Special education image

Lead the way in special education

Prepare for leadership roles with schools, agencies, and non-profit organizations

Special Education (Doctor of Education)

Offered by: Special Education

The Doctor in Special Education at SRU prepares educators and human service agency workers for leadership positions in the field of Special Education. This program includes special education, content learning, and leadership classes designed to train professionals to enter public schools, agencies, and non-profit organizations.


In the United States today, there is a shortage of:

  • Qualified school administrators with expertise in special education
  • Candidates for positions in special education teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities
  • Leaders to manage human service agencies focused on helping children and adults with disabilities in community settings

The SRU Doctor of Education in Special Education program aims to address these shortages and create tomorrow's leaders in special education. Drawing from the expertise of one of the oldest and most respected Special Education departments in the country, the EdD in Special Education at Slippery Rock University is preparing tomorrow's leaders to excel in high-demand areas.


SRU's Ed.D. in Special Education offers:

  • Convenient, student-centered blend of online courses (synchronous and asynchronous) in the fall, winter and spring semesters, with weekend face-to-face teaching during the summer
  • Cohort program begins each spring term and is intended to be completed in three years, taking an average of two classes each fall, spring, and summer
  • Ability to apply 12 master's degree credits towards the doctoral degree
  • Competitive curriculum that focuses on special education, content learning, and leadership classes designed to prepare higher education faculty to teach future special education leaders to enter public schools, agencies, and non-profit organizations
  • Experienced faculty with practical knowledge


Attention: To apply for admission, please use the following link to apply now.

  • $35 Application Fee
  • Copy of Teaching Certificate (optional) 
  • 300-500 word essay indicating personal and professional goals (follow APA formatting)
  • A writing sample: Applicants can submit an example of a special education focused sample from your graduate program or a one - to two-page, single-spaced essay addressing one of the following topics (include the prompt that you choose at the top of your essay and follow all APA formatting)
    • Why should a society provide a “free and appropriate” education to students with disabilities who will not be able to achieve academic or other skills at the same level as students without disabilities?
    • Describe your position on the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education. What are the benefits of inclusion and the potential barriers?
  • Two Letters of Recommendation addressing the applicant's academic and/or professional background specific to the candidate's ability to be successful in a doctoral program in special education 
  • An undergraduate degree in elementary education, special education, early childhood, secondary (English, science, social studies, psychology, business or core content area)
  • Official bachelor's and master's degree transcripts, doctorate, if applicable (Official transcripts must be sent by the institution via electronic transcript to graduate.admissions@sru.edu or via mail.  Faxed copies are not considered official)
  • Bachelor's degree with at least 3.0 GPA and Master's degree with at least 3.5 GPA, Doctorate degree, if applicable
  • SRU current/Alumni/former students click here to order your official SRU final transcript and have it sent to graduate.admissions@sru.edu

*Preference is given to applicants in the order in which the application is received.

*If you are requesting review of your graduate transcripts for transfer of credit, please complete the  transfer of credit form and submit to the Office of Graduate Admissions with official graduate transcripts. Please review SRU's  transfer of credit policy.

* If you are not a resident of Pennsylvania, please check the list of most recent states approved for online classes and internships by  clicking here  to see if SRU is authorized to offer distance education and/or field experiences in your state of residency. Please contact the Department of Education in your state for information regarding certification.