The UW Special Education Ph.D. program prepares leaders with commitments to inclusive education, and who can bring systemic change to educational and community settings specifically focused on issues of access, inclusion, and equity for children and youth (birth-21) with disabilities and their families.

  • We are a community that values the range of strengths, interests, and career goals that lead one to pursue a Ph.D. in special education.
  • We approach our work with a spirit of inquiry and collaboration, leading to differentiated experiences with each student.
  • We view doctoral graduates as leaders and change agents, equipped with the skills, knowledge, and relationships for advancing structural change.

Ph.D. students have specific requirements and milestones that can be viewed here.  

Faculty Areas of Specialization

Our faculty specialize in the following areas:

  • Research methodologies in special education (qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, single case design)

  • Teacher education and ongoing professional learning of special educators 

  • Intersectional issues of and approaches to addressing educational (in)justice 

  • Early intervention and early childhood 

  • Critical and disability studies perspectives on inclusive education 

  • Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Literacy and reading instruction for individuals with disabilities

  • Mathematics learning disabilities (dyscalculia)

  • Positive behavior interventions and supports, social emotional learning, and multi-tiered systems of support

  • Supporting learners with disabilities in inclusive settings  

How to Apply

Application requirements for the Graduate School and COE are found here.  Scroll down to see the Ph.D. requirements. Learn how to apply to a PhD program in the College of Education.

For More Information 

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to find out more about our special education PhD program. For additional information or questions regarding the doctoral degree, please e-mail or Maggie Beneke, Program Director.

Note: to apply for this program, select "PhD - Special Education - General Special Education" in the Graduate School's online application.

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