Special Education, M.A. with Graduate Certificate in Autism and Neurodiverse Learners (Online)

Strength-based approaches for children with autism and other neurodiverse learners

The graduate program in Special Education with a Focus on Autism and Neurodiverse Learners is designed to meet the needs of educators, parents and related services providers who seek to enhance knowledge and skills in order to meet the needs of children with autism and other neurodiverse learners in inclusive classrooms and community.

This format of the program is fully online, synchronous, with weekly contact and interaction with colleagues and instructors.

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Program Outcomes

  • Learn strengths-based practices in curriculum, instruction, and behavioral and social-emotional support for learners on the autism spectrum and others with neurodiverse learning needs
  • Develop equitable teaching practices that support the learning of all students
  • Complete and collaborate in on-line synchronous learning experiences that connect theory with practice


The Special Education MA program with a Graduate Certificate in Autism and Neurodiverse Learners is designed with the working professional in mind. Courses are offered in fully online, real-time synchronous format and typically begin at or after 4 p.m.

Acceptance requirements

  1. Graduate admission application and nonrefundable admission fee
  2. A conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  3. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5
  4. Two sealed official transcripts of all undergraduate work with an unofficial transcript of any prior graduate work
  5. Two letters of recommendation
  6. Letter of intent describing relevant experience and goals for participation in the program

Note: Parents and other related service professionals are welcome to apply for the 15-credit certificate in Autism and Neurodiverse Learners.

Exit Requirements

Students must complete a capstone project, embedded in the final course in the program, to meet the university Master of Arts requirement.

Required Courses: (*Certification Courses)

*SPEC 560 Introduction to Autism and Neurodiverse Learners -3 credits
* SPEC 561 Behavioral Interventions – 3 credits
* SPEC 562 Communication and Technology for Neurodiverse Learners – 3 credits
*SPEC 565 Supporting Mental health Needs of Neurodiverse Learners – 3 credits
*SPEC 564 Application of Instructional Strategies for Neurodiverse Learners – 3 credits
SPEC 544 The Science of Social-Emotional learning – 3 credits
SPEC 541 Creating Effective Systems of Support – 3 credits
SPEC 590 Special Topics – 3 credits
SPEC 596 Practicum – 3 credits
SPEC 530 Research in Special Education Capstone – 3 credits


Andrea “Penny” Spencer, Ph.D. 
Director of Off-Campus Programs 
Phone: 860.231.5336 
[email protected] 

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