Special Education
Doctoral Degree Program

Graduate opportunities

The doctoral program in special education at the University of North Texas focuses on competence, excellence and leadership. We train you to assume leadership positions in higher education or in public and private education settings.

By pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Special Education, you will have unique opportunities to:

  • Participate in interdepartmental studies
  • Become involved in community-based programming
  • Network with professionals in special education and other disciplines

The rigorous curriculum allows you to participate in formal course work, independent study, internships, practicum and dissertation research. As you progress through the program, you can enroll in specialized course work focusing on autism intervention, emotional/ behavioral disorders or mild/moderate disabilities. You will have successful teaching or related experiences before completing the program.

Our faculty members research a wide range of areas including:

  • Educational assessment/evaluation of students with special needs
  • Implications of school reform/refinement for delivery of services to students with special needs
  • Leadership personnel needs in special education
  • Preventions/interventions for at-risk populations
  • Serving culturally and linguistically diverse children with special needs in urban and rural areas

The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2010 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 500; Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone 202-466- 7496). This accreditation means we meet or exceed strict academic standards for excellence in education. The college is also one of Texas’ top producers of teachers, administrators, counselors and other school professionals.


Research centers and opportunities

The Department of Educational Psychology is affiliated with various centers, providing opportunities for research and development for faculty and students.

The Autism Center offers opportunities for research and intervention among individuals with autism.

The Center for Parent Education and Family Support engages in research and outreach to support parent and family educators, family support professionals and other students.

The UNT Institute for Behavioral and Learning Differences serves as a resource for professionals, parents, schools, and community and state agencies. Much of the research focuses on understanding, developing and initiating strategies involving unique behavioral and learning characteristics.


Attending UNT

Admission requirements

Admission to the doctoral program is a two-step process. You need to meet the admission requirements for the Toulouse Graduate School, outlined at gradschool.unt.edu, as well as the following program requirements:

  • Submission of GRE scores (The department views high scores as positive indicators of potential success in the program. However, lower scores do not exclude a candidate who shows positive indicators in other areas. GRE scores must be sent electronically from ETS, institutional code= 6481. GRE scores must be less than 5 years old.)
  • Three written letters of recommendation from academically or professionally applicable sources
  • Professional ré´sumé´ that describes your previous work, educational experiences, membership and involvement in professional organizations or scholarly activities
  • Personal statement of career objectives including how a doctoral degree will advance them

No one factor determines your eligibility for admission to the doctoral program. We consider several factors deemed important for success in the program.


Degree requirements

The minimum program requirements are based on having the appropriate bachelor’s and master’s backgrounds. Your individual courses of study will vary and may include more than the minimum hours outlined below. The projected requirements are:

  • 6 credit hours of educational psychology Ph.D. core courses
  • 15 credit hours of research cognate
  • 12 credit hours of special education courses
  • 18 credit hours in a concentration area
  • 3 credit hours of supervised research
  • Minimum of 9 credit hours of dissertation

Financial assistance

Several of the special education programs receive funding through the U.S. Office of Special Education for tuition and stipend support. Other scholarships and stipends may be available to help you pursue your graduate degree. Visit financialaid.unt.edu, gradschool.unt.edu and www.coe.unt.edu or email laura.musgrove@unt.edu for information on these opportunities.