The doctor of philosophy (PhD) program is designed to prepare scholars for roles as university professors or researchers.

Applicants must submit a recent (within the last five years) GRE score of 300 or higher. Additionally, applicants must have an earned MA degree in special education (or a related area) with an accomplished scholarly record at the master's level, three years of appropriate experience (defined as three years of work in agencies serving children and youth, one year of which must have been spent in direct, full-time interaction with exceptional children), a demonstrated commitment to a scholarly career in special education, a successful presentation to the department, and a successful interview process with faculty members. Graduate faculty members individually evaluate and collectively discuss admission applications.