Special Education Administration (Graduate Certificate)

Special Education Administration (Graduate Certificate)
Special Education Professor giving a lecture

Why get a graduate certificate in special education administration?

The graduate certificate program in special education administration is designed to provide the knowledge and expertise needed to lead your school, district and state in the education of students with disabilities in K-12 school settings. As a graduate of the program, you'll be eligible for New Hampshire special education administrator certification. The program promotes high quality education and leadership through professional learning, strong partnerships and the pursuit of solutions to complex challenges situated within an increasingly diverse educational community in New Hampshire.

Why get your graduate certificate in special education at UNH?

Designed to meet the needs of working educators, this post-master’s graduate certificate program is both flexible and convenient, allowing you to earn your degree at a pace that best fits your schedule. Many courses are offered online or at convenient times at our Durham or Manchester campuses. You can start the program in the fall, spring or summer semesters. The program is designed for students who currently hold a master’s degree in special education, educational administration or a closely related field. Educator licensure in special education and a minimum of five years of teaching experience is required special education administration license.

Potential careers

  • Academic dean
  • School administrator
  • Special education consultant
  • Superintendent

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Curriculum & Requirements

The  Education Department offers a Graduate Certificate in Special Education Administration. This program allows educators to administer and lead special education programs. Students who pursue this Graduate Certificate must concurrently pursue the certification for a New Hampshire Special Education Administrator. In other words, the Graduate Certificate is coterminous with the credential.  When a student completes the Graduate Certificate they also complete the certification as a special education administrator.  These two cannot be uncoupled.

Admission Requirements

  • Master’s Degree in special education.
  • Possess a current credential/certification in special education area.
  • A minimum of three years of successful teaching experience in special education (must have five years' experience for credential eligibility).

In order to receive the Graduate Certificate in Special Education Administration, the matriculated student must complete all requirements for New Hampshire state certification as a Special Education Administrator. At least 16 credits must be passed after admission to the Graduate Certificate program.

UNH courses used to meet the requirements for New Hampshire state certification as a Special Education Administrator are listed below. Since an M.Ed. in Special Education is required for admission, it is expected that matriculated students will have previously completed most of the Special Education courses at UNH or equivalent courses at other schools. Admitted students will work with their academic advisor to determine an appropriate plan of study based on prior coursework. Students typically need to complete between 16 and 24 credits to receive the certificate. 

Special Education Courses: 1
EDUC 839Equitable Assessment and Individualized Educational Planning: Building Access and Agency4
EDUC 840Advanced Methods for Inclusive Curricular Design and Teaching: Building Access and Agency, Part II4
EDUC 850Introduction to Disability in Inclusive Schools and Communities4
EDUC 856Advocating for Diverse and Inclusive Family-School-Community Partnerships4
EDUC 956Developing Positive Behavior Supports to Ensure Success for All Learners4
EDUC 959Issues in Education (or equivalent) 24
Administration Courses:
EDUC 962Educational Finance and Business Management4
EDUC 964Human Resources in Education4
EDUC 974Educational Administrative Internship4
EDUC 977Leadership: The District Level Administrator4

To meet requirements for New Hampshire state certification as a Special Education Administrator, students must also complete or have completed a course in Special Education Laws and Regulations.


Equivalent courses are determined in consultation with an academic advisor.

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Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: April 15
  • Spring: Nov. 1
  • Summer: April 15
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $25

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of Recommendation: 2 Required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Two letters of recommendation are required. The applicant must provide at least one letter of recommendation or an evaluation from their supervisor(s) that demonstrates that they have worked with students with disabilities in approved schools or programs, and that documents progressively responsible experience over time.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Additional Department Requirements

Program has additional requirements for admission as follows: The applicant must possess a master’s degree in special education or a closely related field. The applicant must possess a current teaching license or certification in special education or an area of special education. The applicant must have completed a minimum of 5 years of experience as a special educator (full time employment) under a license or certification in a special education area. “Experience as a special educator” entails providing special education services to special education students and shall include, but not be limited to, the roles of:

  1. General special educator
  2. School psychologist
  3. Educator of those who are:
    • Blind and/or have a vision impairment
    • Deaf and/or hard of hearing
  4. Educator of those who have:
    • Learning disabilities
    • Intellectual and developmental disabilities
    • Physical and health disabilities
    • Emotional and behavioral disabilities

State and Federal Background Check

A background check is a requirement before an application can be reviewed by the Education department. Here is the document and instructions Department of Education Background Check and Criminal History Release form.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.


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