Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education

This is an archived copy of the 2017-2018 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

The Ph.D. in Special Education is offered as a cooperative program between Texas Woman’s University, the University of North Texas, and Texas A&M Commerce under guidelines established by the Federation of North Texas Area Universities . The program enables students to utilize the combined faculty, library, computer facilities and research opportunities available at all three universities in the development of their doctoral studies.

The federation doctoral program provides opportunities for formal course work, seminars, independent study, participation in regional and national conferences, and dissertation research. The program also includes federation-sponsored seminars featuring outstanding nationally and internationally recognized educators.

Given the importance of appropriate educational experiences during the early years for both the individual and the society at large, graduate programs are needed that provide education for future leaders in the conceptualization and provision of special education programs as well as expertise in conducting research that will extend understanding of the importance and means of providing special education experiences. The purpose of the federated doctoral program in special education is to prepare professional educators to assume leadership roles in higher education and EC-12 educational settings. Graduates are prepared to assume diverse roles including teaching, research and administrative responsibilities.

Students initially apply for admission to the graduate school of one of the participating universities. Admission is based on a holistic evaluation of a variety of factors. Refer to the Special Education website for details.

General Requirements for Doctoral Degree

Total Semester Credit Hours Required

A minimum of 90 semester credit hours beyond baccalaureate, including 6-12 semester credit hours for dissertation.


Requirements will depend upon individual student’s needs.

Research Tools

For the Ph.D., computer language, or reading knowledge of one foreign language and advanced proficiency in statistics and research methodology.

Residence Requirement

Two semesters of mentorship under a TWU Special Education faculty member replaces the residency requirement.

Qualifying Examination

A comprehensive written examination encompassing knowledge common to the doctoral degree program is required. Sections deemed unsatisfactory may be presented again one time after six months.

Final Examination

Oral and/or written examination covering knowledge of course work and defense of dissertation. May be taken two times only.

Courses of Instruction in Special Education with Federation Universities

Students wishing to enroll in Federation courses will do so through a cross-registration mechanism administered by the TWU Graduate School and their major advisor's approval.

Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education Program of Study (90 semester credit hours)

Required Courses
EDSP 6103Social, Psychological, and Educational Aspects of Intellectual and Development Disabilities3
EDSP 6303Seminar in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders3
EDSP 6403Seminar in Learning Disabilities3
EDSP 6603Social Constructs of Disabilities3
Suggested or related classes:
Statistical Computer Packages
Qualitative Research
(Additional research required per degree plan).
6 semester credit hours
6 - 12 semester credit hours from the following:
Major and Minor area courses to be determined based upon student's degree program
Bilingual Education
Teaching Reading and Other Language Arts to Linguistically Different Learners
English as a Second Language: Methods
Education in Culturally Diverse Environments
Second Language Acquisition: Theories and Practices
Educational Administration
Leadership in Educational Settings
Educational Foundations and Administrative Implications
Professional Development and Supervision in Education
Administrative Processes in Schools
Curriculum Development, Assessment, and Evaluation
Curriculum & Instruction
Models and Theories of Learning and Teaching
Adult Models of Learning and Teaching
Family Studies
Theories of the Family
Family Changes and Diversity
Leadership and Staff Development in Family Sciences Programs
Families and Public Policy