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Ph.D. Educational Psychology/Special Education

Cognate Description:

Advanced preparation of special educators for leadership positions in special education research (emphasis on data interpretation, conclusions, and ramifications), practice (emphasis on empirically, research-based interventions), and policy (emphasis on codifying research and practice for effective implementation) to best serve children, youth, and adults with high-incidence disabilities.

The fields of Special Education and Educational Psychology have always been closely related. However, since the introduction of non-intrusive brain imagery technology, especially with "special populations," the fields have become almost inseparable, especially for school psychologist, counselors, and educational diagnosticians. Therefore, the combining of Special Education and Educational Psychology into one major cognate area opens up courses and opportunities germane to both fields. While recognizing the similarities in the fields, there are those professionals who may desire to specialize in either Special Education or Educational Psychology. The options are available through the various tracks within the program: Special Education or Educational Psychology (with sub-tracks in Human Learning and Development or Research and Program Evaluation).

The Educational Psychology emphasis includes two areas of study: research and evaluation and learning and development. The research and evaluation track allows one to specialize in testing and program assessment at the school district level. A heavy emphasis will be placed on quantitative analysis. The learning and development track equips school professionals to utilize the most appropriate theories and research to improve the chances of academic and behavioral success for students. The study of brain research in relationship to learning will be emphasized. Read dissertation abstracts of students in the Educational Psychology cognate.

The Special Education emphasis is designed to equip educators with advanced proficiencies in (a) theoretical and practical analytical application and a comprehensive knowledge of the special education field. Emphases in historical, quantitative, and written analysis prepare students for leadership careers as university faculty or as senior educational administrators.

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