Curriculum and Instruction

Ph.D. in Special Education

The Special Education Program (SpEd) at Indiana University is based upon an inquiry-driven approach to education. Students are encouraged to explore diverse theoretical positions regarding approaches to special education practices, research, and theory development. In this sense, getting a doctorate in this program should be thought of as an ongoing process of discovery, a process that is mentored by a faculty advisor who shares in the development of each student's intellectual growth through ongoing discussions. Graduates of this program secure positions as university faculty members and leaders in the field of special education.

Degree Requirements

Major Requirements (36 cr.)

  • K590 Independent Study or Research in Special Education (3 cr.)
  • K601 Introduction to Special Education Scholarship (1 cr., taken three times for a total of 3 cr.)
  • K650 Paradigms and Policies of Special Education in the U.S. (3 cr.)
  • K681 Evidence-Based Practice in Special Education (3 cr.)
  • K780 Seminar in Special Education (1-4 cr., taken at least three times for a total of 9 cr.)
  • K785 Internship in Special Education (1-6 cr., taken for 3 cr.)
  • Fundamental Theoretical Constructs (12 cr.)
    • Selected in consultation with advisory committee. These courses address fundamental theoretical constructs related to special education. These courses are typically offered by other departments related to child development.

Inquiry Core Requirements (15 cr., minimum)
The Inquiry component emphasizes methodological skills which provide a basis for conducting original research.

Minor Requirements (12 cr.)
The minor must have integrity in its own right and must complement the major. The minor field must demonstrate wholeness within itself and contribute to the student's overall doctoral program. Minors are normally formulated within a single program area. However, an interdisciplinary or individualized minor is also possible. Interdisciplinary or individualized minors require a written description of the minor's underlying theme along with a rationale for each course's contribution to that theme through the Minor Justification form. This form should be submitted and approved by the Graduate Studies Office prior to enrolling in the minor courses. Major area courses may not be used in the minor.

Elective Requirements (9-12 cr.)
Selected in consultation with advisory committee. Elective courses are chosen to fill out the major and to contribute to the integrity of the student’s program. These courses are taken in the student’s area of interest, within or outside the department, in order to fulfill the total program requirement of 90 credit hours.

Dissertation Requirements (15 cr.)

  • K795 Dissertation Proposal Preparation (3 cr.)
  • K799 Doctoral Thesis in Special Education (12 cr.)

Academic Bulletins

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Additional program information can be found at the Office of Graduate Studies.