Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Disorders Doctoral Program

The Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Disorders (LD/BD) Ph.D. program prepares students for careers in both university and clinical settings. There are several goals that our program aims to achieve:

  • We seek to prepare graduates with strong knowledge of LD/BD trends, issues, and interventions in the academic and behavioral domains.
  • We seek to prepare strong researchers in special education with particular emphasis on improving the lives of students with LD/BD.
  • We seek to prepare graduates with strong communicative ability to present major research findings and disseminate information in order to improve educational quality for students with LD/BD.
  • We seek to prepare leaders and researchers in special education who are socially responsible, ethical, and who use culturally responsive practices in their work.

Students admitted to the LD/BD doctoral concentration typically begin their studies in the fall semester, and are encouraged to register on a full-time basis. Doctoral students typically complete their degrees in four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students complete coursework related to LD/BD specialization, professional coursework, research coursework, and dissertation. Doctoral students are encouraged to become involved in research projects, write for publications, and participate in dissemination conferences.

Doctoral Degree Components – 54-57 hours minimum

  • Specialization Core: 12 hours
  • Professional Core: 18 hours
  • Research Core: 18-21 hours
  • Dissertation: 6 hours minimum

Specialization Core Courses (12 hours)

Coursework must include at least two courses out of the following three:

  • SED 396C Trends & Issues in Learning Disabilities/Behavioral Disorders (spring)
  • SED 395D Seminar in Reading (spring [every alternate year])
  • SED 395D Seminar in Mathematics (spring [every alternate year])

To gain breadth of knowledge, students will take the remaining credits of designated coursework outside the concentration area or outside of the department. 

Professional Core (18 hours)

  • SED 695S A & B Professional Seminar (taken over fall and spring semesters of Year 1)
  • SED 398T College Teaching (Year 2)
  • SED 380 Diversity and Disability: Continuing Perspectives; or SED 380 Diversity, Equity, and Disability
  • SED 696 A and B Research Mentoring (taken over two semesters)

Research Core (18-21 hours)

Students in the LD/BD program must take:

  • SED 383 Intervention Research in Learning Disabilities (fall)
  • EDP 380C Fundamental Statistics – prerequisite, as needed

Additional coursework must include at least two courses out of the following three:

  • Qualitative Research Design and Data Analysis
  • Quantitative Research Design and Data Analysis
  • Single-Subject Research Design

Coursework must include:

  • Seminar in Scholarly/Grant Writing

Select other research courses in consultation with your academic advisor to be sure that you will fulfill research requirements in your concentration area.

Dissertation (6 hours minimum)

All doctoral students are required to complete a dissertation. This includes conducting original research with direction from a dissertation supervisor. The dissertation will be submitted and defended to a dissertation committee consisting of faculty in the field of study.

  • SED 399, 699, or 999 R and W