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.
Pursued individually, the J.D. degree requires the completion of 89 credits and the Ph.D. degree requires the completion of a minimum of 72 credits. The J.D./Ph.D. degree would require the completion of 80 law credits and a minimum of 63 education credits, as 9 credits of education courses are accepted toward the J.D. degree and 9 credits of law courses are accepted toward the Ph.D. degree.
For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes, please visit the Degree Directory.
Plan Admission Requirements
Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.
Applicants to the J.D./Ph.D. program must submit formal applications for admission to both the William S. Boyd School of Law and to the Graduate College. Students must meet the requirements for admission to both programs. Admission requirements are the same as those stated under the regular J.D. and Special Education Ph.D. programs.
A dual program candidate must complete the Graduate College, Law School and Special Education Ph.D. admission processes in order to matriculate. Successful completion of the first year of law school is a precondition to commencement of work on the Ph.D. program. A law school student may be admitted to the dual program by gaining admission to the Special Education Ph.D. program after successful completion of the first year of law school with the consent of both programs.
Students interested in the dual program should alert Graduate College admission personnel when commencing the admission process. Students interested in the Dual Degree Program should alert the Special Education Ph.D. Admissions Coordinator so that consultation on the admissions process can be initiated.
All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.
Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.
Total Credits Required: 143
Total Credits Required for the Doctor of Philosophy – Special Education: 63
Required Courses – Credits: 21
Research Courses – Credits: 6
Statistics Course – Credits: 3
Complete one of the following courses, or another advisor-approved equivalent course.
Additional Research Courses – Credits: 6
Complete 6 credits from the following list of courses, or other advisor-approved courses.
Internship Course – Credits: 6
Leadership & Exceptionality Courses – Credits: 6
Complete 6 credits of advisor-approved leadership and exceptionality courses from one or more of the following leadership concentrations: Parenting, Administration, Research, Diagnosis/Assessment, Transition, Early Childhood Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Higher Education, Technology, Consultation, or Curriculum.
Complete credits in specialty areas from the following list: Autism, Learning Disabilities, Emotional Disturbance, Mental Retardation, Gifted and Talented Education, Developmental Disabilities/Children at Risk.
Prospectus Course – Credits: 3
Complete the following course as an independent study supervised by the advisor.
Dissertation – Credits: 12
Total Credits Required for the Juris Doctor: 80
Required Courses – Credits: 44
Directed Electives – Credits: 9
Free Electives – Credits: 27
- Students must be admitted to both the J.D. and Ph.D. programs with graduate standing. The candidates must successfully complete the 80 credits of Law course work and 63 credits of the Ph.D. required course work.
- William S. Boyd School of Law cannot award credit for any class taken before matriculation. J.D./Ph.D. candidates are required to enroll at the Boyd School of Law and complete one year of study before taking any Ph.D. courses.
- The Ph.D. program of study requires a minimum of 63 credits. 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 non-degree seeking student (not to exceed 15 total credits); and
- Those for which a grade of B or higher was earned.
- Students in the J.D./Ph.D. program must remain in good standing in both J.D. and Ph.D. programs.
- Doctoral students must earn a grade of B or higher in all core curriculum courses.
- Doctoral Students must earn a grade of B or higher in EPY 721 and EPY 722/KIN 751.
- 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 Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education. Full-time resident study is defined as being enrolled in at least nine credits of graduate level course work from an approved Program of Study (six credits 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.
- Two-thirds of the total credits included on the formal Program of Study (not including dissertation) must be taken at UNLV. Faculty members of the Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and 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 Early Childhood, Multilingual, and 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 Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education Doctoral Colloquium typically is held one Friday each semester. The Doctoral Coordinator coordinates these meetings with the assistance of the special educationfaculty and doctoral students.
- The comprehensive examination is taken during the semester immediately preceding enrollment in ESP 799 Dissertation. The comprehensive examination consists of 16 credits of written examinations with eight credits structured by the student’s major advisor and eight credits structured by the other internal committee members. The examinations are scheduled on two successive Fridays. The student’s advisor determines the specific dates of the examination. The questions on the comprehensive examination address elements of the Core, Research, Leadership Studies, Exceptionality Specialties, and any course work taken for licensure or endorsements. The student’s Doctoral Studies Committee provides general parameters from which questions are selected. “Take-home” examinations, in whole or in part, are not allowed. Students may use college provided technology for word-processing. Grading consists of three categories: Pass, Fail, and Pass with Distinction. Pass with Distinction occurs contingent upon a unanimous vote of the committee excluding the Graduate College representative. Students who fail the comprehensive examination will be placed on probation and must wait 4 months from the date of the failed examination to re-write their exam. However, under no circumstances may the reexamination be later than the semester following the failed examination. Students not passing the comprehensive examination on the re-write will be “excused” from the program.
- Upon successful completion of comprehensive examination, the student selects a dissertation committee (i.e., minimum of three faculty members from the Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education, one law school faculty member, and an outside member appointed by the Graduate College) and submits a dissertation proposal to the committee. This proposal includes an introduction, review of the literature, and a discussion of study methods. The Dual Degree Program Coordinator will sit on all dissertation committees. Two weeks after this proposal is submitted to the dissertation committee, the committee meets with the student to accept or reject the proposal, as well as provide a critique of its relative strengths and weaknesses. Upon acceptance of the student’s dissertation proposal, a recommendation for advancement to candidacy is submitted to the Graduate College.
- Upon completion of the full dissertation, a defense is scheduled. Students need to obtain The Guide to Preparing and Submitting a Thesis or Dissertation from the Graduate College web site.
Plan Graduation Requirements
The student must submit and successfully defend their dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.
After the dissertation defense, the student must electronically submit a properly formatted pdf copy of their dissertation to the Graduate College for format check. Once the dissertation format has been approved by the Graduate College, the student will submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest. Deadlines for dissertation defenses, format check submissions, and the final ProQuest submission can be found here.
Students may apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing their degree requirements. All required forms must be submitted to the graduate college via the Grad Rebel Gateway.