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About this Program

Image of two young childrer interracting with a book together in a brightly lit classroom.Do you want to gain further knowledge and expertise working with students with disabilities?

Are you interested in taking graduate-level courses that allow for rich and meaningful engagement related to working with students with autism and significant support needs?

The Autism and Significant Support Needs graduate certificate program may be just right for you! This is 15-credit (or 16-credit, if you include the optional 1-credit field experience – highly recommended!) graduate certificate program features courses in academic instruction and communication skills for students with autism and significant support needs, responsive pedagogy, and more! Two of these courses overlap with the requirements for the Master of Arts in Teaching: Special Education program. Please note that the Autism and Significant Support Needs certificate does not result in teacher licensure.

This certificate program can be completed 100% online!

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

The goal of this certificate program is to increase the number of well-trained school personnel in the areas of autism and significant support needs by preparing them to utilize universal design for learning, differentiated instruction, assistive technology, positive behavior approaches, person- and family-centered transition planning, communication strategies, and other innovative teaching methods that support the success of all learners within inclusive environments.

In our program, you will experience:

  • A diverse student population
  • Engaging, topical coursework
  • Supportive faculty and staff with a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Flexible course scheduling options with all courses offered online
  • Incredible value

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

Image of three young children sitting together smiling.The Autism and Significant Support Needs Certificate program provides comprehensive training for all educators (special education, general education, educational assistants etc.), service providers (speech language pathologists, social workers, occupational therapists, school psychologists, etc.) and families, to collaboratively meet the needs of diverse learners.

This program is a great fit for current educators who seek professional development to expand and grow in their roles as educators and leaders!

Admission Requirements

In order to apply to the certificate program, applicants must meet the following requirement:

  • Students must have a minimum of an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

In addition to the above requirements, applicants must submit the following materials:

  • Completed MSU Denver Graduate Application
  • Graduate Application Fee
    • $50 fee paid online through the online MSU Denver Graduate Application
  • ALL official transcripts. (Please note: you do not need to provide MSU Denver transcripts if you attended here in the past)

    • Electronic submission is the preferred method. Have official electronic transcripts sent directly from the institution to: [email protected]
    • Official hard copy transcripts can be mailed to:
      MSU Denver
      The Office of Graduate Studies
      P.O. Box 173362
      Campus Box 48
      Denver, CO 80217
  • Supplemental Documents (uploaded as part of the MSU Denver Graduate Application):
    • Resume
    • Personal Statement – Please submit a personal statement addressing the points below. Submissions must be one page, double-spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman font, and with one-inch margins.  Document must be must be .PDF or .DOC/.DOCX format.  Please note: If you are applying for admission to this program concurrently with application for the Master of Arts in Teaching, please refer to the requirements listed above under “Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program Admission Requirements”.
      • Your reason for pursuing this certificate.
      • Your experiences and/or qualities that will benefit you as you pursue this certificate.
      • Your reason for pursuing this certificate at MSU Denver, specifically.

Featured Faculty

Image of Dr. P. Charlie Buckley, Special Education faculty.Dr. P. Charlie Buckley

Dr. P. Charlie Buckley is an Associate Professor of Special Education and began her career as a speech and language pathologist. She has worked with children, families, and educational teams, to improve access and meaningful engagement in every aspect of life. At MSU Denver, she strives to improve educational practices by preparing teachers to collaboratively meet the needs of all learners. Specific areas of interest include autism spectrum disorders, language development, augmentative and alternative communication, students with significant support needs, inclusive education, and educational technology.

Headshot photo of Dr. Kara HalleyDr. Kara Halley

Dr. Kara Halley is an Associate Professor of Special Education and her experience in the school setting primarily consists of developing inclusive educational programs for students with significant disabilities and providing transition services to students with a wide variety of disabilities. Her research interests consist of inclusive education, transition and post-secondary services, educational programs for students with significant disabilities, culturally diverse students with disabilities, and teacher preparation. Dr. Halley currently serves as a consultant for the Colorado Department of Education on the Colorado Significant Support Needs Network which focuses on creating model education and transition programs for these students.


Alumni at Work

Our Autism and Significant Support Needs certificate holders are often already teaching in Denver area school districts, but this certificate is applicable in just about every preK-12 school across the globe!

Where will you end up?  Get started today to find out.

Contact the School of Education

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West Classroom: 136

(303) 615-1777

[email protected]