Special Education

PhD in Teaching and Learning, Focus on Special Education

In this PhD program in Teaching and Learning, you can focus your studies on special education and student with disabilities. Develop expertise in special education policy, research, and practices as you collaborate with our faculty. Our goal is to provide graduate students 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, and who are deeply committed to promoting equity through education.

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

  1. How do inclusive practices impact education outcomes for all students?
  2. What is disproportionality in local contexts? What interventions have addressed disproportionality effectively?
  3. How is a specific intervention designed and implemented to meet the diverse needs represented across educational settings?
  4. To what extent does current education policy support the practice of inclusive education?
  5. 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

Learn more about our doctoral degree requirements.

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 doctoral proram, 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. 

Work Closely with Our Renowned Faculty
The work of our research faculty explores and illuminates urban experience through sociology, psychology, literacy studies, cultural studies, policy studies. As a doctoral student in this program, you will study with a wide number of Steinhardt and other NYU faculty. 

Learn more about the faculty members that provide the advisory core of the program:
Mark Alter
Rachel Fish
Natasha Strassfeld
Audrey A. Trainor

How to apply

See application requirements and deadlines for the PhD program in Teaching and Learning. Please indicate your specific interest in urban education on your application.

See the Graduate Admissions Application Guide for instructions on how to apply online.

Fellowships, research assistant work, and other forms of funding are available. Please see Financial Aid.

For more information about this PhD program, please contact

Audrey A. Trainor