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Top 25 Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Online 2020

March 2020

The demand for special education teachers is expected to grow by 8% through 2026, illustrating the need for highly trained professionals who have the knowledge and training needed to work with individuals with a variety of learning challenges, including those with autism spectrum disorders. It is estimated that one in 88 children are diagnosed with ASD and many of those individuals require specialized support in school, at home, and in the workplace. Earning an online master’s in autism spectrum disorder is a great way to:

  • add additional credentials to your special education degree
  • gain additional training in the area of ASD
  • advance your career and be prepared for leadership opportunities.

Autism spectrum disorder online master’s programs are found in a variety of university departments including:

  • psychology
  • special education
  • curriculum and instruction

Some are combined with applied behavior analysis programs, providing students with another specialized skill set. The diversity seen in many of these top programs allow for unique perspectives and emphasis in the many facets of ASD. Below we list the top 25 online master’s in autism spectrum disorders.

In order to create our list of the top online master’s in autism spectrum disorder, we searched College Navigator for universities offering this major. We only considered accredited institutions offering programs in this area, with coursework specifically related to helping individuals on the autism spectrum. We also looked for attributes including:

  • experienced faculty
  • coursework leading to licensure/credentials
  • national rankings

While applied behavior analysis is not without controversy, it is one of the most well noted strategies for working with individuals on the autism spectrum.  We were especially interested in programs that offer the approved coursework required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Earning a credential in ABA can add value to an online master’s in autism and open the door to additional job opportunities. Our ranking methodology is below.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 15:1 or less- 3 points
  • 16:1 to 19:1- 2 points
  • 20:1 and above- 1 point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate:

  • Less than $13,000- 3 points
  • $13,000 to $20,000- 2 points
  • Greater than $20,000- 1 point

BCBA Approved Course Sequence

  • Yes- 3 points

Where there are ties, schools are ranked according to in-state average graduate tuition rates per College Navigator.

#25 -Pennsylvania State University World Campus – University Park, Pennsylvania

Master of Education in Special Education-Autism Emphasis


Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $21,682/year
Points: 3
What’s Unique
Penn State World Campus offers a top online master’s in special education with a focus on autism education. Students will learn to develop and implement effective programming for individuals of all ages with autism spectrum disorders. This 11 course program covers areas like:

  • Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Communication and Social Competence
  • Assessment and Curriculum

The program is a good fit for students with a background in human services or education who want to work with children and youth with disabilities. Most students can complete the program in less than two years.

#24 -Oakland University – Rochester Hills, Michigan

Master of Education in Special Education With Concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $18,546/year in-state and $24,648/year out-of-state
Points: 3
What’s Unique
The top online master’s in autism spectrum disorder from Oakland University is a flexible program taking a deep dive into the area of autism. Coursework is delivered 100% online with the exception of the ASD practicum experience. The program is appropriate for certified teachers who want to teach individuals with special needs including autism spectrum disorders. Courses include:

  • Behavioral/Social Issues
  • Educational Procedures
  • Overview of ASD

Online courses are delivered using the Moodle learning management system. Students stay engaged with faculty and peers throughout the program, sharing professional experience and gaining perspective into the field.

#23 -Grand Canyon University – Phoenix, Arizona

Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 20:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,175/year
Points: 4
What’s Unique
Grand Canyon University offers an autism master’s online through the College of Education. The program is designed for educators who understand the special needs of students on the autism spectrum. This 32 credit hour program includes courses in:

  • Policy and Ethics in Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Life Skills and Transitions for Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Methods and Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Courses are delivered in an asynchronous format allowing students to study anywhere at anytime. All students complete a capstone portfolio project that brings together all the elements of the program.

#22 -Slippery Rock University – Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

Master of Education in Special Education: Autism


Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 21:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,288/year and $13,932/year out-of-state
Points: 4
What’s Unique
To meet the need for autism educators, Slippery Rock University created a top online master’s in autism within their master of education special education program. This highly specialized graduate degree features a flexible curriculum designed for working professionals. Courses are taught by faculty with experience in ABA and ASD. The curriculum aligns with CEC standards as well as the PA Department of Education competencies. Courses include:

  • Program Development for Students with ASD
  • Applied Behavior Analysis / Single Subject Experimental Design
  • Developing Integrated Language and Literacy Programs for Students with Disabilities

Students can choose between a thesis or a clinical practicum experience, depending on their professional goals.

