Special Education

With nearly 6 million U.S. students in need of special education services, there is a growing demand for qualified educators to work with students with exceptionalities. The Doctor of Education (EdD) with a specialization in Special Education can position you to advance in this growing field. Educators with advanced degrees in special education are the leaders in school districts, communities, institutions of higher education, and the profession.

Coursework in this program focuses on your professional growth while increasing your comprehensive understanding of the critical trends and issues impacting special education today. You will have the opportunity to engage in real-world case-study scenarios that require collaborative problem solving and the implementation of research-based strategies to master program outcomes. This program culminates in a scholarly capstone project focused on problems of practice related to special education as well as effecting positive social change.

The curriculum is informed by the Council for Exceptional Children Advanced Role Content Standards and focuses on key issues in the field of special education, such as leadership and policy, program development and assessment, collaboration, and ethical practice.

Minimum Completion Requirements

  • 79 quarter credits*
  • 1 face-to-face residency
  • Doctoral Writing Assessment (0 cr.)

To satisfy these completion requirements, you must have access to a school or learning environment that has special education programming.

Walden students have 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.

To complete a doctoral dissertation/doctoral study, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation/doctoral study process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of this program, you will be prepared to:

  • Evaluate policies surrounding ethical and legal practices that support high-quality education for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  • Implement valid research-based assessment measures to facilitate learning and behavioral interventions for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  • Evaluate special education programs, including the integration of related services (e.g., assistive technology, behavioral intervention, transition, inclusion), for individuals with exceptionalities based upon an understanding of individual differences.
  • Apply research-based strategies to improve data decision making, supports, and services for individuals with diverse educational, behavioral, emotional, and cultural learning needs.
  • Facilitate the continuous improvement of education programs, supports, and services for individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Effectively collaborate with stakeholders to improve outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities and their families.
  • Design research to address a special education problem and contribute to the profession.

Course Sequence

Year Quarter Course Code Course Credits
Year 1 Quarter 1 Course Code EDDD 8002
or
EDDD 8006
Course Leading the Future of Education

Leading the Future of Education
Credits (5 cr.)

(5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 2 Course Code EDDD 8070 Course Special Education: Exploring Theory and Practice Credits (5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 2 Course Code EDDD 8071 Course Leading Change in Special Education: Advocacy, Policy, and Law Credits (5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 3 Course Code RSCH 8110 Course Research Theory, Design, and Methods Credits (5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 3 Course Code EDDD 8113 Course Tools for Doctoral Research Success Credits (3 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 4 Course Code EDDD 8072 Course Research Methodology for Special Education Credits (5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 4 Course Code RSCH 8210 Course Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 5 Course Code EDDD 8073 Course Designing Specialized Instruction for Diverse Learners Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 5 Course Code EDDD 8074 Course Implementing Effective School-Wide Intervention Models Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 6 Course Code RSCH 8310 Course Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 6 Course Code EDDD 8114 Course Demystifying Doctoral writing for Research Credits (3 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 7 Course Code EDDD 8075 Course Sustaining and Supporting Effective Practices in Special Education Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 7 Course Code EDDD 8910 Course Completing the Prospectus Credits (3 cr.)
Year 3 Quarter 8 Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)
Year 3 Quarter 9 Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)
Year 3 Quarter 10 Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)
Year 3 Quarter 11 Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)
Year Year 4 - 8† Quarter Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Course Code Course Credits
Course Code DRWA 8000 Course Doctoral Writing Assessment Credits (0 cr.)

*Research companion course to be taken in conjunction with other course in the term.

You will be registered for two courses every 11 weeks, following the completion of your Foundation course. Students who wish to reduce their course load during one or more terms should contact their academic advisor.

Note on Teacher Licensure or Certification
This program does not lead to teacher licensure or certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Prospective Alabama students: State Authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P-12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at www.alsde.edu.

Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances.
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