Aurora University

Autism Studies (BA)

Why study Autism Studies?

If you are interested in working with people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a major in Autism Studies can prepare you to make a positive impact in the world. There is a growing demand for professionals who understand the unique characteristics, strengths, and challenges of individuals with autism. They include teachers, therapists, researchers, counselors, social workers, health care navigators, and medical clinicians.

Why study Autism Studies at AU?

Aurora University’s Autism Studies major is designed to prepare students to serve, support, and advocate for individuals on the autism spectrum. Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S., and that growth is sparking a movement to increase awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity in all settings — at school, at work, and in the community.

As an Autism Studies major, you will develop an understanding of the characteristics of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, as well as the many systems and institutions involved in the diagnosis and treatment. Your studies will include coursework, an internship, and hands-on experience working with individuals with autism. As part of your practical learning experience, you will have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience by working in AU’s Pathways program for students with autism. Pathways, a new initiative at AU, is a multi-faceted program that provides summer camps, college preview experiences, and support services for college degree-seeking individuals with autism.

Why pair Autism Studies with a second major?

The Autism Studies major is designed intentionally as a secondary major to supplement a primary major. You can pair Autism Studies with any major as a way to expand your skill set and enhance your employment potential.

If you are interested in the helping professions, a double major in Therapeutic RecreationParks and Recreation Leadership, or Human-Animal Studies may be a good choice. If you want to work in business or human resources or workforce training, a double major in Business Administration or Psychology could be a good fit. Nearly every career field allows for opportunities to work with individuals with autism.

The Autism Studies major also serves as a solid foundation for students interested in pursuing graduate studies in such fields as occupational therapy, education, social work, speech language pathology, clinical psychology, or rehabilitation therapy.

Your academic journey will take place under the guidance of AU professors and academic advisors who will support your curiosity and help you discover your career path. As an Autism Studies major, you will engage in transformative educational experiences that will prepare you to provide quality services to individuals with autism and to work alongside peers and colleagues with neurodiverse backgrounds.

The employment outlook is promising for professions serving and working alongside individuals on the autism spectrum.
Curriculum Highlights
  • Assistive technology
  • Behavior
  • Community and family support
  • Culture, media, and autism
  • Introduction to autism studies
  • Navigating bureaucracies
  • Social implications
  • Therapeutic and service models
Campus Opportunities
  • Aurora University Autism Initiative
  • Aurora University Pathways Program
To measure the success of our societies, we should examine how well those with different abilities, including persons with autism, are integrated as full and valued members. Ban Ki-Moon, Former United Nations Secretary-General
Experiential learning

Experiential learning

The Autism Studies major will include immersive experiences within Aurora University’s Pathways program. In addition, students will take part in a collaboration course focused on building the skills necessary for working with individuals, families, and professionals to build and support inclusive environments. Finally, students will complete an internship course matched to their career field of interest in order to gain practical, on-site skills necessary to support autism and neurodiversity in their area of passion.