What is the Graduate Certificate in Distance Education?

In response to an increasing demand, a large number of postsecondary institutions, K-12 schools, and agencies in public health, government, and private business are offering instruction or training in a distance learning format. However, distance education requires a unique set of skills for course/program development, management, support, and delivery. To prepare current and future instructors, trainers, and administrators, the University of Kentucky offers a Graduate Certificate in Distance Education. The Certificate is administered collaboratively by the Department of Special Education and Counselor Education (EDSCE) and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (EDC).

Who should get the Graduate Certificate in Distance Education?

If you are a current/future teacher or college instructor who wants to develop or expand your teaching expertise to online education, if you want to apply e-learning tools and strategies to design/deliver engaging online training for your organization, or if you want to be part of the exciting world of online education/training, then the certificate is designed for you. Those who should pursue the Graduate Certificate include but are not limited to the following:

  • Faculty members in colleges and universities
  • Graduate and doctoral students
  • K-12 teachers developing or teaching online courses or programs
  • Government and private sector employees responsible for organizational training
  • Distance learning administrators

How technologically savvy do I need to be before I start taking courses?

Students begin taking courses with varying levels of technological skills. The experience you gain from your coursework will help you to enhance and expand those skills through course activities and projects, faculty mentoring, and collaboration and communication with fellow students.


Why You Should Enroll

  • Reason 1: Having the Certificate adds a marketable dimension to your skills and expertise in the constantly evolving area of distance education.
  • Reason 2: You will be taught by experts in both research and practice in distance education design, delivery, and management.
  • Reason 3: You will have plenty of hands-on experience to evaluate existing online courses/programs and build online learning modules.
  • Reason 4: You will pursue a program that offers flexibility to define and explore your own needs and interests and to progress at your own pace.
  • Reason 5: You can earn course credits that can be applied to any graduate program at UK (such as the Master of Science in Instructional Systems Design or Doctor of Education in Instruction & Administration).
  • Reason 6: You do not need to pay an application fee if you are a current UK graduate student.

    Program Details

    Delivery Method: Completely online

    Credit Hours: 12 (4 courses)

    Tuition Cost: For information regarding current program cost, please refer to UK Tuition and Mandatory Fees page.

    Curriculum Guide

    Based on interest, students may choose an emphasis from either the Department of Special Education and Counselor Education (EDSCE) or from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (EDC) within the Instructional Systems Design (ISD) program. In addition, students may choose the option of completing the Certificate under cross-listed courses through the Graduate School.

    The Certificate requires 2 foundation courses and 2 related electives for a total of 12 graduate credit hours. All courses are delivered completely online. You can complete the courses within a year if you wish. Some students choose to complete the courses over a two-year period.

    Two foundation courses (6 credit hours):

    • EDC 548 Instructional Technology Leadership OR EDS 651/GS 600 Distance Education Delivery
    • EDC 605 Distance Learning Research & Design OR EDS 652/GS 600 Distance Education Management and Support

    2 electives (6 credit hours) – Choose 2 from the following:

    • EDC 543 Digital Game-Based Learning
    • EDC 607 Instructional Design I
    • EDC 611 Authoring Applications for E-Learning
    • EDS 649 Advanced Practicum: Special Education Technology
    • EDS 721 Practicum in Special Education Personnel Preparation

    *Other suitable electives will be considered.


    How to Apply

    You can apply for spring, summer, or fall admission to the program. Please note the application deadlines below:

    • Starting spring 2022 – Apply by 12/6/2021
    • Starting summer 2022 – Apply by 4/9/2022

    Admission to the program requires a Bachelor’s degree in any field, with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher. The application is completely online, and requires the following materials:

    • Undergraduate transcripts
    • A resume

    Note: If you are a current graduate student at UK and wish to enroll in the Certificate program, you still need to submit an application for admission but do not need to pay the application fee. Please contact Dr. Kun Huang for more information.

    I'm Ready to Apply  


    Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have regarding this program. We can’t wait to hear from you!


    photo of Dr. Ryan Crowley
    Associate Professor, Interim Director of Graduate Studies
    (859) 257-3158
    photo of Dr. Gerry Swan
    Associate Professor
    (859) 257-2340
    photo of Kun Huang
    Interim DGS, Instructional Systems Design Program Faculty Chair, Associate Professor
    (859) 257-4661

    Tuition and Fees

    For information regarding current program cost please refer to the UK Tuition and Fees page.

    Refund Policies

    You can find tuition refund policies, deadlines, amounts, and other important information on the UK Student Account Services website.

    State Authorization & Licensure

    If you plan to complete a University of Kentucky online program while living outside of Kentucky, you should check the Out-of-State Students page to determine if the University of Kentucky is authorized to provide this program in your state of residence. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.

    Return to Certificates & Ranks