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Special Education

The Doctor of Education with a concentration in Special Education is designed for educators, administrators, parents, and mental, health or social service providers with a sincere desire to improve opportunities and the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. This concentration fosters the development of leadership skills through self-reflection, analysis, and best practices used to solve real problems in the workplace through practical application. The concentration in special education focuses on facilitating the development of logical, critical, and reflective thinking skills in the areas of teacher collaboration, law, assessment and evaluation, administration, and multicultural issues.

The FCE programs in Exceptional Student Education/Special Education prepare professionals to assume positions as professors, administrators, and disability service providers. The Doctor of Education (EdD) program, with a concentration in Special Education, addresses the academic and professional needs of personnel who currently hold or aspire to attain positions of leadership in organizations that serve individuals with disabilities and their families. The program entails advanced coursework, seminars, and research activities that provide the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively perform leadership positions in  a variety of settings including direct service agencies, advocacy and policy organizations, and research institutes.

In collaboration with a full-time faculty member, each student is offered the opportunity to develop a customized program of study that: (a) recognizes and respects prior learning and work experiences, and (b) enables studies directed toward specific personal, professional career goals and objectives.

Who Should Apply
  • Practicing teachers, administrators, human service professionals, mental and healthcare providers, and others working with individuals with disabilities; OR
  • Individuals with master's degrees or above who wish to obtain a doctoral degree and increase their knowledge and skills in special education; OR
  • Individuals considering a Ph.D. in special education or an online Ph.D. in special education who would instead like to explore the benefits of an Ed.D. in special education program

The following are specific admission requirements for entry into the Doctor of Education programs. Please refer to the admissions application or catalog for specific program admission requirements and information for international students.

  • Completed online application for admission, including ($50) nonrefundable application fee
  • An official transcript from a regionally accredited institution indicating a conferred master’s degree with a minimum CGPA of 3.0, and official final transcripts from all institutions of higher education (community colleges, bachelor’s programs, post-graduate programs)
  • Professional letters of recommendation from two (2) individuals who can attest to the applicant’s ability to succeed in a doctoral program
  • A test score report* from one of the following exams showing that the applicant received
    • Miller Analogies Test (MAT): Raw score of 37 (scaled score 391–396) on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT)


    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): For tests taken prior to August 1, 2011, a combined score of 1000 on the verbal and quantitative sections; for tests taken on or after August 1, 2011 a combined score of 300 on the verbal and quantitative sections.

*The test must have been taken within the past five years.

  • Completed Personal Statement of Goals
  • Completed Transfer of Credits form if applicable


Applicants whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate English proficiency by providing proof of a minimum score of 213 on the computer-based or 550 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam or 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.




Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
DSO 8000 Doctoral Studies Orientation 0


Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
SPED 8402 Families, Law, and Exceptionalities (Required Course) 3
SPED 8404 Organization & Administration of Special Education Programs (Required Course) 3
SPED 8405 Collaboration and Consultation (Required Course) 3
Choose 6 additional courses from across the following areas:
SPED 8401 Special Education Law and Policy 3
SPED 8403 Conferencing with Parents and Families of Individuals with Disabilities 3
SPED 8406 Transition, Career Development and Independent Living 3
SPED 8409 Multicultural Issues in Special Education 3
SPED 8410 Assessment and Evaluation of Special Needs: Cognitive and Behavioral Domains  3
SPED 8411 Issues in Special Education Administration 3
SPED 8801 Seminar in the Behavior Communication Connection
for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
SPED 8802 Seminar in the Nature of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder 3
SPED 8803 Advanced Topics in the Assessment of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder 3
SPED 8804 Advanced Topics in Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder 3
SPED 8805 Seminar in Professional Issues in Leading Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder 3
SPED 8806 Special Topics Across the Lifespan for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder 3
SPED 9650 Behavioral Principles and Concepts 3
SPED 9655 Functional Behavioral Assessment 3
SPED 9660 Application of Applied Behavior Analysis in Education and Human Services 3
SPED 9665 Leadership and Ethical Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
SPED 9670 Ethical and Professional Conduct in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
RES 8919 Single Subject Research 3

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® (BACB) has approved the above course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take either the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Examination.  Students wishing to fulfill BACB requirements for professional certification should contact the BACB for specific information and advisement. It is recommended that students register with the BACB in order to receive monthly newsletters and stay well-informed of credentialing requirements.  Please check with an academic advisor regarding course planning and selection.

Click here ( for more information about BCBA examination pass rate. Please note, pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.


Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
EDD 8200 Leadership, Communication and Technology 3



Required Courses

Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
RES 8100 Nature of Knowing: Epistemology and Inquiry-Based Learning (Required Course) 3
RES 9300 Methods of Inquiry (Required Course) 3

Please select ONE of the following research tracks based on your dissertation (please consult your RES 9300 professor and your dissertation chair prior to registering):

Quantitative Research Track

Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
RES 8911 Quantitative Research Design 3
RES 8921

Quantitative Data Analysis


Qualitative Research Track

Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
RES 8916 Qualitative Research Design 3
RES 8926

Qualitative Data Analysis



The Applied Dissertation is a detailed, accurate, and cohesive account of a scholarly investigation designed to answer one or more research questions. It is required of all FCE doctoral students and its purpose is to improve practice in education and human services. The dissertation process consists of a total of 12 credits encompassing four major benchmarks.

Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
DISR 8966 Applied Dissertation 1: Prospectus 3
DISR 8967 Applied Dissertation 2: Proposal Development 3
DISR 8968 Applied Dissertation 3: Proposal 3
DISR 8969 Applied Dissertation 4: Applied Dissertation 3



The EDGE @ Fischler Institute is an opportunity for students to meet with Fischler College classmates, professors, and staff on-campus in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Students will be able to schedule individual sessions with their applied dissertation committee chairs to discuss dissertation work and with representatives from various service areas, including distance library services, student financial assistance, and program advising. The conference will also offer applied dissertation workshops enabling students to learn valuable information about the dissertation process, as well as roundtable sessions affording students the opportunity to present their dissertation work to a group of peers and receive immediate feedback.

Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
FSC 8000

EDGE @ Fischler Institute (Residency Requirement)        

Students entering prior to Fall 2019 must attend one EDGE @ Fischler Institute. Students entering Fall 2019 and after must attend two. 



Beginning the 37th month of the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program, students will enroll in ADS 8091, Applied Dissertation Services, in order to receive dissertation services and support from Dissertation Committee Chairs and/or other NSU faculty and staff. In cases where students are not enrolled in any classes prior to the 37th month and where Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) students require support from Dissertation Chairs and/or other NSU faculty and staff, ADS 8090 may be used to satisfy Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements for continuous matriculation.

Course Number Course Title and Description Credits
ADS 8091 Applied Dissertation Services 1

*Note: Students must be registered for ADS 8091 to be eligible for continuing services.







Click on the button below to download the Course Equivalencies/Substitutions for the Special Education Concentration

Course Equivalencies/Substitutions

For advising assistance, please send an email to

Coursework for the Doctor of Education is available online, which allows international students and those who don't live near our South Florida campus to receive and submit coursework, and interact with classmates and professors, via the Internet. This distance education option allows busy professionals like you to earn your degree without work disruption or long commutes.

In addition to coursework, all doctoral students are required to participate in The EDGE @ Fischler Institute in Florida.

Faculty members in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction are dedicated to preparing aspiring teachers and those seeking careers as professionals in education-related fields. Hailing from NSU and other major universities and institutions throughout the country and around the world, our faculty are highly respected professional practitioners and recognized scholars who are carefully selected on the basis of their subject area expertise, teaching abilities, and professional involvement. Furthermore, they are united in their desire to not only educate, but to inspire students to use what they learn to motivate others.

Meet the Faculty and Staff of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction

The purpose of the Doctoral Studies Orientation (DSO 8000) is to provide an overview critical to beginning the Ed.D. program. This noncredit course is a requirement for all doctoral students at NSU's Fischler College of Education. Students should register for and complete the online DSO modules in the first term along with the first "credit-bearing" course. For additional information, please visit the DSO Web site.

The EDGE @ Fischler Institute is an intensive conference designed to give doctoral students the tools and support they need to complete their doctoral program. Students entering prior to Fall 2019 must attend one EDGE @ Fischler Institute. Students entering Fall 2019 and after must attend two. 


  • Completion of the Doctoral Studies Orientation (DSO 8000)
  • Participation in the EDGE @ Fischler Institute (FSC 8000)
  • Satisfactory completion of all required courses
  • Successful completion of an applied dissertation
  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  • Completed application for degree and satisfaction of all NSU/FCE financial obligations

Coursework for the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) may not meet state department of education requirements for certification and/or licensure. It is the responsibility of the student to contact his or her state department of education for specific requirements and current information regarding teacher certification/licensure.

Facebook Live Chat: Special Education Programs

Did you miss our chat with NSU's Fischler College special education expert Dr. Dana Fredebaugh?

Click on the image above to learn about our most popular programs in special education, the history of their inception, and professional opportunities open to those who complete our programs.  

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