Special Education (K-12): Adapted Curriculum, Graduate Certificate

Special Education (K-12): Adapted Curriculum, Graduate Certificate
21 Credit Hours
Admits: Fall, Spring & Summer
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Program Tabs


The Special Education (K-12): Adapted Curriculum graduate certificate is a 21-credit-hour graduate level program that meets the requirements for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Standard Professional I initial teaching license. The Adapted Curriculum is for those who have a desire to work with students with moderate to severe disabilities, autism, and/or multiple disabilities.

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate have the option to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching and qualify for the North Carolina Standard Professional 2 (SP2) Educator’s License in Special Education. During Phase II, candidates will continue to develop teaching skills and insights as they apply what they learn to classroom situations. Candidates will also develop skills in research and leadership through courses in research, advanced classroom management, and consultation and collaboration. Students complete individual master’s projects as part of the requirements.

The program is 100% online and designed to be flexible for working professionals hoping to continue their education.


Application Deadlines: 

  • August 1 (fall)
  • December 1 (spring)
  • May 1 (summer first half term)
  • June 15 (summer second half term)

  • Complete the Graduate School Admission Application.
  • A bachelor’s degree from a university accredited by a US Department of Education-recognized institutional accreditor.
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7 (If you do not have at least a 2.7 GPA, please see our GPA Forgiveness process).
  • Copies of unofficial transcripts from all academic coursework beyond high school.
  • A statement of purpose.
  • Two online professional recommendations coming from individuals in a supervisory capacity (i.e. principal or manager) and/or academic reference (i.e. professor).
  • A clear criminal background check, which will be requested after application submission. The cost of this will start at $18 and could take 2-4 weeks to be processed. Please note your application cannot move forward until this step is complete.
  • The online Graduate Certificate Program requires classroom observation hours to be completed in the state of North Carolina.

Required Courses for Adapted (21 credit hours)

  • SPED 5173: Diagnostic Assessment (3)
  • SPED 5274: General Curriculum Access and Adaptations (3)
  • SPED 5300: Lifespan Development for Exceptional Individuals (3)
  • SPED 5370: Culturally Responsive Positive Behavior Support (3)
  • SPED 5380: Multiple Disabilities and Systematic Instruction (3)
  • SPED 5400: Practicum: Integrated Instructional Applications in Special Education (3)
  • SPED 6476: Internship/Seminar: Special Education K-12 - Adapted Curriculum (3 to 6)

Note about course delivery: Courses are delivered online both synchronously and asynchronously.

Internship Information

  • 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.

Note about the Graduate Certificate in Teaching

  • UNC Charlotte's Graduate Certificate in Teaching offers an efficient pathway to initial teacher licensure for candidates who have already earned a bachelor's degree and meets the  Educator Preparation Program (EPP) enrollment requirement for candidates seeking Residency Licensure. Course instruction is delivered 100% online using Canvas and, in most concentrations, is paired with clinical labs that meet on UNC Charlotte's campus or at school sites in the Charlotte area. Lab courses have an 'L' designation on the plans of study available on the program site. Please contact the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure at 704-687-8725 with questions about course format.

*Rates are subject to change* 


  • $288.82 per credit hour
  • $6,065.00 est. program cost

Outside of NC Non-Resident:

  • $536.98 per credit hour
  • $11,277.00 est. program cost

Non Resident:

  • $1,098.21 per credit hour
  • $23,062.00 est. program cost