Early Childhood Special Education (Certificate) (Online)


Early Childhood Special Education, Cert

On Campus 12 cr

The Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) graduate certificate is a 12 credit hour program designed to provide educators and others with specialty coursework focused on young children birth to age 5 years who have developmental disabilities.


This graduate certificate does not result in a teaching endorsement in ECSE.

The graduate certificate program is well-suited for educators who desire additional training for their current jobs as well as graduate students in related fields whose professions serve young children with disabilities. Non-teachers in fields such as physical, occupational or speech therapy, and psychology can enhance their work with young children and their families, further developing their professional skills and improving their marketability.

Teachers interested in adding ECSE specialization to their current teaching certificate should contact the ECSE Certificate Advisor who can provide information on an appropriate program of study leading to an ECSE endorsement.

Graduate Admission Requirements

  • Application for Admission with $50 non-refundable application fee.
  • One set of transcripts.
  • If the student’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required.
  • If International: upload copies of all college- or university-level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certificates, diplomas, and degrees plus certified English translations.

    * Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. Photocopies of certified records are not acceptable. International students enrolled in other U.S. institutions may have certified copies of all foreign records sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by their current school’s registrar office.

  • If applicant is not a US citizen and expects an F or J visa: financial information.
  • Applicants must also fulfill any additional requirements the department specifies at the time of application.

Major Admission Requirements

To be eligible for this program, you must have completed at least one Special Education course, undergraduate or graduate, with a final grade of B or better.

  • Personal Statement:  This statement should include your rationale for pursuing this Graduate Certificate, your interest and specific experiences with individuals in the associated population, and the reasons why you are interested in working with this population.  There are no specific length requirements for the personal statement.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Faculty:  Identify the faculty member(s) with whom you have discussed or will discuss this program.
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher (undergraduate and/or graduate)
  • Completion of at least one course in special education with a grade of B or better
  • Previous experience working in schools or community settings with young children or students with disabilities of any age (preferred)

NOTE: When sending TOEFL scores, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed

Graduate Chair

Matthew Lambert

Certificate Advisor

Johanna Higgins

Support Staff

Jill England

Tuition & Fees

The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment.

UNL Graduate Chairs and staff please complete the program update form to provide edits. Updates to graduate program pages are made on an annual basis in conjunction with the Graduate Application for Admission.