Here are the top special education Ph.D. programs.

Special education instructors and specialists work with children, schools, or organizations to fulfill the needs of persons with learning, mental, emotional, and physical challenges.

Today, we will look at special EdD schools, including autism and developmental disabilities doctoral programs online.

Doctorate Special Education Online And On-Campus

People with a doctorate in special education may work as special education teachers, advocates for children with special needs, or administrators of special education programs, among many other possibilities.

In addition, graduates of Ph.D. in special education programs are prepared to teach at the college level to assist in training teachers and other educators in special education.

Below are some of the nation’s best-known and authorized schools and institutions offering Ph.D. programs in special education.

Doctorate Special Education Programs


1.   Grand Canyon University

Over the last decade, Grand Canyon University has invested $400 million in its for-profit, virtual learning to better educate 75,200 Lopes from its corporate base in the “Valley of the Sun” under the leadership of CEO Brian Mueller, winner of the Silver Stevie Award for Executive of the Year in 2014.

GCU was ranked the 121st most diverse location in the United States and the ninth most popular special education program by College Factual. It was also named the seventh-best small corporation in Forbes and the 570th-best university in Washington Monthly.

There are six special education concentrations available for students pursuing an Ed. D. in Organizational Leadership at the College of Education, led by Dr. Kimberly LaPrade.

Courses such as fiscal management and stewardship on LoudCloud are part of the VA-approved and CAEP-recognized 60-credit program.

There will be two Phoenix-area residences to start the hands-on dissertation development.

2.   Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Mercy University is a private, coeducational Catholic institution founded in 1948 on Frances Bond’s Willowbrook Farm estate, with a $29.3 million endowment to educate 627 postgraduate Griffins in the Greater Philadelphia Metro area and online.

According to Niche, GMU is the 286th most liberal university in the US and the 54th best bargain in Pennsylvania.

The Economist ranked Gwynedd Mercy 30th out of 453 schools in the country.

The CAEP-accredited School of Education, well-known for its Autism Institute, offers an Online Accelerated Executive Ed.D. with a Special Education Leadership track.

The Keystone State’s Superintendent Letter of Eligibility is awarded to students with a GRE score of 155 or above.

On-campus residencies complement the doctorate’s online seminars, such as those focusing on assistive technology and its 360+ practical hours and dissertation requirements.

Professor Ray Bandlow oversees these residencies.

3.   Liberty University

More than 50,000 postgraduate Flames are enrolled at Liberty University, which belongs to the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).

With a $1.1 billion endowment, Liberty is the largest non-profit, Christ-focused evangelical institution globally. Liberty University is ranked as the 382nd best research center globally by Forbes’ list of the top 10 universities in the United States by the Young Americans Foundation.

On Niche, Liberty University is ranked 90th best for teacher training and 254th best in the South by Washington Monthly.

Students pursuing an Ed.D D. in Curriculum & Instruction from the CAEP-accredited School of Education can earn a Special Education cognate degree.

The 60-unit, post-program master’s chaired by Dr. Richard J. Ney emphasizes Christian principles through online, eight-week courses such as behavior management and special needs research before the dissertation.

These include elementary education, middle-grade education, and educational leadership.

4.   Hampton University

Since 1868, Hampton University has been a private, civically active HBCU of the Mid-Eastern Conference. It has expanded from its 314-acre Chesapeake Bay headquarters to educate on-campus and online from its 314-acre Chesapeake Bay headquarters.

According to Washington Monthly, Hampton University’s bachelor’s through doctoral research programs were rated third. US News & World Report ranks Hampton University third among historically black colleges in the US, but Niche ranks it as America’s 144th most liberal university.

CAEP accreditation was scheduled for April 2018 for the School of Human Development’s Ph.D. in Educational Management, which includes a specialization in special education.

School governance and Blackboard instructional enhancement are among the 66-credit postmaster’s degree courses directed by Dr. Clair Berube.

This degree program finishes with 40+ districts of capstone internships and dissertation research as part of a thorough examination and degree program conclusion.

5.   West Virginia University

With a $574 million endowment and 36 Goldwater Scholars, West Virginia University is a public, land-grant technical institution with RU/VH status with a 913-acre campus in Monongalia County, West Virginia.

WVU was ranked 139th for alumni success and 240th for faculty quality by the Center for World University Rankings. According to Niche, West Virginia is the country’s 302nd-best education college, and US News ranks its 99th-best public school.

