To learn more about specific courses taken as part of the completion of this degree, visit the Graduate Record website. These webpages represent the official repository for academic program requirements. A link to these publications can be found in the Curriculum Information section at the bottom of this page.
The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 72 credits, at least 54 of which must be coursework. This coursework requirement includes concentration area courses, research methodology courses, and up to 3 credits of research apprenticeship per semester, but does not include internship and dissertation credits. At least 36 course and apprenticeship credits must be completed after admission to the program. Students may apply up to 12 credits of dissertation work towards the total of 72.
Research Methodology Coursework: Ph.D. students will take Research Foundations, an introductory course in educational research common to all UVA School of Education and Human Development doctoral students. Additionally, students are required to take a minimum of three courses in quantitative methods (generally Stats I, II, and III) and two courses in qualitative research methodology (generally Qual I and Qual II). Advisors may suggest additional research methodology courses, depending on the focus of a student’s individual program and research, e.g., single subject research. Students with advanced knowledge in methodology may petition to enroll in courses appropriate to their knowledge.
Research Apprenticeship: Ph.D. students will participate in a research apprenticeship with their research mentors. Mentors will be assigned based on the student’s research interests. This apprenticeship will occupy approximately 10 hours of each student’s week during the first and second years of study and may increase during the third and fourth years, depending on the student’s specific duties. During this apprenticeship, the student will assist with the mentor’s research and scholarship, which may include data collection, data analysis, library research, presentations, writing for publication, and other related activities.
Education of Teachers Internships-Apprenticeships: Ph.D. students are expected to complete experiences that enable them to understand the workings of university-level teacher preparation. These experiences may be met through apprenticeship assignments or internships for credit, and consist of, but are not limited to, the following: supervising student teachers, serving as a graduate teaching assistant, serving as the instructor for a preservice or master’s level course, assisting the Director of Teacher Education, working with the novice teachers network, designing and evaluating curricula for P-12 programs, working with clinical instructors and cooperating teachers, supervising early field experiences, serving as a connection between the university and local schools in developing early field experiences, and so forth. Internships will be determined in consultation with faculty advisors.
Assessment: Assessment of student progress through the Ph.D. program will be multifaceted, and it will include components conducted by faculty members and by students themselves. In general, assessment of progress in the special education doctoral program corresponds with the guidelines described in Ph.D. Doctoral Student Assessments by the Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education Department (2010).
Student Annual Report: Annually, each Ph.D. student will complete a report describing his or her growth and accomplishments.
Preliminary Exam: In the first year of study, all Ph.D. students complete a preliminary exam, which is designed to determine the likelihood of the student’s continued success in Ph.D. studies and to help guide plans for future coursework. This exam consists of two parts. The first is a paper on a topic of significance in the field; the student submits the paper in advance to the members of the committee and then responds to questions about it during a face-to-face meeting with the committee. The second is a critique of a research article; students receive an article one week prior to the exam, prepare and present a review of it, and then answer questions about it and their review of it during the face-to-face meeting with the committee.
Pre-dissertation Research Manuscript: All Ph.D. students, prior to their third year of study, will complete a pre-dissertation research project that results in a manuscript submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. There is no requirement that the paper be accepted for publication, but students are strongly encouraged to revise manuscripts if resubmission is likely to result in publication. Research mentors will work with students to shape these papers toward eventual publication; co-authored papers are acceptable, but the student should take primary responsibility for completing the work.
Comprehensive Examination: All students will complete a written comprehensive examination to demonstrate understanding of the knowledge base and methodology in a concentration area of special education and demonstrate readiness to undertake doctoral dissertation research. The examination will be graded independently by at least two faculty members. With approval of the special education graduate program, a research manuscript accepted for publication may be used to satisfy part of the qualifying examination.
Dissertation: Ph.D. students will complete a dissertation proposal and a dissertation following either the traditional model or the three-paper option described in the School of Education and Human Development Dissertation Manual.