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Special Education

The purpose of the doctoral program is to prepare students to be leaders in special education. Students in the program prepare for leadership roles in teacher education and research, organizational and district leadership, or classroom teacher leadership. Program participants work closely with faculty to focus on modern issues and research topics affecting the field of special education. After successfully completing an initial course sequence focused on special education, urban education, theory, and introductory research tools, students select a specialty for developing expert knowledge and skills. Through coursework and internship, students develop specialized skills in the research and practices in their chosen area.


Quick Info

Program Code



5 years


Main Campus


Special Education
College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services


P.O. Box 210014
Cincinnati,OH  45221
Amy Hoerst
Phone: 513-556-6399

Student Success Factors

In the end, the program seeks to develop reflective practitioners who through systematic, informed deliberation with their colleagues and the broader community are able to grow professionally, prepared to conduct research, propose solutions and make decisions on real problems in areas related to their career. Graduates of this program work in university higher education or district/state/national organization levels.

Career Possibilities

Graduates have gone on to careers in university teaching and research, public school teaching and administration, government agencies, private business and consulting.

Additional career options are listed on the Center for Exploratory Studies website.

Major Details

The doctoral program has been designed for full-time study, but part-time study may be undertaken if needed. All students must participate in a residency requirement at the University of Cincinnati. The program can be completed in 3 to 4 years of full-time study.  All students participate in an annual review process that measures their contributions toward graduation and their defined field of study.

Upon completion of the EDD degree students will,

  1. Be skilled in the design of inquiry, interventions, or systems appropriate to their discipline.
  2. Be able to apply information from a knowledge base to the solution of problems that advance the discipline to some ideal state.
  3. Be able and willing to reflect on their experiences, the literature of their field, and the experiences of others as these relate to the practice of their discipline.
  4. Uphold the ethics, values, and intellectual traditions of the discipline they have chosen to join.


These tools assist students to identify course requirements and individual progress toward completion of academic programs. It is important to utilize these resources with personalized guidance from a UC academic advisor regularly to ensure timely graduation..

My Degree Audit - for confirmed and current students

My Transfer Course Equivalencies - for students considering transfer to UC

UC Schedule of Classes - search course availability and descriptions

Curriculum Guide Versions:

Fall 2012

Predominant Program

    Special Education Doctoral Program Core Courses
    • EDST7010, Statistical Data Analysis I, 3
    • EDST7011, Statistical Data Analysis II, 3
    • SPED9003, Doctoral Seminar I in Special Education , 1 - 3
    • SPED9004, Doctoral Seminar II in Special Education , 1 - 3
    • SPED9006, Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis II, 3
    • SPED9010, Professional Seminar in Special Education: Understanding Educational Research, 1 - 3
    • SPED9011, Current Trends in Special Education, 3
    • SPED9020, Mentored Research in Special Education I, 1 - 6
    • SPED9021, Mentored Research in Special Education II, 1 - 6
    • SPED9030, Dissertation Guidance: Special Education, 1 - 12
    • SPED9030, Dissertation Guidance: Special Education, 1 - 12
    • SPED9030, Dissertation Guidance: Special Education, 1 - 12
    • CI9000, Professional Seminar in Teacher Education , 3
    Specialization Area
    • N/A
    Research Methods
    • N/A
    Adviser Approved Electives
    • N/A
    Research Methods
    • EDST8021, Action Research I, 3
    • EDST8022, Action Research II, 3
    • EDST8051, Qualitative Research Methods I, 3
    • EDST8052, Qualitative Research Methods II, 3
    • EDST8091, Quantitative Research Seminar I: Design, 3
    • EDST9001, Professional Seminar I in Educational Studies , 3
    • SPSY8010, Applied Behavior Analysis I, 3
    • SPSY8011, Applied Behavior Analysis II, 3
    Specialization Area
    • XXXX7xxx, 7000 level course(s) or above, 6
    Advisor Approved Electives
    • XXXX7xxx, 7000 level course(s) or above, 41

UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

The Special Education program at the University of Cincinnati is a dynamic group of productive faculty members who provide ongoing and supportive mentoring to doctoral students. Students gain knowledge by applying theoretical knowledge in real world settings. Several courses are available online and most students do not leave their current position but rather become more effective and efficient in their current job while attending the doctoral program.

