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

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for special education teachers is expected to grow by 3% through 2029, with the addition of 14,300 jobs.  This growth reflects the demand 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 1.8% of children in the US have been diagnosed with autism.  This rate has doubled over the last 20 years.  Professionals with a master’s education in ASD can provide supports to these individuals in school, at home, and in the workplace.


We created this ranking of the top online master’s in autism spectrum disorder to showcase some of the best programs in the country.  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
  • availability of professional development opportunities

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. Programs offering the verified course sequence needed to meet the coursework requirements to sit for the BCBA exam were awarded additional points.  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

Penn State World Campus


Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 15:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $22,464/year
Points: 4
What’s Unique

The top value online master’s in autism from Pennsylvania State University is a 33-credit hour program focused on current issues and topics in the field. Students can expect to complete coursework in areas focused on developing strategies to foster academic, behavioral, and communication gains. The 11-course program is a great choice for students planning to work with children and youth with disabilities. Courses include:

  • Communication and Social Competence
  • Assessment and Curriculum
  • Current Issues in Special Education

Students can also earn the Educating Individuals with Autism Postbaccalaureate certificate alongside their M.Ed.

#24 -Oakland University – Rochester Hills, Michigan

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

Oakland University

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 19:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $18,546/year in-state and $24,648/year out-of-state
Points: 4
What’s Unique

Oakland University features a cost-effective online Master of Education in Special Education with a concentration in autism spectrum disorder. The program is a great choice for certified teachers interested in working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders. ASD concentration courses include:

  • Educational Procedures for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Behavioral and Social Issues in Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Collaboration and Consultation: Autism Spectrum Disorder
Students seeking the state approved teaching endorsement complete a practicum with children K-12. Those who are not interested in the endorsement can complete an elective course approved by their advisor.

#23 -Grand Canyon University – Phoenix, Arizona

Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Grand Canyon University

Website
BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
Ratio: 21:1
Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $10,528/year
Points: 4
What’s Unique

Grand Canyon University offers a low-cost master’s in autism spectrum disorders offered by the College of Education. Courses are taught by faculty with experience in the field and understand the specific neurological development of students with ASD. Areas of study include:

  • Assessment and evaluation techniques
  • Instructional planning ideas
  • Functional communication practices
  • This 32-credit hour program is delivered online with six-week courses. All students create a professional portfolio that synthesizes the major concepts taught throughout the program. There is no practicum or field experience required.

    #22 -Slippery Rock University – Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

    Master of Education in Special Education: Autism

    Slippery Rock University


    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
    Ratio: 20:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,288/year and $13,932/year out-of-state
    Points: 4
    What’s Unique

    Slippery Rock University created an affordable online master’s in autism that meets the need for autism educators. This highly specialized graduate degree is 100% online for working professionals. The flexible curriculum can easily accommodate both educators and human service agency professionals. Courses are taught by professions with experience in both autism education and applied behavior analysis. Course offerings include:

    • Applied Behavior Analysis/Single Subject Experimental Design
    • Program Development for Students with ASD
    • Communication and Social Competency for Students with ASD
    All students complete either a clinical practicum or a thesis. Students can complete their degree in just one year.

    #21 -Florida International University – Miami, Florida

    Online Master of Science Special Education: Autism Endorsement

    FIU

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
    Ratio: 27:1
    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 value online master’s in autism that leads to the Florida Autism Endorsement. The program places emphasis on classroom-based research while preparing students to work with culturally and lingually diverse learners. Autism courses include:

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

    There is no GRE required for admission and students can complete their degree in just 12 months.

    #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: 23:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $8,350/year in-state and $19,048/year out-of-state
    Points: 4
    What’s Unique

    The online master’s in autism spectrum disorder and severe intellectual disabilities at the University of South Florida prepares teachers to provide an education to students with ASD and intellectual disabilities in the least restrictive school environment. This NCATE accredited program includes courses like:

    • Identification and Assessment of Individuals with Low Incidence Intellectual Disabilities and ASD
    • Positive Behavior Support
    • Curriculum and Instruction

    Students demonstrate competency in best practices by completing a portfolio a submitting it before the Portfolio Review Committee. Several financial support options are available through scholarships and grants.

