Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate

The Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate offers a specialized program of study for professionals seeking to gain competence in providing meaningful support for autistic children, youth and adults on the autism spectrum from all walks of life. Through participation in coursework and relevant field experiences, candidates will acquire applied knowledge of contemporary theory, research and emergent issues to guide them in their respective professions across settings. Emphasis is on advancing humanistic, inclusive and neurodiversity affirming practices that are grounded in the values, preferences and lived experiences of autistic people. The certificate is designed for graduate students or post-graduate professionals representing diverse disciplines, including educators, therapists, advocates, self-advocates, family members, and others from a variety of fields and backgrounds.

Applying for Admission

Prospective Students

New applicants need to apply through Cal State Apply

Currently Enrolled Graduate Students - Apply

Students currently enrolled in any graduate degree program in special education at SF State must submit the DocuSign  Certificate Admissions Application for admission.

Applying for the Award of the Certificate

The Division of Graduate Studies is responsible for evaluating the materials received and authorizing the issuance of both undergraduate and graduate certificates on behalf of the University and the appropriate department or program area. When all the requirements for either an undergraduate or graduate certificate program have been completed, students must take the steps below for the award of the certificate.

  • The student prepares a DocuSign Certificate Approved Program (CAP) Form and submits the form to the certificate advisor or chair for an approval signature upon completion of certificate requirements.
  • The student must pay the CAP application fee for the award of the certificate upon CAP form submission online via the Student Center. Instructions to pay online can be found here.
  • Students who have been awarded a certificate can expect to receive a physical certificate by mail and can request an official transcript as additional confirmation of award of the certificate. Certificates will be mailed to the mailing address on your Student Center (please check and verify).


Plan of Study

The Autism Spectrum Graduate Certificate program offers a comprehensive plan of study comprising specialized courses that are linked to highly relevant field experiences for demonstrating professional competencies in autism spectrum related knowledge and skills.

Autism Spectrum Curriculum (12 units)

Course #
Course Title  Units
SPED 791 Nature of Autism Spectrum  3
SPED 825 Communication, Behavior and Instructional Supports: Autism  3
SPED 794 Socialization and Imagination: Autism  3
  Elective (graduate-level seminar with faculty approval)  3
                                                                                              Total Units 12

* Note: SPED 791 or 825 is a prerequisite for SPED 794

Field Experiences

Field experiences explicitly support opportunities to apply theoretical constructs, conduct and interpret assessments, and design and implement curriculum, instruction and intervention practices with diverse learners on the autism spectrum in a variety of educational and therapeutic contexts.

Field experiences are closely aligned with each of the four Autism Spectrum certificate courses. The majority of field experiences may be carried out in a respective school, clinic or program site where a candidate is working or has access to engaging with autistic learners. Candidates who are not working with this population, or otherwise do not have access to autistic learners, will be supported by faculty to identify appropriate settings among our partner school, clinical and community field sites.

While conducting field experiences, candidates will be offered guidance from highly knowledgeable and experienced faculty and field site mentors.

*Please note that the Portfolio requirement has been discontinued as of Fall semester 2022.

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