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Build on your experience in special education through our competency-based PhD in Special Education, which is individualized to your background and goals. You will work with our well-regarded faculty to design in-depth studies and research to reach the next level in your career.

Program Highlights

  1. Opportunities to customize your program of study
  2. A focus on preparing higher-education faculty
  3. Multiple opportunities for experience in college-level teaching
  4. Participate in research
  5. Supervise undergraduate field placement

Deadline to Apply

January 1 (summer and fall), November 1 (spring)
Looking for an assistantship? Apply by January 1.

View admissions criteria

Faculty and Curriculum

The flexibility of our doctoral program is its greatest strength, preparing students with diverse experience and interests for a variety of leadership roles at colleges, universities, research settings, and human service agencies.

Focus your studies anywhere in the span of special education, with possible inquiries into topics such as:

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Learning disabilities/dyslexia
  • Early childhood special education
  • Mild/moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Behavior disorders
  • Applied Behavior Analysis

You will pursue a combination of coursework, research, college teaching, and service opportunities to earn your degree.

You will design your full course of study in conjunction with your advisory committee. At a minimum, you will be expected to complete:

  • 12 hours of special education law, issues, and trends along with a research seminar
  • 9 hours in your area of emphasis
  • 9 hours in your support area, with at least 3 hours outside the special education department
  • 12 hours of research courses
  • At least 10 hours for your dissertation

Tuition and Financial Aid

Almost all in-state students begin their studies at UGA paying limited tuition or fees. Please note that these amounts are subject to change and are meant to give prospective students an idea of the costs associated with a degree at the University of Georgia College of Education.

Students may qualify for a variety of assistantships, scholarships, and other financial awards to help offset the cost of tuition, housing, and other expenses.

Tuition rates Browse financial aid

Meet Your Advisor

Most graduate students at UGA are not assigned to a faculty advisor until after admittance. A close working relationship with your advisor is paramount to progressing through your program of study.

Find your advisor

Student Life

Work collaboratively with doctoral students in other disciplines. Our faculty members also manage over $5 million in grants to support research, teacher education, and professional development.

Book a campus visit

See for yourself how much UGA College of Education has to offer! Schedule a tour of campus to learn more about the UGA student experience.

Schedule a visit


Part 1: Apply to the University of Georgia


  1. Submit an online application to the Graduate School
  2. Test scores (depending on your program)
  3. Unofficial transcripts (native language and English for international applicants)
  4. Three letters of recommendation

Part 2: Apply to this program


The program faculty may request additional materials from applicants. As you complete your application for the UGA Graduate School, you will be able to attach the following documents:

  1. Curriculum vita (CV) or resume
  2. Statement of purpose (short essay)
  3. Official transcripts
View full admissions requirements

Program Resources

What else would you like to know?

Please use this form if you have any questions for the department. Please be as specific as possible so that we may quickly assist you.

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