Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability, now affecting 1 in 68 American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have become a focus of attention for the general public, families and schools. There is growing interest in understanding ASD; developing education programs and supports; and providing opportunities for
inclusion of individuals with ASD into their communities.

The Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate is a 15-18 credit multidisciplinary certificate program which draws on courses offered by several departments, including Exceptional Education; Psychology; Communication Sciences and Disorders; and Occupational Science and Technology. It is supported by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Russell J. and Betty Jane Shaw Fund.

Through courses, field experiences, and other planned learning experiences, you will:

  • Critically examine the characteristics, etiology and prevalence of ASD and related disorders
  • Learn how to work with family members of individuals with ASD
  • Understand challenges with assessment, diagnosis and intervention
  • Understand the language, communication, sensory, transition and social needs of individuals with ASD
  • Understand unique ethical issues faced by families and professionals

Why Choose Our Program?

This certificate delivers a strong foundation for students who wish to pursue careers in special education or therapeutic services in community-based agencies. But the course work and field experiences will benefit individuals who live and work with ASD in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Special and general education teachers
  • Childcare workers
  • Job coaches
  • Birth to Three staff
  • Family members caring for individuals with ASD
  • Therapist working with children in home, school and community settings
  • Individuals interested in learning more about ASD

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Certificate Brochure (PDF)


If you are an undergraduate student who has a major in the School of Education, your academic advisor in PAWS will advise you on the requirements for this certificate.

If you are an undergraduate student who has a major outside the School of Education, contact the advisor below who will advise you on the requirements for this certificate.

Tyree Bolden
Enderis 215
(414) 229-4721

Contact Us

If you are a graduate student interested in the graduate ASD certificate, contact Dr. Elizabeth Drame, Autism Spectrum Disorders Program Coordinator, or visit the Autism Spectrum Disorders, Graduate Certificate webpage.


Eligibility & Certificate Requirements

The Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate is intended to enhance a bachelor’s degree. Open to undergraduate, graduate and members of the community. Current undergraduate students must have a 2.75 GPA to pursue this certificate, and current graduate students must have a 3.0 GPA. Community members can apply for the certificate as a special student either at the graduate or undergraduate level.

If you’re NOT a current UWM student, you will need to apply to the university as a visiting student. Interested students will need a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher.

To receive the ASD certificate, students must complete 15-18 credit hours. Students will take two required courses:

  • EXCEDUC 560 (undergraduate) or 760 (graduate) – Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • EXCEDUC 561 (undergrad) and 761 (graduate) – Methods of Working with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The remaining elective credits are selected in consultation with the ASD Certificate Program Coordinator (grads) or Academic Advisor (undergrad students).
Undergraduate students are required to take a fieldwork course. There is an optional
elective course for graduate students.

Gainful Employment

Due to new federal financial aid regulations, beginning with the summer 2017 term, students who had not previously been awarded federal financial aid at UWM and are enrolled in a stand-alone certificate program will no longer be eligible for federal Title IV aid. Students in a stand-alone certificate who are seeking financial assistance maybe eligible for private loans. Private loans are not guaranteed as they are subject to lender approval including a credit check.

Below is a link to a tool that will help you learn what to look for when shopping for a private loan. At the end of the short tutorial, it will provide a comparison shopping tool allowing you to sort, filter, and compare up to five lenders at one time.


Upon applying for the loan of your choice and being approved, the UWM Financial Aid Office will be notified by the lender to provide enrollment information. At such time the loan will be added to your financial aid award.