United States Doctorate in Special Education
Considering a PhD in special education or an online special education doctorate? Individuals interested in working with and for the educationally challenged, such as special needs students, might benefit from a Doctorate in Special Education. Masters degrees in special education as well as work experience might be prerequisites. Licensing is required by every state for teaching special needs individuals.
Why pursue a doctorate in special education?
Earning a PhD in special education is the highest academic level you can achieve in the field. In order to qualify to earn a doctorate in special education you typically must first earn your master’s degree—although in some cases you may start Ph.D. programs with just a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral programs in special education differ from master’s programs in that they tend to be more advanced, specialized and research-focused. PhD in special education candidates are also typically required to complete original research to create and defend a dissertation—which is a doctoral-level thesis.
Earning a doctorate in special education may help prepare graduates to pursue:
- Policymaking positions in state and federal government
- Research and teaching positions in higher education
- Consultation positions in professional education
Graduating from a doctoral program in special education can also be a good way to demonstrate competence in research and demonstrate that you’ve attained the most advanced level of education in your specialization—which may be appealing to employers. If conducting intensive research on a very specific topic in the realm of special education is appealing to you, a doctorate in special education may be an option worth looking into.
What are some research specializations for doctoral programs in special education?
If you choose to pursue a doctoral program in special education, there
are a variety of different research areas to specialize in. Although, it’s worth noting that there are likely to be less specialization options at the Ph.D. level than there are when pursuing a Master’s degree. The exact research track that you choose will depend on your educational and work experience and—of course—your career goals. Below is a brief summary of some research specialization options that you may want to consider if you plan to earn your doctorate in special education.
Positive Behavior Support:
Deals with establishing behavioral support practices and systems to help reduce problem behaviors and increase the quality of life—whether it be educational, work, social or leisure—for people with disabilities.
Involves working with children and adults with severe or low-incidence disabilities—such as autism—in home, school and community settings.
Deals with serving at risk infants and preschool children or those what have already been identified with a disability—and also working with their families.
Prevention and Academic Interventions:
Involves improving educational systems to help prevent and remediate academic struggles by employing more effective instructional and assessment practices.
Secondary Transition Services:
Focuses on working with adolescents and young adults with disabilities and high-risk behaviors during high school—as well as through the transition from public school into society.
Involves serving children and young adults with learning disabilities, behavior disorders and mild or moderate mental retardation.
Focuses on research and leadership that addresses children, youth and adults with autism, intellectual disabilities and multiple disabilities—and students who have significant support needs.
Involves working with children or young adults who are blind or visually impaired.
The Education Specialist degree with a specialization in Special Education will prepare you to face the challenging legal issues confronting current administrators of special education programs.
St. John's University
What They’re Known For Based in New York City, St. John’s University is a diverse institution with a globally focused curriculum.Founded in 1870, it today gives students the opportunity to learn from top-ranked&...
Grand Canyon University
"Do you aspire to drive transformative educational change in your institution and community? Designed for practitioners and administrators from P-12 to higher education, Walden University’s online Doctor of Education (EdD) program...
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
University of San Francisco
Disability. Equity. Culture. With a focus on equity, access, and inclusion, the Ed.D. in Special Education prepares students for research, leadership, and higher education teaching.
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
University of Illinois at Chicago
The Degree of Master in Special Education focuses on improving the education of children with disabilities in urban settings. These programs benefit from cohort models, in which groups of learners progress together. The work of this program is linked to...
- Chicago, IL
- Evanston, ILEvanston, IL
Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies
The professional MA in Learning Disabilities prepares students to be diagnosticians, educators, and supervisors in the field of learning disabilities. Graduates with the MA degree find employment opportunities in schools, clinics, community agencies, an...
- Chicago, IL
- Lubbock, TXLubbock, TX
Texas Tech University
The special education program emphasizes generic special education at both the master's and the doctor's level. Graduate work at the master's level may include sufficient course work in one area of exceptionality to produce an endorsement on the basic p...
- Athens, GAAthens, GA
University of Georgia
This department prepares professionals to provide services to individuals with special needs across the lifespan. It maintains a high level of distinction with continuous involvement in critical special education issues, and an integrated academic an...
- Columbia, SCColumbia, SC
University of South Carolina
Special Education in one of five areas: Educable Mentally Handicapped,Emotionally Handicapped, Learning Disabilities, Trainable Mentally Handicapped, or Visually Handicapped;...
- University Park, PAUniversity Park, PA
Pennsylvania State University
The purpose of the M.Ed. program in Special Education is to prepare teachers of exceptional children. M.Ed. students are trained in behavior management and instructional design, implementation, and evaluation appropriate for effective work with children...
- Lawrence, INLawrence, IN
University of Kansas
It is our mission to train teachers of the deaf who are able to meet a wide variety of individual needs across diverse settings. The Deaf Education program at the University of Kansas offers multiple plans of study to prepare graduate students for work...
- Austin, TXAustin, TX
University of Texas at Austin
- San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
University of California - Berkeley
Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education The Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education The Doctoral Program in Special Education, offered jointly...
- Tampa, FLTampa, FL
University of South Florida
- West Lafayette, INWest Lafayette, IN
The goal of the special education program at Purdue University is to meet the unique needs of individuals with disabilities by preparing education professionals with the knowledge, dispositions and skills necessary to effectively serve individuals with...
- Salt Lake City, UTSalt Lake City, UT
University of Utah
- Muncie, INMuncie, IN
Ball State University
On-site doctoral program for individuals wishing to assume leadership roles in special education.
- College Station, TXCollege Station, TX
Texas A&M University
The SPED Ph.D. program prepares students for academic positions in universities and research institutions.
- Louisville, KYLouisville, KY
University of Louisville
- Las Vegas, NVLas Vegas, NV
University of Nevada Las Vegas
- Norfolk, VANorfolk, VA
Old Dominion University