Special education cross-categorical

University of Missouri-Columbia
Graduate certificate
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Graduate certificate 

You know special education expertise is in high demand. That’s why this 100% online graduate certificate in cross-categorical special education from the University of Missouri (Mizzou) can take your career to the next level. School districts look for leaders with special education skills like those offered in this 12-credit hour (4-course) program. You can complete this program while you work within a single school year.

Hone your ability with differentiated instruction, enhance your school’s learning culture and help every student establish strong foundations in literacy and numeracy. Courses focus on instruction that works for special education across multiple categories. Bolster student outcomes and your school district’s reputation with training that allows neurodiversity to flourish. Although this graduate program is not designed for those seeking teacher certification, the credits you earn can count toward a future master’s degree from Mizzou. Upon completion, you will be equipped with expertise that allows your school, your district and all of your students to thrive.

Top-ranked programs in two categories

Mizzou’s online graduate education programs ranked among the nation’s finest in two U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs 2023 categories.

Best Online Programs U.S. News and World Report Grad Education 2023 Badge.
Best Online Programs U.S. News and World Report Veterans Grad Education 2023 Badge.

Quick facts

Official name

Graduate certificate in special education cross-categorical


University of Missouri-Columbia

Program type

Graduate certificate

Academic home

College of Education & Human Development | Department of Special Education

Delivery mode

100% online


Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours


Estimated cost


*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

Young teacher consults with student

Career prospects

Job titles include:

  • Teacher
  • Paraeducator
  • Gifted program teacher
  • Administrator
  • Special education program coordinator

Program structure

Delivery of this program is 100% online: no campus visits are required.

Courses are cohort-based. Most students study part time, taking one to two classes per semester, and complete the course work in just a year.

Course work includes

  • Introduction to special education
  • Behavioral and classroom management
  • Literacy in special education
  • Advanced teaching mathematics in special education


100% online

Calendar system


Typical program length

1 year

Typical course load

1-2 classes per semester

Further your education

Students may apply the 12 credit hours earned for this graduate certificate to a variety of Mizzou’s master’s in education degrees such as autism, general special education and others. For more information, visit the Department of Special Education.


University of Missouri-Columbia is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Faculty spotlight

Jena Randolph, assistant professor special education

Jena Randolph is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri in the Department of Special Education and the director of online graduate programs. Before this, she served as the director of training and education at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment. She has over 25 years of experience working with individuals with autism throughout the lifespan across home, clinical and school settings. Her experience focuses on neurodiversity, collaborative and coordinated care, emergent communication development and supporting the implementation of evidence-based practices in schools.

Jena Randolph, PhD
Assistant Professor and Director of Online Graduate Programs, Department of Special Education
Delinda van Garderen, professor, special education

Delinda van Garderen focuses her research on students with learning disabilities, struggling learners, and teachers in the content areas of mathematics and science. In particular, she studies how students and teachers use representations to solve mathematics word problems, student development and intervention in number (e.g., conservation of quantity, numerical magnitude), and use of Universal Design for Learning to plan instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners in science. She is currently completing a DR-K12 NSF grant, “QuEST: Quality Elementary Science Teaching,” designed to examine the impact of a professional development model for improving teacher content knowledge and pedagogical practices in science.


Delinda van Garderen, PhD
Professor, Department of Special Education
Faculty in cross-categorical special education

Melissa Stormont has published extensive research on the educational and social needs of children at risk for failure in school. Dr. Stormont teaches undergraduate and graduate students in special education. Her specialties include exploring teachers’ knowledge and use of specific instructional practices for children at risk, investigating characteristics associated with risk and success in school, and supporting children with ADHD in school.

Melissa Stormont, PhD
Professor, Department of Special Education
Special Education faculty Mizzou

Jessica Rodrigues completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California and earned her doctoral degree from the University of Delaware before joining the University of Missouri’s program. Dr. Rodrigues is the Principal Investigator on two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants — one of which is an NSF CAREER award. Her expertise centers on communicating mathematics education to broad audiences, identifying students experiencing mathematics difficulties, developing and testing interventions and supporting teachers with professional development in mathematics.

Jessica Rodrigues, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Special Education