Special Education, Ph.D. – School of Education & Human Development

Special Education, Ph.D.

Teaching & Learning

Special Education


Teaching and Learning Ph.D.
Specialization in Special Education (SPED)

The University of Miami’s Department of Teaching and Learning is pleased to offer a doctoral specialization in special education with a focus on students with high-incidence disabilities. This specialization includes participation in ongoing faculty research and a strong emphasis on the intersection of special education and diversity issues. Doctoral students selecting this area of specialization are expected to develop expertise in a wide variety of methods appropriate to research in special education through coursework, seminars, and research assistantships. Students are encouraged to gain college-level teaching experience, to seek involvement in school and community projects, and to collaborate with graduate students and faculty both within the School of Education and Human Development and across other UM Schools and Colleges.

Our Students’ Career Objectives

  • Tenure track or clinical faculty positions in Schools of Education at universities or colleges, especially Research I universities
  • Teacher educators in higher education institutions:
    • Research positions in educational research organizations
      • State or district program or curriculum specialists
      • Leadership and/or development positions in public non-profits
      • Research and development positions in for-profit educational enterprises


  • Oscar F.

    The Education and Social Change program pushed my development as a teacher in a manner that I did not foresee. Given that education is a social right for all students, the perspectives challenged and brought out in the program have transformed my pedagogy.

    Oscar F.
  • Aaron B.

    Being exposed to the variety of ways people think about education and education policy was helpful. Having professors with a range of experiences as teachers, working in the district, and as academics gave me a set of new lenses to see educational issues.

    Aaron B.
  • Jennifer S.

    The Education and Social Change program at UM has provided me an opportunity to reflect on my positionality in the education system and encouraged me to be intentional in my participation. Although the current architecture of the system provides many challenges for students and teachers alike, my colleagues and professors have worked together to find a means to exercise our agency to make positive changes for our students and ourselves.

    Jennifer S.
  • Immediately upon graduation from the RME program, I accepted a position as Analytics Advisor with Shelby County Schools in Memphis, Tennessee with the Decision Analytics & Information Management team. In my current role, I serve a diverse student population of over 100,000 students across more than 120 schools. It is my team's responsibility to partner with units across the district from human resources to academic operations in order to harness millions of rows of disparate data, extract and transform that data, analyze it, and provide it back to end users in way allows for clear, actionable, student-focused decision making.

    The RME program provided me with a more comprehensive prospective when approaching data, imparted me the skills to confidently perform advanced statistical analysis, expanded my ability to engage in and advise on collection methodology, and in general enhanced my ability to communicate data more effectively. For those interested in quantitative research, the program is invaluable, and pursuing it is a decision well worth the time and effort."

    Joseph Westwright
    Analytics Advisor,
    Decision Analytics and Information Management,
    Shelby County Schools
  • Jazzerai Yarborough

    I was very nervous to start my journey as a graduate student in the RME program, but after orientation where I met my professor and colleagues, I felt excited to dive into the program. Everyone at the University and in my program was very welcoming, and I knew I made the right decision. My cohort was one of my favorite aspects of the RME Master’s program; we encouraged and supported each other. Also, the support from my Advisor and Professors helped me get through challenges and overcome obstacles.

    Today, in addition to being an alumni of the RME Master’s Program, I am also a Research Analyst at OutMatch HCM in Dallas, Texas. In my position, I assist clients in creating hiring profiles and assessments for seeking new talent. I also develop content for cognitive ability modules used to assess skills for candidates seeking employment.

    My advice to incoming students would be too explore internships, graduate assistantships, and independent studies opportunities, so you are able to put what you are learning in the classroom into real-life situations. This will help you understand your coursework in more detail, and you will have the ability to discuss obstacles that may arise in real world situations with your advisor, professors, and colleagues. I also would recommend taking advantage of your Professor’s office hours and interacting with your cohort. There is value of being a part of a great institution with bright minds and learning from them is a gift.

