Tuition-Free Autism Spectrum Disorder License

Deeqa Hussein

The University of St. Thomas has received a Personnel Preparation in Special Education grant from the U.S. Department of Education - Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Through this Preparing Special Educators to Serve and Succeed in Diverse Communities grant, individuals with a bachelor's degree are supported to work toward a special education teacher license in autism spectrum disorders. Recruitment efforts are targeting the Somali community, but all interested individuals are encouraged to apply. You must be without an initial teaching license and committed to serve as an educator in the field of autism in diverse community settings for at least 4 years following completion of the program. Take an interest survey to see if you're a good fit for the grant program and to express interest in being contacted about the next cohort. The next opportunity to apply will be spring 2020. Please note that responses to the interest survey will be screened for consideration for an interview.

What you can earn

Autism Spectrum Disorder License (Birth-21)

Where you will learn

On the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses


When to start

Cohorts starting summer 2020.  Application will be available prior to each start date.


  1. Candidates for this degree have:
    • A Bachelor's Degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • A cumulative minimum undergraduate G.P.A. of 3.0 (4.0 scale). If below 3.0, please reference our special admissions policy.
    • Proficiency in verbal and written English
    • A commitment to serving ASD students in diverse community settings for at least 4 years
  2. Submit the following application materials:
    • An interest survey
    • Application form
    • Two positive letters of reference from non-related individuals
    • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work (unless that work was completed at the University of St. Thomas)
      • Submit transcripts to: Graduate Admissions, University of St. Thomas, Box 5, 1000 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403
    • Personal statement
  3. Submit the supplementary materials:
    • Initial Licensure: MTLE Basic Skills required by the end of an initial teacher licensure candidate's first semester of coursework.
    • Official GRE score
      • There is no minimum or cut score factored into the admissions decision.
      • Prior test scores accepted, visit the ETS website to order a score report
      • For information on testing dates and centers, please visit the ETS website.
      • If you have questions regarding this requirement, please e-mail us directly at
    • International Applicants:
    1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required for any candidate whose primary language is not English.
    2. Transcript Review: All international transcripts must be reviewed by an accredited evaluation service to determine U.S. equivalency of the degree awarded and the institution awarding the degree. Applications will not be reviewed for admissions until the official review is submitted.


Dedicated mentors from the Somali community will work with you to ensure that your educational and emotional needs are being met throughout the program. They will help facilitate your growth, both personally and professionally, and usher you though the program to a successful outcome.