Earning a Special Education Ed. D. with two years of full-time experience and a minimum GPA of 3.25 with qualified teachers is possible.

Post-students master’s may begin taking courses from the College of Education & Human Services CAEP-accredited College of Education & Human Services in August.

The low-cost program, led by Dr. Nancy Taylor, includes a dissertation to help students better comprehend unique and gifted education challenges in grades PK-12.

6.   New Mexico State University

More than 12,700 students attend New Mexico State University, which is rated 199th in the country for public higher education of the highest quality and one that has been certified.

There are four types of scholarship: discovering, teaching, integrating, and engaging. This program is based on these four categories.

Special Education and Communication Disorders provides a doctoral degree program in the form of a doctorate in education or a doctorate in psychology online.

A three-year, CAEP-accredited program is required for educators with a master’s degree. Autism Spectrum Disorders and Bilingual/Multicultural Special Education have specializations.

It includes a three-credit internship and a doctorate dissertation.

7.   University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota is an inexpensive, public liberal arts institution located in Vermillion, South Dakota, home to the 153rd top education school in the United States of America.

The EdD Director of Special Education degree can be completed primarily online by doctoral students. The 90-credit program prepares educators to organize special needs programs for students in grades K-12.

Curricular design and school leadership are just a few topics covered in many online courses available.

Exceptional academics and continual learning progress are at the heart of this curriculum, which the University of South Dakota developed.

8.   University of Northern Colorado

The University of Northern Colorado’s James A. Michener Library has 1.5 million books and serves 2,589 postgraduate Bears as a Big Sky Conference public, coeducational teacher education provider.

Forbes has ranked UNCO as the 219th-best research university and the 556th-best college in the United States.

Washington Monthly ranks Northern Colorado as the 261st top graduate school in the United States, with a PayScale 20-year ROI of $210,000.

There is an online Ph.D. in Special Education with Applied Behavior Analysis BCBA-D certification option at the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

It takes three to five years to complete the 77-83 credit program, overseen by Dr. Silvia Correa-Torres. With the Online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, you may also pursue a career in school reform.

9.   Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University, a private, Fort Lauderdale-based university, offers adults the 95th best online graduate teaching degrees in the United States.

The Abraham S. Fischler College of Education offers a Doctor of Education in Special Education degree that may be completed from home.

The 54-credit program can be completed in a virtual classroom, thanks to NCATE accreditation. ‘For three years, special educators gain the knowledge and skills necessary to assume leadership positions in educational settings ranging from pre-kindergarten to college.

This curriculum instills leadership by using analysis, theory, self-reflection, and addressing real-world issues.

A week-long Summer Institute is required for Ed.D. Students.

10. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Five thousand seventy-eight postgraduate students from 110+ countries attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, one of the best public, land-grant institutions in the BTAA.

The university’s 2,815-acre campus is located in Forbes’ 111th best city for job growth and is governed by the Board of Regents.

Niche recognized UNL for ranking 52nd in public education and 67th in teacher training in the United States.

Additionally, the ARWU Shanghai rankings place the University of Nebraska-Lincoln among the world’s top 200 institutions of higher learning.

The CAEP-accredited College of Education and Human Sciences, chaired by Dr. Karen Hux at Seaton Hall, offers the Specialization in Special Education for the Ph.D. in Educational Studies.

The 48-credit, post-program master’s includes a six-credit on-campus residence in online courses such as literacy development and autonomous dissertations.

11. Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie doctoral-granting research institution in Statesboro, is ranked 158th in the United States by US News & World Report.

Dedicated to quality and ethics, Georgia Southern’s pragmatism and obligation to foster knowledge, community, and involvement are a perfect match.

The Ed.S. in Special Education program is offered online and accredited by the NCATE and the PSC organizations.

Teacher leaders with a master’s degree may pursue this 33-credit program. Adaptive Curriculum or General Curriculum specializations allow users to personalize online content.

There are three admissions periods yearly: fall, spring, and summer.

12. Concordia University Chicago

Concordia University Chicago, founded in 1855 by Lutheran ministers and ranked 75th in the Midwest by US News, is located in River Forest, Illinois.

The Special Education Leadership program is certified by NCATE and may be completed online.

With its 61 credits, the program aims to empower students with disabilities and other special needs with the knowledge and talents needed to lead educational reform efforts.

The Research or Practitioner tracks are available to students pursuing a Ph.D. There are no physical prerequisites for graduation.

13.   University of Illinois

A special education doctorate from the University of Illinois is a good fit for students seeking an online Ed.D.

