Education of the Gifted Endorsement

Program specific information

See the "Next Steps" tab above for information. If you have any questions, please contact the program coordinator(s) and/or enrollment contact to the right or contact the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at

Strongly recommended skills

  • Persistence, perseverance and a desire to learn more about gifted students and to advocate for their needs.
  • Ability to think complexly, intellectually and to integrate several different skill areas/components into one product.
  • Capacity for creative thinking; enjoyment of word play, humor and appreciation of creative products.

Required technology skills
Access to Microsoft PowerPoint (ability to make, format presentations and use basic drawing/shape tools); Microsoft Word (ability to make/alter a table and perform basic formatting); access to a digital camera; ability to insert photos or images, crop, adjust size/brightness/contrast of an image.

Only under special circumstances as the courses generally form a sequence. The best sequence of courses for the endorsement begins with the introductory course, The Gifted and Talented (ELEMECML 6254), then the curriculum course, Educational Strategies for the Gifted and Talented (ELEMECML 6255), followed by the administrative course, Coordinating Programs for the Gifted and Talented (ELEMECML 6257), with the practicum, Practicum for the Gifted and Talented (ELEMECML 6297), at the end.

While it is often possible to make up courses that are missed, our commitment is to deliver the courses as outlined in the cohort schedule. This is not designed as a program in which students come and go. Rather, the cohort model requires that students take the prescribed sequence in unison. Should you need to miss a course, you should consult with your program advisor for options.

When you have completed the steps to admission and have been accepted into the program, we will send you details and information about how to enroll in the first course. After you participate in the first term of courses in the cohort sequence, the Office of Continuing and Distance Education will notify you with enrollment details for the next term of courses as they become available. You are required to enroll in your courses each semester. 

No. You will need to wait until you receive your teaching certificate to begin the sequence of courses leading to the endorsement. The gifted education endorsement coursework builds on teaching skills already learned in an initial certification program.

Yes, you may take the courses, but you will not be endorsed to teach in Iowa. As long as you understand this and do have a valid teaching degree from your own country, you can take the courses.

You will still need to take the practicum course. The practicum is the last course in UNI's four-course sequence for the endorsement. During the practicum you will apply the concepts learned during the three previous courses. You will also participate in other new activities and apply these to your teaching. Although your prior experiences with gifted students will undoubtedly assist you during the practicum, these cannot substitute for it, as you will need to demonstrate your new learning from the first three courses during the practicum.

Yes, in most cases, you will be able to complete your practicum at your school.

Yes, in most cases, you will be able to complete your practicum at your school or with gifted students in your district. Many of the practicum activities can be completed with a broader regular classroom population or a group of higher-achieving students in your class. However, you may need to make some arrangements to work specifically with students identified as gifted. Usually, teachers can work this out so that they can meet with a group of gifted students when students from their own classroom are attending a "special." You may need to negotiate an occasional substitute teacher or some release time with your administrator to support your practicum requirement. We will make every effort to accommodate your needs concerning the practicum, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the graduate student to fulfill the practicum requirements.

If you have a degree and past certification in teacher education, you can enroll in the gifted education endorsement program. You will need to contact the Iowa State Department of Education to determine more details about renewing your teaching license. There are answers to frequently asked questions about renewing and more at their website at:

It depends. We have a seven-year limit on the completion of coursework for the gifted education endorsement. The seven year time span starts with the first course that you take that is part of the endorsement and ends with the last course – the practicum experience. All coursework must be completed within seven years. Courses older than seven years become outdated and you will need to retake those courses. If the previous course from UNI is one of the courses that is part of the endorsement and you took that course recently enough for you to complete all coursework within the seven-year limit, then it will probably work.

It depends. Courses from other regionally accredited institutions will be evaluated to determine possible equivalent courses at UNI. Professional development workshops and Area Education Agency courses/workshops cannot be substituted. However, courses that typically count for graduate credit toward a master's degree at UNI may transfer if the course content can be matched to one of the gifted education endorsement courses. Please provide the institution and course number. The course description and the syllabus may be necessary for us to determine eligibility for substitution. You may have to ask your institution to complete a Graduate Transfer Evaluation Form. No transfer courses may be substituted for the practicum, which capstones our endorsement program and applies learning from the other courses. Substitution of transfer credits can be for a maximum of one of UNI's courses for the gifted education endorsement.

After you have successfully completed the required endorsement courses, you may add the endorsement to your Iowa teaching license. Obtain the Application to Add an Endorsement from the Board of Educational Examiners.  Print off the application, complete Section I, attach the required fee (made payable to the Board of Educational Examiners) and mail the form and fee to:

Office of the Registrar
115 Gilchrist Hall
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0006

Upon receipt of your application, the Record Analyst will complete the institutional section and forward the form and fee to the Board of Educational Examiners in Des Moines for processing. The Board of Educational Examiners will send the updated license directly to you at the address listed on your application.

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Humke, Record Analyst, at 319-273-2245 or

For information about course delivery, please see the "Overview" and "Program Schedule" tabs above.

Cost and financial aid

All students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of location, making it an affordable option for all students. 

Tuition for the 2014-15 academic year is $441 per unit of graduate credit or $278 per unit of undergraduate credit. An additional technology fee per course may apply. Tuition and fees are expected to rise each May, typically announced by the Iowa Board of Regents in March.

Distance education students may qualify for financial aid with the following eligibility requirements:

Specific questions about financial aid should be directed to the Office of Student Financial Aid at 800-772-2736 or

Services and support

Since its establishment in 1876 as the Iowa State Normal School, the University of Northern Iowa has maintained its affirmed commitment to the support of excellence in teacher education. That commitment remains strong as the university continues to prepare students to become teachers, as well as provide opportunities for career advancement in the field of education. In addition to a commitment to teaching, our faculty members are engaged in research, writing and professional development. View UNI's national rankings and honors.

Research findings demonstrate that students of all types of learning styles can succeed in a distance environment. View our tips for being a successful distance learner.

The University of Northern Iowa is committed to providing comprehensive support services for distance education students. The Office of Continuing and Distance Education serves as your primary point of contact in accessing distance education support services, including enrollment services, technical support for online course tools and more. You are also given access to the UNI Rod Library’s print and electronic collections for your convenience. View a complete list of services and support resources

Please contact the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at 319-273-5970, 800-648-3864 or with any questions. If we don’t have the answer, we will do our best to find it.

You will work with the program coordinator when communicating about the program of study. Once participating in the program, you will be assigned a faculty advisor who will work with you one-on-one regarding your progress in the program.