The Ph.D. Program in Special Education is designed to prepare highly qualified, experienced persons for leadership roles, and for roles as teacher educators and researchers. The individualized nature of the program enables students to master a comprehensive field of emphasis in special education, employ intellectual and innovative methods for addressing the needs of exceptional children, youth, and adults and acquire breadth of understanding of related disciplines that focus on the professional roles of college teaching, research, administration and clinical/educational/agency-based services for individuals with exceptionalities.
The Ph.D. program includes common advanced and non-categorical course and seminar requirements. The substantive specialization and emphasis is defined by the individual student's total program plan of study (sometimes referred to as a prospectus), including a minor or cognate area; specialized internships, advanced coursework, individually directed research, and the dissertation. In addition to conceptualizing, designing, implementing and interpreting research, all doctoral students are expected to demonstrate competence in teaching at the college level in the course of their doctoral training.