World-Improving Research and Creativity

The doctorate in Special Education and Disability Studies focuses on issues of disability as they apply to schools (with a focus on teacher preparation) and to human service agencies.

Admission Deadlines

Applications and all associated documents must be received by the following dates to be considered. Fall Semester: July 1 | Spring Semester: Oct. 1.

About Our Program

Students may focus broadly across disability areas and age ranges, or they may focus more narrowly. Areas of study are available in the categorical areas of learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, intellectual disabilities and severe multiple disabilities, and early childhood/special education/early intervention. Cross-categorical courses are also offered, as well as special topics courses related to key contemporary issues in special education. The program has an emphasis area that the Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (Option 1) examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination. Applicants interested in the BCBA should contact MaryAnn Demchak for more information at

A key focus of the program is on preparing individuals for jobs in the special education professoriate; however, the doctorate may be tailored for individuals wishing to become special education leaders at the district or state level or work with individuals with disabilities in other agencies, such as college disability support services or non-profit support services.

The Special Education and Disability Studies area of emphasis is guided by the general framework found in the Doctoral Program in Education Application Handbook. The manual provides general information about doctoral concentrations offered in the College of Education. This page will provide you with specific information that is unique to the Special Education and Disability Studies strand.

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Program Information

Looking for a Graduate Assistantship?

The College of Education & Human Development has a limited number of Graduate Assistantships for full-time students admitted to masters or doctoral programs. 

Program Faculty

Special Education
Ruby Batz
Ruby Batz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7863
WRB 3086
Special Education
Vivian Bolanos
Vivian Bolanos
WCSD SPED Field-based Instructor
(775) 682-7869
WRB 3073
Special Education
MaryAnn Demchak
MaryAnn Demchak, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7852
WRB 3109
Special Education
Lindsay Diamond
Lindsay Diamond, Ph.D.
Department Chair of Educator Preparation and Associate Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7927
WRB 3085
Special Education
Robert Ives
Robert Ives, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7867
WRB 3080
Special Education
Randall Owen
Randall Owen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Special Education, NCED Director
(775) 784-6385
WRB 4102
Special Education
Shanon Taylor
Shanon Taylor, Ed.D.
Professor of Special Education
(775) 682-7862
WRB 3076