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About the Program

Students in the Special Education Doctoral Program examine critical issues in the field in the broadest possible contexts. The program invites expansive thinking about important educational issues as well as in-depth study. At Syracuse University students and faculty engage in cutting edge research in inclusive education and policy. The program is organized around two interrelated ares of emphasis:

The purpose of selecting one of these areas of study is to help bring focus to student’s coursework plans, research activities, internships and career planning. Students are not limited to any one particular area and are encouraged to take courses and participate in seminars that expand or contribute to their research interests.

The doctoral concentration is designed to prepare students to pursue leadership positions in special education or related fields. This includes those who seek a career in the academy, or as field-based researchers, government/policy specialists, public and private agency/organization directors, program developers, and special education consultants and advocates. The majority of our graduates seek our academic positions as faculty at colleges and universities.

Program Requirements

Courses on Methods of Research and/or Scholarly Inquiry

The Programs of Study must include 12-15 hours of courses on methods of research and/or other forms of scholarly inquiry. The minimal requirement of 12 research credit hours is usually best met by completing EDU 603 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods and EDU/EDP 647 Statistical Thinking and Applications Methods of Educational Research , plus six additional credit hours selected to develop further expertise appropriate to his or her dissertation and post-doctoral work.

The Ph.D. student may select other 12 credit sequences with the approval of his or her advisor. The student may take a research design course and a three-course sequence in statistics, or may prefer a 12 credit hour sequence.

Research Apprenticeship Requirement

Ph.D. students must complete a research apprenticeship prior to beginning work on the dissertation. As part of this requirement the student must submit a completed research document in publishable format to the Higher Degrees Committee.

The research apprenticeship is usually supervised by a sole faculty member who is either the student's program advisor or another member of the faculty. Some students complete the research apprenticeship experience within the context of a regular course (in which case the course instructor sponsors the apprenticeship). Other students contract with their sponsor for an independent study course carrying 3 to 6 hours. Still others conduct the apprenticeship without any formal hours attached to it.

Qualifying Examination Requirement

The students will take the Qualifying Examination when they have completed their coursework.  The exam covers the major field and, if applicable, the minor or Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS).