Special Education

Doctor of Education

In the Special Education specialization, you will investigate specific court and legal cases, federal mandates, case studies and application opportunities related to the six pillars of Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). Student placement, service delivery requirements, discipline, appropriate educational decisions, family rights, and privacy issues will be addressed, and you will explore challenging legal issues facing current administrators of special education programs, especially preparation for due process hearings as well as manifestation determination meetings. As a graduate, you will be prepared to utilize your knowledge and skills in pursuit of various careers, such as a school district administrator of special education programs or a university position preparing special education students at initial certification or advanced levels.

General Degree Requirements

The EdD program may be completed in 54 credits. However, up to an additional 12 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. An Academic Advisor or Enrollment Specialist evaluates each student individually and works with the student to create an academically sound Learning Plan based on prior academics and their professional goals.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. Normal time to complete varies depending upon course take rate and credits transferred.

Northcentral University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed toward a non-conferred doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required course work for the EdD program.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The EdD program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree Requirements

  • Individuals with a previously completed master’s degree will meet the basis of admission to the Doctor of Education Program.
  • Students must complete all doctoral courses with a Grade Point Average of 3.00 (B) or higher.
  • EdD students must demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

Doctoral Dissertation Process

The School of Education has developed a logical step-by-step process that assists in completing an EdD applied research dissertation. Northcentral University provides a detailed EdD Dissertation Handbook that explains the process and Northcentral University's dissertation support structure. The EdD doctoral research courses, the comprehensive exam course and the dissertation courses are specifically designed to guide students through the process.

The dissertation is the capstone academic achievement of the EdD. The EdD dissertation is applied, project based and results in a product designed to produce appreciable improvements in the student's school or organization and must also impact the student's leadership growth. Although applied and project based, the EdD dissertation is a scholarly document. To earn the EdD degree, the student must demonstrate the ability, drive and determination; and Northcentral University will provide the faculty, the academic support and process to assist in the attainment of high academic goals.

The School of Education offers students the opportunity to pursue an area of specialization within a degree program. Students who complete at least 18 semester credit hours in a specific specialization may elect to have the specialization recorded on their transcript and diploma.

Northcentral University recognizes that each student is unique, and therefore evaluates each application based not only on what courses or program of study a student has accomplished previously, but takes into consideration which specialization is being pursued at Northcentral University and their current and future professional goals.

Course Length

Existing EdD students may opt to switch to eight-week courses by contacting their Academic Advisor. Once existing EdD students have opted for eight-week courses, they must receive approval from the Office of the Dean to switch back to a program of 12-week courses. All eight-week courses are indicated by a "-8" (dash eight) at the end of the course code.

The EdD in Education requires two Foundation Courses, five Specialization, five research courses and one Statistical course for a total of 39 credit hours.

Course Code

Name

Course Description

Specialization Course 1

EDR7100

Scholarly Literature Review

This course focuses on the scholarly review of literature and academic writing. The course emphasis is on how to conduct effective literature searches in preparation for the dissertation, develop a plan for writing comprehensive, critical, and synthesized reviews of research literature, and critically review and write about underlying conceptual frameworks that lay the foundation for future research. The overarching goal of this course is for students to conduct an exhaustive search of the peer-reviewed research literature in education and identify potential areas of inquiry for their dissertation.

EDR7103

Research Methods

This introductory research methods course provides a foundation for subsequent research courses in preparation for successfully completing a dissertation at Northcentral University. Students will continue to build upon skills from prior courses as they critically analyze the existing research literature, but now with a focus on the research methods utilized. In addition, students will investigate the theoretical and practical foundations of the primary research methodologies used in educational research, specifically qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research. Topics will include the ethics of research, data collection and analysis techniques, and issues of reliability, validity, trustworthiness and rigor. Emphasis will be placed on identifying criteria for a quality research project and whether a research study is aligned and cohesive. Students will have the opportunity explore topics of interest from different research perspectives (e.g. quantitative, qualitative) with the goal of helping students begin to clarify their future research course plan.

Specialization Course 2

EDR7101

Statistics 1

In this course, students will learn how to use statistical analyses in research. Foundational topics covered include frequency distributions, z-scores, probabilities, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, exploratory data analysis, power analyses, t-tests, correlations, bivariate regression, analyses of variance, and the chi-square test. Although students will complete many computations by hand, they will also use statistical software to analyze data. Students will build their independent scholarly skills by enhancing their scientific and statistical literacy. Therefore, the emphasis will be on understanding the data; comprehending statistical concepts; analyzing, interpreting, and critically evaluating statistical information; and communicating statistical information and knowledge.

