2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Oct 02, 2022  
2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Education, PhD

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For master’s degree programs see Early Childhood Special Education and Inclusive Special Education: 1-6 preparation and 7-12 preparation and Inclusive Special Education: Severe/Multiple Disabilities.


Beth A. Ferri, 150 Huntington Hall, 315-443-2699, baferri@syr.edu;

Syracuse University has a long tradition of leadership in the field of special education and is recognized nationally and internationally. Syracuse University offered one of the first comprehensive programs of its kind in the United States and continues to be recognized for its leadership and vision in inclusive education. Throughout its fifty-year history, faculty and students in the program have engaged in critically important educational issues and concerns. Syracuse was among the first universities to bring attention to the educational needs of students with disabilities and to effectively develop and refine assessment and educational strategies for diverse learners. Syracuse also led the way in deinstitutionalization policy, research, and advocacy. Syracuse faculty and students continue this important legacy of promoting the rights of students with disabilities. In collaboration with area school districts, faculty and students have been instrumental in demonstrating ways of meaningfully integrating students with disabilities in general education classrooms.

Doctoral study should afford students the opportunity to examine critical issues in the field in the broadest possible contexts. It should encourage expansive thinking and developing new ways of examining important educational issues as well as in-depth study. At Syracuse University we pursue both aims by supporting broadly framed inquiry and in-depth investigations into particular, focused areas or issues. We have organized our program to address two interrelated foci: a concern for public policy affecting the lives of people with disabilities; and, the development of effective instructional programming for diverse learners. Doctoral students are asked to select one major emphasis: 1) Inclusive Educational Studies or 2) Disability Studies and Policy Studies. The purpose of selecting a major emphasis 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 serve students who wish 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 academic positions as faculty at colleges and universities.

Requirements for Courses on Methods of Research and/or Scholarly Inquiry

The Programs of Study must include 15 hours of courses in research methods. The minimal requirement of 15 research credit hours is usually best met by completing EDU 603  Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods and EDU 647  Statistical Thinking and Applications Methods of Educational Research, plus nine additional credit hours selected in consultation with your advisor to ensure both a depth and breadth of knowledge in research methods and to develop further expertise appropriate to his or her dissertation research.

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).

Additional Information

Applications are reviewed in December and January for the following fall. A writing sample must be submitted when applying to the program.

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