Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement Program
Successful completion of the 12-credit graduate course sequence, offered in the traditional (on ground) format, provides the already certified teacher with additional endorsement in Autism granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Courses in the Autism Endorsement sequence can apply to a Master in Education in Special Education or to a Master of Science in Instructional Leadership.
The Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement Program at Robert Morris University is designed to meet the needs and interests of teachers and administrators who have the desire to increase their knowledge in working with students on the Autism Spectrum, including but not limited to general and special educators, school psychologists, principals, guidance counselors, speech and language clinicians, occupational and physical therapists, and reading specialists.
Students enrolled in the program receive one-on-one advising, attend small classes, collaborate with practitioners and administrators in local school districts, and develop close relationships with faculty with diverse experiences in K-12 schools. Students are engaged in innovative programs, partnerships within the school communities, and student organization and volunteer opportunities.
RMU Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement students will be able to:
- apply the skills, knowledge, and competencies necessary to meet the needs of students with autism spectrum disorders in multiple settings.
- describe characteristics and etiology of autism spectrum disorders.
- plan, structure, and conduct assessments for students with autism spectrum disorders.
- facilitate family and school collaboration to communicate and advocate for the needs of students with autism spectrum disorders.
The Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement Program is comprised of four 3-credit graduate special education courses. The traditionally delivered RMU graduate courses are held from 6:00 to 10:00pm at the Moon Township Campus. Each semester consists of two 8-week sessions. Students can complete the program in one year by attending class one evening per week during the Fall and Spring semesters or in the summer by attending class two evenings a week.
Click here for a description of each of the four required courses.
Teacher Endorsement Requirements
1st 8 weeks
2nd 8 weeks
SPED6055 Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders
SPED6070 Communication and Special Educ: Instr Methods and Practices
1st 8 weeks
2nd 8 weeks
SPED6060 Advanced Studies in Behavior
SPED6075 Advanced Studies in Autism Spectrum Disorders
1st 8 weeks
SPED6055 Introduction to Autism
SPED6060 Advanced Studies in
2nd 8 weeks
SPED6070 Communication and Special
Educ: Instr Methods and Practices
SPED6075 Advanced Studies in
Autism Spectrum Disorders
In addition to the course requirements, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires that each student complete a specified number of field hours working with students on the autism spectrum, and the required hours may be completed in a variety of instructional settings. Field hours have been integrated with all course work. There is no state required examination for endorsement.
Students who do not have teacher certification will receive the Advanced Study in Autism Spectrum Disorders from RMU, but are not eligible for the endorsement certification from the PDE.
Comprehensive, continuous academic advising is crucial for student success. Each student in the Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement Program is assigned Dr. Vicki Donne as his or her academic advisor. Dr. Donne is the M.Ed. in Special Education Coordinator, and students meet with her at least once per semester from the time they enter Robert Morris University to the time they complete all program requirements.
SESS Graduate Special Education Wiki
The faculty and students of the MEd Special Education program developed an online wiki. This wiki is a collaborative environment which disseminates information about the graduate programs, provides a means of sharing resources for the classroom, and continues to serve as a support system for students once they graduate the program (as part of their induction support). Once students are enrolled in the master program, they can access the wiki at https://sites.google.com/site/sessspecialed/. To login, students enter their email login and their student ID serves as their password.
Applicants for the Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement Program must hold a current Pennsylvania Level I or Level II certification (or equivalent), have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, submit two letters of recommendation, provide a copy of all transcripts, and complete an RMU graduate application.
Click here to apply for the RMU Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement Program. You can complete the application online with no application fee. Alternatively, you can download the required graduate application PDF form, and then mail in the completed form with required documentation and $35 application fee.
The Autism Spectrum Endorsement Program is offered at the Moon Township Campus only.
Find out more
To find out more about either the PDE requirements related to the Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement or to find out more about the RMU academic requirements for the RMU program, please contact Dr. Vicki Donne. Dr. Donne's contact information is provided in the navigation panel (left column) of this web page.
Click here to visit the RMU Office of Graduate Admissions website to find out about tuition and fees, financial aid, and how to apply for the Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement Program; or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions directly at 800-762-0097.
For More Information, Contact:
Vicki J Donne D.Ed.
Associate Professor of Education
Nicholson Center 445