Master of Education in Special Education - Autism Spectrum Disorders

The Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) program prepares teachers, parents, and other professionals to meet the educational and psychosocial needs of children and youth with autism. Why enroll in the ASD program?

  • Be on the cutting edge of autism research and practice
  • Earn your master’s degree in 2 years
  • Complete all coursework online

The Autism Spectrum Disorders program is designed for professionals who want to advance their knowledge and skills for understanding, identifying, and working with individuals on the autism spectrum as well as for those preparing for a career in autism. The ASD curriculum was developed in partnership with Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI)—a leading source of autism training and resources for families and professionals. Courses cover characteristics; assessment; instructional methods and materials; social, sensory, and communication issues; and behavior support. In addition, students complete multiple field experiences with individuals with ASD across the lifespan. Program completers earn a M.Ed. in Special Education with a Specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders and are prepared to assume leadership roles in school and community settings.

The ASD master’s program requires coursework in autism, special education, and research methods, including a master’s capstone experience. The program can be completed in a minimum of 34 credit hours. The five core autism courses are completed in sequential order, one course per semester, with the first course in the sequence beginning Fall Semester.



Overview of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) including: definitions, history, etiology, prevalence, legal issues, characteristics and needs, interventions and programs, and issues and trends. This course will address lifespan issues for individuals with ASD as well as life span concerns for families and professionals dealing with ASD.

This course is designed to develop competencies for assessing individuals with ASD, identifying educational needs, designing and implementing educational programs, and using effective methods and materials for instructing individuals with ASD.

Social, sensory, and communication are deficit areas for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This course will compare and contrast neuro-typical social, sensory, and communication development with the delayed and disordered social, sensory, and communication development of individuals with ASD. This course will address lifespan issues for individuals with ASD.

This course will assist students in understanding why behaviors occur in individuals on the autism spectrum and assist them with designing effective behavior interventions and supports, using an applied behavior analysis and positive behavior supports framework.

This course provides students with opportunities to practice skills and demonstrate knowledge acquired in content-based courses. The practicum provides experiences with individuals on the autism spectrum, with varying ages and ability levels and from diverse social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. The practicum will take place in field settings such as public schools, non-profit organizations, colleges or universities, and/or community-based programs.

*Individuals who wish to take the five core autism courses without completing the master’s degree program can enroll in the Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate program.

Special Education Courses (9 hours)

Introduction to the diversity of assistive technology, low and high tech systems, with an emphasis on impact and relevancy for individuals with disabilities.

Provides an overview of the transition of students with disabilities from school to adult roles. Primary emphases on transition planning and services, strategies for effectively preparing students to achieve their postsecondary goals, and adult environments and service delivery systems.

Theoretical bases and systematic strategies for working collaboratively with families of students with disabilities and for facilitating collaborative partnerships between parents and professionals. Methods for effecting change in education from a socio-psychological consultation viewpoint, the role and strategies of a change agent, and models and strategies of consultation.

Master's Courses (9 hours)

For leaders and resource personnel in special education services. Consideration of critical issues and policies in special education and disability services.

Identification and evaluation of research problems, research designs, use of library resources, data gathering, and writing research reports.


Statistics as a tool in education and research, descriptive statistics, transformation of scores, sampling and probability, linear correlation and regression, introduction to statistical inference, basic tests of significance, and effect size.

Introduction to qualitative methods focusing on naturalistic inquiry, ethnographic methodologies, and interpretive research to be used in classroom research.

Masters Project/Thesis/Exam (1 hour)

As the final phase of the program, students will select and complete a thesis, master’s project, or comprehensive examination. Selection of the capstone experience is guided by the student’s interests and career plans and should be decided in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator or Major Advisor. Typically, students interested in pursuing graduate study at the doctoral level select the thesis option


On demand. Supervised study of selected problem and written product in fulfillment of requirement for graduate degree. Prerequisite: Graduate status and approval of Program Coordinator or School Chair.

Supervised independent readings in preparation for the master’s comprehensive examination. Graded S/U.

On demand. Credit for thesis study. An enrollment in excess of six hours is acceptable for a master’s degree, but no more than six hours are creditable toward the degree. The minimum acceptable total for the degree is three hours. Graded S/U.

  1. Go to: http://choose.bgsu.edu/apply/online/?graduate
  2. Click APPLY NOW
  3. Enter a username and password

All graduate level programs use the same Graduate College Application. Note: There is a non-refundable application fee.

Have two official transcripts from every college or university you have attended and GRE, PRaxis II, or OAE test scores sent directly to:

Graduate College
120 McFall Center
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403
United States of America
Accepted Standardized Tests:

Test scores can not be more than ten years old and non-original scores must be notarized. TOEFL scores are required from applicants whose native language is not English. For information on the GRE/Praxis/TOEFL tests, visit the Educational Testing Service website.


Prepare a 2-3 page, double-spaced letter that addresses the following points: (a) your motivation for pursuing graduate study in your chosen field, (b) what you hope to gain through graduate study, (c) your career aspirations following completion of the program, and (d) your personal qualities that relate to success as a graduate student.

Also download and complete the Program Information Sheet (.doc).

Send the letter and Program Information Sheet to the School of Intervention Services (SIS) Cohort Coordinator via email at siscohorts@bgsu.edu.



The SIS Reference Form (.doc) assesses an applicant’s potential for success as both a graduate student and an autism professional. At least one reference form must be from a faculty member and at least one reference form must be from an administrator or supervisor who is familiar with your professional performance. Letters of recommendation may be sent in place of, or in addition to, the SIS Reference Form. Your application is not complete without 3 references so follow up with your references to be certain these are submitted in a timely manner.

Reference forms/letters should be emailed, faxed, or mailed to SIS Cohort Admissions:

Email: siscohorts@bgsu.edu

Fax: (419) 372-8265 [ATTN: SIS Cohort Admissions]

School of Intervention Services
ATTN: Cohort Admissions
451 Education Building 
Bowling Green State University 
Bowling Green, OH 43403