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Special Education Ph.D.

The doctoral program is composed of required courses in special education and research methods, electives, research tools, and requires the completion of a dissertation.

View the Program Requirements in the UNC Catalog.


Doctoral Learners are guided through their program by their advisor (who usually serves as Research Chair for the dissertation) and a committee of faculty from special education and other disciplines. The Doctoral Comprehensive Performance Assessment Matrix is a capstone experience that demonstrates synthesis of the doctoral learner's knowledge of and experience with doctoral program themes of  theory, pedagogy, research methodology, evidence-based practice, public policy and advocacy, and collaboration. At least one of these matrix activities serves as the Doctoral Written Comprehensive Examination, and the entire matrix is presented to the committee as part of the Oral Comprehensive Examination. The doctoral dissertation is defended by the Doctoral Learner in a committee meeting open to the campus community.

Forms and Handbooks

The most up-to-date version of the Doctoral Handbook is available in Canvas. Doctoral Learners can access further information about the doctoral program, as well as discussion boards, celebrations, announcements, and archived Research Colloquia, by signing into Blackboard and looking under "My Courses" for Special Education Doctoral Program.

Program ListServ

To join the doctoral program listserv, which includes faculty as well, send a message to Silvia.Correa-Torres@unco.edu. Dr. Torres monitors the list and will add your name once she verifies admission to the program.