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Master of Science

Online MS in Special Education: Autism Endorsement

College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Overview

A master's degree is an outstanding way to enrich and advance your special education teaching career. FIU's fully online Master of Science in Special Education provides special education teachers with advanced training to reach the children who need you the most. Our Special Education degree leads to an endorsement in autism, providing you with the skills to teach learners on the autism spectrum. Our graduate program also places special emphasis on classroom-based research and on preparing special education teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse learners and their families.

Take the next step.

Our faculty members are leaders in special education, with years of classroom experience teaching children on the autism spectrum, as well as those with emotional and behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. With our renowned College of Arts, Sciences & Education faculty providing feedback and guidance every step of the way, your FIU Online experience is one we share with you. Call one of our enrollment coordinators at 1-855-348-6654 to find out why you belong at FIU Online.

Why Apply?

Our comprehensive master's program prepares teachers for the changing demands of the field, so you can address the unique needs of multicultural students with disabilities. The Master of Science in Special Education helps teachers develop leadership skills for effective supervision, use data to inform and guide classroom instruction and learn about cutting-edge assistive technologies. Special education teachers are the most sought-after professionals in the teaching profession and the prestige of a master's degree can further enhance marketability through advanced training and endorsements.  

Industry Statistics

As a special education teacher, you already know that demand for qualified teaching professionals with special education degrees is growing, with many job opportunities requiring a master's degree. The job outlook is especially bright for those special education teachers with specialized training to work with students who have multiple disabilities, severe disabilities, or autism spectrum disorders, (Occupational Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

There is a growing demand for special education teachers with the specialized skills to provide services for students on the autism spectrum. According to a 2012 report from the Center for Disease Control, an estimated one in 88 children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a 78 percent increase since the CDC's first report in 2007. FIU Online's Master of Science in Special Education is one of a select few programs to offer an Autism Endorsement, helping teachers gain expertise in autism — the fastest growing disability area in the U.S. This endorsement is a competitive advantage that opens doors to job opportunities and signals to employers that you have the unique skills to meet the needs of autistic students.

Courses

Program Curriculum

The online Master of Science in Special Education is completed in one year and consists of six accelerated eight-week terms. Students enroll in 4 courses (12 credits) each semester and complete two courses each 8-week term in the semester. A total of 36 credit hours (12 courses) is necessary to complete the program.  The area of specialization for this degree is Autism Endorsement.

Core Courses

Advanced Theory and Research in Special Education EEX 6912
Investigation of advanced work in social and psychological research applied to persons with handicaps, mental retardation, learning disabilities and emotional disturbances.
Prerequisites: Certificate in Special Education and/or competence in Special Education.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners EEX 6796
The course will focus on evidence-based practices for working with culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities with a particular focus on urban schools and related issues.

Foundations of Educational Research EDF 5481
Competencies required for critical understanding, evaluation and use of published educational research: Understanding quantitative and qualitative methods; sampling; measurement; data collection and analysis and inference process.

Instructional Technology EEX 6765
Provides teachers of students with special needs current knowledge in instructional technology, appropriate to enhance student learning.

Integration of Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction EEX 6228
This course constitutes the culminating experience in the master’s program by establishing the link between curriculum, assessment and instruction.

Seminar in Special Education: Issues and Trends EEX 6848
A forum to discuss, analyze and evaluate current issues and trends in special education. Individual issues and trends will be planned and executed by students.

Seminar in Special Education: Supervision and Leadership EEX 6535
Problems in school administration and pattern of curriculum organization as they relate to people with disabilities. Focus on conceptual framework, change factors and future trends in special education.

Working with Families of Students with Disabilities through Collaborative Approaches EEX 6756
This course familiarizes students with the skills needed to work in effective partnerships with families of children with disabilities and related school personnel.

Autism Courses

Assessment and Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder EEX 5210
Students will become familiar with current formal and informal assessments used in diagnosis and instructional planning. Students will also become familiar with specific educational strategies for students with autism spectrum disorders.

Assistive and Instructional Technology and Alternate / Augmentative Systems for Students with Autism EEX 5767
Students will develop skills in strategies used in integrating instructional and assistive technology in the classroom for students with autism and the use of appropriate AAC systems.

Behavioral Management and Positive Behavioral Supports for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder EEX 5619
Students will develop and implement positive behavior plans and design behavior management techniques for students with autism spectrum disorders

Nature & Needs of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder EEX 5095
Students will develop knowledge and skills related to the nature and needs of students with autism including characteristics, learning goals, teaching approaches and environmental arrangements.

Requirements

Admissions Requirements

The online Master of Science in Special Education program is identical to the existing/approved face-to-face program in terms of curriculum and admissions requirements, however courses will be offered in an online format providing added flexibility for working students. The major competencies in the online Master of Science in Special Education are an extension and refinement of those developed in the undergraduate special education curriculum. Candidates are admitted by action of the Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. Admissions requirements are as follows.

  • Four-year U.S. bachelor degree or equivalent from an accredited institution
  • Undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for the last 60 hours of upper division coursework. If you have questions regarding the GPA requirement, please contact an enrollment specialist as conditional admissions may be considered.
  • Meet one of the following:
      • Valid Teacher Certification in Exceptional Student Education (ESE)

    Or

    • Valid Letter of Eligibility and a passing score on the Teacher Certification Examination (Subject Area Exam in Exceptional Student Education)
  • Access to either K-12 students or K-12 teachers in an academic setting to work on the Action Research Project throughout the program. Please, contact us for more details regarding this requirement.
  • Good standing with all previously-attended colleges and universities
International Students
  • If you earned a bachelor degree in a country whose official language is not English, you must demonstrate English language proficiency by earning a passing score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). TOEFL required minimum score: 550 (paper-based exam) or 80 (internet-based). IELTS required minimum score: 6.5. View list of TOEFL/IELTS-exempt countries.

