Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorders Degree

Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum DisordersAdvanced Program for Continuing Professional Education

Offered By: College of Education

The Master of Arts (MA) in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) degree offered by Grand Canyon University is designed for teachers who understand the importance of working with students on the autism spectrum. The prevalence of ASD continues to grow. This means that the need for educators trained in understanding the unique characteristics of students with ASD and the core challenges associated with language and communication, social skills, behavior and processing is also growing. In this program, GCU students immerse themselves in research-based learning techniques and inclusive teaching strategies.

Earn Your On-Campus or Online Master’s Degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders at GCU

Graduates of this on-campus or online master's degree in autism spectrum disorders program will study the special transitional skills needed to help students with ASD transition from school to independent living. The proven and innovative approaches in this MA in ASD degree are delivered by faculty and staff who are experts in the field. In addition, graduates will complete field study and a capstone in order to apply techniques directly. The program integrates an action research project specific to the field and in consideration of becoming an ASD specialist.

This program, while not leading to licensure, allows GCU students to continue working while pursuing a professional, advanced degree. In addition, financial aid and scholarships are available to help future ASD specialists follow their calling to support or teach students with autism.

What You Will Learn in GCU's Master's in ASD Degree Program

Teaching Students with ASD

Building knowledge, skills and abilities in implementing evidence-based and multi-faceted methodologies to engage with and teach students with ASD is at the heart of the master’s degree in autism program at GCU. Additionally, the action research project provides GCU students with the opportunity to research an applicable area related to major elements of this professional program.

Future ASD specialists need to be highly-qualified in the areas of curriculum intervention and instructional strategies for autism spectrum disorders. Graduates of this MA in autism spectrum disorders will learn about how current research and policies translate into classroom and school environments. They’ll also learn about the importance of leadership and collaboration in working with or teaching students with ASD.

What qualifications do you need to be an autism specialist?

As a future graduate of this online or on-campus master's degree in autism spectrum disorders program at GCU, you will study everything you need to know to be the most effective ASD specialist possible.

Additional areas of study specific to ASD degree students include:

  • Inclusive practices and curriculum interventions
  • Instructional and communication strategies
  • Data-driven assessment
  • Positive behavior support
  • Life skills and transitions
  • Advocacy, policy and ethics
  • Leadership and collaboration

Career Options for Master's in Autism Spectrum Disorders Degree Graduates

The need for people with high-specialized special education training is growing. With this masters in autism degree, you may be able to find work as a(n):1

  • Special education teacher
  • ASD specialist
  • Behavior analyst
  • Child advocate
  • Behavioral interventionist
  • Medical personnel
  • Psychologist
  • Therapist

ASD specialists can find work in many different environments. Schools and private special education programs are common workplaces for people with a master's in autism degree, but there are a number of career paths to consider.

Students with ASD teachers need advocates who understand their educational and developmental needs. Specializing in ASD means you will develop relationships with students as you support them through school and beyond, into independent living. If you are ready to pursue this meaningful line of work, sign up for the Master's in Autism Spectrum Disorders degree non-licensure program at GCU today.

1Retrieved from Teacher.org, “Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorders,” in November 2021.

Get More Information!

Loading Form

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 32
Online: 6 weeks [More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
TUITION RATE:
Online: $572 per credit [More Info]

Course List

Major:
32 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
32 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Education. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course orients professional educators to the theoretical foundations of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Educators will focus on the exceptional needs of students with ASD and teacher's responsibilities in determining eligibility and assessment. This course also examines diagnoses and evidence-based practices in the school environment. An emphasis is placed on ethical behaviors and looking at different perspectives within ASD. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

In this course, professional educators will look at how individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience difficulties in the areas of social acceptance and social communication. Emphasis is placed on how interactions with their typically developing peers can allow for opportunities to learn social skills and increase communication skills. Educators will determine the definition of inclusion and research how it impacts students with disabilities. Specific focus is placed on how to support students with ASD in an inclusive environment, including supports in the areas of environmental, social/emotional, behavioral and communication. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-504.

Course Description

Professional educators will determine strategies to align with the different ways individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) think, learn, and behave in the classroom. Educators will use differentiated instruction and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies to design interventions based on process, content and product, including specific strategies for engagement and speech and language support. Educators will support an inclusive environment with all instructional strategies. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-507.

Course Description

This course provides professional educators the opportunity to explore how behavioral, academic, and social assessments are used when determining effective instructional strategies and interventions for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A focus is placed on synthesizing data to make instructional decisions that support students in a variety of settings. Educators will look at how to gather data during instruction and monitor progress of students' IEP goals. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-511.

Course Description

This course explores functional communication training and specific strategies to promote effective communication behaviors or skills of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In addition, professional educators will survey assistive technology in relation to enhancing communication of students with autism spectrum disorders. Consideration of how to manage challenging expectations, show respect and improve ethical practice to promote advocacy and collaboration will extend to the home environment for life-skill application. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-517.

Course Description

This course explores how individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may require specific sensory and behavior supports in order to be successful in the classroom. Professional educators look at Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS), including strategies that encourage and support desired behaviors. Educators will review the principles of PBIS and research interventions and supports for students with ASD in all school environments. Additionally, they will determine how to assess a student and best support their needs when creating behavior accommodations for the inclusion classroom. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-567.

Course Description

This course addresses key requirements of the postsecondary transition plan and collaboration with stakeholders in school and the community. Professionals will learn about age appropriate assessments, aligned activities, and preparation for adult life. In addition, professionals explore postsecondary options, adult services, and living options for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-527.

Course Description

Professional educators acquire knowledge of legal policy and ethical practices associated with students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This course focuses on rights and responsibilities, trends, and advocacy for students with ASD. Educators will also review creation and delivery of individualized education plans for students with ASD. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-557.

Course Description

This course addresses leadership and advocacy opportunities for professionals working with the many stakeholders involved in the delivery of services for students with autism spectrum disorders. Professional educators describe strategies to promote the advancement of the profession. Collaborative practices with stakeholders, conflict resolution strategies, and creating and sustaining productive work environments will be emphasized. Practicum/field experience hours: 10. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SPD-537.

Course Description

This course is the culminating course in the Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders that emphasizes leadership and advocacy opportunities for professional educators working with the many stakeholders involved in the delivery of services for students with autism spectrum disorders. Educators will develop future professional goals and apply knowledge of professional literature and research to promote professional development opportunities. Collaborative practices with stakeholders, conflict resolution strategies, and creating and sustaining productive work environments will be investigated. Experience will culminate in a completed electronic portfolio. Practicum/field experience hours: 30. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: Completion of all other courses required for the Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders program.

Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

Scroll back to top