    #19 -Arizona State University – Scottsdale, Arizona

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

    ASU

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
    Ratio: 25:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $6,516/year
    Points: 4
    What’s Unique

    Arizona State University features a top online master’s in autism spectrum disorders that provides students with a theoretical and applied curriculum. The 10-course program is a great choice for students planning to support children and adults in clinics, community and home settings, educational environments, and workplaces. Courses include:

    • Measurement, Data Display, Interpretation and Experimental Design
    • Family-Centered Practices
    • Consultation Frameworks and Issues
    Students arrange their own practicum placement that meets their professional and personal goals. All students complete either a capstone or an applied project as their culminating experience.

    #18 – University of North Texas – Denton, Texas

    Special Education Online Master of Education with a Concentration in Autism Intervention

    UNT

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
    Ratio: 26:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $6,350/year in-state and $13,712/year out-of-state
    Points:4
    What’s Unique

    The University of North Texas features a high-value online master’s in autism intervention through the College of Education. This 11-course program can be completed in just 12 months. Students will study evidence-based practices to work with individuals on the autism spectrum. Course content is applicable to a variety of settings including home-based family services, school settings, and healthcare. Courses include:

    • Educational Programming for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • Positive Behavioral Interventions in Educational and Related Settings
    • Supporting High Functioning Students with Autism in General Education

    New students are admitted at five different start points throughout the year. There is no thesis requirement, but all students must pass a comprehensive exam before earning their degree.

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

    Master of Arts with a Specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
    Ratio: 12:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,400/year
    Points: 5
    What’s Unique

    The School of Education at The University of St. Thomas offers a master’s specializing in autism spectrum disorders for students who want to meet the needs of individuals with autism from birth through age 21. Courses are offered in both asynchronous and synchronous formats for online students. There are program options for students seeking initial licensure as well as for licensed SPED and non-SPED teachers. New students are admitted to the program year-round.

    #16 -Mary Baldwin University – Staunton, Virginia

    Master of Education in Autism Spectrum Disorders (MEd)

    Mary Baldwin University

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
    Ratio: 11:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,000/year
    Points: 5
    What’s Unique

    The online master’s in autism spectrum disorders from Mary Baldwin University is the first program in the state to be endorsed by the Virginia Autism Council. The program is designed for students currently working with or planning to work with school-aged individuals on the autism spectrum. All courses are offered online and there are no on-campus residency requirements. Tuition is affordable and discounts are available through the Educator’s Choice Discount for current employees of public or private schools in Virginia. Most students can complete their degree in just 18-24 months.

    #15 -George Mason University – Fairfax, Virginia

    Master of Education-Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders

    George Mason University

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
    Ratio: 17:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,594/year in-state and $33,906/year out-of-state
    Points: 5
    What’s Unique

    George Mason University features a top online master’s in autism through their special education program. Students will earn their degree as well as a supporting graduate certificate in autism spectrum disorders. The program emphasizes working with individuals with autism across their lifespan and addresses community, school, and agency perspectives. Autism track courses include:

    • Supporting Communication and Literacy for Individuals with Autism
    • Supporting the Behavior and Sensory Needs of Individuals with Autism
    • Autism Across the Lifespan: Collaboration with Critical Partners

    The part-time curriculum meets the needs of busy professionals and those with families while providing a high-quality student experience. Courses are taught by distinguished faculty with academic and professional experience.

    #14 -The University of Kansas – Lawrence, Kansas

    Online Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

    KU

    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 University of Kansas School of Education and Human Sciences has a top value online master’s in autism spectrum disorder taught by renowned faculty. A variety of tracks are available in areas like behavior and leadership. The 12-course program includes eight-week courses and can be completed in just two years. Courses include:

    • Teaching Language and Communication Skills to Learners with Autism and Developmental Disabilities
    • Family and Interprofessional Collaboration in Special Education
    • Application of Assessment Information for Exceptional Children and Youth

    Students complete a field-based practicum to gain valuable real-world experience. All students complete a master’s project or thesis as their capstone experience.

