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'll 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.

You can pursue concentrations in:

  • Autism Intervention
  • Mild/Moderate Disabilities
  • Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

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'll also receive teaching or related experience before completing the program.

Outstanding faculty and student support

Our faculty members' research covers a wide range of areas, such as:

  • 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
  • Prevention and evidence-based interventions for at-risk populations and individuals with disabilities
  • Serving culturally and linguistically diverse children with special needs in urban and rural areas

UNT provides a wide variety of services exclusively to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office can help you with writing, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research offers assistance with statistical research.

The Toulouse Graduate School® offers several professional development workshops, including a Dissertation Boot Camp. Many of the workshops are available online for your convenience.

The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (1140 19th St., Suite 400; Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone 202-223-0077). 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 research opportunities

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

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

The Office of Family Science Education, Research and Policy 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 graduate school, which are outlined at the graduate school website, and provide the department the following:

  • GRE scores (The department views high scores as positive indicators of potential success in the program. However, lower scores don't exclude a candidate who shows positive indicators in other areas. GRE scores must be less than five years old.)
  • Three written letters of recommendation from academic or professionally applicable sources
  • Professional résumé describing 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 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 course work 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 educational research core courses
  • 12 credit hours of special education core courses
  • 18 credit hours in a concentration area
  • 3 credit hours of supervised research
  • Minimum of 9 credit hours of dissertation

Financial assistance

Several special education programs receive funding through the Office of Special Education Programs for tuition and stipend support. Other scholarships and stipends may be available to help you pursue your degree. Visit the financial aid website, the graduate school site and the College of Education website or email Laura Coleman for information on these opportunities.