Master of Arts (M.A.)

Special Education with a focus on Autism and Neurodiverse Learners

Online 30 major credits * 2 years

Reduced Tuition


*if using financial aid

How to Pay

Program Highlights & Benefits

Fully online synchronous format combines interactive real time learning with the convenience of online delivery

2 year completion time, including breaks

Cohort model helps facilitate supportive and collaborative learning

Workload designed for full time professional educators

Goals and Focus of the Program

The Master of Arts in Special Education with Graduate Certificate in Autism and Neurodiverse Learners program focuses on special education theory and strength-based practice grounded in the latest research. Candidates will develop knowledge and skills to support Neurodiverse learners in inclusive classrooms. Coursework focuses on diverse learning, social-emotional, mental health and behavioral needs of children with autism and other neurodiverse learners. Interactive, synchronous classes develop knowledge and skills in inclusive instructional classroom strategies for behavioral intervention, communication and technology, and mental health support for children with autism and related learning profiles as collaborative members of interdisciplinary teams. The program builds techniques for strengthening systems of support through effective communication and collaboration with parents, families, community providers.

Program Design

The Master of Arts in Special Education with a focus on Autism and Neurodiverse Learners program follows a cohort instructional model with a fully online synchronous delivery structure. Eight-week courses include weekly contact with cohort members and instructors, small and larger group activities, and collaborative problem solving within the four hour class period. Online class sessions meet virtually from 4:45 PM – 8:45 PM on the same night of the week during this scheduled class time. The duration of the program is approximately two years.


Students in the Master of Arts in Special Education with a focus on Autism and Neurodiverse Learners program must have a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and access to a classroom and students throughout the duration of the program to fulfill field study requirements. Parents and related service professionals are invited to participate in the program.

Degree Requirements and Career Outcome

The degree requirements for this program are successful completion of the program’s respective courses (listed below) and completion of a capstone project as a university requirement, which is embedded within the coursework. Upon completion of this program, students will have earned a Master of Arts degree in Special Education. This is not a licensure or endorsement program, but students who complete the program will be eligible for a University of Saint Joseph Graduate Certificate in Autism and Neurodiverse Learners.

Plan of Study

CourseTitle  Hours
SPEC 560
Introduction to Autism and Neurodiverse Learners  
SPEC 561Behavioral Interventions  
SPEC 562Communication and Technology for Neurodiverse Learners   
SPEC 565Supporting Mental Health Needs of Neurodiverse Learners  
SPEC 564
Application of Instructional Strategies for Neurodiverse Learners  
SPEC 544The Science of Social-Emotional Learning  
SPEC 541Creating Effective Systems of Support  
SPEC 590Special Topics  
SPEC 596Practicum  
SPEC 530Research in Special Education*  
 Total Credit Hours:30
Please Note:

*Master’s Capstone Project Included

The courses for this program may be offered in a different order. This list should not be considered the finalized course sequence.