Program Description

The online Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) graduate certificate* at George Mason University provides students with the skills needed to successfully enhance opportunities for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

This part-time online program prepares professionals and family members to work with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders in school, home, and community settings. Most programs have an emphasis on school-age children with ASD – but this program has a broader range of application with a focus that expands to adolescence, transition to adulthood, adulthood, and aging. The emphasis on working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders across their lifespans makes this program unique.

This certificate does not require any field experience (internship or practicum). Instead, the coursework has extensive video case studies of four individuals with ASD and application activities to aid in experiential learning. The program can be a stand-alone graduate certificate or a specialization of Mason’s online special education master’s degree program.

*This program is intended to provide advanced study of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). George Mason University is currently exploring autism-specific licensure opportunities that may exist in your state upon completion of the program; however, this degree program is not intended to fully prepare students for teaching licensure in any state. Students are strongly encouraged to be proactive and verify all licensure information.

Professional Licensure Disclosure
This program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification. Federal regulations require Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made. Please consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool ( for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination.

Application Deadline
The online Autism Spectrum Disorders graduate certificate program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Applicants should apply here.

Virtual Open House

The George Mason University faculty dedicates time throughout the year to hold interactive sessions online for those who would like to learn more about the programs we offer. If you would like to find out more about what you can expect from an online Autism Spectrum Disorders Graduate Certificate, visit our pre-recorded Virtual Open House and watch at your convenience. For information on upcoming sessions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Program Summary

100 Percent Online

Program: Autism Spectrum Disorders

Degree: Graduate Certificate

College/School: College of Education and Human Development

Credits: 18 total

Autism Spectrum Disorders Graduate Certificate

  • 18 credit hours
  • Field experience not required
  • Community, school, and agency perspectives addressed
  • Emphasis on working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders across their lifespans
  • Extensive video case studies of four individuals with ASD

A prior degree in an education-related field or industry experience is not required for admission but is helpful.

Who should apply?
Prospective students of Mason’s ASD program come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Many students find special education through their experiences as a substitute teacher, instructional assistant, provisionally licensed teacher, or as professionals from completely different fields who are supporting a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This program is ideal for:

  • School Administrators
  • General and Special Educators
  • Individuals with a Personal Connection to Autism
  • Interventionists
  • Behavior Analysts
  • Psychologists
  • Family Members Affected by Autism
  • Physical and Occupational Therapists

Why choose George Mason?

  • Mason’s online certificate program is part-time, and can accommodate busy professional and family schedules while providing a high-quality, immersive student experience.
  • An experienced faculty of distinguished scholar-practitioners delivers an education informed by extensive academic and professional experience.
  • Coursework is regularly assessed and adjusted in response to demonstrated student proficiencies, purposeful guidance of the organizations served, and scientific advances in the discipline.

If you are interested in completing the MEd in Special Education in conjunction with this certificate program, please see the MEd program profile for a complete list of requirements.

Program requirements are subject to change; please refer to the University Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements.

Requirements: 18 total credit hours

Courses for Mason’s online ASD graduate certificate are offered in convenient, online formats.

EDSE 634 Characteristics of Individuals with Autism
EDSE 620 Supporting the Behavior and Sensory Needs of Individuals with Autism
EDSE 635 Interventions for Individuals with Autism
EDSE 636 Supporting Communication and Literacy for Individuals with Autism
EDSE 637 Autism Across the Lifespan: Collaboration with Critical Partners
EDSE 638 Autism Spectrum Disorder: Issues in Assessment and Intersectionality

Tuition & Fees (2023-2024):
Tuition is $805 per credit hour. An additional charge of $35 per credit hour applies for a Distance Learning fee.

Financial Aid:
For information on loans, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Graduates are prepared for a broad range of special education and administrative positions in schools, private practice, social service agencies, and at-home learning environments.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Specialists work with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders in school, home, and community settings. Mason’s online graduate certificate program is unique in that it emphasizes working with individuals with ASD across their lifespans, from childhood to adolescence; adulthood to advanced ages.

The Autism Spectrum Disorders graduate certificate is ideal for:

  • School Administrators
  • General and Special Educators
  • Individuals with a Personal Connection to Autism
  • Interventionists
  • Psychologists
  • Speech and Language Pathologists
  • Behavior Analysts
  • Physical and Occupational Therapists
  • Family Members Touched By Autism

If you are unable to find the answers to your questions, submit a Request Information form or contact our admissions representative via the contact information below.

Phone: 703-348-5006

How do I apply?
All admission applications for the special education degree program are submitted electronically online. If you have more questions, please see FAQs below.

Admissions FAQs:

If you are unable to find the answers to your questions, submit a Request For Information form and an admissions representative will be in contact with you soon.

What is the workload like?
The Autism Spectrum Disorders graduate certificate program involves lectures, video-based case studies, guest speakers, discussion boards, interactive educational activities (e.g., Popplet, Padlet, collaborative case studies). Extension resources are available and clarifying lectures help to answer questions from students.

What are the requirements for admission?
A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or equivalent is required and a GPA of 3.0 is recommended for admission. No testing is required for admission, but test score equivalencies from SAT, ACT, Praxis, etc. may be used to compensate for a slightly lower GPA. All prospective students must adhere to university standards for English proficiency and degree equivalency.

Field experience (internship or practicum) is not required; extensive video case studies and application activities are built into coursework.

What accreditation does George Mason have?
George Mason University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

How long does it take to complete the program?
The 18-credit ASD graduate certificate can be completed in one year.

Can I transfer credits from another University?
Transfer of similar courses from an accredited U.S. college or university may be possible on a case-by-case basis for the online Autism Spectrum Disorders graduate certificate. Transfer credit policies are included in the University Catalog.

When are classes offered?
Classes are offered entirely online in an asynchronous format.

Where can I find course descriptions?
Course descriptions for the ASD certificate are available in the University Catalog.

What tuition assistance is available?
Mason’s Office of Student Financial Aid provides information on aid packages for online programs.

How do I receive additional Information?
Prospective students can complete an online request for information form.

How much does it cost to apply?
While there is a $75 application fee, there are multiple times throughout the year that the fee may be waived.

How do I apply?
All admission applications are submitted electronically online.