Diversity and equality, global studies in education, human resource development, and learning design and leadership options for Ed.D. students.

These courses are taught by the same high-ranking faculty members who teach on campus.

To be considered for admission to the online program, students must possess a bachelor’s degree from an authorized institution, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and write a personal statement.

The university is ranked 46th in the nation by US News and World Report.

14. Slippery Rock University

Slippery Rock University provides an Ed.D. in special education as an alternative to the online Ph.D.

Incorporating synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods, the doctorate in special education emphasizes the needs of students while also providing flexibility.

To finish the cohort program in three years, students must take an average of two courses every term, including the summer session.

A 3.0 GPA is required for undergraduates and a 3.5 GPA for graduates. Slippery Rock University is ranked #90 in the North’s best regional universities by US News and World Report.

15.   Regent University

To graduate from Regent University’s online special education doctoral program, students must complete 75 credit hours. Students must attend four-day mandatory residencies in addition to their online education.

Special education best practices, a Christian perspective for educators, educational problems, research design and analysis, statistical interpretation, and strategic program planning and assessment are covered in these classes.

Unofficial transcripts, GRE test results, and a completed online application are required for admissions consideration.

Regent is listed as the 201st best national university by US News and World Report. In addition, the online graduate education programs ranked #61 out of more than 1,200 programs examined.

16. University of Toledo

The special education doctoral online program at the University of Toledo emphasizes curriculum and teaching within the special education framework.

The Ohio Council of Graduate Schools has approved only one program.

Two courses per semester, including the summer, doctoral students may complete seventy credits of coursework in around four to five years.

Prospective candidates must obtain a master’s degree from an authorized four-year school with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to apply to the online doctorate program.

US News and World Report lists the University of Toledo’s top 300 best national universities. The graduate education programs are ranked #132 out of over 1,200 schools examined.

17.   University of Florida

Special needs communities in Florida and beyond will benefit from the University of Florida’s Ed.D. in a special education program. Admission is quite competitive.

The institution for admission requires GPA and test scores. Letters of reference, a resume, a statement of purpose, and academic writing samples are required.

Ph.D. academics provide online courses with both academic and practical expertise.

Accreditation and ranking are in place. The University of Florida is ranked 35th best national university and 91st best value school by US News and World Report.

In addition, among the 1,200+ programs surveyed by US News and World Report, the online graduate education programs come out on top.

18. Arizona State University

Arizona State University is one of the cheapest and most well-regarded special education Ph.D. online programs on our list.

The Ed.D. program includes 90 credit hours spread over 20 courses. PK-12 change leadership, higher education change leadership, and systems and organizational change leadership are all covered in this online course.

Electives in exceptionality and leadership in the special education community are accessible to degree applicants despite the program’s primary concentration on general education.

A strong undergraduate record, letters of reference, and writing samples are all required for admission. The GRE is not required for admission. Accreditation and rankings are available for ASU.

Indeed, the university is currently ranked #115 by US News and World Report among the best national universities.

19. Hampton University

Only one other institution on our list, Hampton University, offers doctoral degree programs in education administration and special education online.

A concentration option in special education is included in the 66-credit Ph.D. in educational management.

Hampton’s renowned faculty teaches online courses that are accessible to students worldwide. A bachelor’s degree may be earned in only 2.5 years of full-time study, with nine-week classes.

Successful applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an approved college or university with a 3.0 GPA or above to apply to the program.

Upon submitting an essay, provisional admission for GRE scores below 150 will be considered. Two letters of reference and an interview are among the other prerequisites for admission to the university.

Hampton is ranked 27th in the South by US News and World Report for regional universities.

20. University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh, a top-tier AAU member in the state’s second-largest city, is ranked as the nation’s 24th-best public school by US News & World Report.

The EdD in Special Education, one of Pitt’s 470 options, requires 90 credits. The National Council has approved the three-year, cohort-based Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) program.

It employs a hybrid style that combines online courses with seminars on campus.

Autism, blindness or vision impairment, early intervention, learning disabilities, or severe disabilities are some specialties available to educators.

Even though this is a research-intensive program, applicants can engage in one, emphasizing the need to strike a healthy work-life balance for students and professionals alike.

Ph.D. In Special Education: Conclusion

As education evolves, so does the need for imaginative and caring educators, particularly in Special Education.

We’ve compiled a list of the best online doctoral programs in Special Education that are also the most inexpensive.

All schools mentioned offer online or blended special education programs in out-of-state tuition.