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Special Education

PhD in Teaching and Learning Concentration

Focus your studies on special education and students with disabilities. Develop expertise in special education policy, research, and practices as you collaborate with our faculty. Our goal is to provide you with intellectual and professional experiences that expand dispositions, knowledge, and skills associated with special education scholarship, teacher preparation, and disability rights advocacy.

We also recognize the importance of building a field that values diversity, seeking to admit individuals from diverse experiential, racial/ethnic, linguistic, gender identity and other backgrounds, who are deeply committed to promoting equity through education.

We encourage you to explore a variety of questions for purpose of improving education equity for students with disabilities and the schools that serve them. Examples include:

  • How do inclusive practices impact education outcomes for all students?
  • What is disproportionality in local contexts? What interventions have addressed disproportionality effectively?
  • How is a specific intervention designed and implemented to meet the diverse needs represented across educational settings?
  • To what extent does current education policy support the practice of inclusive education?
  • How are teacher education programs addressing the current shortage of special education teachers?

What you'll learn

  • Historical and present special education policy and key legislation
  • Current research trends in scholarship and teacher preparation for working with students with disabilities
  • Contemporary issues involving knowledge and opportunity gaps in providing equal education opportunities to all students
  • Methods for designing, implementation, and disseminating research projects of individualized interest

How you'll learn

New York City as Your Research Setting

NYU was founded in the early 19th century by advocates for a new kind of university, one built in the heart of the city and working on the problems of the city. Today, NYU Steinhardt affords its doctoral students an unparalleled opportunity to shape a scholarly career in this founding spirit. As a student in this doctorate, you'll have access to:

Small Classes and Doctoral Seminars

Courses in this program prepare you to conduct independent research in your area of interest. You'll design research proposals, implement a research agenda, and disseminate findings. You will also attend doctoral seminars that foster deep conversations on relevant texts and issues in the field. 


Mark M. Alter

Professor of Educational Psychology

Rachel Fish

Associate Professor of Special Education

Audrey A. Trainor

Professor of Special Education; Content Director, Programs in Special Education