Autism Spectrum Studies Department of Special Education & Communication Disorders

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Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate

Program Features

This University-wide certificate program offers professional preparation to graduate level candidates from diverse disciplines seeking to gain expertise in the autism spectrum area. Candidates in the program currently possess or are working toward a master's degree in special education (with an emphasis in any program area - e.g., early childhood, milld-moderate, moderate-severe, orientation and mobility, physical health impairments, visual impairment) or in a related field (e.g., communication disorders, child development, counseling, occupational therapy, psychology, social work). Candidates in special education may also apply the core autism courses to their respective teaching credential program while earning their master's degree and the Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate.

Up-to-Date Curriculum

The Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate program is grounded in the most up-to-date theory, research and evidence-based practices shown to be effective in addressing the unique needs of those affected by autism. The curriculum is designed to offer perspectives on the lifelong learning, development and socio-cultural experiences of people on the autism spectrum from early diagnosis through adulthood while centering on the early childhood, middle childhood, adolescent and transition years.

Comprehensive and Competency-Based

The program of study is comprehensive and competency-based while aligned with state and professional standards (i.e., Council for Exceptional Children - CEC; American Sppech-Language Hearing Association- ASHA). Candidates demonstrate professional knowledge and skills through participation in specialized courses that are linked to highly relevant field experiences and Portfolio documentation.


The program is interdisciplinary drawing on diverse fields - e.g., education, speech-language pathology, child-adolescent development, psychology, sociocultural anthropology, neuroscience and more...The program welcomes qualified US and international candidates from a variety of fields and backgrounds, including educators, therapists, advocates, family members, adults who identify on the autism spectrum, and others.

Flexible, Streamlined and Personalized

The program of study is designed to be flexible, streamlined and personalized. Candidates have the option of full-time or part-time study.

  • Candidates who posess a Master's degree may complete the requirements for the certificate in 2 semesters
  • Candidates concurrently pursuing a Master's degree may complete the requirements for the certificate at the time they complete their respective graduate program.


Program candidates receive ongoing guidance and support from highly knowledgeable and experienced faculty mentors. The role of the mentor is to provide relevant and practical support for candidates to gain knowledge and successfully implement, reflect on and document the application of effective and meaningful practice. To further mentor candidates, faculty also work closely with other campus resources, such as the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) and the Office of International Programs (OIP).


The program fosters partnerships with schools, family and community groups at the local, national and international level.


The program offers a global perspective while providing opportunities for educational exchange and collaboration with universities, government and non-government organizations in many countries around the world.

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