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Special Education PhD Overview


The Special Education doctoral program at Michigan State University is designed to prepare you for a leadership position in the field of special education. As a participant in our program, you can expect to:

Emily Bouck, PhD
Emily Bouck, PhD
The benefits of earning a doctoral degree from MSU are huge in terms of preparation, opportunities to engage in research, and being seen as a strong candidate on the job market. I obtained an assistant professor position at a research institution because I was encouraged to start my research agenda ... ... read more
  • learn to conduct rigorous and relevant research that impacts policy, practice, and student success;
  • develop a strong commitment to excellence in teacher preparation and professional development; and
  • serve with integrity and leadership the families, institutions, and professional communities concerned about children and youth with special needs.

The Special Education doctoral program helps you attain these goals through an individualized program that is grounded in research across a variety of methodological traditions and theoretical orientations. Students are mentored by nationally and internationally renowned faculty members, each a former special education teacher or service provider, who possess a deep understanding of educational challenges in real-world contexts. Faculty members are widely recognized for their commitment to and expertise in classroom-based interventions that translate state-of-the-art learning and developmental theories into effective instructional practices. They work in partnership with teachers, locally and throughout the state, country, and world, to investigate challenging and important problems in the areas of literacy instruction, special education technology, policy, behavior disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.

Students admitted to the Special Education doctoral program may also wish to pursue the graduate specialization in language and literacy as an elective program, which is administered through the Department of Teacher Education. This specialization has additional requirements beyond those listed below for the doctorate in special education, though the total number of credits required beyond the minimum for the PhD in special education is only 6.

More information about this option is available here.