    #13 -University of Missouri – Columbia, Missouri

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

    University of Missouri


    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
    Ratio: 17:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,478/year and $25,946/year out-of-state
    Points: 5
    What’s Unique

    The University of Missouri offers an inexpensive online Master of Education in Special Education with an emphasis in autism. Courses are offered 100% online and there are no on-campus residency requirements. Students usually take one or two courses each semester and earn their degree in two years. Course work includes:

    • promoting and enhancing social competence
    • best practice evaluation methods
    • examining curriculum and approaches based on current research

    This program is a good choice for students planning to work with children and youth with autism and their families.

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

    Master of Education in Special Education-Autism Spectrum Disorders Online

    BGSU

    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 autism spectrum disorders online Master of Education in Special Education at Bowling Green State University is designed to help students advance their career. This 12-course program features affordable tuition and an accelerated schedule that allows students to complete their degree in just 18 months. Autism Spectrum Disorders courses include:

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

    There are six start dates each year so students can begin the program when it is most convenient.

    #11 -University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, Arkansas

    Online Master of Education in Special Education-ASD Certification

    University of Arkansas

    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 inexpensive online master’s in autism from the University of Arkansas is a 36-credit hour program that takes two years to complete. Autism spectrum disorder courses include:

    • Characteristics and Assessment of Persons with ASD
    • Instructional Methods for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Teaching Communication Skills to Persons with Autism

    Courses are offered online allowing students to meet their educational goals while attending to professional and personal obligations. The practicum requirement can be met at public school settings across the country. Students will earn a graduate certificate in autism spectrum disorders alongside their M.Ed.

    #10 -Hamline University – Saint Paul, Minnesota

    Master of Arts in Education-Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate

    Hamline University

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: No
    Ratio: 13:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,570/year
    Points: 6
    What’s Unique

    The affordable online master’s in autism at Hamline University that can be completed in just two years. ASD courses are offered online and cover areas like:

    • Intervention and Strategies for Students with ASD
    • Proactive Behavior Management
    • Communication, Assessment, and Intervention for Learners with ASD

    The program offers a diverse curriculum that is appropriate for parents, teachers, and other education professionals who want to better serve ASD learners. Students complete a capstone project or thesis as their final contribution to the program.

    #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: $36,234/year
    Points: 7
    What’s Unique

    Drexel University offers a high value online master’s in ABA with a concentration in autism spectrum disorders. The ABAI-accredited courses meet the classroom requirement needed to sit for the BCBA exam. Students can move through the program quickly by completing four, ten-week terms over the course of a year. Autism spectrum disorders concentration courses include:

    • Communication and Language Intervention
    • Behavior and Sensory Support
    • Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Capstone tracks allow students to choose to complete a thesis or two-part practitioner course sequence. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.0 or higher but they do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores for consideration.

    #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: 12:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $27,874/year
    Points: 7
    What’s Unique

    Monmouth University offers several different autism master’s degree programs to address the increased prevalence of ASD in the state of New Jersey. They offer an MSEd in Special Education focused on autism or an MSEd focused on autism and applied behavior analysis. Students will master the evidence-based practices and assessment tools needed to meet the needs of individuals on the autism spectrum. The MSEd in autism is a 30-credit hour program while the MSEd in autism and ABA is a 39-credit hour program that includes the coursework needed to sit for the BCBA exam. Both programs include courses like:

    • Communication and Social Competence Skills
    • Management of Challenging Behaviors
    • Assessment and Interventions for Individuals with Autism
    Courses include fieldwork requirements that give students hands-on experience to easily transition from the classroom to the field.

    #7 -Michigan State University – East Lansing, Michigan

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

    Michigan State University

    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 autism spectrum disorders concentration area offered with the MA in Special Education at Michigan State University is a budget friendly program for teachers working in a K-12 setting. The program focuses on teaching evidence-based practices for students with ASD. Students can earn an additional Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis while working on their degree. ASD courses include:

    • Assessment and Intervention
    • Technology and Literacy for Students with Mild Disabilities
    • Content Area Instruction for Students with Mild Disabilities
    Students complete a supervised practicum working with individuals with identified autism spectrum disorders at either the elementary or secondary levels.

