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Special Education, Ph.D.

The doctoral program in Special Education offers advanced study across all disabilities. Doctoral students are individually mentored by faculty who are nationally and internationally recognized experts in their fields and who actively engage in cutting-edge research, collaboration with schools and public agencies, developing public policy, and advocating for individuals with exceptionalities and their families.

Graduates of the Special Education doctoral program have held positions as university professors, deans, researchers, clinicians, school and community organization administrators, lawyers, policy experts, and government agency leaders.

Interested in earning a Transcripted Graduate Certificate within a Doctoral Degree to develop a focused area of expertise?


Ruth Luckasson, JD
Special Education Chair

Special Education Graduate Programs Coordinator
505-277-5018 (phone)

Audrea N. Winslow
Department Administrator
Special Education
505/277-6915 (phone)

What you can do with an Ph.D. degree in SPCD?

A doctoral degree in Special Education prepares individuals to become

  1. University or community college professors and administrators
  2. Researchers in academic or clinical settings
  3. Administrators in school districts or community agencies that serve individuals with disabilities
  4. Leaders in government agencies and public policy organizations
Special Education doctoral students follow a competency-based program of study individualized for each student’s professional goals and research interests. Students have opportunities that include (but are not limited to): engaging in research projects, teaching undergraduate special education courses, supervising undergraduate student teachers or students completing fieldwork in applied behavior analysis, participating in publication of scholarly articles, and presenting their own scholarly work at national and international conferences.

Application Deadlines

Rolling Admissions, apply when you are ready! Reach out to Special Education faculty now to start your degree planning process as additional deadlines, such as for international admissions or applications for scholarships, might factor into your planning.

Application Process

  1. Contact the department Chair of Special Education to discuss your interest in the doctoral program: Dr. Ruth Luckasson, or 505 277-6510. Dr. Luckasson will suggest two to three other faculty with whom to talk who are an appropriate match with the applicant’s professional goals and research interests.
  2. Complete Graduate Application online
    Application includes
    • A non-refundable application fee (pay with credit card online as part of Graduate Application)
    • One official transcript from each college you have attended. Official transcripts must be sent to Office of Admissions. (Exception: UNM transcripts)
    • Letter of Intent
    • SPCD Doctoral Application form. Please upload completed form in the special requirements section in your online application. May also be added to addendum section in your online application after submission.
    • Professional Vita (Resume)
    • Professional Writing Sample
    • Five Letters of Recommendation