    Jazzerai Yarborough
    Research Analyst,
    OutMatch HCM
  • After completing the M.S.Ed in Research, Measurement, and Evaluation (RME) at the University of Miami’s School of Education and Human Development, Richard Muñoz went on towards pursuing a Research Coordinator administrative position at Florida International University (FIU). It was there that he soon applied and transitioned into his present role as a PhD student in Health Policy Management with a concentration in Health Systems Research at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work at FIU. There, he has collaborated with faculty members from FIU and other universities, and research epidemiologists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a psychometric research paper pending publication, along with collaborating with FIU faculty and physicians and staff from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Miami branch towards his dissertational research goals involving the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.    

    When speaking about his experience at the University of Miami’s Research, Measurement, and Evaluation program, he can be quoted saying the following:

    “The knowledge, experience, and wisdom gained after completion of my degree launched my professional and academic career into the stratosphere. Every opportunity I intentionally pursued, I acquired, and that was largely due to my time pursuing the RME M.S.Ed. Between the well-structured and explained quantitative curriculum, guided instruction and practical applications with a plethora of statistical software, and exposure to dynamic and cutting-edge research and statistical methodologies through guest lectures facilitated by the program’s faculty, the skills and insights gained from pursuing this degree are not just comparatively ‘next-to-none,’ but I argue is the quintessential degree to pursue in South Florida towards the trajectory of academic and professional pursuits involving educational and psychological research.”   

    Richard Muñoz
    PhD Student in Health Policy Management
    with a concentration in Health Systems Research,
    Florida International University
  • After receiving my bachelors in psychology from the University of Miami, I was interested in pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology. While working in various research labs to prepare for graduate school, I came across the RME master’s program. I recognized the invaluable opportunity that the RME program could provide to better prepare me, given the diversity in courses offered and expertise of faculty members.

    Today, I’m an alumnus of the RME master’s program and currently a 3rd year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Florida International University. My research interest broadly focuses on the identification and understanding of early relational and contextual factors that influence young children’s socioemotional development and academic achievement. My primary interest is in promoting school readiness among young children with disruptive behavior problems and early learning deficits, specifically for ethnically and linguistically diverse children. I’m also interested in translating research to practice through the implementation and evaluation of school-based interventions.

    Overall, the RME program afforded me with one of the greatest learning opportunities and served as the foundation to jump-start my career by providing me with the knowledge and skills to conduct high-quality quantitative research.

    Katherine Zambrana
    PhD student in Clinical Psychology
    at Florida International University
  •  Violeta J. Rodriguez

    After completing her master’s degree in Research, Measurement, and Evaluation (RME) at the University of Miami, Violeta J. Rodriguez went on to pursue a PhD Clinical Psychology at the University of Georgia under a Ford Foundation Fellowship, administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She is also Senior Research Associate in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of Miami School of Medicine, where she is involved statistical analysis of data derived from multi-site clinical trials on HIV prevention funded by the National Institutes of Health.

    When asked about her experience at the University of Miami’s Research, Measurement, and Evaluation program, Violeta says, “The completion of my master’s at the University of Miami RME program opened up many opportunities for me professionally and academically. My training in psychometrics in the program provided me a strong foundation for scale development and validation, and scale refinement in transcultural and multicultural research. I also gained experience in research design, statistical analysis, and reporting of results, skills that I was able to directly apply to manuscripts that have been published in scholarly journals.”

    Violeta J. Rodriguez
    PhD Student in Clinical Psychology
    at the University of Georgia
  • Dr. A. Corinne Huggins-Manley graduated from the Research, Measurement, and Evaluation (RME) program at the University of Miami (UM) in 2012 with her Doctor of Philosophy degree. She has many fond memories of her studies at UM.

    “The RME program consisted of a tight-knit group of faculty and graduate students, and the result was that I always felt supported and I always had research partners with whom I could collaborate and learn.”