    #6 -University of Massachusetts – Lowell, Massachusetts

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

    UMASS

    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

    The University of Massachusetts offers a high-quality online master’s in applied behavior analysis with coursework focused on autism studies and education. This interdisciplinary program includes the classroom requirements needed to sit for the BCBA exam. The 10-course curriculum includes courses like:

    • Professional and Ethical Issues in Behavior Analysis
    • Behavior Change Procedures
    • Behavioral Assessment

    Students will complete a teacher work sample showcasing work in six major areas of focus including assessment and reflection. There are no on-campus residency requirements.

    #5 -University of Louisville – Louisville, Kentucky

    Online MEd in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behavior Analysis

    University of Louisville

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
    Ratio: 14:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,260/year in-state and $27,374/year out-of-state
    Points: 8
    What’s Unique

    The University of Louisville features an innovative online master’s in teacher leadership designed to strengthen skills in curriculum and instruction, evaluation, and assessment. A concentration is available in autism spectrum disorder and applied behavior analysis. Courses are taught 100% online with some interactive synchronous offered during the week. The 30-credit hour program includes courses in:

    • Behavior Analytic Approach to Communication
    • Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Autism: Introduction and Understanding

    All students complete a practicum in autism and applied behavior analysis to gain hands-on experience in the field. There is no GRE required for admission and students can complete their degree in just two years.

    #4 -Russell Sage College – Troy, New York

    Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism

    Russell Sage College

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
    Ratio: 11:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,140/year
    Points: 8
    What’s Unique

    Russell Sage College offers a low cost online master’s in applied behavior analysis and autism taught by professionals with years of experience who teach in an online, multimedia format. Students gain hands-on experience through applied activities built into most courses. An optional practicum track allows students to complete both the BCBA required coursework and fieldwork requirements needed to sit for the exam. Courses are delivered in an asynchronous format that allows students to access coursework on their own schedule. Students can complete their degree in about two years.

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

    Online Master’s in Special Education-Autism Spectrum Disorder

    UND

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
    Ratio: 17:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $11,060/year in-state and $16,590/year out-of-state
    Points: 8
    What’s Unique

    The University of North Dakota features an online master’s in ABA for current teachers or those seeking a specialized ABA program. Students learn from highly qualified instructors who have worked with both children and their families. Online students benefit from one-on-one advising and responsive faculty in an online environment. Courses include:

    • Supports Across the Lifespan
    • Structured Teaching
    • Methods for Students with Asperger Syndrome

    Most students can earn their degree in just 18 months.

    #2 -Endicott College – Beverly, Massachusetts

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

    Endicott College

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
    Ratio: 11:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,666/year
    Points: 9
    What’s Unique

    The School of Education at Endicott College features an affordable online master’s in applied behavior analysis with a concentration in autism. This 40-credit hour program includes the coursework and practicum experience needed to sit for the BCBA exam. Courses are taught by consistent adjunct faculty who are experienced practitioners. Elective course offerings include:

    • Understanding and Remediating Communication Deficits in Learners with Autism
    • Evidence-Based Practice
    • Treatment of Severely Challenging Behavior

    Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and new students are admitted three times each year. There’s no GRE required for admission either!

    #1 -Ball State University – Muncie, Indiana

    Master’s in ABA with an Emphasis in Autism

    Ball State University

    Website
    BCBA Approved Course Sequence: Yes
    Ratio: 14:1
    Average Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,328/year in-state and $25,542/year out-of-state
    Points: 9
    What’s Unique

    Our top choice for a high-value online master’s in ABA with an emphasis in autism is the 30-credit hour program housed within the prestigious Teachers College at Ball State University. Students can complete their degree in one to two years by taking one or two courses each semester. Courses include:

    • Interventions and Treatments for Persons with Autism
    • Verbal Behavior
    • Professional Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis

    Courses meet the classroom requirements needed to sit for the BCBA exam. New students are admitted to the program at the start of each semester.

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