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Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education

Special education doctoral students answer the tough questions in special education and working with students with disabilities.
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Special Education Ph.D.

Grounded in Research

The Special Education doctoral program at Michigan State University is grounded in research across a variety of methodological traditions and theoretical orientations. Students are mentored by nationally and internationally renowned faculty members, each a former special education teacher or service provider, who possess a deep understanding of educational challenges in real-world contexts.

Classroom and Community-Based Intervention

Faculty members are widely recognized for their commitment to and expertise in classroom and community-based interventions that translate theory into effective interventions. They work in partnership with teachers, behavior technicians, and interventionists, locally, and throughout the state, country, and world to answer challenging and important problems.

Student-Focused Programming

Students admitted to the Special Education doctoral program can pursue a cognate-or area of interest- of their choosing for both their research and their courses. Students can elect to pursue any cognate they wish, including, but not limited to, applied behavior analysis, language and literacy, mathmatics, and technology.

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Apprenticeship in:



Learn to conduct rigorous and relevent research that impacts policy, practice and student success



Develop a strong commitment to excellence in teacher preperation and professional development



Serve with integrity and leadership the families, institutions and professional communities concerned about children and youth with special needs

This Program By the Numbers

years of Guaranteed funding
U.S. News & World Report's 2021 Best Graduate Program Rankings
tenure Track faculty active in PhD program
Student Initiated Research Interests

Doctoral students conduct research alongside faculty members working in the areas of:

  • literacy,
  • mathematics,
  • applied behavior analysis,
  • autism,
  • assessment,
  • technology,
  • bullying and victimization.

Special Education Faculty

[MSU] Special education faculty get research or personnel preparation grants that support students as research assistants or fellows.

Kimberly A. Wolbers, PhD






MSU Aerial View of Campus

Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education
620 Farm Lane, Room 335 Erickson Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
Phone: (517) 353-1842