Specialization Course 3

EDR7104

Introduction to Measurement

This course provides the fundamentals of qualitative and quantitative measurement and serves as a primary overview of basic concepts and methods of measurement as applied to practical problems in education. This course also serves as an introduction to the Advanced Quantitative Design and Measurement and Advanced Qualitative Design and Measurement courses. Topics and concepts discussed in this course include the history and levels of measurement, reliability and validity, the trustworthiness of qualitative research, norms and percentiles, item and instrument construction, interview and questionnaire guides, and bias and ethics associated with tests and data collection. In addition to introducing the basics of measurement, this course is meant to improve independent scholarly skills through the engagement of scientific literacy as it pertains to the student’s primary area of focus and appropriate research design methodology.

Specialization Course 4

EDR7105

Advanced Qualitative Design and Measurement

This course is designed to provide students with a focused examination of the research methods used in qualitative inquiry, with particular emphasis on the issue of problem alignment and suitability of the research question for qualitative design. This course will cover the theories and philosophies behind qualitative research, the elements that characterize a qualitative study, techniques used to improve the trustworthiness of the study, the role of the researcher and participant in qualitative research, and the various methods used to frame a qualitative study. A number of qualitative methodologies and data collection and analysis methods will be discussed. Students will develop a mock qualitative research proposal as the signature assignment. Note, however, this proposal does not constitute a capstone document in the dissertation process; rather it is an opportunity to test ideas and receive feedback in preparation for the dissertation phase of the program.

or EDR7106

Advanced Qualitative Design and Measurement

This course provides in-depth knowledge of quantitative research design. The goal of this course is to ensure that students have a firm understanding of the unique and critical elements that provide a framework for a study and give it direction, with particular emphasis on problem alignment and suitability of the research question for quantitative design. This course approaches the topic of quantitative research design from both theoretical and practical perspectives, and encourages students to become competent creators and consumers of quantitative research by exploring how quantitative information is generated, summarized, evaluated, and represented. Test theories, reliability and validity, critical issues in measurement, and factor analysis will be covered in some detail. The course focuses on the uses of different tests in a variety of settings. Students will develop a mock quantitative research proposal as the signature assignment. Note, however, this proposal does not constitute a capstone document in the dissertation process; rather it is an opportunity to test ideas and receive feedback in preparation for the dissertation phase of the program.

Specialization Course 5

EDR7109

Mixed Methods Research

This course is designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge to critically evaluate the mixed method research approach and also be skilled in implementing a mixed method study. The philosophical foundation behind the mixed methods approach, the debates about the approach, reliability and validity concerns, and the steps and considerations when designing a mixed method research project are presented throughout this course.

or EDR7110

Program Evaluation

This course provides an overview of program evaluation research – from needs assessment to the communication and utilization of findings. The different types of program evaluation, including formative and summative evaluation, are covered. The importance of stakeholder input is highlighted. In addition, the ways in which various research methods and designs can be applied to program evaluation research are discussed. Students will gain practical experience with this type of research by completing a series of activities involving the application of program evaluation research principles. Furthermore, students will engage in a critical review of published program evaluation research as they continue to develop their independent scholarly skills.

or EDR7111

Case Study

This course is designed as a laboratory in which you can prepare to use case study research methods by conducting a small-scale case study on a topic/project of interest to education scholars. The course will prepare students to define appropriate case study research questions, to employ suitable data collection and analysis strategies, and to evaluate case research for credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability.

or EDR7112

Action Research

This course is designed to prepare students who desire to use action research methods and as an opportunity for students to prepare to conduct research on topics/projects of interest to education scholars. The primary goal of action research is to solve a problem that will lead to improvement in individual or organizational practice. In addition to developing an action research proposal, students will gain knowledge about the theoretical, philosophical, epistemological, and political considerations surrounding action research, specifically in educational environments. Students will gain an understanding of the cyclical nature of action research. Student researchers in this course will be prepared to understand the unique role of the researcher in action research, the importance of stakeholders, to define appropriate action research questions, and to evaluate action research studies critically.

Basic Foundation Courses - 6 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

EDU7101 / EDU7101-8

Foundations for Graduate Study in Education (This course will be taken as the first course)

This course is an orientation to Northcentral University and to the essential skills needed to pursue a doctoral degree in Education. Doctoral level skills, such as academic integrity, time management, effective use of the Northcentral Library, comprehending complex scholarly texts and research articles, and APA form and style in professional communication are also introduced. Students will complete the course with a better understanding of personal goals, strengths, and challenges, and a roadmap to navigate their way to completion of their educational aspirations.

EDU7001 / EDU7001-8

Advanced Scholarly Writing

The purpose of this course is to build advanced skills identifying and obtaining high quality sources through online library searches. In addition, the course addresses advanced writing and APA formatting skills, and it prepares students to be critically reflective consumers of research reports.