Upon completion of the program graduates with an EDD become effective leaders and take positions in schools districts and thus promote high professional self-expectations and help others understand the needs of individuals with exceptional learning needs, and create positive and productive work environments.

Our graduates become effective at program development & organization and as a result, help design and deliver, as appropriate to their role, ongoing results-oriented professional development and expand their expertise with instructional technologies, curriculum standards, effective teaching strategies, assistive technologies to support access to learning, and assess progress toward the organizational vision, mission, and goals of their programs.

Graduates who are interested in higher education have taken positions at universities such as, Illinois State, Eastern Kentucky University, Memphis state and Ball State. Graduates are competitive in the current job market because they have learned the latest models, theories, philosophies, and research methods that form the basis for evidence-based practices. In addition, graduates provide consultation and collaboration to their roles within special education. They are current with recent research methodologies in relation to practices presented in the literature and use educational research to improve instructional techniques, intervention strategies, and curricular.

Admission Requirements

With approval of a student’s committee, students are able to transfer up to 30 credits of masters level course work and apply those credits towards their doctoral degree. The courses must be in the area of concentration or closely related area from an accredited college or university.

Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA). Successful applicants must have cumulative GPAs of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) from previous graduate work.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants must take the GRE. The recommended minimum GRE scores for tests taken prior to August 1, 2011 are 482 (55th percentile) for Verbal Reasoning, 620 (55th percentile) for Quantitative Reasoning, and 4.5 for Analytical Writing. For tests taken after August 1, 2011, the recommended minimum scores are 152 (56th percentile) for Verbal Reasoning, 151 (56th percentile) for Quantitative Reasoning, and 4.5 for Analytical Writing. The GRE must be taken within the five years prior to application to the program. To register for the GRE, contact the Student Affairs & Services.

Applicants must indicate that they have worked as a teacher or worked in a closely related field in a school district for a minimum of two years before they can apply to the Special Education EDD program.


International Student Requirements

Applicants must indicate that they have worked as a teacher or worked in a closely related field in a school district for a minimum of two years before they can apply to the Special Education EDD program.

Speakers of English as Second Language. If an applicant’s first language is not English, he or she must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or another comparable test unless he/she has previous degrees from higher education institutions in the United States. The recommended test scores are: 92-93 for Internet-based TOEFL; 237 for Computer-based TOEFL; 580 Paper-based TOEFL; 6.5 for IELTS; and 62-63 for PTE. The test must be taken within two years prior to application to the program.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate from the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, a student must:

  • Complete all required course work and program requirements.
  • Obtain at least a 3.0 university grade point average.
  • Be in good academic standing; that is, not on academic or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Meet the college's residency requirement of: Three out of five contiguous semesters of full-time graduate study of at least 10 credits per semester must be completed at the University of Cincinnati after admission to the doctoral program and prior to admission to candidacy. At least one semester must be included. The residency requirement is to assure that students avail themselves of informal learning through continuous contact with other students and faculty engaged in research, collegiate governance, and academic affairs. Thus, the period of residency is a full-time commitment, which goes beyond registration for a full-time course load. It is highly recommended that students commit at least one year of full-time study during their doctoral program, with no other professional commitments.
  • File formal application for the degree by the posted semester of graduation deadline.

Application Deadlines

If you would like to submit an electronic application for the Special Education program, please visit our On-Line Graduate School Application and complete the form.

Make sure to visit the Special Education website or contact the program directly for information about application requirements or to inquire about materials that need to be submitted when applying to this program.

Application deadline for Fall Admission is Dec. 15th with Notification By: Feb. 15th.

Application deadline for Spring Admission is Sept. 1st with Notification By: Oct. 15th


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The University of Cincinnati is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.