Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Concentration: Special Education

The PhD concentration in Special Education is designed for providing teachers, administrators, parents, and mental, health, or social service providers with the unique opportunity to develop their reflective thinking skills and leadership skills on the application of best practices on a diverse range of disabilities and to engage into critical educational issues, practices and concerns. The PhD concentration in Special Education, responds to the academic and professional needs of both school-based and agency-based personnel, who presently hold or desire to pursue leadership positions in Special Education. Our students are people, who seek a career in academy, or in field-based research; are specialized in government issues and policies; direct public and private agencies; and are consultants and advocates in Special Education. One of our goals is to support our graduates to seek academic positions as faculty at colleges and universities. The program involves theoretical and practical coursework, seminars, research activities, and field experiences that provide the knowledge and skills necessary to effectually perform leadership positions. The PhD concentration in Special Education program requires the inclusion of core doctoral courses (30 credits) and research/dissertation courses (30 credits). Courses may be selected from the general Special Education options in curriculum, educational leadership, and diversity, and from concentration options in Assistive Technology (AT), gifted learners, mild/moderate disabilities, and instruction/assessment.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Will demonstrate the breadth of knowledge in the discipline and advance, in-depth knowledge in the sub-discipline or area of specialization.
  • Will have performed and defended an original work of research in their fields of specialization which contributed new human knowledge.
  • Will be able to identify, analyze critically and explain open problems in their disciplines and apply relevant research methodology for finding a possible solution.
  • Will be able to communicate the major tenets of their field of specialization and their work orally and in writing to the faculty, their peers, and the lay public.
  • Will be able to identify areas where ethical issues may arise in their field, and articulate strategies to mitigate situations related to ethical issues in their profession.
  • Will demonstrate an insight into the transferable nature of research skills to other work environments and the range of career opportunities available to them inside and outside academia.

Degree Requirements

Required Credit Hours : minimum 60 hours

Program Requirements:

Part 1: General Requirements (18 credits) (Group 1: The following 9 credits) (18.00 hours)

Credit Hours
CURR701Curriculum Theory and Practice3.000
FOED702Organizational theory in educational leadership3.000
SPED704Teaching Children from Culturally and Linguistically Divers Background3.000

Group 2 (Research Methodologies): (Any 9 credits of the following courses) (9.00 hours)

Credit Hours
CURR710Quantitative Research Methods in Education I3.000
CURR712Advanced Data Analysis in Quantitative Research3.000
CURR713Qualitative Research Methods in Education 3.000
CURR715Mixed Methods Research in Education3.000

Part 2: Concentration Requirements (Any 9 credits of the following courses:) (9.00 hours)

Credit Hours
SPED701Advance Application of Assistive Technology in Special Education 3.000
SPED720 Education and Development of Gifted Learners3.000
SPED721 Language and Literacy Impairment3.000
SPED722Advanced Topics in Special Education3.000
SPED724 Developmental Disabilities3.000


Part 3: Elective Requirements (3 credits)

A 3-credit SPED 7xx level course approved by the Advisory Committee. (3.00 hours)

Credit Hours

Part 4: Qualification Requirements (0.00 hours)

Credit Hours
SPED800Comprehensive Examination0.000
SPED810Research Proposal0.000

Part 5: Research Requirements (30.00 hours)

Credit Hours
SPED900Dissertation Research  10.000
SPED910Dissertation Defense0.000
1 : Min CH:0 and Max CH:9