[ skip to content ]

Special Education (Education, Ph.D.)

Degree Level: Graduate
College: Education
Major : Education
Department: Communication Disorders & Special Education
Degree Earned: Doctor of Philosophy


  1. Application to the university/program: download an Application for Graduate Study and submit it to the ODU Office of Graduate Admissions, Rollins Hall [(757)683-3685] or submit your application online.
    Application Deadlines:

    Summer Semester:
    Application and credentials received by February 1. (Dates subject to change. Contact the Admissions Office for further information.)Note: If you wish to apply for Financial Aid, deadlines for application are as much as six months earlier. Contact the Financial Aid office at 757-683-3683. Financial aid is awarded only to regularly admitted graduate students. The Financial Aid Office also offers a graduated payment plan.
  2. A completed master's degree in special education or an equivalent degree, in an appropriate discipline in a program that is accredited by an appropriate specialized accrediting agency and from an institution of higher education that is regionally accredited. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.60 (on a 4.0 scale) overall for the master's degree and in the major area of study in the master's degree will be expected. In extraordinary circumstances, an individual may be accepted into the PhD in Education program on a provisional status without having received a master's degree. This individual first must complete the master's degree in the selected concentration area and meet all other admission criteria prior to beginning PhD coursework.
  3. An acceptable overall total score on the Graduate Record Examination (Minimum 550 on the verbal portion) and no less than a 4.5 on the writing sample. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit a current score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) according to the standards established by Old Dominion University.
  4. A 500-800-word statement of academic and professional goals. This statement must address how the applicant would work within the research agenda of the concentration to achieve his/her goals.
  5. Submission of a professional curriculum vitae.
  6. Three letters of reference from sources capable of commenting on the applicant's readiness for the advanced graduate study. At least two of these letters must be from an academic source.
  7. Prior course work in statistics and in theories of learning. If this requirement is not met, a student may be admitted and additional course work will be added to the candidate's program of study.
  8. An on-campus interview with concentration area faculty.

Applications for admission will be reviewed by the admissions committee from the special education concentration. Admission to the special education program is competitive with the number of applications expected to exceed the number of available openings. Admission criteria will be weighted with the most competitive applicants invited to participate in an on-campus interview. Most full time students will begin their course of study each summer semester as a cohort following a summer orientation.

Application Dates

Fall Spring Summer Financial Assistantship
Deadlines March 1
International February 1


Recommendations 3 (2 from an academic source)
Essay Yes
Transcripts From all prior institutions
Additional Instructions