Specialization Courses - 18 credit hours, Select 6 courses from the following:

Course Code

Name

Course Description

SE7000-8

Introduction to the Exceptional Student

In this course, students will gain an overview of research and current perspectives related to special education and associated administrative duties or higher education responsibilities. Topics include: the history of special education, identification of students with special needs, provisions of the IDEA/IDEIA, legal issues, inclusion, transitions, classroom modifications, instructional strategies, assessment procedures, service delivery models, and educational programming.

SE7001-8

Assessment in Special Education

In this course, students will be introduced to practical, applied approaches to the procedures of the assessment process, testing procedures, assessment results, and the faculty involved in these processes. Students will learn to strengthen the connection between gathering assessment information and the analysis and synthesis of data to develop report summaries.

SE7002-8

Learning Disabled Student

This course will focus on issues related to students with mild disabilities. Common characteristics, instructions for assisting teachers to work with students who have specific disabilities, best practices for identification of learning disabilities, and working with at-risk students will be covered. Major emphasis will be placed on assisting classroom and special education teachers with identifying and adapting instructional materials in the content areas for individuals with mild disabilities. Preparing to teach students with mild disabilities in collaborative or resource room settings will also be addressed as well as how to select from a variety of strategies appropriate to the varied learning modalities for students with mild disabilities. Ways to support teachers in inclusive settings will also be discussed.

SE7003-8

Emotionally Disabled Student

In this course, students will address common characteristics, best practices for identification, and instructional practices pertaining to students with emotional or behavioral disorders. Major emphasis will be placed on prevention procedures and intervention strategies to address behavioral issues. Preparing to teach individuals with emotional and behavior disorders in collaborative settings will also be addressed as well as how to select a variety of appropriate instructional strategies. Ways to support teachers in inclusive settings will also be discussed.

SE7004-8

Developing Curriculum for the Mentally Disabled

In this course, students will explore various educational programs and teaching strategies that have been used successfully to assist students with disabilities. Students will develop an understanding of how to monitor individualized education programs by assessing individual student needs; modifying or designing instruction to improve student performance; and analyzing, selecting, and adapting curriculum for students with special needs. Positive methods of managing individual student behavior for students with special educational needs are also addressed.

SE7005-8

Law in Special Education

In this course, students will focus on various legal issues facing special educators and administrators. Components will include investigations of specific court cases, federal mandates, case studies, and application opportunities. Student identification, service delivery options, appropriate educational services, and family rights and privacy issues are explored. How to research court case rulings that pertain to specific states and how to locate current information on legal issues is included to assist administrators of special education programs. Preparing for due process hearings and following procedural due process are also covered.

SE7006-8

Teaching Strategies in Special Education

In this course, students will examine teaching strategies that may be used to assist students with mild disabilities. The latest information on Response to Intervention (RTI) is covered, with information on practical applications to promote success in the classroom. Participants will develop an understanding of how to monitor individualized education programs and modify or design instructional strategies to improve student performance. Providing leadership in regard to analyzing, selecting, and adapting strategies for students with special needs will be addressed.

SE7007-8

Managing the Exceptional Student

This course will cover behaviorism, applied behavior analysis, behavior goals and objectives, data collection and recording techniques, and appropriate methods of behavior modification related to effective instruction in special education programs. Topics include: legal and ethical issues, social adjustment, and research-based best practices, and intervention plans.

SE7008-8

Language Disabilities

In this course, students will focus on communication disorders, as it relates to enhancing literacy skills. Topics include: a basic understanding of the nature of speech and language, developmental progression in language acquisition, techniques for evaluating language, remediation procedures for language and communication disorders, and communication impairments associated with autism and emotional disabilities.

SE7009-8

Transitioning the Exceptional Student

In this course, students will learn the process of transition planning for individuals with disabilities. Topics include: interagency collaboration, vocational assessment, and life-skills competencies, development of appropriate pathways to success, development of interagency agreements for service delivery to students with disabilities, exiting the school setting, career planning, and preparation for job placement.

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination - 3 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

CMP9400E

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

In their pursuit of a professional doctoral degree (EdD) at Northcentral University, students gain expertise in their academic discipline and in one or more specializations that complement their academic discipline. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination is intended to assure that students have mastered knowledge of their discipline before candidacy status is achieved and their dissertation work is initiated. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination is taken following the completion of all foundation, specialization, and methods courses. This course is graded using Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) grading criteria. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination must be successfully completed with an (S) grade prior to beginning any work in Dissertation courses. This course may only be retaken once.

Dissertation Courses - 12 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

DIS9401E

Doctoral Dissertation Research I

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the professional doctorate degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral presentation. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least once every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9402E

Doctoral Dissertation Research II

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the professional doctorate degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral presentation. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least once every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9403E

Doctoral Dissertation Research III

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the professional doctorate degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral presentation. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least once every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9404E

Doctoral Dissertation Research IV

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the professional doctorate degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral presentation. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least once every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s EdD costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $871
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,613
  • Program cost: $47,034
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $250
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors. For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.