#21 -Florida International University – Miami, Florida

Online Master of Science Special Education: Autism Endorsement

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 26:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,912/year in-state and $21,393/year out-of-state
Points: 4
What’s Unique
Florida International University features a top online master’s in autism for special education teachers seeking advanced training to help the children they serve. Courses are taught by special education leaders with experience in teaching, emotional and behavioral disorders, and learning disabilities. Courses include:

  • Assistive and Instructional Technology and Alternate / Augmentative Systems for Students with Autism
  • Behavioral Management and Positive Behavioral Supports for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Nature & Needs of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

This 36 credit hour program is a 12 month online program with fall and summer admission dates.

#20 -University of South Florida – Tampa, Florida

Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Intellectual Disabilities

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 22:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,350/year in-state and $19,048/year out-of-state
Points: 4
What’s Unique
The fully online top master’s in autism from the University of South Florida earns students endorsements in Autism and Severe Disabilities. Courses include:

  • Assistive Technology for Students with Low-incidence Disabilities in Special Education
  • Assistive Technology for Students with Low-incidence Disabilities in Special Education
  • Educating Students with Autism

Students will learn how to become reflective practitioners who are able to evolve and learn from their teaching. They become collaborative professionals who are able to work with families and individuals to help solve problems and improve their educational experience.

#19 -Minnesota State University – Mankato, Minnesota

Master’s Degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders Online

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 22:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,694/year
Points:
What’s Unique4
The 34 credit hour autism online master’s degree from Minnesota State University Mankato is a CAEP accredited program for students who want to learn more about autism spectrum disorders. Courses include:

  • Behavior Management and Learning Environments for Diverse Learners
  • Transition to Adult Life
  • Special Education Law

Students can complete the program to earn their master’s degree or earn both a master’s and a teaching license.

#18 -Arizona State University – Scottsdale, Arizona

Online Master of Art in Special Education (Autism Spectrum Disorders)

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 23:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $6,384/year
Points: 4
What’s Unique
The top autism master’s program online from Arizona State University prepares students to work with both adults and children on the autism spectrum. Featured courses include:

  • Consultation Frameworks and Issues
  • Measurement, Data Display, Interpretation and Experimental Design
  • Verbal Behavior

All students complete a minimum of 45 direct contact hours under the supervision of an onsite supervisor. Students also complete an applied project or capstone course to demonstrate the knowledge and skills gained from the program.

#17 -Mary Baldwin University – Staunton, Virginia

MEd degree and the Comprehensive Certificate in ASD

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 10:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,000/year
Points: 5
What’s Unique
Mary Baldwin University offers the first online master’s in autism endorsed by the Virginia Autism Council. The program is designed for students who want to support the educational and behavioral needs of school aged children on the autism spectrum. This 34 credit hour program includes courses in:

  • Communication, Language, and Sensory Aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Social Skills Instruction and Behavior Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Characteristics and Assessment of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Students can complete their fieldwork requirements at their job if applicable, adding value to their workplace.

#16 -George Mason University – Fairfax, Virginia

Master of Education-Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,144/year in-state and $33,456/year out-of-state
Points: 5
What’s Unique
The top online master’s in autism spectrum disorder from George Mason University was created to address the unique and often complex learning needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. This graduate certificate track includes courses in:

  • Supporting the Behavior and Sensory Needs of Individuals with Autism
  • Supporting Communication and Literacy for Individuals with Autism
  • Characteristics of Individuals with Autism

Courses are offered online in both asynchronous and synchronous formats. Graduates are prepared to work with individuals with autism spectrum disorders across their lifespans.

#15 -The University of Kansas – Lawrence, Kansas

Online Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,989/year in-state and $23,951/year out-of-state
Points: 5
What’s Unique
The School of Education at The University of Kansas offers a top online master’s in autism spectrum disorder taught by renowned faculty. Courses include:

  • Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities: ASD
  • Methods for Learners with Higher-Functioning ASD
  • Application of Assessment Information for Exceptional Children and Youth

Three different program tracks are available including:

  • a behavior track
  • leadership track
  • a secondary/transition track

The program consists of 12 courses and students can earn their degree in just two years. The innovative online format allows students to complete their coursework from anywhere, anytime! All students complete an extensive field-based practicum, gaining valuable hands-on training.

