Online PhD in Special Education

Learn more about obtaining an online PhD in special education. Find information on courses, prerequisites, outcomes, and career info. View popular schools that offer PhD degrees in special education.

Program Overview

Individuals interested in completing an online PhD in special education may gain the skills and training needed to assist those with developmental and learning disabilities. Students may study theory and research in language and literacy, early intervention, and special education policy. These programs may cover court and legal cases and federal mandates, with a focus on student placement and discipline. Students may learn how to interact with special education administrators and how to deal with privacy issues pertaining to education. Some special education programs may include a dissertation requirement or research project. Courses found within an online PhD in special education may include:

  • Educational Research Methodology
  • Education and the Law
  • Funding of Educational Institutions
  • Assessment in Special Education
  • Qualitative Inquiry in Education
  • Teaching Strategies in Special Education
  • Language Disabilities

Program Prerequisites

Prior to enrolling in an online PhD program in special education, individuals may need to graduate from an accredited master’s program and possess a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. They may also need to have a certificate or license in special education and several years of licensed teaching experience.


Upon graduation, individuals may secure special education administration and higher education positions. They may have the skills to conduct research, affect policy making, and prepare the next group of teachers at an educational facility. Graduates may secure jobs in educational leadership positions at the district, state, or national levels. In addition to securing employment, graduates may publish journal articles and present their work at state and national conventions and conferences.

Career Options

Graduates of an online PhD in special education may pursue special education leadership positions, consulting jobs, and faculty opportunities. They may work in educational leadership, governmental facilities, nonprofit organizations, and special education resource centers. Individuals may work as a college instructor, director of special education, federal grant coordinator, mental health services manager, and director of therapeutic recreation.

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