling Green, Ohio that enrolls 16,908 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1. The student body is diverse representing all 50 states and 70 nations where 20% of the entering Freshmen where ethnic and racial minorities. The Higher Learning Commission accredits BGSU to award bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. The U.S. News & World Report ranks Bowling Green as one of the top 200 schools in the nation and 103rd for public schools. 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 where the emphasis is on respect, collaboration, intellectual and personal growth, creativity and innovation, and the pursuit of excellence.
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 30 credit hours for completion. Students of this degree will learn about the nature and characteristics of ASD, assessment for ASD, social, sensory, and communication issues for students with ASD, and classroom management. 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 master’s degree in autism that lends nicely to a wide variety of career opportunities.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour:$445
8.)Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University is a private for-profit university located in Phoenix, Arizona. There are 75,834 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1. 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, engineering, business, and education. Online offerings at, Grand Canyon University include an impressive number of degrees that range from the bachelor’s to doctorate level like their a PhD in psychology, nursing practice, and a large number of Master of Education options. The most popular programs by enrollment are in the fields of business and education.< /p>
Grand Canyon University offer 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 for completion and costs $515 per credit hour. Courses are just 6 weeks in length and students may transfer up to 12 credit hours. All students will learn about brain-based learning, methods and assessment for autism spectrum disorders, Applied Behavior Analysis, Life Skills and Transitions and much more. 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.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $515
9.)Florida International University
Florida International University (FIU) is a public 4-year institution located in Miami, Florida. There are 55,003 students currently enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 27:1.The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits FIU to award comprehensive degree programming and professional certifications. According to U.S. News FIU ranks 16th best school for online graduate business programs, 54th best school for online bachelor’s programs, number one in the nation for awarding degrees to Hispanic students, and 66th best school for online graduate education programs. We love the diverse student body FIU represents as well as the diverse academic programs like their master’s in architecture, bachelor’s in women’s studies, bachelor’s in human resources management 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, health, and education.
Florida International University offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Special Education with an Endorsement in Autism. 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 course focus on assessment and strategies for students with ASD, assistive technology including augmentative systems for students with autism, behavioral management including positive behavioral supports and methods for creating learning goals relevant to autistic people. 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.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $510
10.) George Mason University
George Mason University is located in Fairfax, Virginia. There are 34,909 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. Mason has ranked highly for innovation according to U.S. News and offers a number of the nation’s top online degree programs in the fields of business, computer information technology, 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 degree programs.
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 the high quality academics. Students are required to fulfill 30 credit hours for completion and costs $775 per credit hour. Half of the degree content will be the certification in ASD which focuses on the following: supporting behavior and sensory needs for individuals with autism, characteristics of individuals with autism, intervention for individuals with autism, communication and literacy support and more. This program is comprehensive and focuses on autism across the lifespan. If you are making a career focused on helping autistic people inside and outside of a classroom, try this online degree from George Mason.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $775