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Walden’s Online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) offers educational professionals a chance to develop their skills as effective leaders and apply current theory and practices in a variety of educational settings. Prepare for academic positions including teachers, principals, superintendents, college instructors, and similar roles that require strong decision-making and leadership skills.

Choose from relevant specializations to further define your career focus. Benefit from the flexibility of online courses the highly-collaborative learning community in which educators from all parts of the world share their experiences.

Continue your present practice while assuming influential roles in your community. The programs focus on: teaching and lifelong learning, research and reflective analytical thought, leadership and communication, diversity, and collaborative social change. Develop expertise in various areas, promoting equity and excellence.

Programs that are focused on practice instead of research, your coursework will culminate with a doctoral study. Do rigorous work that makes an original contribution to your field and create practical solutions.


  • Administrator Leadership for Teaching and Learning
  • Adult Education
  • College Teaching and Learning
  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Higher Education Leadership
  • Reading and Literacy Leadership
  • Special Education
  • Teacher Leadership

Why choose the Special Education specialization?

The Special Education specialization answers the constant need for qualified educators who can work with exceptional students. Become a trained professional who can focus on key issues in the field of special education, such as leadership and policy, program development and assessment, and ethical practice. Increase your effectiveness in your school or district by supporting the professional growth of educators in special education. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the critical trends and issues impacting special education today.

Specialization outcomes

Graduates of this program will be prepared to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of key concepts through scholarly writing and project completion.
  • Demonstrate the importance of an environment that supports instructional improvement by engaging in and developing a scholarly response to a local educational problem in a doctoral project study informed by a critical review of related, relevant research and theoretical frameworks, data collection and analysis, and resulting in a project or product that will ameliorate the problem.
  • Demonstrate mastery of key concepts through scholarly writing and project completion, of the legal rights of students, families, and personnel.
  • Plan, present, and evaluate professional development that focuses on effective practice.
  • Contents

    Curriculum includes:

    • Foundations: Special Education
    • Leadership, Advocacy, Policy, and Law
    • Applied Research in Education
    • Specialized Instruction
    • Research Methodology and Special Education
    • School-Wide Intervention Models
    • Research in Practice
    • Completing the Prospectus
    • Sustaining Effective Practices in Special Education


    Admission requirements for Walden’s programs vary but generally include the following:

    • Official transcript(s)
    • Transfer of credits based on a course-by-course evaluation of relevant transcripts
    • A master's degree or higher
    • Applicable test scores
    • Completed online application
    • Employment history
    • List of transfer credits

    English Language Requirements

    IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 550 TOEFL iBT® test: 79

    Work Experience

    At least 3 year(s) of work experience is required.

    Three years of related professional or academic experience.

    Technological Requirements

    Access to a computer and the Internet



    The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University, a National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)-accredited college, is dedicated to enhancing educator effectiveness and improving student achievement.

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