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Special Education, Ph.D.

College of Education

Our special education doctoral program is designed to prepare you as a leader who is committed to improving student outcomes in educational and community settings. Graduates enjoy a range of career possibilities.

Design a course of study that best suits your professional goals. Choose from a higher education and research track with a focus on special education scholarship or a leadership and administration track with a focus on skills to manage special education programs and policies at the district, state or national level.

Program Highlights

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    Design Your Program

    Create an individual plan of study that's tailored to your unique research interests and career goals.

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    Notable Faculty

    Our faculty are experts in a range of special education topics from policy and law to teacher preparation.

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    Intensive Mentoring

    The program provides in-depth mentoring and advising to ensure scholars are equipped to serve in various leadership roles.

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    Ranked Program

    Be part of a college ranked in the top 15 percent nationally for graduate programs of education by U.S. News & World Report.

What You’ll Study

Learn from nationally recognized scholars who are committed to preparing the next generation of leaders in special education. Foundation courses draw from educational psychology, foundations, research, curriculum and educational leadership. Students pursue their own research interests, and a dissertation is required.

Building Skills

Gain the professional and personal intelligence it takes to have a successful career.

  • Understand Complexity

    Analyzing and synthesizing information to identify patterns and connections

    Cultural Awareness

    Learning about and respecting diverse cultures and beliefs


    Understanding and sharing the feelings of others, and demonstrating compassion and support

  • Innovation

    Introducing new ideas, methods or products to improve performance or achieve a specific goal


    Gathering and analyzing information to increase knowledge or solve problems

    Critical Thinking

    Analyzing and evaluating information to make informed decisions or judgments

Using your degree

Make your college experience the foundation for a successful future.

Learn how alumni use degrees with outcome data from Gamecock GradStats, a service of the University of South Carolina Career Center.

Potential Careers

  • Educator
  • Researcher
  • Faculty

Job Titles of Alumni

  • Assistant Professor
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Educational Consultant
  • Special Education Placement Chair
  • Research Assistant Professor

Workplace Settings

  • Education
  • Agencies

Employers of Alumni

  • University of South Carolina
  • Special Olympics South Carolina
  • Richland School District Two
  • South Carolina Department of Education

Being in higher education as a professor has always been a career goal. I love the feel and atmosphere that college campuses provide.

Michael Huesmann
Portrait of Michael Huesmann