College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Online distance learning graduate certificate

The certificate in online distance learning prepares educators and other professionals to design and deliver online, remote learning experiences in academic or business settings.

All courses are offered completely online.

Quote from Susan H. Stephan

I would highly recommend the Certificate program in Online Distance Learning to anyone who will be involved in designing, teaching in, or otherwise administering online educational programs.

Susan H. Stephan Associate Dean of Graduate and Online Programs Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law

About this program


Through this certificate you will acquire knowledge and skill in designing and delivering online distance learning by:

  • Developing expertise in emerging practices in learning design for online environments
  • Gaining an understanding of key learning theories and applying them in practice
  • Engaging with current research about online teaching, learning, and design
  • Participating in a learning community to learn from others while reflecting on your own teaching, reading, designing, and writing


You can take the courses at your own pace. The coursework is asynchronous and can be completed around your work schedule. Working professionals usually opt to take one course a semester, which means you would finish the certificate over a four-semester period while continuing to work full-time.

Master of education

You can pursue the certificate alone or pursue the certificate and MEd Professional Studies in Learning Technologies at the same time.

You will need to apply to both the certificate program and the master’s program. Once admitted, strategize with your adviser to plan your coursework in order to meet the requirements for both programs simultaneously.


Complete 12 credits (each course is 3 credits):

  • Foundations of distance education
  • Online learning communities
  • Designing and developing online distance learning
  • Learning analytics

To see the detailed course curriculum for the Online Distance Learning certificate in the graduate catalog, go to Requirements, Program Requirements to view courses.

How to apply

    Application deadline and instructions

    Currently enrolled students: If you are enrolled in another program at the University, you need to apply to earn this certificate. Note: Transfer credits may not be applied to this certificate program.

    Application priority deadlines:

    • October 31- Spring start
    • January 31 - Summer start
    • March 31 - Fall start

    You can also contact the faculty adviser for the program, Jolie Kennedy.

    Tuition and funding

    Tuition varies depending on your degree program, student status, and residency. If you are seeking only the certificate, you pay the CEHD departmental master's tuition rate. More cost information is on the CEHD site.

    Certificate-only students are not eligible for financial aid.

    Application requirements

    Before applying online, make sure you have all the required materials. We are here to help! If you have questions, please contact the academic advisor in your program area. Even if you are a currently enrolled student, you must apply to earn a certificate. We also require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent with at least a 2.8 GPA.

    To apply you will need:

    • Unofficial transcripts: Upload your transcripts into the application system; please do not mail your transcripts. Official transcripts are required only after you are admitted.
    • Resume: Upload in the Program Supplementary Information - Graduate Program Additional Application section.
    • Statement of purpose: Explain the relationship of courses and research to your professional goals. (Recommended length: two pages).

    Additional admissions information

    International applicants

    This program does not support VISA requirements; if you need a VISA, please view our Master of Education degree option instead.

    International applicants may also need:

    An English translation of your transcripts, if the transcript is not in English. A course by course evaluation may be required.
    TOEFL scores. Official TOEFL scores are required. You may qualify for an exception if you have completed 16 semester or 24 quarter credits within the past 24 months in residence as a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States.
    UMN TOEFL score requirements and submission guidelines

    TOEFL registration and score submission

    Contact and advisor


    We’re here to help. Simply complete one of these forms and a member of our department will be in touch.