|The Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) is designed with an emphasis in the development of skills in scientific inquiry and leadership. Students enrolled in this study program gain an understanding of philosophy and theory as they relate to the conduct of research and program evaluation. Graduates pursue careers in schools, institutions of higher education, research centers and agencies that require the competencies developed through a Ph.D. course of study.
Applicants to the Ph.D. program in special education must complete the Graduate College Application for Admission and arrange to have official transcripts sent to the Graduate College. Graduate level transcripts should indicate grade point averages (and receipt of a post baccalaureate degree in special education or a related field). The following materials also should be submitted through the online application network.
- A letter of application that clearly articulates professional and research goals that are related to the focus of the Ph.D. degree program in Special Education;
- Three letters of recommendation – at least one from an individual familiar with the applicant’s academic performance and potential for doctoral degree completion and at least one from an individual knowledgeable of the applicant’s quality of work experience;
- Representative samples of scholarly writing, preferably in APA style, and/or other media samples related to professional study;
- A résumé of professional preparation and experience (a minimum of two to three years of professional experience in special education, general education or other relevant field as a teacher, administrator or related service provider for children and adults with disabilities and/or giftedness is preferred);
- Scores from the verbal, quantitative and analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (taken within five years from the date of application for admission). Applicants should arrange to have official notification of GRE scores sent to the Department of Special Education. The department does not impose minimum GRE scores.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his/her applicant file is complete. Incomplete files will not be considered. Application materials for U.S. residents requesting financial support are due March 1.
Note: The department admissions committee may request additional materials and/or conduct a personal interview after reviewing initial applicant files.
In general, applicants will be expected to have a 3.50 grade point average on all graduate-level work and an indication of potential to complete all requirements of doctoral study successfully (provided through submitted writings or creative products, letters of recommendation and GRE results) to be admitted as doctoral students in special education.
After Admission Committee review, the Doctoral Program Coordinator may recommend to the department faculty that the applicant be: 1) admitted fully to the Ph.D. program in special education, 2) admitted provisionally to the Ph.D. program or 3) denied admission to the Ph.D. program in special education. A recommendation for provisional admission may occur when an applicant has not met the criteria or prerequisites to do advanced graduate level work. Provisional admission requires the satisfactory completion (e.g., with a minimum 3.50 grade-point average) of nine or more hours in regularly scheduled graduate courses approved by the student’s advisor and departmental faculty. After completion of the provisional program, the Doctoral Coordinator and Department Chair recommend to the Graduate College that the student either be transferred to regular status or dropped from the program.
Note: To apply for a Graduate Assistantship, applicants must complete the Graduate Assistant Application located at http://graduatecollege.unlv.edu/ga/ and send it to the Department of Special Education.
Doctoral students are required to spend a minimum of two consecutive semesters (Fall-Spring, Spring-Summer or Summer-Fall) in full-time resident study in the Department of Special Education. Full-time resident study is defined as being enrolled in at least nine semester hours of graduate level course work from an approved Program of Study (six semester hours if the student is a graduate assistant). In cases where residency includes a semester of course work prior to submission of the Program of Study, the advisor must approve residency. Work during residency is allowed. However, if the student is employed as a graduate assistant, any additional work beyond that performed as an assistant must conform to the rules of the University and Graduate College.
Program of Study
The program of study requires a minimum of 72 semester hours. Only credits that meet the following criteria may be included on the formal Program of Study:
- Those not previously used to fulfill requirements for another degree;
- Those taken while enrolled at an accredited graduate degree-granting institution in a degree-granting program;
- Those taken as a nondegree student (not to exceed 15 total semester hours); and
- Those for which a grade of B or higher was earned.
In addition, two-thirds of the total semester hours included on the formal Program of Study (not including dissertation) must be taken at UNLV. Faculty members of the Department of Special Education instructing specialist’s and/ or master’s classes initiate an interaction with doctoral students enrolled in these courses regarding the appropriateness of both the content and performance requirements for doctoral students. Students not admitted to the doctoral program in Special education (or to another doctoral program in the College of Education) may enroll in:
ESP 782 - Professional Seminar in Special Education (formerly ESP 760) and two additional Core Curriculum Courses with consent of instructor prior to formal admission.
The Department of Special Education generally tailors its leadership programs to meet individual student needs and career goals. A content core of courses, however, is required of all Ph.D. doctoral students. This content may not be waived. In addition to the core curriculum, students select concentrations in Leadership Studies and Exceptionality Specialties as appropriate. The requirements for the Ph.D. degree are outlined here: