SOE student teacher

Special Education and Autism

Special Education and Autism M.A. Program

child playing with a remote control stuffed animal bunny with her teacher observing

The Special Education and Autism Master of Arts program prepares you to meet the diverse needs of individuals with learning disabilities and on the autism spectrum. This program also provides a springboard for a doctoral program or a career in research for individuals with special needs.

Specialization Overview


Program Overview

  • Start Term: Fall only
  • Program Length: Approximately 1-2 years, can be earned at your own pace
  • Units: 36-unit minimum/9 classes
  • Instruction: In-person on Riverside campus.
  • Schedule: Each class meets once a week 4-7pm (Monday-Thursday)

Program Cost

Estimated program cost is $17,620 (in-state)

Out-of-state/international tuition is an additional cost. See the fee schedule here.

Ph.D. Pathway

All coursework from of our master of arts (M.A.) programs transfers to the Ph.D. in education. For example, if you complete the M.A. in Special Education and Autism, you will have already complete one year of coursework for the Ph.D. in Special Education at UCR. Shorten your time to a doctorate by completing an M.A. degree with the School of Education today.

Visit our admissions page for more information on application materials and deadlines.



This full-time program is offered on a quarter calendar beginning in Fall. Students get to choose from Plan I (Thesis) or Plan II (Comprehensive Examination).

Plan I (Thesis): Students complete a minimum of 36 upper-division and graduate units. At least 24 units are in graduate courses. A maximum of 12 units may be in graduate research for the thesis.

Plan II (Comprehensive Exam): Students must complete a minimum of 36 units in upper-division and graduate courses in Education and related fields as defined in existing programs. At least 18 of the 36 units must be in graduate courses, and none in graduate research for the thesis.



Career Opportunities

Graduates from the program may wish to apply for further graduate credentials (i.e. earn a doctorate), or pursue careers in research labs or centers.






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