Education: Exceptional Learner/Special Education (EDSE) (Graduate Certificate)

Award: Graduate Certificate in Education
Program of Study: Exceptional Learner/Special Education (EDSE)
Program Code: 7203

About This Major . . .

This graduate certificate is designed for education professionals to earn an endorsement to work with K-12 students with exceptionalities in accordance with the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards.

Admission to the program follows the stated guidelines for graduate admission procedures outlined in the university catalog. Additionally, students must provide three letters of reference and a statement of purpose.

This certificate program prepares candidates, who must already hold a Master’s Degree, to take the PRAXIS exam and apply for a Colorado Department of Education Special Education Generalist Licensure.

Students must hold a valid teaching license to be considered for the certificate program. The certificate is granted after completion of all courses with a grade of B or better and a ranking of proficient or better on all elements of a Capstone Project.

Important information about this program:

  • Applicants must hold a valid Professional Colorado Educator License. 

  • It is recommended that students work closely with a faculty advisor when selecting courses and scheduling classes prior to registration.

All CMU program completers are expected to demonstrate proficiency in critical thinking, communication fluency, quantitative fluency, and specialized knowledge/applied learning. In addition to these campus-wide student learning outcomes, all recipients of this Graduate Certificate will be able to:

  1. Create and deliver oral and written communication based on sound educational theory and research in guiding instruction for learners who are exceptional. (Communication Fluency)
  2. Evaluate and formulate education plans based on research and legal requirements outlined in federal legislation. (Critical Thinking and Specialized Knowledge)
  3. Synthesize, evaluate, and refine information from an information base of scholarly resources. (Information Literacy)
  4. Evaluate and articulate responses to moral, ethical, legal, and professional challenges from the perspective of an advocate for learners who are exceptional. (Ethical Reasoning)
  5. Employ statistically valid processes to analyze assessment data to evaluate student learning with respect to district, state, and federal goals. (Qualitative Fluency)
  6. Work individually and collaboratively on research-based change and innovation in Education. (Specialized Knowledge and Applied Learning)

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Graduate Degree Requirements

The following institutional requirements apply to all CMU graduate-level degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • Graduate certificates consist of a minimum of 5 credit hours.  Master’s degrees consist of a minimum of 30 credit hours. Doctoral degrees consist of a minimum of 60 credit hours.
  • All credits in a graduate program must be minimally at the 500-level.
  • At least fifty percent of the credit hours must be taken at CMU.
  • Students must achieve a 3.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU coursework.
  • Students may not apply coursework with a grade lower than a “B” toward graduation requirements.  
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and certificate requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Graduate Degree Requirements” in this catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.
  • All policies for graduate certificates are outlined in the Graduate Policies and Procedures Manual, which is provided on the Graduate Studies website

Program Specific Requirements

(24 semester hours, must earn a grade of "B" or better in each course.)

  • It is recommended that students work closely with a faculty advisor when selecting courses and scheduling classes prior to registration.

EDSE 500Foundation of Special Education Including Law3
EDSE 501Instructional Strategies in Special Education3
EDSE 502Behavioral Interventions for the Learner with Special Needs3
EDSE 503Methods of Teaching Students with Mild Disabilities Reading and Math3
EDSE 506Educating Students with Low Incidence Disabilities in Inclusive Environments3
EDSE 510The Learner Who is Twice Exceptional, Including Gifted and Talented3
EDSE 515Internship K-6 Elementary Practicum in Special Education3
EDSE 520Internship 6-12 Secondary Practicum in Special Education3
Capstone 1
Total Semester Credit Hours24
Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Summer SemesterSemester Credit Hours
EDSE 500 Foundation of Special Education Including Law 3
 Semester Credit Hours3
Fall Semester
EDSE 501 Instructional Strategies in Special Education 3
EDSE 515 Internship K-6 Elementary Practicum in Special Education 3
 Semester Credit Hours6
Spring Semester
EDSE 502 Behavioral Interventions for the Learner with Special Needs 3
EDSE 520 Internship 6-12 Secondary Practicum in Special Education 3
 Semester Credit Hours6
Second Year
Summer Semester
EDSE 510 The Learner Who is Twice Exceptional, Including Gifted and Talented 3
 Semester Credit Hours3
Fall Semester
EDSE 503 Methods of Teaching Students with Mild Disabilities Reading and Math 3
 Semester Credit Hours3
Spring Semester
EDSE 506 Educating Students with Low Incidence Disabilities in Inclusive Environments 3
Capstone Project  
 Semester Credit Hours3
 Total Semester Credit Hours24

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a certificate. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and discussing the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for her/his intended certificate.

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a certificate and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their certificate requirements (for one-semester certificates, complete in the first week of class):

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at

If your petition for graduation is denied, it will be your responsibility to apply for graduation in a subsequent semester. Your “Intent to Graduate” does not automatically move to a later graduation date.