Autism and Developmental Disabilities Master’s Degree Programs

The Autism and Developmental Disabilities master’s degrees provide cutting-edge training in the use of assessment and treatment practices for autism and developmental disabilities. The concentration provides advanced training in the design, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based services to individuals with autism and related developmental and physical disabilities, and their families. Featuring small classes sizes, both programs are designed to be completed in the course of one year of full-time enrollment.

The master’s concentration course sequence is approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) and prepares individuals to utilize evidence-based practices in autism and developmental disabilities. Graduates are able to serve all ages, culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and incorporate assistive technology as:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA),
  • scientist-practitioners,
  • teachers, and
  • and clinicians.

This concentration emphasizes an integration of high-quality classroom instruction with small classes and practical, hands-on experience throughout the curriculum. As a Tier-1 research institute, we offer highly personalized training with a wide range of clinical and research opportunities available.


There are two master’s degrees available including the Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) and the Master’s of Arts (M.A.). The M.A. is a research-oriented degree and includes six hours of thesis. The M.Ed. has an applied emphasis. With both options, the program of study uniquely integrates theory, research, and practice.

Both degree options allow flexible combinations of coursework, practical experiences, and applied intervention research, but vary in their primary area of emphasis. All degree plans require a minimum of 36 hours of coursework. Students develop their program of study in consultation with their academic advisor and the graduate advisor.

Core Areas of Study

  • Department Core (6 hours)
  • Concentration Core (21 hours M.Ed.; 18 hours M.A.)
  • Supporting Coursework Outside the Department (6 hours)
  • Special Education Electives (3 hours M.Ed.; 6 hours of thesis for M.A.)

Department Core (6 hours)

  • SED 380 Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in SED and Rehabilitation Counseling
  • SED 393 Applied Research in SED/ Rehabilitation Counseling

Concentration Core (21 hours M.Ed.; 18 hours M.A.)

  • SED 388 Challenging Behavior and Developmental Disabilities
  • SED 388 Teaching Individuals with Developmental Disabilities  
  • SED 384 Communication Intervention
  • SED 396T Single-Subject Research Design
  • SED 388 Advances in the Understanding and Treatment of Autism
  • SED 388 Practicum: Severe & Multiple Disabilities
  • SED 388 Practicum: Autism & Developmental Disabilities

Supporting Coursework Outside the Department (6 hours)

Six hours of coursework must be selected in consultation with your academic advisor. Out-of-department electives should complement the coursework of this program. Electives can be taken from psychology, speech pathology, social work, etc.

Special Education Elective (3 hours M.Ed.; 6 hours of thesis for M.A.)


  • SED 386 Foundations of Positive Behavior Supports (required for BCBA) OR
  • Elective in special education/rehabilitation counseling


In most cases, the thesis research will involve an applied intervention study. The M.A. is intended to provide advanced training in applied intervention research.

  • Thesis: SED 698 A and B Thesis

Autism & Developmental Disabilities Area Point of Contact

For more specific information about the Autism & Developmental Disabilities area of concentration, please contact the Area Co-Coordinators: Mark O’Reilly or Terry Falcomata.

BCBA Certification

For Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification, contact: Laura Rojeski. More information is available from the BCBA.