Ph.D. in Education, Concentration in Special Education and Disability Leadership

The special education and disability leadership concentration of the Ph.D. in education is designed to prepare researchers who are ready to assume leadership positions at universities, research centers, state departments of education or other educational and governmental institutions in the field of special education.

Please note: this program will be transitioning to a Ph.D. in special education in the near future. Please contact your adviser for more information about this change.

Emphasis in this concentration is placed on developing in-depth knowledge about topics as they pertain to personnel development, research, issues and policies in special education.

The program reflects programmatic improvements designed to provide a solid research foundation, a broad perspective for theoretical analysis of research in the field, and structured opportunities to develop expertise in research, teaching, and policy/service.

The conceptual framework for Ph.D. program is PRACTICE, which stands for (Practice, Research, and Academic Coursework in Teaching, Implementation and Community Engagement).

Grounded in core knowledge through focused coursework and an emphasis on both “learning” and “doing”, doctoral students are mentored by senior faculty who are engaged in school-based research and dissemination via research internships, preservice and inservice educator development via teaching internships, and the large-scale transfer of learning and development of 21st century skills via policy internships.

Curriculum requirements

The Ph.D. in education, concentration in special education and disability leadership requires a minimum of 48 total graduate credit hours:

Degree requirements for the Ph.D. in education, concentration in special education and disability leadership »

Please keep in mind, however, that the exact course requirements may vary depending on when you matriculated into the program, so please consult your adviser or the program coordinator with any additional questions.



How to apply: Graduate application
Semester of entry: Summer or fall
Application deadline: Jan. 15
PRISE scholars extended deadline: Feb. 1
Additional materials:
Concentration handbook [PDF]
Graduate assistantship application [PDF]
Faculty listing: Counseling and Special Education
Faculty areas of interest: Research areas


  • Master’s degree in an appropriate discipline
  • Three letters of recommendation addressing the student’s potential for graduate study in education
  • Statement of intent
  • Satisfactory scores on the GRE
  • Transcripts of all previous college work
  • A personal interview and writing sample (may be requested)
  • Professional vitae/resume
PRISE Grant Scholars Program
Engagement Opportunities

Ready To Get Started?

Jenna Lenhardt, Ph.D.