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Graduate Catalog 2016/2017

Autism Spectrum Disorder & Severe Intellectual Disabilities (ASD)

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Master of Arts (M.A.)
CIP Code: 13.1013
College of Education (ED)
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Bachelor's Degree): 36

Contact Information:
College of Education
Special Education Department (EDS)
4202 E. Fowler Avenue EDU105
Tampa FL  33620

Program Director or Coordinator:
Ann Cranston-Gingras
Phone: 813-974-1387


Faculty Search: Education Faculty List

Program Information

The purpose of this online Masters program 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).

Major Research AreasThe program benefit to the university, local community and the state can be summarized in two ways. In a quantitative way, the program 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 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 program 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 InD labels need meaningful access to general education curriculum and their typically developing peers and this program meets this need.


Accreditation Information:

The Master of Arts in ASD and InD meets the accreditation standards required by the College of Education, University of South Florida. The proposed curriculum in the program is aligned with the conceptual framework of the College of Education and will meet the specific standards of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).


Admissions Information

Admission Deadlines

There is an established University deadline for the submission of admission application materials. Programs may have earlier deadlines than the University deadline. The deadlines reflected below are the earliest of the two deadlines. Graduate Programs may continue to accept and process applications after the published deadline if space exists within the program. Check with the Program for availability.

Application Deadline (domestic application)

Fall: ---
Spring: October 15
Summer: ---

International Students

Foreign applicants who are outside the U.S. are required to apply for a visa. Depending on the country of origin, this may take a few months. So the deadlines for these international applicants may be earlier than the Program deadline and these applicants must apply prior to both deadlines. They are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible. Foreign applicants who are in the U.S. and are currently on a visa may use the domestic application deadline dates. In addition to meeting the published application deadline for the Program of interest, all immigration documents should be submitted as soon as possible, but must be on file at USF no later than the following processing deadlines:

Fall: ---
Spring: September 15
Summer: ---

Admission Requirements

You must comply with general University policies and meet general University Admission requirements in addition to those listed below.

Must meet University requirements (see Graduate Admissions) as well as requirements listed below.

Program Admission Requirements

For consideration for admission, students must submit:

  • An earned baccalaureate degree in special education or a related field that has a relationship with autism and/or intellectual disabilities from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Scholastic evidence to successfully perform in the academic program, as indicated by one of the following:
    • An earned graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or
    • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher in all work attempted while registered as an upper division student working for a baccalaureate degree, or
    • A preferred GRE Verbal score of 520 or higher and quantitative score of 480 or higher, and an Analytical Writing score of 3.5 or higher, or
    • Completion of 9 hours of specified graduate course work in special education with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and the endorsement of a Special Education faculty member
  • 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

Admissions Status: Apply


Program Degree Requirements

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 person self-awareness
  • assessment of exceptional 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 Program 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 program. 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.






Process Core

Foundations of Educational Research






Consultation and Collaboration
Identification & Assessment
Collaborative Transitions
Working with Families
Curriculum & Instruction
Advanced Seminar in Special Education


Content Specialization
(NOTE: a Practicum/Field Experience [1-2 hours] is to be included as part of the Content Specialization coursework.)



Educating Students with Autism
Positive Behavior Support
Assistive Technology
Advanced Theories & Practices InD




The successful completion of a comprehensive exam in the form of a portfolio is required of all students in their final semester of the program.

Plan III Co-/Pre-requisite Additional Requirements as negotiated with program coordinator:


Trends and Issues in Special Education


EDF6211 OR EDF6215
EDF6606 OR EDF6517

Foundations of Measurement
Psychological Foundations of Education



Electives: None

Comprehensive Exam: None (see Graduation Requirements: Portfolio System)

Project or Thesis/Dissertation: None (see Graduation Requirements: Portfolio System)






College Degree Requirements

Refer to the College Section of theGraduate Catalog for College requirements and information.


USF Degree Requirements

See USF Degree Requirements —


Financial Assistance

Financial Aid

Fellowships & Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships


Registration Process

First, contact your graduate program advisor for guidance courses to register for. Obtain any electronic course permit if necessary. Register for the new student orientation online at Then go to the link to OASIS, USF's on-line registration system to register for your classes. Follow the directions given on-line.

To access online course materials, students must have a USF NetID (e-mail account). Please visit: to obtain your NetID.

New students, including those studying online, may obtain a USFCard. Please visit: to obtain your USFCard.

Tuition and fees: Fees are determined by the level of the course. Please visit Cash Accounting, Controller's Office, for information on tuition and fees.


Graduate Course Information

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