Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation
The department's PhD program in Disability Disciplines prepares graduates for university faculty positions in research and personnel preparation in the areas of special education, rehabilitation, applied behavior analysis, disabilities studies, speech-language pathology, pathokinesiology and audiology. The PhD program is designed to develop students' competence in (1) mastery of the theoretical and applied content underlying provision of appropriate and effective services for persons with disabilities; (2) ability to conduct independent research; and (3) ability to conduct effective personnel preparation, including college teaching and supervising students who are learning to deliver services.
Coursework includes a set of core courses that establish foundation and framework for a rigorous and scholarly understanding of issues related to disability disciplines. In addition, each specialization provides unique coursework focused on issues that are more specific to that specialization.
Early in his/her program - typically after one year of full-time study - students must pass a preliminary exam. This exam focuses on research methods and critical content related to the specialization. Details of the structure and content of the exam varies across specializations.
Products and Demonstrations of Competence
A set of seven required products and demonstrations of competence provide a context for collaboration and mentoring around the critical skill sets necessary for successful university professors. The products and demonstrations of competence include research, college teaching, supervision, conference presentation, publication, review of literature, and grant writing. These activities are focused on the particular content and issues that are important within the student's specialization. This set of activities constitutes the program's comprehensive exam; they must be completed before the student proposes their dissertation.
The dissertation is the culminating project of the doctoral program. It involves original research that advances the field by contributing new knowledge that is relevant to an important question. The dissertation is a creative and scholarly endeavor that builds upon the student's coursework, products and demonstrations of competence, and extensive mentoring from the faculty.
Applied Behavior Analysis with Individuals with Disabilities
The Applied Behavior Analysis doctoral specialization at Utah State University prepares graduates to be highly effective university faculty and behavior analytic practitioners who significantly improve individuals' lives through research, intervention, and teaching.
The specialization offers students the opportunity to advance their behavior analytic skills by:
- taking advanced coursework in behavior analysis theory, research and practice
- practicing applied behavior analysis in clinical and educational settings
- collaborating extensively with faculty in the areas of research, teaching, and staff supervision
For more specific information, please visit the department's website: sper.usu.edu/doctoral/applied-behavior-analysis.
The Audiology specialization within the Disability Disciplines PhD program offers a multidisciplinary doctoral degree that brings together faculty and students across disciplinary and departmental lines to explore interrelated aspects of disabilities. All specializations balance a common core of multidisciplinary coursework and applied activities with a strong disciplinary focus. Thus, both faculty and students work within a multidisciplinary context without compromising their important disciplinary perspective, knowledge, and skills.
The Audiology doctoral specialization at Utah State University prepares graduates to be highly effective university faculty in audiology programs. Prospective students enter the program with an earned graduate degree in audiology (AuD, MS). Programs of study can be created for students with an earned bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders, or for students interested in completing a combined AuD/PhD. For more specific information, please visit the department's website: sper.usu.edu/doctoral/audiology.
The Disability Studies doctoral specialization at Utah State University prepares graduates to be highly effective university faculty in disability studies programs. Graduates contribute to a deeper understanding of the complexities of disabilities in the context of changing demographics and society.
This specialization offers students a unique combination of:
- extensive collaboration with interdisciplinary faculty
- direct experience in research, teaching, and writing
- broad sociopolitical perspective of disabilities
- a social constructionist approach to disability studies
For more specific information, please visit the department's website: sper.usu.edu/doctoral/disability-studies.
The Pathokinesiology specialization within the Disability Disciplines doctoral program focuses on the scientific study of human movement (kinesiology) as it relates to any abnormal condition (patho) affecting movement or postural dysfunction.
The PhD in Pathokinesiology is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students to be productive in research and to pursue a career in academia or industry. The program offers training to investigators who seek to answer questions about human movement, its functions and dysfunctions. Students will be exposed to three core areas: motor control, motor learning and biomechanics. For more specific information, please visit the department's website: sper.usu.edu/doctoral/pathokinesiology.
The Rehabilitation Counseling doctoral specialization at Utah State University offers students a unique combination of:
- extensive collaboration with faculty
- direct experience in research, teaching, counselor supervision, and grant writing
- focus on preparing outstanding rehabilitation counseling service providers
This specialization prepares graduates to be highly effective university faculty and agency administrators in rehabilitation counseling. Graduates significantly improve the lives of persons with disabilities through research, teaching, and program administration. For more specific information, please visit the department's website: sper.usu.edu/doctoral/rehab-counseling.
The Special Education specialization of the Disability Disciplines PhD 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
For more specific information, please visit the department's website: sper.usu.edu/doctoral/special-education.
The Speech-Language Pathology specialization within the Disability Disciplines PhD brings together faculty and students across disciplinary and departmental lines to explore interrelated aspects of disabilities.
The program requirements include a combination of required and elective coursework, a preliminary exam, professional products, and a dissertation. Each student, with the mentor and committee, designs an individualized course of study. The preliminary comprehensive examination typically occurs at the end of the first year of study and determines whether students are ready to move into more specialized coursework and research experiences. Across the period of study, students complete professional products in seven areas: research, conference presentation, writing for publication, systematic review of research literature, grant writing, college teaching, and supervision/coaching. To develop research knowledge and skills, students are expected to engage in multiple research activities with their mentors and other faculty. For more specific information, please visit the department's website: sper.usu.edu/doctoral/slp.