Ph.D in Special Education

Special Education

Ph.D. in Special Education

Connect to a community of teachers while contributing to current research in special education.

This program emphasizes theory and research in a broad range of topics, supported by diverse faculty whose expertise and research allows doctoral students to personalize their courses of study to match their individual interests and goals.

Areas of specialization include:

  • Early childhood special education
  • Emotional/behavioral disabilities and systems of care
  • Intervention perspectives in Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Family supportive practices
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication and severe disabilities
  • Special education policy
  • Teacher preparation
  • Application Deadline
    FallJan 15Dec 1
  • Admissions Requirements
    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
    • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 out of 4.00
    • Completed online application that includes:
      • Transcripts
      • Personal Statement
      • 2 Letters of Recommendation
      • GRE Scores:
        • Required for domestic students
        • Required for international students
      • Resume:
        • Not required for domestic students
        • Required for international students
      • TOEFL score from last two years*

      *International students only

  • Financial Aid
    • Learn about a variety of fellowships and travel awards that are available to graduate students.
    • Visit Student Central for information about financial assistance.
    • Consult your employer about the availability of tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance programs.
    • Active duty military, veterans, and military families should visit the Center for Veteran and Military Students to take full advantage of available financial assistance and educational benefits.
  • Program Format

    The Special Education Program at Indiana University follows an inquiry-driven approach. Students are encouraged to explore diverse theoretical positions that surround special education practices, research, and theory development. Pursuing a doctorate in this program should therefore be thought of as an ongoing process of discovery, a process that is mentored by faculty advisors, committee members, and course instructors who share in student's intellectual growth through ongoing discussion, feedback, and collaborative exploration of ideas.

    Portfolio Tasks

    1. Research Proposal
    2. Research Investigation
    3. Manuscript Submitted for Publication
    4. Course Preparation
    5. Supervision
    6. Product Development
    7. Grant or Contract
    8. Inservice/consultation
    9. Presentation at a State/Regional/National Conference
    10. Article Reviews
    11. Service

    Funding Opportunities

    A variety of funded assistantships are available in the School of Education.


    An assistantship or fellowship gives you an opportunity to earn a stipend for part-time teaching or research while you earn your graduate degree. It’s also an excellent professional development opportunity. Students who submit applications by the deadlines for fall entrance will be automatically considered for departmental assistantships and fellowships.

    Associate instructor positions

    Students appointed as associate instructors teach three 3-credit undergraduate Special Education courses (or equivalent) per year . These appointments include reduction in tuition fees as well as benefits. More information can be obtained from School of Education Graduate Studies. In addition, doctoral students who are interested in pursuing faculty positions can prepare by teaching and experiencing faculty life through IU’s Future Faculty Teaching Fellowships program. This unique program gives selected candidates an opportunity to teach for an entire academic year at Butler University, IUPUI, or one of IU’s regional campuses. However, because of the many teaching opportunities in our large undergraduate program, the majority of the doctoral students are assigned teaching appointments within the special education program. Please contact the Ph.D. coordinator for further information.

    Work in Our Research Centers and Institutes

    Students’ studies and research interests may align with work going on at our centers and institutes. These centers and institutes post assistantships or hourly student employment opportunities as they become available.

    Work with Faculty in Special Education

    Special Education faculty are actively involved in research and training projects. Potential students are encouraged to consult with individual faculty members to inquire about possibilities to work with them. Paid assistantships are available through some faculty-sponsored grants, as are unpaid positions that could provide valuable research experience.