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Title: Doctoral degree programs in Special Education
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Title: Doctoral degree programs in Special Education
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Department of Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Publisher: Department of Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
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Doctoral Degree

Programs
in

Special Education


University of Florida
Department of Special Education
P.O. Box 117050 / G-315 Norman Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611-7050
(352)392-0701 / (352)392-2655 Fax
www.coe.ufl.edu/specialeducation








Department of Special Education


The mission of the Department of Special Education is to promote the successful
inclusion of individuals with disabilities and their families in society
through excellence in the education of teachers and leaders,
the generation of new knowledge, and the application of existing knowledge.


Being ranked in the top 15 graduate departments of special education in the country allows for a
wealth of opportunities for graduate students. From teaching to research grants to speaking at
national conferences, students enjoy the possibilities offered to them.

The quality of our program is verified by our graduates through their satisfaction with their doctoral
experiences as well as their professional success after graduation. In a 2001 survey, University of
Florida graduates reflect upon how their doctoral work at the University of Florida prepared them for
their current positions:

"...my experiences in the doctoral program prepared me to succeed in academia."

"Based on speaking with others who graduated from other programs during the same time
period, my training prepared me to a far greater degree than others. I felt prepared."

"...new projects have come as a result of the doc work."

"...the emphasis of the program on learning about resources, key stakeholders, etc. prepared
me for a position in a consulting company..."


Program Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) & Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) programs in the Department of Special
Education are designed to educate personnel for teaching, research, and administrative positions in
colleges & universities, as well as for leadership positions in other educational agencies. All doctoral
students are expected to demonstrate competence in reading of research and independently
designing and conducting research in special education.


Admission to Ed.D. and Ph.D. Programs

The Department of Special Education is committed to fostering a graduate student body that reflects
the diversity within special education and within the country. We want to further develop a research
community whose work will contribute to the advancement and betterment of students with disabilities
along with their parents and teachers. To identify such persons capable of transforming and improving
the field of special education, a number of criteria are used. The application process including
minimum requirements, additional documentation to be provided, and admission interview are
described below.

Minimum Requirements
Grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
Combined score of at least 1000 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate
Records Exam.








Additional Documentation
In addition to the minimum GPA and GRE requirements, the following must be provided:

At least three letters of recommendation from individuals in a position to evaluate your
graduate study potential and/or field related work experience.
Documentation of a minimum of two years of appropriate professional experience suitable for
admission into the Special Education Department.
A written statement of professional goals including:
o Professional settings and specialized interest areas.
o Skills and/or characteristics that will facilitate the applicant's pursuit of the goals cited.
A writing sample. The writing sample is a 6-10 page scholarly paper following APA guidelines
about a current issue in special education.

Admission Interview
When documentation of the minimum requirements and all of the additional items are received, you
will participate in an interview conducted by the admissions committee. You should be prepared to
respond to questions similar to the following:

What was the nature of your academic preparation and interests during your baccalaureate /
master's program?
What factors influenced your decision to pursue special education as a career?
What factors influenced your decision to pursue a doctoral degree?
In what setting would you be most inclined to work following the completion of your degree?
What factors, events, or experiences have led to this selection?
Tell us about your experiences working with children and youth with disabilities.
What are the major changes you believe will occur in the field of special education?
What do you believe your strengths are when it comes to being a doctoral student? What skills
would you need to work on?
What else do you wish to have the selection committee know about you?

Note: A personal interview is highly preferred, but the following substitutions may be accepted under
extenuating circumstances: (1) audio/videotape of candidate responding to specific questions; (2)
formal interview with an individual faculty member; (3) conference call with candidate.


Doctoral Program Overview

Upon admission to the Special Education doctoral program you are given the status of doctoral
student. Your main responsibility as a doctoral student is to complete course work while expanding
your research and selecting your supervisory committee. During this period you will be interacting and
collaborating with several professors regarding their research as well as your own research interests.
These interactions are opportunities for multiple apprenticeships to learn how they began their work
and how you will begin your work. You may start the program with a specific list of courses you wish
to take but further understanding and knowledge of new topics may lead you to taking other courses
in and out of the department.



