Apply Now

a teacher works with a young student

Thank you for your interest in the Relay!

The admissions application for the school year 2020-21 is now closed. The application for 2021-2022 will reopen in spring 2021. 

We would love to learn more about you! Please complete an interest form by clicking here, and we will inform you when the application for next year launches.  

How to Apply


Step 1

First, complete the Relay admissions application, which includes education and employment information. You'll also need to provide the following materials: 

  • Resume
  • Essay
  • Recommendation(s)
  • Official transcripts

Step 2

Follow up with recommenders, monitor your application status to ensure that all materials have been received, and accept your offer if admitted.

Admissions Criteria

Strong candidates for the Special Education Certification program have the ability to lead students to achieve ambitious academic goals; a clear command of foundational instruction skills; strong time and task management skills, as well as other professional skills; and a well-articulated commitment to serving students with exceptional needs.


In order to be eligible for the Relay Special Education Certification program, you must have a teaching position at a school. The teaching position must:

  • Provide access to direct instruction of a minimum of six students who are officially classified as having disabilities; and
  • Provide the capacity to tutor — one-on-one, once per week and for the entirety of the school year — a student who is officially classified as having a disability.

Examples of roles that meet the above criteria:

  • Full-time third-grade teacher who has at least six students with individualized education programs (IEPs) on her class roster
  • Full-time instructional coach who teaches a small tutoring group of at least six students with IEPs twice per week
  • Full-time learning specialist who serves at least six students with IEPs


An official proof of a valid state certificate in general education is required for this program. Applicants must submit proof of a general education certificate before Relay can recommend them for the special education certification endorsement upon their completion of the program.

In order to receive your certificate in special education, you must complete all the required verifications and exams by the deadlines.


You must have an official, degree-conferred undergraduate transcript that shows proof of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education. Search your undergraduate institution in the College Source Online database to determine if it is accredited. If it is not, contact your campus  for guidance. See “Transcript Requirements” below for further instructions on submitting transcripts.


Applicants must have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale (although applicants with a G.P.A. lower than 3.0 but at least 2.75 may be considered for admission by submitting an additional letter of recommendation that explains their qualifications for admission to Relay).

Your campus might have additional admissions and certification requirements. Visit your campus information page for application timelines and further details.

Transcript requirements

Applicants must send official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (even where a degree was not earned).  Relay accepts electronic and hard-copy official transcripts. Electronic transcripts must meet all the following criteria:

  • Sent via a third-party website to (Relay’s Office of Admissions and Enrollment) with instructions for accessing the verified official transcript via a secure username and password; and
  • Be from a U.S.-based institution.

Applicants who attended an educational institution outside of the United States must submit an official hard-copy transcript in the institution’s sealed envelope to Relay AND have a course-by-course evaluation of the international transcript provided by a foreign credential evaluator. (Please see our Guide to Submitting Non-U.S. Transcripts to Relay here.)

Hard-copy transcripts must arrive in a sealed, unopened institutional envelope, addressed to:

Relay Graduate School of Education
Office of Admissions and Enrollment
25 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10004

The Office of Admissions and Enrollment will only evaluate completed applications submitted by the final deadline. Admission to Relay is on a rolling basis, so we strongly recommend that applicants complete their admissions process as soon as possible.

Application Reminders

After submitting the online portion of the application, make sure to take these additional steps!

  • Prioritize sending an official electronic or hard-copy undergraduate transcript demonstrating that a baccalaureate degree was conferred;
  • Follow up with recommenders to ensure they complete Relay’s online prompt;
  • Monitor your admissions status, including Relay's receipt of transcripts and recommendations, by logging into the admissions portal and visiting the Admissions Checklist;
  • Look for an email informing you of our admissions decision; and, if admitted,
  • Log in to the admissions portal and accept our offer of admissions and the terms of your admissions agreement.


How much does the program cost?

The price of tuition for the Special Education Certification program varies by campus. Please check the campus information pages for information about tuition. We encourage all candidates to reach out to their schools or school networks to see if tuition assistance is available.

I have a conflict with the summer class dates. Can I still do the program?

Unfortunately, no. The summer coursework sets the foundation for the entire year. If you miss the in-person summer sessions, it is likely that you will struggle to demonstrate proficiency with the coursework and miss out on the rigor and nuance of the curriculum.

If I am not in a full-time teaching role, how frequently do I need to teach students with IEPs?

In order to have sufficient opportunities to apply what you are learning in the program, graduate students need to teach at least six students with IEPs regularly across the year. We encourage teachers to commit to teaching a group at least 1x/week, but we recognize that the exact frequency may vary across the year.

If I complete this program, will I be certified to teach outside of my state?

Since the Special Education program is aligned with credit requirements in multiple states, it is likely that a graduate student would be able to get reciprocity with another state. However, she would need to apply for reciprocity independently. Relay does not have the authority to recommend a graduate student for a credential in another state.

Does enrolling in this program certify me to provide special education services to students?

Enrolling in the program does not automatically certify a teacher to provide special education services; the endorsement is earned only upon completion of the program and passing of all required certification exams.