Special Education (Non-Licensure) Specialization - Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Special Education (Non-Licensure)

With nearly 6 million students nationwide in need of special education, there is a strong need and growing demand for qualified educators to work with exceptional students.* The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) with a specialization in Special Education can position you to advance in this growing field.

This specialization’s curriculum is aligned with the Council for Exceptional Children’s Advanced Role Content Standards and focuses on key issues in the field of special education, such as leadership and policy, program development and assessment, and ethical practice. This program can help you increase your effectiveness in your school or district by supporting the professional growth of educators in special education and can enable you to gain a comprehensive understanding of the critical trends and issues impacting special education today. Your learning experience culminates with a doctoral study project focused on a real-world issue in your school or organization.

This specialization can help you to:

  • Evaluate special education practices to enhance student learning.
  • Leverage the latest in neuroscience research findings and apply it to special education instruction.
  • Improve school- and district-wide assessment and intervention policies and practices.
  • Influence social policy related to students with special needs.
  • Assume a leadership position within an education setting, service agency, or local, state, or federal education department.

Completion Requirements

  • 60 minimum semester credits
    • Foundation course (6 sem. cr.)
    • Applied Research (6 sem. cr.)
    • Core Courses (30 sem. cr.)
    • Research in Practice (6 sem. cr.)
    • Doctoral study intensive (a minimum of 12 sem. cr.)
  • 1 face-to-face residency
  • ePortfolio

Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.


*The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics, Annual Disability Statistics Compendium: 2012, on the Internet at http://disabilitycompendium.org/compendium-statistics/special-education (viewed online February 1, 2013).

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