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PhD in Educational Studies, Special Education

As a doctoral student in special education you will use research to help improve the lives of children, youth and adults with disabilities as you prepare to become a leader in the field.

Woman in black pattern dress sits on the staircase to Ramseyer Hall
“We are provided with endless opportunities to explore our interests and passions.”
- Alana Oif
PhD student, Special Education


The full-time PhD program in special education at The Ohio State University is designed to prepare leaders in research, teaching and service. In our accreditated program, you will develop competencies in conducting applied research, writing for publication, advanced applied behavior analysis, college teaching and service to the profession and community.

You will join faculty members who are passionate about researching and publicizing evidence-based practice for individuals with disabilities. The research they conduct with students covers a range of disabilities issues including:

  • learning disabilities
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • behavioral disorders
  • intellectual disability
  • autism
  • multiple disabilities
  • children at risk for developing disabilities

In addition, opportunities are available to collaborate with faculty in other departments who conduct research with individuals who have hearing, visual and/or language impairments.

You should review each faculty member's profiles below to identify those with whom you have a shared research interest. We strongly encourage you to contact faculty members so you can learn more about their work and our program.


We have a commitment to fully fund our PhD students. Funding includes full tuition, a monthly stipend for nine months and benefits. You must have already earned a master's degree and must have experience working with individuals with disabilities to apply to the PhD program.

Career Paths

Graduates often go on to become professors at universities. They also take professions as researchers, government/policy specialists, non-profit organization directors, teacher trainers and administrators at school, district, state and federal levels.


Deadline to Apply: 
December 1
Program Start: 
Autumn semester
Prerequisites/Pre-major Requirements: 
Master's degree
Minimum Program Hours: 

Coursework: Behavioral research methods, advanced applied behavior analysis, professional writing, college teaching, contemporary and urban issues in special education
Degree requirements: Core courses (15 hours), specialization courses (42 hours), dissertation (6 hours)
Other requirements: Field experience
Academic opportunities: Graduate associateships
Other opportunities: Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA); Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS); Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT); Council for Children With Behavioral Disorders (CCBD); Council for Exceptional Children (CEC); Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD); National Institution for Direct InstructionStandard Celeration Society; TASH

View the Curriculum Sheet


Sheila Alber Morgan, PhD, BCBA-D, Professor
Christina Billman, PhD, Senior Lecturer
Matthew Brock, PhD, Associate Professor
Donna Y. Ford, PhD, EHE Distinguished Professor
Leah M. Herner-Patnode, EdD, Associate Professor
Terri Hessler, PhD, Associate Professor
Yvonne Goddard, PhD, Associate Professor
Moira Konrad, PhD, Associate Professor
Helen Malone, PhD, BCBA-D, Professor
Peter Paul, PhD, Professor
Mary Peters, PhD, Senior Lecturer
Alana Telesman, PhD, Senior Lecturer


Peter Paul
Program Chair/Professor