Skip Navigation

Ph.D. Concentrations and Coursework

Skip Side Navigation

Ph.D. Concentrations and Coursework

Special Education Ph.D. Specialty Areas and Hour Requirements
The OU Special Education Doctoral Program requires a minimum of 90 hours of coursework which includes a minimum of two hours of dissertation credit. Subject to the approval of a Student’s Advisory Conference Committee and the OU Graduate College, up to 36 hours of prior graduate coursework may be applied to the Ph.D. credit hour requirement. The OU Special Education Doctoral Program prepares students in one of three doctoral concentration areas: (a) Higher Education Professor, (b) School Instructional Leaders, and (c) Higher Education and Community Support.

Every concentration area consists of 27 hours of required courses. All doctoral students complete these required courses, regardless of concentration area. Each concentration area consists of a minimum of 12 hours of elective courses that pertain to the student's interests/career aspirations. Students, in consultation with their Advisory Committee, complete additional electives and dissertation hours. Most students will graduate with a minimum of 90 hours of coursework (this can include up to 36 hours of prior graduate coursework transferred in, provided it is consistent with the Graduate College's policies and approved by the Advisory Committee). It is not uncommon for students in the Ph.D. program to, with feedback from their Advisory Committee, create a customized program of study that is more than 90 hours.

REQUIRED COURSES (27 hours)

EDSP 6203 – Professional Seminar I
EDSP 6003 – Developing Critical Thinking Skills in Special Education Research
EDSP 6023 – Single Case Research Design
EDSP 6113 – Grant Writing
EACS 6663 – Seminar in Special Education Law

EIPT 5023 – Analysis of Quantitative Data I
EIPT 6023 – Analysis of Quantitative Data II
EIPT 6043 – Qualitative Research Method

And ONE of the following:
EIPT 6063 – Applied Multivariate Statistics
EIPT 6083 – Qualitative Research Methods II
EIPT 6223 – Mixed Methods Research

Transfer of Graduate Hours Into the Masters of Special Education Program
With Advisory Conference Committee approval, students may transfer up to 36 semester hours of recent and relevant graduate coursework that earned a grade of “B” or “A” taken at OU or another accredited institution of higher education. Coursework that counted as part of a relevant Masters Degree has no time limit. Coursework that was not part of graduate degree must have been completed within the last five years. Required courses may be petitioned for waiver if the content of course to be transferred matches the content of the required courses, and the Advisory Conference Committee and the Dean of the Graduate College approves the petition.

Concentration Area Electives

In addition to the 27 hours of required coursework, in consultation with their advisor and Advisory Conference Report Committee, students select a mix of additional courses to prepare for a career in one of the following concentration areas:

  • University Professor Concentration Coursework (minimum of 12 hours). Courses in this concentration area will prepare students to build on their experiences and academic background to become university special education professors across the spectrum of university professor positions. Developing research/scholarship and university teaching skills are principle areas of focus.     
  • School Instructional Leaders Concentration Coursework (minimum of 12 hours). Courses in this concentration area will prepare students to build on their experiences and academic background to become public school or state department of education instructional and/or policy leaders. Individuals pursuing this concentration might also serve as adjunct instructors at higher education institutions.

  • Higher Education and Community Support Concentration Coursework (minimum of 12 hours). Courses in this concentration area will prepare students to build on their experiences and academic background to assume support positions in higher education and leadership roles in community agencies and department. Individuals pursuing this concentration might also serve as adjunct instructors at higher education institutions. 

Dissertation Hours

Once students have completed their coursework they must enroll in dissertation research hours. Once a student has enrolled in dissertation hours, he/she must maintain continuous enrollment of at least two hours of dissertation research during each Fall and Spring semester until all degree requirements are completed.

Other Elective Coursework

In consultation with their advisor and Advisory Conference Committee, students identify additional elective courses in areas relevant to special education (e.g. educational psychology, general education instruction/curriculum, educational policy, social work, psychology, research methods, statistics, etc.) to reach the 90 credit hour minimum of coursework.