Minimum Requirements for the Ph.D.
Students in the Ph.D. program must take course work leading to the development of knowledge and
skills in areas identified by the department, college, and university as minimal Ph.D. requirements.
(Specific courses required by the Department of Special Education are described in the next section.)








Analytical and Writing Skills
o Demonstrate general and applied knowledge of the different conceptual approaches to
practices and research that are used in special education including (a) global
knowledge of different approaches and the history and background of each approach
and (b) ability to critically analyze research using different conceptual frameworks.
o Demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, and critique the literature in Special
Education according to the different conceptual approaches included in #1.
o Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze research literature in an area of Special
Education and identify the weaknesses in methodology as well as gaps in the
literature.
o Write a succinct, coherent, well-conceived synthesis of the literature on a selected
topic.
Content Knowledge
o Demonstrate knowledge of the critical issues and trends in Special Education through
oral and written communication skills. (This objective is integrated with the objectives
listed in I. Analytical and Writing Skills.) Topics may include: school change, law,
history of special education, inclusive practices, assessment and identification, cultural
diversity, families, and research to practice.
o Demonstrate knowledge of leaders in Special Education as they relate to different
critical issues and trends.
Professional Skills
o Develop doctoral level professional skills including: (1) an understanding of teaching
and research skills that are developed through doctoral study; (2) an understanding of
the roles and responsibilities of faculty and of students in the doctoral training process.
o Develop an area of expertise in the field of special education.
o Develop a portfolio documenting areas of expertise, professional skill and experiences.
Tasks included in the portfolio are determined by the doctoral student and the
supervisory committee.

Supervisory Committee
After being admitted to the doctoral program a temporary advisor will be assigned to provide
assistance in planning the first semester of study and guidance in preparing for subsequent
terms. The permanent committee should be formed as soon as possible after the student
has begun doctoral work. Generally, the committee should be finalized no later than the end
of the second semester of equivalent full-time study.

The supervisory committee consists of at least four members. At least two of the members,
including the committee chair person, must be from the Department of Special Education. At
least one member must be selected from outside the Department of Special Education. This
external committee member may be from another department within the College of Education
or from another college within the university.

Once the committee has been established, the student must request that the Graduate
Coordinator record the committee members on the Graduate School Information
Management System.

Information regarding the duties and responsibilities of supervisory committees is available in
the Graduate Catalog.








Program Development


Students admitted to doctoral programs in the Department of Special Education will complete
programs with majoring in special education. Programs of study are developed collaboratively
by the doctoral student and must be approved by the supervisory committee. The program of
study consists of a minimum of 90 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree and
must include required courses as described below.

Academic Major and Minor
With the approval of the supervisory committee, one or more minor fields may be chosen and
included in the program of study. (A minor is not required.) Minor work may be completed in
any department other than the major department that is approved for master's or doctoral
degree programs as listed in the Graduate Catalog.

If a minor is chosen, the supervisory committee must include at least one person from the
department representing the minor field.

Required Courses in the Department of Special Education
Four seminars are required of all doctoral students in the Department of Special Education. Each
seminar is briefly described below.

Professional Seminar in Special Education EEX 6936 (1 credit hour per semester; taken
during the first year of doctoral study). This seminar will serve to:
o Orient students to the doctoral program and doctoral work (selecting a committee,
preparing a program plan, preparing for qualifying exams, and similar topics)
o Help students get to know faculty (Faculty will present on their current research or
topics of interest.)
o Familiarize students to professional development at the doctoral level (developing a
line of research, publishing, service opportunities, funding/grants)
o Prepare students for work after graduation

The usual expectation of 2 hours of outside class preparation for each credit hour does not
apply to this course. Rather, students spend about 2 hours every other week in this class
(16 hours per semester), and receive one credit hour for the academic year. It is assumed
that doctoral students will actively contribute to the determination of topics, guest speakers,
and so forth for this seminar. Two faculty members will team-teach this seminar.

Trends in Special Education EEX 7934 (3 credit hours; offered during each fall semester)
Students will be introduced to scholarship in special education by exploring current trends and
issues and their relationship to practice, policy, and research. At the end of the course,
students should be able to develop position statements about the trends and issues and justify
them orally and written with support of the current literature.

