Doctorate in Special Education
Lead the Way in Creating an Equitable and Inclusive Education System
Break barriers and reform special education by gaining cross-disciplinary expertise in our doctoral (EdD) program. The program is designed to support the development of researchers, educators, and scholar leaders as they acquire knowledge in the fields of cognitive psychology and the developmental sciences in an effort to meaningfully translate that knowledge to the most pressing issues in special education today.
As a doctoral student in our program, you'll collaborate with faculty in a variety of areas, including early childhood education, elementary, secondary and transition to post-secondary education, and working with culturally and linguistically diverse learners with exceptionalities. We also focus on students with various disabilities, such as emotional and behavioral challenges.
We're looking for students who are passionate about improving outcomes for children and families, and who are eager to work with transdisciplinary partners to advance research in this field.
Transform Knowledge into Action
Our program infuses cutting-edge theoretical lenses in the field of SEDS to translate and apply research related to learning for diverse populations, developing scholar leaders who are changing the landscape in academic and community settings.
Students have a unique opportunity to work alongside SEDS faculty, who are nationally recognized researchers in the field, on funded research projects, resulting in a wide range of experiential learning outcomes, such as presenting at conferences and co-authoring research publications.
Courses are scheduled once a week in late afternoons and evenings (Monday-Thursday) to accommodate the schedules of working professionals, and for internship experiences.
Benefit from our unique location in the heart of our nation’s capital. With close proximity and connections to government and private organizations, along with the area's diverse school settings, our students have access to opportunities to truly affect systems change in special education policy, research, and practice. Our diverse community allows students to explore and investigate the most pressing issues in the education and development of students identified with disabilities, as well as support a more inclusive and equitable world.
Doctor of Education (EdD) in the Field of Special Education
Special Education &
- Our Mission
The mission of the doctoral program in the Department of Special Education and Disability Studies Department (SEDS) is to prepare scholars and leaders who can translate and determine the appropriate application of research at the school, local, and federal levels for people with disabilities. In other words, scholars draw from findings in developmental science, disability studies, and intervention research practices to develop and implement equitable, inclusive practices for students and adults with disabilities. Our mission is to prepare doctoral candidates for leadership roles in special education and related fields with a strong foundation in developmental science and strength-based, inclusive pedagogy.
The following requirements must be fulfilled: 54 credits, including 12 credits in foundation courses; a minimum of 15 credits in research courses, including 3 credits in advanced research; a 3-credit internship; 9 credits in elective courses; a minimum of 15 credits in dissertation courses; and successful completion of a comprehensive examination.
Course List Code Title Required Neuroscience Foundations (6 credits) SPED 8306 Advanced Study in Development Science and Variance I: The Early Years SPED 8310 Advanced Study in Development Science and Variance II: The Later Years Leadership Foundations (6 credits) SPED 8308 Preparation for the Professoriate in Special Education SPED 8352 Disability and Public Policy Research Tools (15 credits) SPED 8304 Research and Trends in Special Education (Literature Review) EDUC 6116 Introduction to Educational Statistics EDUC 8120 Group Comparison Designs and Analyses EDUC 8122 Qualitative Research Methods Advanced Research Elective 3 credits in Level B research methods coursework selected in consultation with the advisor. Internship SPED 8354 Doctoral Internship: Special Education Electives 9 credits in interdisciplinary elective courses selected from the following in consultation with the advisor: SPED 6299 Federal Education Policy Institute SPED 8303 Administration and Supervision of Special Education SPED 8311 Doctoral Proseminar: Scholarly Writing in Applied Settings SPED 8345 Consultation and the Change Process Dissertation SPED 8998 Doctoral Seminar in Special Education SPED 8999 Dissertation Research (taken for a minimum of 12 credits) Comprehensive Examination Successful completion of a comprehensive examination is required.
GSEHD’s Office of Admissions invites you to apply for a spot in our program. Please review the following admission and financial information.
Ready to take the next step in your career? Review our step-by-step guide to applying to GSEHD >
To learn more about the program, admission process, and upcoming events, please connect with the GSEHD Admissions Team at email@example.com or 202-994-9283.
|Schedule Consultation with Admissions Counselor
To be considered for admission, applicants must submit the online application form as well as the following required supporting documents. There is no application fee.
Prerequisite: Master's Degree
- Statement of Purpose
- 2 Letters of Recommendation (must be academic)
Transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities
*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants.
Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2024. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.
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My master’s led to policy work, a doctorate, and the decision to focus my skills, energy, and commitment on co-founding a middle school with a GSEHD colleague. In a Title I setting, we have designed and are delivering the best, comprehensive education model for students. Our project based, small group learning builds problem solving skills, a strong sense of community, and confidence. We draw no lines - all of our students - general and special education alike - learn to advocate for themselves.
Co-Founder, Washington Global Public Charter School
EdD in Higher Education Administration
Graduates are prepared to have an impact through leadership in academic settings, research communities, policy institutions, and advocacy organizations. You will become a leader, innovator, and change agent in the field of special education.
- Special Education Career Opportunities
Our graduates serve as:
- Academic Faculty
- Research Scientists
- Senior-level Policy Analyst
- Special Education Program Directors/Coordinators
- Potential Employment Settings
- Universities or Colleges
- PreK-12 Educational Settings
- Policy Think Tanks
- Research Organizations, Centers, and Institutes