#14 -University of Missouri – Columbia, Missouri

Master of Education in Special Education with an Emphasis in Autism (M Ed)


Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,264/year and $25,363/year out-of-state
Points: 5
What’s Unique
The top online master’s in autism from Mizzou Online is offered through the College of Education and the Department of Special Education. This 30 credit hour program is offered 100% online and there are no on-campus residency requirements. Courses are offered in a traditional semester time-frame and most students complete one or two courses each semester. Autism specific courses include:

  • High Functioning Students with Autism
  • Young Children with Autism
  • Social Competency for Students with Autism

Online students pay the low in-state tuition rates regardless of their location.

#13 -Bowling Green State University – Bowling Green, Ohio

Master of Education in Special Education-Autism Spectrum Disorders Online

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,017/year in-state and $14,009/year out-of-state
Points: 5
What’s Unique
The eCampus at Bowling Green State University offers a top online master’s in autism spectrum disorders for students seeking career advancement. The program features 12, seven-week courses and students can earn their degree in 18 months. ASD courses include:

  • Assessment, Methods and Materials for Students with ASD
  • Social, Sensory & Communication Issues for Students with ASD
  • Evidence Based Practices and Strategies for Students with ASD

All courses are available online to accommodate working professionals. Graduates are prepared to assume leadership roles in both schools and organizations serving individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

#12 -University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, Arkansas

Online Master of Education in Special Education-ASD Certification

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $7,752/year in-state and $21,032/year out-of-state
Points: 5
What’s Unique
The University of Arkansas offers an online master’s in special education with an ASD certificate. The program features program plans for those with or without a current teaching license. This 36 credit hour program is offered online and the practicum component takes place in the public schools. Courses include:

  • Teaching Students with Disabilities in the Content Areas
  • Teaching Literacy Skills to Students with Disabilities
  • Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Admission to the program is competitive and students should have at least a 3.0 GPA or higher in the last 60 hours of coursework.

#11 -St. Thomas University – Miami Gardens, Florida

Master of Science in Special Education with a Specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 12:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,416/year
Points: 6
What’s Unique
The top online master’s in autism spectrum disorders from St. Thomas University is designed for educators who want to help students be more successful in the classroom. Courses are offered year round and include:

  • Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Individualized Planning for Diverse Learners
  • Applied Behavior Analysis: Behavioral Interventions and Learning Environments
  • Fundamentals of Special Education: Exceptionality, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Students stay actively engaged through an integrated online learning platform that supports collaboration and sharing. Ongoing professional development opportunities like the Education for Everyone Event Series and summer institutes keep students in touch with the latest tools and techniques in the field.

#10 -Hamline University – Saint Paul, Minnesota

Master of Arts in Education-Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 12:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,596/year
Points: 6
What’s Unique
The School of Education at Hamline University offers a top master’s in autism online through their master’s of arts in education program. The ASD curriculum is part of the ASD Certificate program and all courses will apply to the master’s degree program. Courses include:

  • Assessment: Identification and Planning for the Student with ASD
  • ASD: Introduction and Overview
  • Collaborative Transition Programming to Support Individuals with ASD Across Ages

Students can complete coursework at their own pace and many students earn their degree in two years.

#9 -Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis-Autism Spectrum Disorders Concentration

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
Ratio: 11:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $35,181/year
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The School of Education at Drexel University features a master’s online in applied behavior analysis with a concentration in autism spectrum disorder. The program includes the ABAI approved course sequence needed to be able to sit for the BCBA certification exam. Courses include:

  • Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Communication & Language Interventions: Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • An Analysis of Verbal Behavior

Students can choose to complete either a thesis or a practitioner capstone course depending on their professional goals. Both full and part-time program options are available, making this a great choice for working professionals.

#8 -Monmouth University – West Long Branch, New Jersey

Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.): Special Education – Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
Ratio: 13:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $27,126/year
Points: 7
What’s Unique
Monmouth University features several different autism program options for students seeking an online master’s in autism studies. Students seeking a unique program emphasizing both autism and applied behavior analysis can choose the MSEd Autism/ABA program that includes the course sequence needed to sit for the BCBA exam. The 100% online master’s in autism program is for students who work with children and adults with ASD. Courses include:

  • Autism: Characteristics, Etiology, and Current Issues
  • Management of Challenging Behaviors
  • Communication and Social Competence Skills

Courses are taught by distinguished faculty who stay current on the latest trends and best practices in the field. .

