Elevate your career with the University of Florida’s online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Special Education, a program inspired by the principles of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). This professional practice doctorate is meticulously designed to forge expert practitioners equipped to make significant impacts as service providers, school leaders, professional development facilitators, and advocates for individuals with disabilities.

Program Overview

As a participant in this program, you will engage deeply with your professional practice and the broader context of your work, leveraging evidence-based strategies to foster academic and social advancements for students with disabilities. Spanning approximately four years, this journey culminates in a practical dissertation experience, mentored by our globally acclaimed special education faculty.

For more information about our Online Ed.D. in Special Education contact our program coordinator, Dr. Kristi Cheyney-Collante.

Ed.D. in Special Education Core Curriculum

Our carefully crafted curriculum provides a comprehensive foundation for success. Mandatory courses are available both online and face-to-face, enhancing the collaborative learning experience. The program’s requirements include electives, quantitative and qualitative research courses, and dedicated dissertation hours. The Ph.D. in Special Education is a full-time, on-campus program at the UF College of Education in Gainesville, Florida.

Choosing Your Path: Ph.D. vs. Ed.D.

Choosing between a Ph.D. and an Ed.D. in Education requires careful consideration of academic interests and career goals. While both are doctoral degrees, they differ in emphasis. 

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy):

    • Ideal for those aspiring to pursue careers in academia, research, or leadership positions in technology-driven educational institutions.
    • Emphasizes advanced research, theory development, and scholarly contributions in educational technology.
    • Focuses on advancing knowledge and understanding of educational technology through rigorous academic inquiry and publishing scholarly work in peer-reviewed journals.

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education):

    • Ideal for in-service educators and professionals seeking leadership roles that involve implementing and managing technology integration in educational settings.
    • Offers a practice-oriented approach, focusing on applying research to real-world challenges in educational technology.
    • Prepares graduates to address practical issues, drive innovation, and lead educational technology initiatives within schools, districts, or educational organizations.

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    Ed.D. Program Curriculum

    The Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) degree consists of 90 total credits: 30 credits are transferred from a student’s relevant master’s degree, and they obtain 60 credits through the program.

    Required Courses

    All courses are 8-week online offerings except for seminars, research courses, and dissertation research that are full semester courses.

    • EEX 6936: Introduction to Inquiry in Special Education
    • EEX 6936: Introduction to Inquiry in Special Education II
    • EEX 6936: Disability in Education – Issues and Trends
    • EEX 6936: Proposal Development
    • EDF 6416: Quantitative Methods for Evaluation in Educational Environments
    • EEX 6936: Reading and Designing Qualitative Research
    • EEX 6936: Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis
    • EEX 6936: Applied Research for Scholarly Practitioners

    Research Requirements

    Qualitative Methods

    • EDF 6475–Qualitative Foundations of Educational Research (4)
    • EDF 7483–Qualitative data collection (3) Prereq: EDF 6475
    • EDF 7479–Qualitative data analysis (3) Prereq: EDF 6475
    • EDF 7639–Research in Educational Sociology (3) Prereq: EDF 6475

    Quantitative Methods

    • EDF 6403–Quantitative Foundations of Educational Research (6) OR,
      • EDF 6400–Quantitative Foundations in Educational Research: Overview (3), and
      • EDF 6402—Quantitative Foundations in Educational Research: Inferential Statistics (3).
    • EDF 6436–Theory of Measurement (4) Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6400 & 6402 o EDF 6471–Survey Design and Analysis in Educational Research (3) Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6400 & 6402
    • EDF 6481–Quantitative Research Methods in Education (4) Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6400 & 6402
    • EDF 7405–Advanced Quantitative Foundations of Educational Research (4); Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6400 & 6402
    • EDF 7491–Evaluation of Educational Products and Systems (3) Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6400 & 6402
    • EDF 7412–Structural Equation Models (3) Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6400 & 6402; and EDF 7405
    • EDF 7439–Item Response Theory (3) Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6400 & 6402; and EDF 6436
    • EDF 7474–Multilevel Models (3) Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6400 & 6402; and 7405
    • EDF 7432–Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research (3) Prereq: EDF 6403 or 6400 & 6402; and 7405


    • EEX 6296: Differentiated Instruction
    • TBD from other EEX, Methods, or AOS

    Program Requirement

    • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, or a degree deemed equivalent by the University of Florida Office of Admissions.
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 upper-division (last 60 credits) undergraduate work.
    • An acceptable grade point average for previous graduate work.

    Program Highlight

    Entry:Fall Semester
    Typical Course Load: 12-15 credits per semester
    Full-Time/Part-Time: Full-Time
    Application Deadline: See dates published by the college
    Average Class Size: 20-27
    Program Completion: 3-4 years