Special Education, Ph.D.: Program Admissions

The Department of Special Education (EDSP) offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree which is designed to prepare individuals to conduct and disseminate research and prepare future teachers in special education. U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked the EDSP program as one of the nation's leading programs in personnel preparation. Students accepted into the PhD program are prepared to assume faculty positions at research universities or leadership positions in state and local education agencies, policy organizations, or the federal government. The program is designed to:

Prepare highly qualified scholars and researchers in the field of special education

Prepare highly qualified teacher educators in the field of special education who can prepare personnel in the field of special education

Prepare leaders, advocates, and policy developers who will make an impact upon the education and lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. 

Admission Requirements

Minimum requirements for admission to the doctoral program include:

  1. A Master's degree or equivalent academic coursework in Special Education or a related area from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of 3.0 or better (based on a 4.0 system) from an accredited undergraduate institution;
  3. A grade point of 3.5 or better in previous graduate coursework;
  4. Two (2) years of research or work experience with exceptional populations;
  5. Three (3) letters of recommendation from individuals who have direct knowledge of the applicant's academic capabilities, work experience, and professional characteristics;
  6. A statement of academic and research goals including a description of the applicant's previous background, preparation, intended area of study, research interests, and plans for future employment;
  7. Evidence of writing skills via the statement of academic and research goals.
  8. For international applicants, minimum TOEFL scores of 100 are required.

For more information visit the graduate admission requirements webpage. Select an area of interest from the various offerings in the College of Education to determine the admission requirements and deadlines.  If you are unsure of your area of interest you may request information by submitting an Inquiry Form.  

MA/PhD Deadlines:
*Fall Domestic/International (Preferred): December 1 (for PhD funding, apply by the preferred deadline)
*Fall Domestic/International: (Final) February 1

Deadlines for receipt of Ph.D. application materials are as follows:

  • Application materials for fall admission into the Ph.D. program are due December 1 when reviews will begin.
  • No applications will be reviewed after February 15th.
  • *The program does not admit students in spring semester.
  • For further information regarding admissions please review the Special Education Doctoral Program Handbook

Please refer to the Guide to Applying for instructions on how to apply for graduate admission. If you have questions or concerns, we ask you to first review our list of Frequently Asked Questions.   International applicants should visit the International admissions webpage for additional information.  For questions about the application process, or to check on the completion of your application please contact:

Judy Foster, Coordinator of Graduate Admissions
Office of Student Services, College of Education
(301) 405-2359                  

After you apply for graduate admission you may check your application status by logging into the online graduate application using your user name and password.  Graduate faculty in the Academic Department you applied to will review your completed application for graduate admission.  Questions regarding application reviews and decision recommendations should be directed to Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE).  Please contact:

Carol Scott, Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education
(301) 405-8384

Please contact the Office of Student Services, ed-advising@umd.edu, or (301) 405-2364.

Visit the College of Education Scholarship opportunities webpage. 

Visit the Graduate School Fellowship and Graduate Assistantship web page for additional funding opportunities 

For information about other student financial aid, review the Office of the Student Financial Aid website.


Dr. Gulnoza Yakubova, Admissions Director (gulnoza@umd.edu)

Carol Scott, Coordinator (cscott18@umd.edu)