Introduction to Field of Inquiry in Special Education EEX 7304 (3 credit hours; offered
during each spring semester)
This seminar is designed to assist doctoral students in the acquisition, organization, and
interpretation of information about research in special education. The seminar introduces
students to the nature of inquiry and the process of generating questions about a broad array
of disability-related research topics. Students will gain knowledge in critically analyzing the
outcomes of research in special education.








*Inquiry in Special Education: Analysis of the Literature EEX 7303 (3 credit hours; offered
during each spring semester)
This class is designed to help students understand how views of knowledge evolve and
influence special education research and practice. In this course, students will become familiar
with how different views of knowledge affect special education research and practice. At the
conclusion of the course, students should be able to identify research questions and
methodology emanating from the different knowledge paradigms. Moreover, they should be
able to critique special education research and practice from these various knowledge
paradigms.

College of Education Ph.D. and Ed.D Research Requirements
All doctoral students in the College of Education are required to complete course work resulting in
expertise in designing and conducting research. To meet this requirement, doctoral students must
complete a minimum of 12 semester hours of coursework in research methodology. The courses will
be selected from the two lists below. Substitutions and alternative courses must be approved by the
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Technology.

Qualitative Methods
o EDF 6475--Qualitative Foundations of Educational Research (4)
o EDF 6938--Qualitative data collection (3) Prereq: EDF 6475
o EDF 6938--Qualitative data analysis (3) Prereq: EDF 6475
o EDF 7639--Research in Educational Sociology (3) Prereq: EDF 6475

Quantitative Methods
o EDF 6403--Quantitative Foundations of Educational Research (6) Prereq: A course
that includes descriptive statistics including measures of location, dispersion, and
correlation and inferential statistics through t tests on means (e.g., EDF 6401).
o EDF 6436--Theory of Measurement (4) Prereq: EDF 6403
o EDF 6471--Survey Design and Analysis in Educational Research (3) Prereq: EDF
6403
o EDF 6481--Quantitative Research Methods in Education (4) Prereq: EDF 6403
o EDF 7405--Advanced Quantitative Foundations of Educational Research (4)
Prereq: EDF 6403
o EDF 7412--Structural Equation Models (3) Prereq: EDF 7405
o EDF 7432--Advanced Psychometric Theory (3) Prereq: EDF 6436
o EDF 7435--Rating Scale Design and Analysis in Educational Research (3) Prereq:
EDF 6403 and 6434 or 6436
o EDF 7439--Item Response Theory (3) Prereq: EDF 6436
o EDF 7474--Multilevel Models (3) Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6481 and 7405
o EDF 7491--Evaluation of Educational Products and Systems (3) Prereq: EDF 6403
o EDF 7932--Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research (3) Prereq: EDF 6403 or
6481 and 7405

Departments and supervisory committees have the discretion to require more than 12
semester hours. Courses used to meet these additional requirements are not subject to
review by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Technology.









Writing the Program Plan


All Ed.D. and Ph.D. program plans must contain the following sections when presented to the
supervisory committee for approval.
Section I
o Biographical Sketch
o Professional Preparation
o Professional Positions
o Related Experiences
Section II: Vocational and Career Goals
Section III
o Review of Previous Graduate Studies
o Proposed Course of Study
o Proposed Competency Experiences
Section IV: Timelines
Section V: Signature Page

First Year Review
The first year review of doctoral students takes place at the end of the second semester of
full-time study. For part-time students, the review is conducted after they complete 12 to 18
hours of coursework. The review is designed to assess the student's strengths, motivation,
professionalism, and potential for achieving an in-depth knowledge of special education
issues and a high level of competence in professional writing and speaking. The goal of this
review is to assist students in making wise career decisions and to recommend specific
courses or experiences, it any, that the student should undertake if he or she continues in our
special education doctoral program.

The review is conducted by the student's supervisory committee. If a committee has not
been formalized, the department chair will select an ad hoc committee consisting of a tenured
department faculty member to serve as the review committee chair (possibly the student's
temporary advisor) and three additional faculty members.

The student will submit the following items to the review committee:
A vita or other documentation of professional accomplishments.
A 10 to 20 page paper (plus references) addressing an area of special education
research produced in a doctoral seminar.
Evaluations by faculty or others who have had contact with the student during
coursework or employment through evaluation forms.
A statement of career goals.

