The JOINT Doctoral Program in Special Education, offered jointly with San Francisco State University, culminates in a Ph.D. degree. The program draws on the strengths of both universities in developing leaders and researchers in the field of atypical development and learning.
Students select an area of academic specialization in both special and general education. Faculty and program resources on the two campuses are used to develop advanced knowledge of theory and research in an area of exceptionality. Specializations include human development; early childhood, language and literacy; mathematics, science, and technology; educational policy and administration; and other areas selected by students in consultation with faculty advisers. In the program students develop three areas of emphasis or specialization.
Courses are taken on both university campuses, and faculty are drawn from both institutions.
Directors: Anne Cunningham (UC Berkeley), and Marci Hanson (SF State).
Download (pdf) the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education Handbook.
Individuals from related disciplines in the social, behavioral, and health sciences who seek leadership and research training in Special Education and Human Development are encouraged to apply. In addition to the academic criteria for admission, consideration is given to successful experience in working with individuals with disabilities, or in programs serving these populations. For specific requirements please consult the JD SpEd handbook.
Students in the Joint Doctoral program pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).
As described in the Handbook for Advanced Degree Students, the Ph.D. degree is intended for individuals who wish to conduct original theory-based research on educational problems, and who intend to pursue careers in research and university-level teaching. Specific requirements relative to the Ph.D. (including academic preparation, areas of specialization, coursework, prequalifying and qualifying examinations, and the dissertation) are described in the Handbook for Advanced Graduate Degrees.
Students in the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education fulfill the same requirements as all doctoral students in the Graduate School of Education. They complete a body of coursework, that includes three areas of specialization, two position papers which include one empirical study, internship, oral examination on the areas of specialization, dissertation proposal and defense without a final dissertation defense
In general, Ph.D. students should be prepared for research leadership and the exploration of conceptual frontiers. The Ph.D. dissertation must make an original contribution to the body of knowledge in Special Education. A student may be interested, for example, in the cognitive growth of children with learning disabilities, or the application of organization theory in the administration of Special Education programs.
Since the program began, 98 people have graduated with the joint doctoral degree. Graduates of the program have pursued professional positions at major universities nationally and internationally. Our graduates have gone on to faculty positions at: CUNY, Vanderbilt, Florida State University, Gallaudet University, Hebrew University, Tennessee State University and University of Hawaii. As envisioned, many of the graduates have gone on to become faculty members and administrators at the various CSU campuses (including East Bay, Northridge, San Francisco State, and San Jose). Other local institutions include the University of San Francisco and College of Alameda.
Graduates have also gone on to serve as directors of special education, administrators, and clinically based programs in public or private facilities. Examples of these position include: Director, King County Vocational Special Education, Seattle, WA; Special Education Consultant, Department of Education, CA; Senior Program & Policy Associate, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.
Doctoral students from all UC campuses are encouraged to participate with the proposed UC SPEDDR Center for Research (Research in Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk). UC SPEDDR is a California-wide Multi-UC Campus Research Unit that aims to enhance the ability of the UC system to attract from a national pool of talented students, win large extramural grants, improve national visibility, and enhance the doctoral preparation of the next generation of research, teacher education, and other related public service doctorates.