Jul 15, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2024-2025 
Graduate Catalog | 2024-2025

Special Education, Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Special Education is a 21 credit hour program designed for students who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in Special Education.  Upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate, students are eligible for the North Carolina Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator’s License in Adapted or General Curriculum. 

The required courses for the Graduate Certificate are identical to Phase I of the M.A.T.  Upon completion of the Graduate Certificate, qualified students have the option of continuing into Phase II to complete the M.A.T.  Admission to the Graduate Certificate is separate and distinct from admission to a graduate degree program and not an indication of automatic admission to the M.A.T. degree program.  For more information on this option, refer to the M.A.T. in Special Education 

All courses for the Graduate Certificate must be completed within five years. 

General Requirements for Admission to the Graduate School

Please refer to admission information in the The Graduate School  section.

Admission Requirements for Graduate Certificate in Teaching Programs

  1. An undergraduate degree from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body
  2. A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (For alternative ways to demonstrate academic competence, applicants may contact the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL))
  3. Two professional references in a supervisory capacity (i.e., principal or manager) and/or academic references (i.e., professor)
  4. A statement of purpose
  5. A clear criminal background check
  6. Apply online at gradadmissions.uncc.edu

Certificate Requirements


Select one of the following concentrations and its requirements:

Internship/Student Teaching (3 credit hours)

An internship is required for Graduate Certificate students. The graduate-level internship is the culminating experience of the Graduate Certificate program, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness for the North Carolina Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator’s License.  Students are assigned to an appropriate classroom for a full-time semester-long experience under the supervision of the classroom teacher and University faculty.  This internship can be done in a student’s place of employment or the University can find placement for the student.  Residency teachers and teacher assistants must contact the Office of School and Community Partnerships to determine the appropriateness of their classroom for the internship experience and licensure requirements. This contact should take place at least one semester before the internship.

Certificate Total = 21 Credit Hours


All students are assigned an advisor upon formal admission to the program. Students should consult with their advisor at least once each semester.

Clinical Field Experiences

Most courses require students to develop their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in public school settings. These experiences broaden their ability to help all students learn, including children with exceptionalities and students from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups. During clinical experiences, students apply research and/or evidence-based practices gained in coursework, analyze P-12 student learning, and develop the ability to positively impact all learners. All students are expected to complete clinical experiences in at least two significantly different settings.

Candidates who are residency teachers and teacher assistants must move beyond their own classrooms and schools for at least two clinical experiences. Alternative settings must be approved by the instructor and may include schools on different schedules, afterschool and summer programs, Saturday programs, and private and charter schools. A limited number of clinical experiences may be approved in significantly different classrooms within their school of employment. Employed candidates are encouraged to seek assistance and support from their administrators.


Upon successful completion of the Phase I/Graduate Certificate, students are recommended for the North Carolina Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator’s License. For this license, students are required to complete an electronic licensure portfolio that is created during coursework and the internship. Students apply for the North Carolina Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator’s License in the TEAL Office.