On the basis of its assessment of the student's performance in the first year review, the
review committee may indicate one of the following options:

The student has completed the review successfully, and the student may continue in
the doctoral program without special contingencies.
The student has completed the review successfully, but with special contingencies
(which will be specified in writing to the student by the review committee chair) such








as: (a) successful completion of specific course work to address concerns or (b)
successful completion of other professional experiences deemed necessary.
The review committee determines a need for significant contingencies which would
require a written course of remediation acknowledged by the student and committee
members. The student has another meeting with the committee (or chair) at an agreed
upon date to evaluate progress toward completion of the written remediation plan.
The review committee determines a mismatch between the student's career goals and
the program offerings in special education, although the student showed good
potential for doctoral study in another field, and the student is encouraged to apply for
admission to a different degree program.
The review committee identifies substantial concerns in the student's preparation for
doctoral study and the committee discontinues the student from the program.


Doctoral Candidacy

Being admitted to doctoral candidacy requires that students successfully complete Qualifying
Examinations. A doctoral student may take the qualifying exam after a committee has been selected
and formed, all course work set by the committee and student toward the Ph.D. or Ed.D. has been
completed, and the doctoral student indicates that he or she is prepared to complete written and oral
examinations and write their major paper.


Qualifying Examination
The examination, prepared and evaluated by the full supervisory committee or the major and minor
departments, consists of a one day written exam, a major paper, and an oral exam conducted by the
student's committee.

Written Exam
A graduate student does not become a candidate for the doctoral degree until granted formal
admission to candidacy. Such admission requires the approval of the student's supervisory
committee, the department chairperson, the college dean, and the Dean of the Graduate School. The
approval must be based on (1) the academic record of the student, (2) the opinion of the supervisory
committee concerning overall fitness for candidacy, (3) an approved dissertation topic, and (4) a
qualifying examination as described above. Application for admission to candidacy should be made
immediately after the doctoral student passes the qualifying examination and has a dissertation topic
approved by the student's supervisory committee. A student may not register for EEX 7980
(Research for Dissertation) until he or she is admitted to candidacy for a doctoral degree.

It is the responsibility of the committee chairperson to develop and administer the qualifying
examinations. In doing so, the committee chair will request each member of the supervisory
committee to submit questions(s) that relate to the student's program content and goals. In addition,
the chair will request other faculty to submit questions provided they have had the student in class or
have worked with the student in professionally related research/program endeavors. Once a pool of
questions has been accumulated, the committee chairperson will select a representative sample of
questions that can be responded to in one, six hour writing session.

A major paper must also be completed reviewing literature in the area of the student's interest. This
paper will be developed in collaboration with the committee chairperson and other committee
members as indicated.


The following represents typical writing times:








9:00 A.M. 12:00 P.M. (Morning Session)
1:30 P.M. 4:30 P.M. (Afternoon Session)

A department staff member will initiate and close the writing sessions by distributing questions and
gathering responses at the end of each session. Once the written qualifying exam has been
completed, a department staff member will provide sufficient copies of the responses for
dissemination to committee members and other faculty who have submitted questions that were used
on the exam.

All readers of the written qualifying examination must have no less than 10 working days to evaluate
responses. Written evaluations of the student's responses must be submitted to the committee
chairperson.

Oral Exam
After the written exam has been evaluated by the committee members, the oral portion of the
qualifying examination takes place. All members of the supervisory committee must be present with
the student at the oral portion. However, with the approval of all members of the supervisory
committee, one committee member may be off-site at a qualifying oral examination or at the final oral
defense of the dissertation or thesis, using modern communication technology to participate rather
than being physically present. The supervisory committee has the responsibility at this time of
deciding whether the student is qualified to continue work toward a Ph.D. or Ed.D.

Admission to Candidacy
A doctoral student does not become a candidate for the doctoral degree until granted formal
admission to candidacy. Such admission requires the approval of the student's supervisory
committee, the department chairperson, the college dean, and the Dean of the Graduate School. The
approval must be based on (1) the academic record of the student, (2) the opinion of the supervisory
committee concerning overall fitness for candidacy, (3) an approved dissertation topic, and (4) a
qualifying examination as described above. Application for admission to candidacy should be
made immediately after the doctoral student passes the qualifying examination and has a
dissertation topic approved by the student's supervisory committee. A student may not register
for EEX 7980 (Research for Dissertation) until he or she is admitted to candidacy for a doctoral
degree.

