Special Education (PhD)


Degrees Offered


The Ph.D. program prepares scholars to be researchers, teacher educators, and leaders in the field of special education in order to address the needs of individuals with mild/moderate disabilities from high poverty and culturally diverse backgrounds. The Ph.D. special education students will benefit from a faculty that has an individualize approach of study to meet their students’ needs and enhance graduates’ marketability for positions in higher education and leadership positions.


Program of Study

Graduates of the Ph.D. in Special Education program will:

  • Develop, revise, and implement an effective personnel preparation program by focusing on identification and implementation of evidence-based practices and culturally-responsive teaching practices;
  • Develop, implement, analyze, and disseminate high-quality research related to the unique needs of students with disabilities and teachers in high-needs schools;
  • Design and implement research studies that meet high quality, research standards;
  • Provide high-quality, targeted professional development in academic and behavioral interventions for students with disabilities to teachers and leaders in high-needs schools;
  • Apply leadership skills in a variety of contexts (e.g., teaching in higher education, collaborating with school partners, and involvement in professional organizations).


Application Information

The priority application deadline is January 15. Applicants who wish to be considered for an assistantship must submit a complete application by January 15 in order to be included in the first round of reviews.

If the annual priority deadline is missed, applicants have until April 15 to submit complete applications, but no assistantships will be available during this second round of reviews.

This program only admits for fall terms.

Required Documents

Admission requirements include the following:

  • Admission to the Clemson University Graduate School
  • Master’s applicants with a GPA of 3.5 on 4.0 scale

Complete application packet:

  • Online Application
  • Official TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores for International Students
  • Unofficial Transcripts
    Official Transcripts required upon acceptance. Do not send official transcripts until you have received your letter of acceptance.
  • Competitive GRE scores
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Current Resume/Vita
  • Letter of intent – Writing sample that communicates the applicant’s professional philosophy and goals, research interests and purpose for seeking the doctorate. The letter should be two to three pages in length.
  • Students whose native language is not English must submit acceptable scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), unless an undergraduate degree was completed in the United States.

In addition to the application packet, students may be required to participate in an on-campus or telephone interview. 




Clemson University announces the availability of scholarships for 5 promising doctoral students to earn their Ph.D. in Special Education, with an emphasis in academic and behavioral interventions. Project Exemplary Personnel for Education, Research, and Teaching in Special Education (ExPERTiSE,) a U.S. Department of Education (OSEP) grant will fund students across four years of study. Doctoral students will work closely with faculty on research projects, college teaching and supervision, leadership in professional organizations, and other initiatives that lead to subsequent professional careers as scholars at institutions of higher education.

ExPERTiSE provides doctoral students a unique opportunity to develop skills needed for success as teacher educators, researchers, and scholars. ExPERTiSE provides:

  • extensive coursework and training in research design and analyses
  • rich contexts for scientifically-based research in high needs schools
  • internships with Clemson’s National Drop-out Prevention Center
  • instructor training in Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
  • aimsweb Training certification
  • mentoring and personnel preparation in academic and behavioral interventions.


  • $23,000 annual stipend
  • tuition and fees
  • $2,000 annual travel allowance
  • Trainer Certification in Bullying Prevention
  • Internships with National Dropout Prevention Center and High Needs Schools


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)