2014-2015 Walden University Catalog (June 2015) 
    Dec 08, 2021  
2014-2015 Walden University Catalog (June 2015) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education - PhD in Education

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Most educators are strong advocates for improved services for individuals with exceptionalities/disabilities. Unfortunately, resources for the delivery of these services are often far less than schools and school districts desire. This specialization guides advanced students in the acquisition of knowledge and resources needed to succeed and excel in the special education field and to better assist their own students in the self-actualization process. The curriculum emphasizes learning services for individuals with exceptionalities/disabilities, and incorporates the related areas of special education administration, including law, finance, and ethics.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, education professionals gain:

  1. Knowledge of emerging trends in the field of special education that include adaptive and assistive technology, policy, and service delivery methods for students with special needs.
  2. Methods of research design specific to the study of effective special education practices, including single subject, quantitative, and qualitative research designs.
  3. In-depth knowledge of specialized academic instructional practices for particular special education needs of students with disabilities.
  4. In-depth knowledge of specialized social-emotional and behavioral instructional practices for particular special education needs of students with disabilities.
  5. Advanced knowledge of school-wide, problem-solving models that include response to intervention and a multi-tiered model for providing services to students with behavioral and academic challenges.
  6. In-depth knowledge of best practices for preparing special educators, including methods for collaboration, consultation, and change theory.
  7. Knowledge of special education law and policy and ways to influence the process on behalf of students with disabilities.


The PhD in Education program requires mastery of knowledge in three areas:

  • The foundational social and behavioral sciences
  • Scientific inquiry and research methodology
  • The student’s specialized field chosen from a broad range of professional education studies

Core Research Sequence (12 cr.)

Courses composing the core research sequence are conducted online and require weekly readings, participation in discussions, and assignment completion. Course instructors guide discussions and evaluate discussion and application assignments. RSCH 8100D must be completed prior to Residency 2 of the academic residencies. RSCH 8200D and RSCH 8300D must be completed prior to beginning the dissertation or attending Residency 3.

Specialized KAMS V–VI (24 cr.)

Specialized KAM V: Theories of Learning, Motivation, and Intelligence; and Implications for Persons With Special Needs (12 cr.)

This KAM covers traditional, current, and emerging theoretical underpinnings and principles of learning and exceptionality and related facets, as well as implications for educators within the context of inclusive or categorical settings.

Specialized KAM VI: Institutional Contexts for Special Education: Leadership, Learning, and Accommodation (12 cr.)

This KAM reviews delivery models for special education services and their administration. Attention is focused on the dynamics of IEP team operation, eligibility criteria, assessment procedures, and community support systems with particular reference to compliance with law. Alternative and innovative models of leadership for special education programming are explored.

Advanced Research Courses (4 cr.)

Those enrolled in this specialization are required to complete an advanced research course. The university offers three advanced research courses: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods. When the prospectus is approved, students will take the advanced research course selected as the methodology approved for the dissertation.
Students are required to complete one of the following courses:

Note on Licensure

For initial licensure or adding endorsements (e.g., new teaching fields) to existing licenses, individuals are often required to complete a state-approved licensure program. Walden offers Minnesota state-approved licensure programs in special education, early childhood education, and P–12 principal licensure.

Additionally, not all of Walden’s programs include a practicum or cover the grade span of K–12, which are requirements for obtaining an endorsement in some states, especially in the area of reading.

The graduate degree program and coursework within the program in which you are enrolling is accepted by many states toward upgrading or renewing a license or obtaining a salary increase (depending on state or district policy).

Prospective students seeking licensure must research their state licensure requirements to determine (1) if they are required to complete a state-approved licensure program, and (2) if there are any other requirements that apply, especially requirements pertaining to programs provided by out-of-state (except Minnesota) or online institutions.

Walden enrollment advisors can provide guidance on licensure issues; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorsement. For additional guidance on licensure issues, please refer to www.WaldenU.edu/educlicensure.