Autism Spectrum Department of Special Education & Communicative Disorders

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Plan of Study

The Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate offers a comprehensive plan of sudy comprising specialized courses that are linked to highly relevant field experiences and portfolio documentation for demonstrating professional competencies in autism spectrum related knowledge and skills.

Click here for Overview of Study Requirements

Click here for Course Descriptions and Planning Guide

Click here for Portfolio Contents and Template

Core Autism Spectrum Courses (12 units)

  • SPED 791 Nature of Autism Spectrum (3 units) - Fall & Spring semesters
  • SPED 825 Communication, Behavior and Instruction: Autism (3 units) - Fall semester
  • SPED 794* Socialization and Imagination: Autism (3 units) - Spring semester
  • *SPED 791 is a prerequisite for SPED 794
  • Elective (graduate-level seminar with faculty approval) (3 units)

Field Experiences

Field experiences explicitly support opportunities to apply theoretical constructs, conduct and interpret assessments, and design and implement curriculum, instruction and intervention practices with diverse learners on the autism spectrum in a variety of educational and therapeutic contexts.

Field experiences are closely aligned with each of the four courses in the Autism Spectrum program. While participating in the program, candidates conduct a total of 100 hours of field experience (averaging 25 hours per course).

The majority of field experiences may be carried out in a respective school or program site where a candidate is working or has access to engaging with learners on the autism spectrum. Candidates who are not working with this population, or otherwise do not have access to learners on the autism spectrum, will be supported by faculty to identify appropriate settings among our partner clinical, school and community field sites.

While conducting field experiences, candidates will be offered guidance from highly knowledgeable and experienced faculty and field site mentors.

Portfolio Documentation

Certificate candidates develop Portfolios (online or as digital files) documenting their professional competencies based on the evolution of their knowledge and skill through participation in courses and field experiences.

Upon completion of the Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate requirements, candidates turn in their completed Portfolios by sending a link or digital file by e-mail to

Candidates are asked to check off all of the items in the Table of Contents page to make sure the Portolio requirements are complete before turning it in.

Portfolios will be reviewed in the order that they are received.

Portfolios received at the end of the semester will be reviewed at the start of the subsequent semester.

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