Dissertation
Every candidate for a doctoral degree is required to prepare and present a dissertation. The
dissertation requires that the doctoral candidate design and implement a study that is acceptable in
form and content to the supervisory committee and to the Graduate School. The final dissertation is
comprised of five chapters including (1) an introduction, (2) review of literature, (3) methodology, (4)
results, and (5) discussion. The doctoral candidate will present the completed dissertation to the
committee at the dissertation defense. (Dissertations must be written in English.)

Completion
Students who enter in Fall 2001 and after are required to submit their final theses electronically.
Exceptions are considered on a case by case basis when submitted in writing by the department to
the graduate school. These exceptions are intended for the student who is off-campus during the
semester the thesis is submitted. More information is available from the Graduate School Editorial
Office.

Time Limitation
All work for the doctorate must be completed within five calendar years after the qualifying
examination, or this examination must be repeated.








DOCTORAL PROGRAM CHECKLIST


There are many points to follow from admission to graduation. Use this checklist as a basic guide to
help you through the process. In addition, you must use the information in your graduate catalog and
this packet to keep you informed as to the requirements needed at each step in the doctoral degree
adventure.

1. Submit application materials
Application form (hard copy or on-line); documentation of GRE score;
transcripts; 3 letters of recommendation; documentation of 2 years of
experience; writing sample

2. Interview with admissions committee

3. Admission to the program

4. Advising
Information about program requirements may be obtained from the Graduate
School Catalog, the Graduate Student Handbook, and the Graduate
Coordinator in the Department of Special Education

5. Select Supervisory Committee (On-Line)
The supervisory committee must consist of at least 4 members including the
supervisory committee chairperson and one other faculty member from the
Department of Special Education and at least one member from outside of the
department.

6. Program Plan approval
After the supervisory committee has been formed, doctoral students must work
with their committee to design a program of study that satisfies the Department
of Special Education and the Office of Graduate Studies.

7. Maintain active student status
Students who do not enroll in classes for a period of two semesters must apply
for readmission to the program.

8. Qualifying examination and Admission to Candidacy (FORM)
Students are only admitted to candidacy after satisfactory completion of all
course work and qualifying examinations.

9. Dissertation proposal approval
A complete dissertation proposal (usually equivalent to the first three chapters
of the dissertation: Purpose/rationale; literature review; and method) must be
submitted to the committee, and approved in a committee meeting.

10. Review guidelines for Dissertation Documents
A Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations is available from the
Office of Graduate Studies (146 NRN).

11. Maintain active student status
Students must enroll in at least three hours each fall and spring semester or
two hours each summer semester during candidacy. These will ordinarily be
EEX 7980 hours. One semester without courses may be permitted.









12. Institutional Review Board Approval (FORM)
For research using human subjects, an IRB form, available in the Office of
Graduate Studies (146 NRN), must be submitted to Bryan Hall, Room 1.

13. Carry out dissertation research/complete dissertation manuscript
For information about the format of the dissertation manuscript, see the
Education Graduate Bulletin and A Guide to the Preparation of Dissertations,
available from the Office of Graduate Studies (146 NRN).

14. Degree Application (FORM)
Early in the semester of graduation, a degree application must be processed.
Ed.D. and Ph.D. students should obtain a copy of this form from the Criser Hall
or online.

15. College of Education/University Graduate School Announcement of
Dissertation Defense
An announcement of the final defense examination must be submitted one
month prior to the oral defense.

16. First submission of dissertation
Doctoral candidates must submit copies of their completed dissertation with all
appendices and a letter of transmittal. See A Guide to the Preparation of
Dissertations for details on contents of letter and first submission.

17. Oral Defense meeting (FORM)
This public examination should be scheduled after all work on the dissertation is
complete. All committee members must be present. Upon completion of the
dissertation defense, the committee should sign the Final Exam Form.


18. Submit Dissertation to Graduate School (Ed.D. and Ph.D.)




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