Special Education Specialization

Disability Disciplines Doctoral Program

The specialization

The Special Education specialization of the Disability Disciplines Ph.D. prepares graduates to be effective university faculty in special education who significantly improve children's lives through research, scholarship, and teaching.

This doctoral specialization offers students a unique combination of:

  • extensive collaboration with faculty
  • direct experience in research and scholarship, teaching, supervision, and writing
  • behavior analytic orientation to special education
  • focus on producing outstanding special education services

Program Contact

Dr. Tim Slocum


Office Location: EDUC 134
Phone: 435-797-3212
Email: tim.slocum@usu.edu

Research Opportunities

The department's many research and development projects provide outstanding opportunities for doctoral students to gain experience in developing products and conducting research.  Students collaborate with faculty and are also encouraged to pursue their own research interests.  Faculty research and development projects address the following: 

  • Willa van Dijk - Individual differences in Reading Development, Reading Instruction & Interventions, Effective Teacher Preparation, Quantitative Methodologies, Open Science
  • Kaitlin Bundock - Mathematics instruction and intervention for students with or at-risk for high-incidence disabilities, targeted (i.e., Tier 2) interventions within a School-Wide Positive Behavior Support system, specifically the Check-in, Check-out (CICO), pre-service teacher preparation, single-case research design
  • Bob Morgan - transition to employment and postsecondary education for students with severe disabilities, Aggies Elevated (a campus-based transition program at Utah State University for young adults with intellectual disabilities), and predictor research on successful postschool outcomes
  • Sarah Pinkelman - Evidence-based practice inMathematics instruction and intervention for students with or at-risk for high-incidence disabilities schools, school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports, prevention, classroom management, social and ecological validity, implementation science in schools, diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools.
  • Tim Slocum - Evidence-based practice, Explicit instruction, Single-case research methods, Implementation
  • Sophia D'Agostino - Coaching preschool teachers to implement evidence-based practices, naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions, enhancing meaningful inclusion for young children with disabilities, single case research methodology, and mixed methods research.
  • Ray Joslyn - Behavior analysis, interventions for at-risk students, classroom management, group contingencies, functional assessment and intervention, crime and delinquency.
  • Tom Higbee - Early intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), verbal behavior, parent and staff training, functional assessment and intervention, play and social skills interventions, behavioral variability



Planning Guides

Admission Deadline

Applications to the PhD Program are due January 15th for the following Fall semester. 

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Financial Aid

Excellent financial assistance is available to qualified students in the Disability Disciplines program. Support includes a monthly living stipend, tuition waiver, participation in professional conferences, and computer technology.