Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year]

Autism Spectrum Disorders [M.A.]

Location(s): Online

The Master of Arts program in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is designed for students in various disciplines who work with individuals with ASD. The Master of Arts in ASD program focuses on understanding the characteristics and theories of ASD while also learning how to identify and implement evidence-based practices to create more inclusive environments. This program intentionally allows focus selection through 9 credits of restricted electives.

The MA in ASD may interest individuals in social work, psychology, community planning, or any community member who wants to learn more about ASD. However, this program does NOT lead to a teaching endorsement. Students who wish to earn a teaching certificate with an ASD endorsement or to add an ASD endorsement to a current teaching certificate should consider the Special Education Master of Arts in Teaching for non-certified or certified teachers (as applicable).


Eastern Michigan University’s advanced professional education programs support inquiry, advocacy, and leadership education for a diverse and democratic society. In addition, the masters-level programs in the Department of Special Education & Communication Sciences and Disorders produce professionals with the comprehensive knowledge, skills, and attitudes to deliver a continuum of habilitative/rehabilitative services to persons with disabilities, and their families, within a diverse society.

Program Outcomes

Exit criteria include the demonstration of acceptable levels of performance in the following areas:

  • Ability to understand different characteristics of ASD and the heterogeneity of ASD as presented within and between individuals.
  • Ability to set up and maintain environments that promote desired growth for individual students with ASD.
  • Ability to assess outcomes (e.g., behavioral, academic, social) in terms of their alignment to individual student needs and data collection plans to ensure appropriate adjustments can be made based on these data.
  • Ability to use evidence-based strategies with individuals with ASD to promote self-management skills required for constructive social participation and independent learning.
  • Ability to function as a member of interdisciplinary teams and maintain effective liaison with parents, teachers, health care providers, and others working with individuals with ASD.

Course grades, GPA, and portfolio evaluation will determine acceptable levels.

Online Education Eligibility

  • The U.S. Federal Government limits the number of online courses international students may enroll in while living in the United States. For this reason, we cannot admit students on F1 or J1 VISAs to fully online programs. Please check with International Admissions to confirm eligibility before applying.
  • All applicants, please review Online Education for Out-of-State Students to confirm your eligibility to enroll in an online program based in Michigan.

Program Admission

Admit Terms and Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; students may start the program in the Summer, Fall, or Winter. See Application Deadlines.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

For full admission, applicants must have 1) Earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. institution, 2) a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 in the last half of the undergraduate program. Conditional admission may be available to applicants not meeting minimum admission requirements.

Program Requirements

This program does not require additional criteria or documents beyond the minimum Graduate School requirements.

After submitting their application, applicants may be asked to attend a personal interview with an assigned advisor. A final admission decision may depend on a successful interview.


Your application will be submitted using GradCAS, a Centralized Application Service (CAS) hosted by Liaison. After reviewing the admission requirements, please review the application instructions  and select the appropriate application.

Domestic Applicants Within the application, follow the instructions to submit an official transcript from all previously attended institutions.

International Applicants Before applying, applicants must review the international application/process deadlines at emich.edu/international as they may differ from general program requirements.

For additional information regarding the application process, please see Graduate Admissions or International Admissions.


Department Information

Special Education & Communication Sciences and Disorders 128 Porter, 734.487.3300

David Winters, PhD, Department Head

Jennifer Desiderio, EdS, Graduate Coordinator

Advisor Information

Sally Burton-Hoyle, EdD, 128 Porter, 734.487.3300

Portfolio Assessment

Students will be guided through the portfolio assessment process by their advisor as follows:

Following admission, students must schedule a meeting with their advisor to plan their program of study and obtain information about the portfolio assessment and exit requirements.

After completing 18 hours of coursework, it is recommended that students schedule a meeting with their advisor to discuss the progress of their portfolios.

Students who believe their portfolio is complete should contact the advisor to schedule the oral and written presentation. This will consist of an oral presentation by the student, followed by a discussion with faculty regarding the student’s learning and growth and perceptions of the overall program’s strengths and/or weaknesses.

Student achievement will be documented in a cumulative portfolio that contains artifacts representative of the autism spectrum disorders knowledge base.

The portfolio will be assessed on the following criteria: quality of content, advocacy, comprehensiveness, and meaningfulness.

The ASD program faculty will evaluate the portfolio as one of the following: Pass without revisions, Pass with minor revisions by the date indicated, Pass with major revisions by the date indicated, or No pass.

Degree Requirements: 30 hours

Critical Graduation Information

Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

Master’s degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of first enrollment in the master’s degree program.

In the event a student does not complete the master’s degree requirements within six years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are minimum requirements for all master’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.

  • A master’s degree must require a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • No more than six credits of independent study courses and no more than 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined may be applied to a graduate degree.  
  • Residency Requirement:
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 36 or fewer required hours, at least 24 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere). 
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 37 or more required hours, at least 30 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. Minimum degree hours must still be met for graduation. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
    • Residency and enrollment in multiple programs: Students enrolled in multiple master’s/specialist degree programs must have 24 unique credit hours in each degree program.
  • Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours above.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.
  • The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
  • Some master’s programs require a thesis; others require a special project or internship; others require students to pass a final exam. See the Graduate School website for Thesis and Dissertation Manuals, all forms, and information about research and human subject approval. Every completed thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Digital Commons. Any form of graduate student work submitted to Digital Commons must first be approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate School.