About this Program

This program is designed to address the acute shortage of doctoral level special education personnel. Graduates will have the professional research skills to work with school systems to address the diverse learning needs and behavior challenges associated with the education of students with special needs and those students at risk. Program graduates will attain a degree of proficiency in research and writing that will prepare them to make contributions to the professional literatures of special education and related disciplines.

Program Highlights

  • Coursework is supplemented by internships in a variety of settings.

  • Doctoral students are mentored by faculty.

  • Doctoral students participate in research projects.

Degree Level
Degree Earned
Doctor of Philosophy
Delivery Modes


Check out these ideas from ODU Career Development Services and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). A median salary is a midpoint of what people typically earn—half of those surveyed earned above the median salary, and half earned below.


What are the requirements to apply for Special Education at ODU?
Students entering the Doctor of Philosophy program in Special Education should meet the minimum university admission requirements Graduate Admission.

In order to be considered for admission into the Old Dominion University Ph.D. in Education: Special Education Concentration program (special education Ph.D. program) a candidate must include the following information in the application:

  • Proof of a completed master’s degree in special education or an equivalent degree in a related discipline from a program that is accredited by an appropriate specialized accrediting agency or from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.  Transcripts from universities outside the United States must be accompanied by a global credit evaluation from an accredited agency. 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 is expected;

  • Acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE): 156 [550] on the verbal portion and no less than 4.5 on the writing sample.

    • Applicants whose first 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;
  • A minimum of three years teaching experience in a pre-K – 12 setting with students with disabilities;

  • A 500-800-word statement of academic and professional goals. This statement must describe the applicant’s research agenda to meet his/her academic and professional goals;

  • A professional curriculum vitae;

  • Three letters of reference from individuals capable of commenting on the applicant’s readiness for advanced graduate study. At least two of these letters must be from academic sources. If a non-academic letter of reference is necessary, it should be from a professional source; and

  • Evidence of 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.


Estimated rates for the 2023-24 academic year. Rates are subject to change. Anyone that is not a current Virginia resident will be charged non-resident rates. That includes international students.

Virginia Resident
Cost Per-Credit $599
Technology Delivered Courses Outside Virginia and/or the United States
Cost Per-Credit $623
Cost Per-Credit $1,439

Ways to Save

Here are a few ways for you to save on the cost of attending ODU. For more information visit University Student Financial aid


Assistantships for full time students are available on a limited basis.



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