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PHD Doctor of Philosophy in Education Special Education Leadership specialization


My Graduation Date

Total program credits needed for graduation: 120

One academic quarter is 3 months. You will have a 3-week break between each quarter.

To learn more, call 1.866.933.5981 or email an enrollment counselor. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor who is trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.

Core Courses

16 course quarter credits.

Education: Purpose, Theory, and Practice (4 quarter credits)
Educational Research Methods (4 quarter credits)
Introduction to Qualitative Research* (4 quarter credits)
Statistics for Educational Research 1* (4 quarter credits)

Specialization Courses

44 course quarter credits.

Principles of Educational Administration (4 quarter credits)
The Funding of Educational Institutions (4 quarter credits)
Education and the Law (4 quarter credits)
Curriculum Development (4 quarter credits)
Teacher Supervision and Evaluation (4 quarter credits)
Special Education Administration (4 quarter credits)
Leadership for Director of Special Education* (4 quarter credits)
Special Education Curriculum and Instructional Strategies* (4 quarter credits)
Special Education Law and Finance* (4 quarter credits)
Internship for Director of Special Education 1* (4 quarter credits)
Internship for Director of Special Education 2* (4 quarter credits)

Nine Elective Courses

36 course quarter credits.

Recommended elective courses:

Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Educational Process (4 quarter credits)
The Politics of P–12 Education (4 quarter credits)
The Superintendency (4 quarter credits)
Introduction to School Business Administration (4 quarter credits)
The Future of Teaching and Learning: Issues for the Educational Leader (4 quarter credits)
P–12 Principalship (4 quarter credits)
The Historical and Social Foundations of Education (4 quarter credits)
Statistics for Educational Research 2* (4 quarter credits)
The Governance of Educational Institutions (4 quarter credits)


Choose any graduate courses.

Comprehensive Examination and Dissertation Coursework

24 course quarter credits. Upon completion of required coursework:

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination* (4 quarter credits)

Learners must register for ED9960 a minimum of four times to fulfill their specialization requirements.

Dissertation Courseroom* (5 quarter credits each)

*This course has a prerequisite. Contact an enrollment counselor or refer to the course descriptions for more information.

Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement. State regulations vary regarding professional licensure and salary benefits. It is the learner's responsibility to understand and comply with requirements for their states. Where applicable, teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether a program may qualify for salary advancement. For more information on licensure, visit our licensure page. (Washington state learners are advised to go to: for more information)

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners requires graduates to first earn a Minnesota license and (if applicable) endorsement prior to applying for an Iowa license or endorsement. Capella assists learners seeking an Iowa license with understanding the Minnesota requirements and contacting state educator licensing offices. An Iowa resident seeking subsequent licensure from the Iowa Board of Education Examiners must contact that Board for licensure requirements in Iowa. See the education licensure page for contact information.

† Learners in the doctoral Special Education Leadership specialization are required to take and pass the Praxis II Series Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision (0411 or 5411) test with a score of 145 to successfully complete their program. Learners must submit their scores during ED7555. Learners are responsible for any costs associated with this assessment.

North Carolina residents are currently not eligible to enroll in this program.

This program has not been reviewed or approved by Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania residents will have to apply and meet requirements for certification as out-of-state candidates.

Maryland residents are not eligible to enroll in this specialization.

Residency Requirement

To support your academic and professional success, residential colloquia provide learning and community-building experiences in a stimulating scholarly environment. For this specialization, you must complete three four-day colloquia (ED-R8921, ED-R8922, ED-R8923).

What Can I Expect?

Most students take 1 to 2 courses at a time. One course typically requires 10 to 12 hours of study per week.

Courses are divided into 10 weekly units. Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

Learn more about online learning at Capella.

Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which can help save time and money. You can transfer up to 48 credits into this specialization.

Sign Up for a Free One-Week Mini Course

Learn more about our online learning experience with a free one-week mini course.

Take an Individual Course

Whether you're completing continuing education credits, want to see if online learning is right for you, or are simply interested in a specific topic, you can enroll in many of Capella's online courses without committing to a degree program. We recommend speaking first with an enrollment counselor to discuss your goals and ensure the credits you earn now can be applied to a degree program later.

Learn more about individual courses

To learn more, call 1.866.933.5981 or email an enrollment counselor. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor who is trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.


My Preferred Start Date


My Preferred Courseload

More Flexible Schedule
More Accelerated Program
One academic quarter is 3 months.

Explore More Ways to Save Time & Money*

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Start Now & Save $1,495
Transfer Credits
Tuition Reimbursement
Capella Alliance Discount
Capella Military Discount
Other Ways To Save
My Savings

By enrolling at Capella University now, you can save $1,495 on your tuition. Capella-sponsored grants are not based on financial need and do not require repayment. Instead, these special grants are available to everyone who enrolls now in this qualified program and meets other eligibilty requirements. Find out if you qualify.

Do you plan to enroll by June 9, 2014?

Reduce the time and cost of your degree by maximizing your transfer credits. To be accepted for transfer credit, previous coursework must follow Capella University's transfer credit policy as well as all program-specific transfer requirements.

Why does my transfer credits savings change?

To learn more about transfer credits, contact an enrollment counselor.

How many credits will you transfer?

Average 36 quarter credits. For questions about additional transfer credit opportunities, please contact an enrollment counselor.

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to their employees — even if they do not have a formal program.

To learn more, contact your HR department or manager to see if you are eligible.

What is your tuition reimbursement?


Capella is proud to partner with more than 500 organizations, colleges, and universities. Capella offers reduced tuition to all of our alliance partners.

To learn more, contact your HR Department or a Capella enrollment counselor.

What is your employer discount?

Capella University is committed to supporting our community of servicemen, veterans and their spouses as they progress toward their education goals. We are proud to offer up to a military discount.

Are you a service member, spouse of a service member, or veteran of the U.S. military?

There are numerous other ways to reduce your tuition and graduate more quickly. You may be able to receive additional sources of funding such as third-party scholarships or gifts.

For help finding ways to earn your degree faster and more affordably, please contact an enrollment counselor.

What other funds will you receive to finance your education?


My Estimated Total Tuition*

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My Estimated Graduation Date

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*This tool can help estimate available discounts to offset your educational expenses. This is not a guarantee of the exact figure you will pay; additional costs such as textbooks, and other fees are not included. Individual time to complete and total program cost vary and are subject to individual progress and number of courses taken per quarter. To determine your exact tuition, please contact an enrollment counselor.

Sample Course Sequence

The following course plan is a representation only; your transcripts will be evaluated for the maximum transfer credits allowed when you apply to Capella. After enrolling at Capella, you and your academic advisor will design your personalized academic plan. Courses and course requirements are subject to change. Not all courses are available every quarter.

To view recommended course sequence, complete steps above.

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Month Course # Course Name Type Credits
† To better understand how credits are awarded for the dissertation phase, refer to this program's course requirements or contact an enrollment counselor.
Based on the number of transfer credits you entered above, a corresponding number of elective courses have been removed from this example course sequence plan. Actual transfer credits and required courses may vary and are determined following an official transcript evaluation. Individual time to complete and total program cost vary and are subject to individual progress, number of transfer credits, and number of courses taken per quarter.
Transfer credits entered above have been first applied to meet elective requirements followed by general education requirements. Courses have been removed accordingly in the above example. Actual transfer credit and required courses may vary and are determined following an official transcript evaluation. Individual time to complete and total program cost vary and are subject to individual progress, number of transfer credits, and number of courses taken per quarter.