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MAT in Special Education (Adapted Curriculum and Autism)

The M.A.T. in Special Education leads to initial certification for students who hold undergraduate degrees in other fields and who do not hold a teaching certification. Students must develop both initial and advanced skills prior to certification.The program of study includes co-requisites coursework and practicum experiences. All master’s degree students in special education also complete applied research as a requirement for their degree.

Learn to teach students with moderate to severe autism and developmental disabilities. Training in this emphasis area prepares you to work with students working in an adapted curriculum, meaning they do not follow the typical general curriculum implemented in most classrooms.

This adapted curriculum may include teaching functional academics, lifelong personal and social skills, vocational skills, recreational and leisure skills, and community involvement. It emphasizes training in behavior management, instructional strategies, technology-based supports, and transition skills. The students who are most frequently served under adapted curriculum are those with moderate, severe, or profound intellectual disability and moderate to severe autism.

Some financial assistance is available for students in this program through the Analysis, Interpretation, Instruction, Management (AIIM) federal personnel preparation grant.


  1. Fill a critical shortage area in Georgia
  2. Program flexibility for part-time or full-time students
  3. Early childhood learning and care is a critical and burgeoning field
  4. Funding opportunities available
  5. Curriculum aligns with BCBA requirements
  6. Opportunities to train in UGA’s Applied Behavior Analysis Clinic
  7. Certification spans preschool through 12th grade
  8. Funding opportunities available


The minimum 36 hours of coursework includes required courses and applied research individualized to the student’s career objectives. This allows students to gain advanced knowledge and skills in various special education topic areas and across the lifespan.

Master’s students are required to complete an “applied project” rather than a typical thesis. These projects consist of extensive research and writing a proposal while enrolled in an independent study course the semester prior to the project’s anticipated start.

Once the proposal is approved by the student’s advisor, it is implemented the following semester. The project is completed “in the field” with real students and actual strategies gleaned from the research. Completed works are presented to a graduate committee, and must be approved by a clear majority before the student is allowed to graduate.

In this emphasis, coursework also includes:

  • Behavioral methods and instruction
  • Applied behavior analysis
  • Single-subject research design
  • Methods in managing severe aggressive behaviors

Download Program of Study (PDF)

Student Handbook (PDF)

Additional information and disclosures regarding state licensure for professional practice in this field can be found at the UGA Licensure Disclosure Portal .

How to Apply

Part 1: Apply to the University of Georgia

The Graduate School handles admission for all graduate programs at the University of Georgia, including those in the College of Education. The Graduate School website contains important details about the application process, orientation, and many other useful links to guide you through the process of attending UGA at the graduate level.

Start A Graduate School Application

Part 2: Apply to the M.A.T. in Special Education (Adapted Curriculum and Autism)

Students who meet all of the following requirements are eligible to apply:

  • Professional preparation: Earned, or will have earned, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution before the date of enrollment at the University of Georgia.
  • GPA: Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for all courses taken.
  • TOEFL: Foreign applicants will also need to score a minimum of 20 points each on the Speaking and Writing sections of the TOEFL with an overall minimum score of 80. Test scores must be within 5 years from the date of application.

The state requires that all candidates have a minimum 2.5 GPA on undergraduate or previous graduate work. Go to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission website for details.

In the Graduate School application, students should upload the following items:

  1. Statement of purpose: Please submit a two page, single-spaced statement of purpose, outlining your teaching philosophy, experience, and career goals, as well as answering the following questions:
    • What types of disabilities do you have experience with and envision yourself working with?
    • In what setting would you like to work (e.g., school, clinic, home-based)?
    • What is your primary age/grade of interest?
  2. Resume/CV
  3. 3 Letters of Recommendation

This program takes a holistic approach to admissions and does not require standardized testing scores to be submitted, e.g. no GRE or MAT scores are required.

Admissions decisions will be based on the faculty’s evaluation of undergraduate and graduate GPA, quality of the essay, letters of recommendation, resumé, and TOEFL scores (where relevant).

Deadline To Apply

  • April 1 (Summer)
  • Assistantship-seeking applicants: January 1

Log Into Existing Application

Student Outcome Data

2022-2023 Program Assessment (PDF)

Additional Resources

Please use our online form if you have any questions for the department. Please be as specific as possible so that we may quickly assist you.

Faculty and Advisors

The College’s programs are taught by dedicated faculty who are experts in a range of areas and are passionate about helping students succeed both in their programs and professionally.

Meet the Faculty

Most graduate students at UGA are not assigned to a faculty advisor until after admittance. A close working relationship with your advisor is paramount to progressing through your program of study.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Almost all in-state students begin their studies at UGA paying limited tuition or fees. Please note that these amounts are subject to change and are meant to give prospective students an idea of the costs associated with a degree at the University of Georgia College of Education.

Students may qualify for a variety of assistantships, scholarships, and other financial awards to help offset the cost of tuition, housing, and other expenses.

Tuition Rates   Browse Financial Aid

Student Life

Our students have a range of opportunities available outside the classroom as well, from professional organizations, experiential learning, clubs and other non-academic experiences.

See for yourself how much UGA College of Education has to offer! Schedule a tour of campus to learn more about the UGA student experience.

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