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Special Education

Special Education

Special Education Ph.D.

The University of Oklahoma Special Education doctoral program prepares students for careers in higher education, school instruction and educational leadership. Students consult with their advisors to develop unique plans of study related to their professional interests.

Students create a plan of study that includes core special education research and elective coursework, residency research, teaching and service activities, and dissertation research. Doctoral students who enter with a master’s degree typically complete the program between four years (full-time) and five-to-seven years (part-time).



Program Fast Facts

In addition to completing required and elective coursework, students work with faculty members on research, teach college-level courses, become involved in state and national professional organizations and present and publish their research at the state and national levels.

Graduates of the OU Special Education Doctoral Program have become professors at universities across the country and internationally and have assumed instructional leadership positions in public schools, state departments of education, and other agencies.

Eight Major Steps of the Doctoral Program

  1. Admission into the program
  2. Development of the Advisory Conference Report (ACR; individualized plan of study)
  3. Development of the Residency Plan (outlining teaching, research, and service requirements)
  4. Completion of the courses previously detailed in the ACR
  5. Completion of the activities previously outlined in the Residency Plan
  6. Completion of the general exam and defense
  7. Completion of the prospectus and defense
  8. Completion of the doctoral dissertation and defense
Students walking on the OU south oval

Application Deadline: January 15 (Fall entry only)

Prospective students must have

  • At least two years of experience working directly with individuals with disabilities
  • A Masters degree from an acceptable institution of higher education with a GPA of 3.0 or above. Students with less than a 3.0 GPA may be admitted on a conditional basis. Students need to describe the reasons for a lower GPA in their personal statements that accompany their application to the Special Education program.
  • Completed Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores no more than five years ago. Students’ GRE scores are considered in relation to GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and other application materials.  

Required Documents

You will be asked to provide official transcripts and remit an application fee in addition to providing the following required documents during the application process.

  • Personal statement
  • Provide contact information for 3 recommendations
  • Copies of all transcripts
  • Official GRE results
  • Vita/Resume

For information about applying for the OU Doctoral Special Education Program, contact the College of Education Graduate Programs Support Office at 405-325-4525 or send an email to Mike Jenkins at

Students can obtain permission to enroll in a Department of Educational Psychology course (EDPY, EDSP, or EIPT) by doing the following:

  • Email the following information to Mike Jenkins at
    • Semester they are requesting permission to start
    • Course prefix, number and section (For example, EDSP 5413, section 010)
    • Number of credit hours for each course
    • OU student ID number
  • Allow 48 hours for your request to be processed. Requests made on Fridays and weekends may take longer. You will be notified of its status via your OU email address.
  • Complete enrollment using

For further assistance, please call the departmental office at (405) 325-5974.