Shape the Future of Special Education

You help special education students exceed their limits every day. Now it's your turn to take the next step in your career, so that you can do more for yourself and for those who depend on you. An Ed.D. in Special Education from Nova Southeastern University will give you the advanced knowledge and field experiences that will prepare you for leadership positions in academic settings, direct service agencies, advocacy and policy organizations, and research institutes. 

The Ed.D. program is a better match than a Ph.D. for educators who want to focus on hands-on implementation versus research work. The NSU Ed.D. in Special Education curriculum is timely and responsive to changes in the field, making it current, relevant, and culturally competent. Our graduates go on to build rewarding careers as special education teachers, university professors, administrators, consultants, and disability service providers.

Two Capstone Options for Completing Your Education

NSU’s Ed.D. program offers two capstone options for completing your education: the Applied Dissertation or the Strategic Research Project (SRP). Both choices are designed to help you formulate tough questions and learn how to begin answering them as you prepare for educational leadership. You must successfully complete one of these capstones in order to graduate.

Who Should Apply

  • Practicing teachers, administrators, human service professionals, mental and healthcare providers, and others working with individuals with disabilities
  • Master’s degree graduates seeking their doctoral degree and deeper expertise in special education.
  • Candidates considering a traditional or online Ph.D. in special education who want to explore Ed.D. program benefits

Quick Facts


Visit the Tuition and Fees page for more information.


NSU’s Ed.D. in Special Education is a minimum of 55 total credits to complete.

Delivery Options

Classes for the Doctor of Education in Special Education are offered fully online. All doctoral students are required to participate in at least one Summer Institute.

Application Deadlines

Applications for admission are accepted online and on a rolling basis for all graduate programs throughout the calendar year. No entrance exam required.

Earning Potential

Special Education Teacher

$61,500 Median Salary Per Year

K-12 Principal

$98,490 Median Salary Per Year

Postsecondary Teachers

$80,560 Median Salary Per Year

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020

Ed.D. in Special Education Curriculum

Required Concentration Area Courses (3 credits)
SPED 8402
Families, Law, and Exceptionalities* (SPED 8402 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8405
Collaboration and Consultation* (SPED 8405 / Credits: 3 )
Special Education Track (18 credits)
SPED 8401
Special Education Law and Policy (SPED 8401 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8403
Conferencing with Parents and Families of Individuals with Disabilities (SPED 8403 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8404
Organization & Administration of Special Education Programs (SPED 8404 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8406
Transition, Career Development and Independent Living (SPED 8406 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8409
Multicultural Issues in Special Education (SPED 8409 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8410
Assessment and Evaluation of Special Needs, Cognitive and Behavioral Domains (SPED 8410 / Credits: 3 )
Autism Spectrum Disorder Track (18 credits)
SPED 8801
Seminar in the Behavior Communication Connection for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (SPED 8801 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8802
Seminar in the Nature of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (SPED 8802 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8803
Advanced Topics in the Assessment of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (SPED 8803 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8804
Advanced Topics in Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (SPED 8804 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8805
Seminar in Professional Issues in Leading Programs for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (SPED 8805 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 8806
Special Topics Across the Lifespan for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (SPED 8806 / Credits: 3 )
Applied Behavior Analysis Track (21 credits)**
SPED 9653
Theory and Philosophy in Behavior Analysis (SPED 9653 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 9654
Concepts and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (SPED 9654 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 9656
Assessment in Applied Behavior Analysis (SPED 9656 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 9661
Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis (SPED 9661 / Credits: 3 )
SPED 9666***
Supervision and Management in Applied Behavior Analysis (SPED 9666*** / Credits: 3 )
SPED 9667***
Organizational Behavior Management (SPED 9667*** / Credits: 3 )
SPED 9671
Ethical and Professional Conduct in Applied Behavior Analysis (SPED 9671 / Credits: 3 )
Additional Required Course (3 credits)
EDD 8200
Leadership, Communication, and Technology (EDD 8200 / Credits: 3 )
Summer Institute (1 credit)****
FSC 8000
Summer Institute (FSC 8000 / Credits: 1 )
Applied Dissertation (12 credits)*****
DISR 8966
Applied Dissertation 1: Prospectus (DISR 8966 / Credits: 3 )
DISR 8967
Applied Dissertation 2: Proposal Development (DISR 8967 / Credits: 3 )
DISR 8968
Applied Dissertation 3: Proposal (DISR 8968 / Credits: 3 )
DISR 8969
Applied Dissertation 4: Applied Dissertation (DISR 8969 / Credits: 3 )
Strategic Research Project (12 credits)
ESRP 9000
Strategic Research Project I (ESRP 9000 / Credits: 6 )
ESRP 9001
Strategic Research Project II (ESRP 9001 / Credits: 6 )
Required Courses (12 credits)
EDD 8100
Academic Writing (EDD 8100 / Credits: 3 )
EDD 8200
Leadership, Communication, and Technology (EDD 8200 / Credits: 3 )
RES 8100
The Nature of Knowing: Introduction to Research Methods (RES 8100 / Credits: 3 )
RES 8200
Research Methods II (RES 8200 / Credits: 3 )
Quantitative Research Track (6 credits)****
RES 8911
Quantitative Research Design (For students on the Special Education and Autism Spectrum Disorder track) (RES 8911 / Credits: 3 )
RES 8930
Single Subjects Design (For students on the Applied Behavior Analysis Track) (RES 8930 / Credits: 3 )
RES 8921
Quantitative Data Analysis (RES 8921 / Credits: 3 )
Qualitative Research Track (6 credits)******
RES 8916
Qualitative Research Design (RES 8916 / Credits: 3 )
RES 8926
Qualitative Data Analysis (RES 8926 / Credits: 3 )
Research Track for those completing the Strategic Research Project (6 credits)
RES 8910
Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods (RES 8910 / Credits: 3 )
RES 8924
Data Visualization for Strategic Planning (RES 8924 / Credits: 3 )

