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.
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&...
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.
Grand Canyon University
Walden’s Ph.D. in Education program offers educators and administrators the opportunity to grow as scholars and innovators in higher education. Gain access to distinguished faculty members, ongoing support, and three learning formats, depending on your...
- 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...
- Austin, TXAustin, TX
University of Texas at Austin
- 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...
- Muncie, INMuncie, IN
Ball State University
On-site doctoral program for individuals wishing to assume leadership roles in special education.
- 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
- College Park, MDCollege Park, MD
University of Maryland - College Park
The Department of Special Education at the University of Maryland is devoted to the preparation of professionals who will work with individuals who have disabilities. Our special education graduate programs prepare leadership personnel including teache...
- Las Vegas, NVLas Vegas, NV
University of Nevada Las Vegas
- 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...
- Boca Raton, FLBoca Raton, FL
Florida Atlantic University
- College Station, TXCollege Station, TX
Texas A&M University
The SPED Ph.D. program prepares students for academic positions in universities and research institutions.
- Washington, DCWashington, DC
The George Washington University
Established in the heart of the nation's capital in 1821, GW provides innovative programs in more than 200 fields of study, including graduate certificate, master's, and doctoral programs. Under the guidance of a world-renowned faculty, you will explore...
- Washington, DC
- Norfolk, VANorfolk, VA
Old Dominion University
- Saint Louis, MOSaint Louis, MO
St. Louis University
Graduate work in the Department of Educational Studies is designed for those interested in pursuing advanced degrees in the areas of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Foundations or Special Education. All programs must be planned with a graduate a...
- Manhattan, KSManhattan, KS
Kansas State University
The School of Family Studies and Human Services is a multidisciplinary school which, since its establishment in 1928, offers graduate training towards M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in a broad range of the human sciences and human services.
- Manhattan, KS