Dec 07, 2022  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities, M.A.

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College of Education  
Department: Language, Literacy, Ed.D., Exceptional Education, and Physical Education 


The purpose of this major is to prepare teachers to be highly qualified and provide access to the general curriculum in least restrictive school environments to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Intellectual Disabilities (InD).

The Major benefits the University, local community and the state can be summarized in two ways. In a quantitative way, the major meets the need of preparing effective teachers to work with the growing number of students in general and special education who are identified as having ASD and/or InD labels. This is demonstrated through the critical shortage of data at a national and state level and also in the surveys of local school districts to USF. In a qualitative way, the major meets the need to prepare effective teachers to work with this group of students that represents a paradigmatic shift in where and how these students learn. Students with ASD and/or InD labels need meaningful access to general education curriculum and their typically developing peers and this major meets this need.

National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Major Research Areas
Special Education, Positive Behavior, Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Spectrum Disorders.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • An earned baccalaureate degree in education or a related field that has a relationship with autism and/or intellectual disabilities from an accredited college of university or the equivalent bachelors and/or graduate degrees from a international institution. 
  • Scholastic evidence to successfully perform in the academic major.
  • A letter of application that addresses why the candidate desires to pursue a master’s degree in ASD and InD.
  • At least two (2) letters of recommendation from persons who have seen the candidate teach and/or work with children and youth who have labels of ASD and/or InD.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours - 33 Credit Hours

  • Core Requirements - 9 Credit Hours
  • Additional Required Courses- 24 Credit Hours

Graduation Requirements: Portfolio System

The Master’s Portfolio System is a means through which each master’s level student demonstrates his/her competency in the “best practices” of special education. Commensurate with the belief that the merging of research and practice is desirable and beneficial; the Department of Teaching and Learning has identified eight areas in which students are required to demonstrate their competency:

  • Professional and personal self-awareness
  • Assessment of exception students
  • Behavior management
  • Classroom instruction
  • Collaboration
  • Knowledge of the professional literature
  • Research in critical areas such as child development, learning and teaching
  • Professional development

The department has also developed a list of suggested artifacts through which students can document their competency in each area.

Students should meet with their advisor to discuss and plan their individualized portfolio. A copy of the Master’s Portfolio System complete with policies and procedures, as well as suggested artifacts, is available with the Graduate Coordinator.

Each student will be required to present his/her individualized portfolio to the Portfolio Review Committee in the Department of Teaching and Learning upon completion of their major. This presentation will be the master’s comprehensive exam. A comprehensive exam is required of all master’s level students in the College of Education.

Comprehensive Exam

A portfolio project is required to fulfill the comprehensive examination requirement and is completed in the final semester of matriculation in the major


This is a non-thesis major.

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