*Students will choose between the two courses.

**Certification Disclosure for the Applied Behavior Analysis Track:
The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified the courses listed above toward requirements for eligibility to take the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. Association for Behavior Analysis International website:
Students interested in obtaining the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst designation must complete a behavior analytic dissertation. 

***Students will choose between the two courses.

****Doctoral students are required to attend at least one Summer Institute as part of required coursework. During each day of the institute, students will attend sessions where they will learn valuable skills to help them be successful in the program. There will also be sessions offered specifically to assist with the understanding and completion of the culminating capstone option (applied dissertation or strategic research project) that all students are required to complete. The sessions offer a unique blend of direct instruction and time for students to ask questions and connect with NSU faculty and engage with fellow students. The overall goal of the institute is to immerse students in a learning experience that will provide students with the information and tools needed to be a successful Ed.D. student. For additional information, please visit the website at

*****Students who complete all of their coursework and have registered for all of their dissertation benchmark courses (prospectus, proposal development, proposal, and applied dissertation) within the first three years will be required to register for ADS 8090 - Applied Dissertation Services I in order to receive dissertation services from their committee. Beginning with the fourth year (37th month/10th semester) following initial enrollment, and irrespective of remaining coursework, doctoral students are required to register for ADS 8091 - Applied Dissertation Services II, up to the point of degree completion, in order to receive dissertation services from their committee. Credits earned from ADS 8090 or ADS 8091 do not count toward the minimum credit hour requirement for the Ed.D. degree.

******For students completing the Applied Dissertation, you will select either the Quantitative Research Track or the Qualitative Research Track. 

Ed.D. in Special Education Professional Licensure Disclosure

Ed.D. in Special Education ABA Professional Licensure Disclosure

Admission Requirements

Ready for the Next Step?

We’re thrilled you’re applying to this Ed.D. program at NSU.

This program opens opportunities in areas of research, academia, and management for those who are ready to advance as well as for individuals considering a career change.

Applications for admission are accepted online and on a rolling basis. No entrance exam is required. 


Apply Now

Have the following items ready to submit with your online application:


  • $50 application fee
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Two professional letters of recommendation by two different individuals who can attest to the applicant's ability to succeed in a doctoral program


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