Graduate CertificatesCertificate

We offer six graduate certificate programs that support experienced K-12 teachers and educators who are prepared to extend their education to better serve their schools and communities. Each certificate offers professionals the opportunity to achieve deeper and transformative understandings of institutional practices in and out of schools. We aim to facilitate professional identity growth and engagement through informed conversations with TLTE’s nationally recognized graduate faculty about key educational issues.

Early Literacy

Early literacy instruction in the school and community is an area of national emphasis. Effective early literacy instruction has been a focus of educational reform since the first reports about Head Start programs in the early 1970s, and many universities and P-12 school districts are developing programs to enhance Early Literacy instruction.

This Early Literacy graduate certificate can provide:

  • A pathway for gaining expertise for new educators, those who wish to change their focus, and those who want to gain greater expertise in this area
  • A route for graduate students who are practicing teachers to organize their coursework in an area of need in their schools
  • Help for graduate students to structure a master's degree in a purposeful manner
  • Professional recognition of expertise for teachers who are or want to be engaged in Early Literacy instruction in schools and community settings
  • Additionally, students who complete the Early Literacy Certificate Program will be well on their way to completing a Nebraska Pre-Kindergarten-12th grade Reading Specialist Endorsement, should they wish to also pursue that designation.

View course requirements for the Early Literacy graduate certificate.

K-3 Mathematics Specialist

The K-3 Mathematics Specialist Certificate is offered in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education (TLTE). This certificate promotes the professional development of new teachers, and it benefits expereinces teachers by offering specialized instruction in math education. Math educators have the opportunity to improve their teaching practices via the courses offered in the program. Educators who earn this certificate may continue to work as elementary school teachers teaching in all subjects or assume the roles of math specialists within their schools and districts. All courses on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln city campus or at NebraskaMATH approved sites.

View course requirements for the K-3 Mathematics Specialist graduate certificate.

Mathematics Education
The Graduate Certificate in Mathematics Education is offered in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education and is a 15-hour certificate program attends to preparing leaders in mathematics education by providing continued professional development education to teachers of mathematics (PK-16) with more focused attention on mathematics pedagogical content knowledge in grades 4-16. The graduate certificate program focuses on the continued development of pedagogical content knowledge in the most needed areas: mathematics education identity, access, and equity, curriculum, assessment, classroom discourse, technology, and social justice in mathematics classrooms.


The Graduate Certificate in Mathematics Education offers coursework that is integral to teachers continued professional development in mathematical content pedagogy. Most of the coursework is available in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education and is offered by its graduate faculty who are researchers in this area of education. High quality teaching requires deep mathematics pedagogical content knowledge as well as subject matter knowledge. The graduate certificate supports teachers’

· Understandings of the role that mathematics plays in the school curriculum and society

· Analysis of PK-16 mathematics teaching from a critical perspective, including how social, historical, and institutional contexts affect the learning and teaching of mathematics

· Learning via the K-3 math specialist graduate certificate, if they have completed it

· Development of theoretical and practical understandings of practices to improve mathematics education for every student in PK-16 settings and focus attention on grades 4-16 and 6-12.

View course requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Mathematics Education.

Response to Intervention: Reading

This program offers a route for teachers to begin graduate coursework closely linked to the practices and reform mandated in their schools.

Response to Intervention (RTI) framework is a part of educational legislation through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. As such, training in RTI is an emerging need in many school systems. This certificate program within the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education allows teachers engaged in Response to Intervention in their schools to gain professional recognition of their expertise. The coursework of this certificate program also offers an RTI model for future coursework in other content areas within the graduate department.

View course requirements for the Response to Intervention: Reading graduate certificate.

Social Justice and Diversity Education

Students who pursue this 15-credit certificate will broaden and deepen their professional knowledge of diversity dynamics in education. The courses leading to the certificate focus primarily on issues affecting immigrant communities, migrant families, and multicultural education in both school and community settings.

This graduate certificate will appeal to students with a keen interest in diversity, as well as the social and cultural foundations of education, particularly involving social justice issues affecting minoritized populations. Coursework prepares professionals to take on the leadership challenges of creating welcoming learning communities by addressing issues of equity and inclusion at all levels of formal schooling.

View course requirements for the Social Justice and Diversity Education graduate certificate.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Are you interested in teaching English as a second language to children and adults internationally or within your own community? Apply to the graduate certificate program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) to learn instructional strategies for teaching English, deepen your knowledge of how languages are acquired, explore English linguistics, develop a professional identity as a language teacher, and engage in conversations around important issues in TESOL.

View course requirements for the TESOL graduate certificate.

Rolling Admissions and Monthly Review Deadline: the first Monday of each month August through May

Application to this program

Minimum requirements for all graduate certificate programs include:
  • Undergraduate GPA equivalent to 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

  • A good match between your goals and the TLTE’s ability to address those goals

  • A completed application submitted to the UNL Office of Graduate Studies

  • A completed department application which includes the following:

  1. Resume
  2. Two (2) letters of recommendation (K-3 Mathematics Specialist Certificate ONLY)
  3. Application Essay

*Application Essay. The Graduate Admissions Committee looks closely at the applicant's goals in the application essay for further evidence of your meeting the admissions criteria. A well-written essay is crucial to admissions decisions. This application essay is a concise statement in which you address clearly why you want to pursue graduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In this essay you should address clearly:

  1. Your academic and/or professional goals and how the certificate program in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education will enable you to meet these.
  2. Your academic strengths, with specific attention to your background in education and how this qualifies you for graduate study at a major university.
  3. Any professional experience, knowledge, and skills you possess and how these further qualify you for graduate study at a major university.

This statement should be between 700-1000 words.

*Please note that a complete background check may be required upon admission to the program. Many institutions today require a criminal history background check before an individual is allowed to work, volunteer, conduct research or collect data within their facility. CEHS students who are required in their program to go into daycare facilities, schools, hospitals, or other community agencies must complete a background check before CEHS can place them in these facilities.

Only completed application files will be reviewed. Following the review process, you will be informed in writing of the admission decision.

Jenelle Reeves

Jenelle Reeves
Graduate Chair

Joelle Tangen

Graduate Project Associate