Special Education

Doctor of Education
  • Overview
  • Course Information
  • Tuition
  • Benefits

In NCU’s EdD Special Education specialization, you will investigate specific court and legal cases, federal mandates, case studies and application opportunities related to the six pillars of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). Under the guidance of your mentoring professors, student placement, service delivery requirements, discipline, appropriate educational decisions, family rights, and privacy issues are addressed. You will explore challenging legal issues that face current administrators of special education programs, especially preparation for due-process hearings as well as manifestation determination meetings. Graduates will be prepared for careers as school district administrators 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.

See below for specialization courses specific to this program. To learn more, fill out the request information form below or view the course catalog.

Course Code


Course Description


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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: $902
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,706
  • Program cost: $49,058
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $350
  • 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.

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