#7 -Michigan State University – East Lansing, Michigan

Master of Arts in Special Education-Autism Spectrum Disorders-ABA Certificate

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $18,858/year in-state and $37,056/year out-of-state
Points: 7
What’s Unique
The College of Education at Michigan State University features a top online master’s in autism spectrum disorder through their special education master’s program. The program is designed for K-12 teachers who want to become more professional leaders and educators and increase their effectiveness as collaborators. Courses include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders: Assessment and Intervention
  • Technology and Literacy for Students with Mild Disabilities
  • Classroom & Behavior Management in the Inclusive Classroom

Depending on a student’s previous educational attainment, different program tracks are available that may reduce the amount of coursework needed to complete the degree.

#6 -University of Massachusetts – Lowell, Massachusetts

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Autism Studies Option, M.Ed.

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
Ratio: 17:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,590/year in-state and $26,370/year out-of-state
Points: 7
What’s Unique
UMass Lowell, a recognized leader in online education, features a top online master’s in autism studies with no on-campus residency requirements. This interdisciplinary program also includes up to five courses from the BCBA prep graduate certificate program in applied behavior analysis. This 10 course program covers areas like:

  • Teaching and Positive Behavioral Support in Autism
  • Measurement and Experimental Design in Behavioral Intervention
  • Functional Analysis and Treatment of Challenging Behavior

Online courses are taught by full-time faculty with experience in the field. Online technical support is available 24/7 and students are supported by an academic advisor throughout the course of the program.

#5 -The Sage Colleges – Troy, New York

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
Ratio: 10:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,140/year Points: 8
What’s Unique
The Esteves School of Education at the Sage Colleges features a top online autism master’s degree program that includes the applied behavior analysis verified course sequence needed to be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam. This 36 credit hour program includes coursework in:

  • Diversity in Education
  • Introduction to the Practice of Behavior Analysis
  • Core Skills in Autism

Students can choose to complete an optional practicum sequence that meets the experience requirement to sit for the BCBA exam. Another program option available to students is a thesis in ABA which may be a good choice for students planning to continue on to doctoral study.

#4 -University of Louisville – Louisville, Kentucky

Online M.Ed in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behavior Analysis

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
Ratio: 14:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,000/year in-state and $27,114/year out-of-state
Points: 8
What’s Unique
The University of Louisville features an innovative online master’s in autism spectrum disorder through their MEd in Teacher Leadership program. This program is designed for primarily for certified teachers in Kentucky who support individuals with ASD in their classrooms. This 30 credit hour program is taught 100% online and some courses include interactive synchronous sessions via webcam during the evening hours. Students seeking certification as BCBA can complete additional coursework through the Graduate Certificate in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis

#3 -University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, North Dakota

Online Master’s in Special Education-Autism Spectrum Disorder

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
Ratio: 18:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,534/year in-state and $18,434/year out-of-state
Points: 8
What’s Unique
The University of North Dakota features a master’s in special education with a specialization in autism. This 100% online program is appropriate for educators and human service professionals who work with children and adults on the autism spectrum. Autism courses include:

  • Assessment in Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder: Supports Across the Lifespan
  • Structured Teaching

Faculty are responsive to their students and mentor their students throughout the program. Most students can complete the program in under two years. There are no entry exams required for admission.

#2 -Ball State University – Muncie, Indiana

Master’s in ABA with an Emphasis in Autism

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
Ratio: 16:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,850/year in-state and $21,954/year out-of-state
Points: 8
What’s Unique
To address the national shortage of individuals with the training and education needed to support school children and adults on the autism spectrum, Ball State University created a top online autism master’s degree program. This 30 credit hour applied behavior analysis/autism program can be completed in less than two years. The curriculum includes the ABAI verified course sequence needed for students to be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam. Courses include:

  • Interventions and Treatments for Persons with Autism
  • Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Verbal Behavior

Students complete a field based experience in autism, gaining valuable hands-on skills. New students can begin the program at the start of any semester.

#1 -Endicott College – Beverly, Massachusetts

Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis Program (M.Ed.)

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
Ratio: 14:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,555/year
Points: 9
What’s Unique
Our top choice for an online master’s in autism is the autism and applied behavior analysis program offered by the Van Loan School at Endicott College. This 40 credit hour program is ideal for working professionals with flexibility in course scheduling and format options. Small class size supports individualized attention and all students benefit from personal advising, mentoring, and assistance in professional development. Courses include:

  • Effective Collaboration Across Disciplines
  • Developing Individualized Goals for Learners with Autism
  • Understanding and Remediating Social and Play Skill Deficits in Learners with Autism

Courses are taught by a consistent team of adjunct faculty with real world experience. Graduates of the program meet the coursework requirements needed to sit for the BCBA exam.

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