Special Education

Frequently Asked Questions

The program is designed to be completed in 4 years of full-time study.

Within the first year of study, each student, in collaboration with their advisor, establishes a Doctoral Program Course Plan and a Scholarly Development Plan. Students take courses or credit-hour experiences in their Major, Minor or Cognate, School of Education Core, Research Skills, and Dissertation. These experiences include 24-credit specialization that is determined by student and their advisors in conjunction with their program committee. Additionally, all students are required to meet performance criteria in the areas of research, teaching, and service.

Currently, nearly all students seeking funding are supported throughout their program. The department and our associated research centers strive to fund each student throughout their program. Funding is contingent upon various factors including levels of funding and student performance.

Your primary consideration should be specialization and advisor fit based on your research and career aspirations. We strongly encourage you to review the specialization areas, and faculty bios aligned within the specializations, and contact them about your interest in special education doctoral study at KU.

Lawrence is continually rated one of the top 10 college towns in the United States. We have a very active community that has something for nearly anyone. For those looking for a larger city, Kansas City is 30 minutes away. We encourage you to come visit!

Visits to campus are a part of the application process.

As one of the top-rated doctoral programs in the nation, we have many applicants. The admissions requirements are located in admission documentation. Beyond this documentation, finding a fit with an advisor is critical to the admissions process. Again, you are strongly encouraged to contact the faculty members who align with your interests.

To meet the individualized needs of the students, we generally accept annual cohorts of roughly 15 students.

We generally have application deadlines in late fall and spring of each year. Please see the admissions page for dates for the upcoming academic year.

No, the doctoral program is designed for face-to-face coursework and experiences under an apprenticeship model.

Please direct other questions to specialeduadm@ku.edu.


#1 public program in nation for special education
—U.S. News & World Report
Wayne Sailor directs KU’s largest grant, the $24.5 million SWIFT project, to develop a national center to assist schools
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
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