Ph.D. in Special Education

Welcome to the Ph.D. Program in Special Education

Ph.D. in Special Education


Applications must be completed by February 15, 2017 for Fall 2017 admission.

Program Overview:

California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) offer a unique Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education that prepares graduates to be leaders in the field as university faculty engaging in teacher education and research, or as researchers or administrators in federal, state, or local education agencies or research organizations. Our Joint Doctoral Program, which has existed since 1970, leads to the degree of Ph.D. in Special Education. The program combines the resources and expertise of UCLA and CSULA faculty and provides in-depth coursework in special education, human development, educational research, and other areas relevant to a student's career goals.

Students admitted into the program begin their doctoral study at CSULA while working closely with special education faculty in research and teaching activities, and taking small seminars on special education and related topics. In the second year, students move to UCLA and participate in an ongoing research practicum with a faculty advisor and take in-depth courses in research methods and in substantive areas in human studies and psychology. While at UCLA, students maintain contact with the CSULA coordinator and faculty, and faculty from both CSULA and UCLA oversee and score their written doctoral examination, supervise research, and serve on their dissertation committee.

Course Work:

The course work and experiences included in this program directly address the goal of preparing professionals who can assume leadership positions in teacher education and research in special education. A series of seminars provide breadth of knowledge in special education across disability areas. Other courses provide in-depth study of teacher education issues as well as practicum experiences in which experienced faculty provide mentoring for students as they assume instructional roles in the university classroom and supervise the classroom teaching of credential candidates. Seminars or independent studies provide candidates with depth of knowledge in specialization areas such as learning disabilities, autism, or law and policy, among others. Faculty also provides mentoring that involves candidates in faculty-sponsored research or other projects.

Candidates complete statistics and research methodology courses at CSULA and UCLA. Coinciding with this coursework, they participate in research practicum experiences. Candidates take further courses at UCLA to acquire depth and breadth of knowledge in human development and psychology related to education, including courses on typical and atypical development. Courses in a cognate area outside of education are taken at either campus and complete the candidates' multidisciplinary training at the doctoral level. In total, students must complete a minimum of 19 courses at CSULA and UCLA. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of their class performance, professional commitment, participation in research and teaching practicums, a second year research project, a comprehensive written examination, and a doctoral dissertation.

Ph.D. in Special Education