Admissions Documents

The following must be submitted:

  • Online master’s programs application ($30). Be sure to select Master of Science in Special Education Online.
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended universities. A copy of the diploma is needed if the degree is not posted on the transcript. 
  • Current and detailed resume.
  • Copy of Valid Teacher Certificate in Exceptional Student Education OR valid Letter of Eligibility and passing score on Teacher Certification Examination (Subject Area Exam: Exceptional Student Education)
  • Statement of purpose describing your professional goals and reasons for pursuing this degree at FIU (at least 500 words in length).
  • Three letters of recommendation (at least one from academic sources and one from work or volunteer experience)
International Students
  • Official TOEFL/IELTS passing scores, if required. When requesting official scores, please refer to FIU Institution code 5206. TOEFL / IELTS scores are valid for two years.
  • Official transcript translation. If official transcripts are not in English, a second copy of the transcript must be requested for translation by an official translation agency. Both the official translation, as well as the original transcripts, must be submitted to FIU. Official transcripts/translations must be submitted directly by the respective institution(s) in electronic format or mailed in a sealed envelope.
  • Certified Copy of Diploma if you obtained your degree at a foreign institution

Official transcripts/translations must be submitted directly by the respective institution(s) in a sealed university envelope to: 

FIU Online
Florida International University
11200 SW 8th Street, MANGO 540
Miami, FL 33199

Tuition & Aid

Tuition & Aid Information

Pursuing your degree is one of the best investments you can make — one that will open doors to personal and professional opportunities. Our tuition costs represent some of the best value in higher education, and we also offer financial aid support you need to reach your goals.

The total cost of the program is $18,300 for Florida residents, non-Florida residents, and international students. Students pay for courses at the beginning of each semester. Please note, tuition and fee amounts vary by term and all amounts stated are subject to change.

FIU Online Academic Merit Scholarship: $1,800

FIU Online awards scholarships acknowledging academic achievement in to students in select online graduate programs who exhibit strong academic credentials upon admission.  Applicant must meet ALL of the following criteria to be considered:

  • Meet all requirements for admission into the applicable online graduate program Submit application for admission into the online program as well as all application supporting documents. 
  • 3.25 GPA in upper-division undergraduate coursework.
  • Complete a scholarship application.  Deadlines vary by term.

 Note: meeting any or all of the above requirements does not guarantee receipt of a scholarship. Scholarship will be applied over two semesters in equal disbursements.

To apply for this academic scholarship, please contact an enrollment advisor by calling (305) 348-3125 or emailing onlineprograms@fiu.edu.  Scholarship amounts are subject to change.

External Resources for Teachers

To learn more about the below external resources, please contact an enrollment advisor by calling (305) 348-3125 or emailing onlineprograms@fiu.edu.

  • Cooperating Teacher Certificate of Participation Program 
  • TEACH Grant
  • Autism Endorsement Tuition Program
  • Tuition Reimbursement Programs

Academic Works

FIU offers Academic Works, a website that matches students with relevant scholarship opportunities.  Find the one that’s right for you!  Academic Works is an online scholarship application tool where FIU students can browse and apply for more than 100 scholarships, made possible by the generosity of FIU alumni and friends.  Students can apply after they are matriculated into one of our programs.  For more information visit foundation.fiu.edu/scholarships.

Other Resources

There are other third party resources that prospective students can access while researching on how to pay for school.  Below are various links that provide more information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities:

Federal Financial Aid

For information on Federal Financial Aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), please visit our financial aid page.

Top Faculty

Elizabeth Cramer

Dr. Elizabeth Cramer, Associate Professor and Program Leader, Special Education
Dr. Cramer joined FIU in 2002 and has served in a variety of leadership roles, including as Program Leader for Special Education and President of the Council for Exceptional Children Division of Diverse Exceptional Learners. Her research focuses primarily on preparing teachers to work with students with disabilities who are culturally and linguistically diverse in inclusive settings.

Kyle Bennett

Dr. Kyle Bennett, Assistant Professor
Dr. Bennett has worked with students with autism and other developmental disabilities for over 16 years. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and he has worked as a teacher, behavior analyst and program administrator. His primary professional interests are transition and secondary programming and teaching safety skills to students with disabilities.

Patricia Barbetta

Dr. Patricia M. Barbetta, Associate Professor
Dr. Barbetta spent 11 years as a teacher, program supervisor and education director at a Pennsylvania school for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. She joined FIU in 1992, and has served as Department Chairperson and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Her research interests include academic strategies for students with disabilities and urban special education.

Liana Gonzalez

Dr. Liana Gonzalez, Instructor
Prior to joining FIU in 2010, Dr. Gonzalez was a teacher of students with emotional and behavioral disorders and learning disabilities for 15 years. During her teaching career, she developed several inclusion programs, some of which are still being implemented in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Her primary research interests include inclusion, urban education and disability advocacy.

@ A Glance


36Credits Required

$18,300
Tuition Cost
  • 12-month fully online program
  • Leads to autism endorsement
  • Autism is the fastest growing disability area in U.S.; 1 in 88 children diagnosed with ASD
  • Program starts: Fall and Summer
  • #9 in Special Education - Best Graduate Program by GraduatePrograms.com (2015)
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