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Online Graduate Certificate in Leadership in Special and Inclusive Education at KU.

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Online Graduate Certificate in Leadership in Special and Inclusive Education

Earning an online graduate certificate in leadership in special and inclusive education* from the KU school of Education will give you the necessary perspective and tools you need to enact change in any educational setting, as well as a thorough understanding of the laws and systems that inform the implementation of inclusive policies and practices.

Educators and administrators must have a firm grounding in special education policy and law, especially the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as current best practices and methods to support and educate students with disabilities. But properly administering special education is more complex than simply following these regulations: Special education intersects with issues of social justice, as evidenced by the observed trend of students from historically marginalized groups being disproportionately more likely to receive special education services and to be placed in more restrictive environments than their peers.1 To truly support all students in their communities, educators need a strong understanding of the complex and nuanced systems involved in educating students with learning, social and emotional support needs, including students with disabilities. Disclosure information about the U.S. Department of Education Gainful Employment can be seen here.

Lead your school in more inclusive approaches to educating students with disabilities.

KU's online graduate certificate in leadership in special and inclusive education is broadly applicable for many different professionals who interact with students with disabilities: educators, administrators, principals, directors, school staff, concerned family members, advocates and more. As a student in the Department of Special Education at KU, you'll learn from the best—our faculty have set the standard for special education instruction for over 50 years, and U.S. News & World Report ranks us the #1 graduate special education program in the nation (among public universities).2

You'll begin this program by engaging deeply with pertinent special education law and case history, while considering its varied (and sometimes problematic) implementation across the United States. Next, you will delve into the history of special education in America, which provides essential context for efforts to improve current practices of educating and supporting students with disabilities. You'll discuss criticism of the contemporary special education world and use these critiques to devise new techniques and improve upon the status quo, and you'll speak with leading professionals in the field to examine issues in depth, preparing you to assess the effectiveness of existing strategies and their implementation in your own professional career.

Through hands-on study, you'll come to understand how schools comply with laws and regulations and how to operate within the law while also overcoming common barriers to equitable educational experiences.

Program Details


  • 4 courses, 8 weeks per course, 12 credit hours
  • Complete in as few as 6 to 8 months
  • Learn from renowned faculty in a department that has set the standard in the research and practice of special education for over 50 years
  • Complete your coursework anytime, anywhere, through our innovative online format
  • No GRE required for admission

View Admissions Requirements

What You’ll Learn

This special education certificate program offers a big-picture view of special education policy and law, while challenging you to imagine new reform efforts based on up-to-date research. You will be prepared to advance the rights of all students, confront biases in and about special education and the students who are supported through special education services, and identify and overcome the barriers to inclusive education.

For more detailed information on the topics covered in this program, view the course listings.

Career Outcomes

The online graduate certificate in leadership in special and inclusive education prepares you to meet the challenges of being a special and inclusive education leader in a school setting, advocacy group or technical assistance center. Rather than put you on a set path to a specific career, this program provides you with skills and knowledge that will serve you well in many different positions working with students with disabilities.

*This online graduate certificate does not lead to initial nor advanced licensure in special education in the state of Kansas.

Note: In order to enroll in this program, a bachelor's degree is required. No program can guarantee licensure. It is each student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements in his or her state and to apply for the licenses or endorsements necessary to his or her career goals. Our department staff and licensure officer can provide individual support during the application process to help you understand your state’s requirements.

Important Dates

Application Deadline

August 9
Fall 2019 Term

Next Start

August 26
Fall 2019 Term


Coming Soon


  1. Retrieved on September 26, 2018, from
  2. Retrieved on March 19, 2019, from