    Upon graduation, she was offered a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, and she currently works as an Associate Professor at the University of Florida in the Research and Evaluation Methodology program in the College of Education. She continues to work and grow as a scholar in educational measurement. She has published over thirty peer reviewed articles, has secured large external grant funding in the education sciences, has taught a host of quantitative courses at the graduate level, and has worked as program coordinator for both graduate and undergraduate level major, minor, and specialization degrees.

    “I thank all the RME faculty at UM for providing the foundations needed for my successful junior faculty career, and my continuing mid-level faculty career. Go Canes!”

    A. Corinne Huggins-Manley
    Associate Professor at the University of Florida
    in the Research and Evaluation Methodology program
    in the College of Education
  • After receiving my bachelor’s degree in Sociology, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in Research, Measurement, and Evaluation (RME). Near the end of the master’s program I made the decision to continue and pursue a PhD.

    I was fortunate to have excellent mentoring throughout my graduate career. I was able to work on a number of grant projects and learned all about the entire grant process. I also had opportunities to consult on various projects which enhanced my analysis skills.  I even had opportunities to teach and tutor other students.

    I enjoyed the program due to the small cohort size and cohesive group- both students and faculty. I was part of a group that enjoyed working together in class and on projects, and also got along well outside of the classroom. I still keep in touch with many of my former classmates and professors from the program.

    Today I am the Assistant Director of Assessment at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. I assist the School in collecting data and conducting evaluations in preparation for program accreditation. I enjoy my job as I am able to apply my measurement and evaluation skills to improve the learning outcomes of students I see every day. I have even assisted in obtaining grants to enhance and improve instruction.

    Jaime Maerten-Rivera
    Assistant Director of Assessment
    at the University of Buffalo
    School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Karina Gattamorta started her career as a Special Education teacher after completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Special Education at the University of Miami. Shortly after, she decided to pursue graduate education. While teaching, she earned an EdS in School Psychology from Florida International University. While working as a school psychologist, she became interested in issues related to fairness in testing and decided to return to her Alma Matter for a PhD in Research, Measurement, and Evaluation.

    Upon graduating, she was offered a faculty position at the School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS) at the University of Miami where she has been for the past 9 years. She is currently a Research Associate Professor where she teaches various courses in research methods, statistics, and measurement. At SONHS, she has developed expertise in health disparities and nursing education practices while continuing to examine issues related to measurement. In her current line of research, Dr. Gattamorta is examining the intersection of racial/ethinic minority and sexual minority status on mental and behavioral health among youth and young adults.  

    Karina Gattamorta
    Research Associate Professor,
    School of Nursing, University of Miami
  • EM is vital to the university's having not only the right number of students but also the right students, who will retain and succeed . . . I most enjoyed the faculty, whose experience and true passion for EM really comes across in their teaching.
    Marcial Robiou, 2019
    Online Enrollment Advisor
    University of Miami
  • Studying EM was a unique experience, engaging students in experiences with professionals working in the field instead of sitting in a lecture hall and learning strictly from text.  The program afforded me the opportunity to network with professionals both at UM and institutions nationwide.  I credit my current employment to the program’s hands-on approach to understanding EM and the real conversations about the higher education landscape. In my position, I have been involved in enhancing business processes and developing technological solutions to increase staff efficiency and enrollment numbers.
    Joseph Yancey
    Senior Enrollment Analyst, CRM Innovation
    University of Miami
  • Dee Voss, 1997
    The HE/EM program gave me the foundation to work in a variety of higher education settings. At the core is the importance of synergy, open communication, coordination, and assessment. Strategic thinking and planning were key takeaways. I gained the ability to assess the big picture as well as focus on the day-to-day factors affecting the students and the institution. Daily, I use the skills gleaned from the program.
    Dee Voss, 1997
    Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management at Florida Institute of Technology
    Senior Consultant with EAB, research, technology and consulting firm for education
  • I left UM in 2005 to come to FIU in the College of Business as an academic advisor. Without my degree in EM/Higher Ed, I never would have been able to move up the chain at FIU so quickly. By the end of 2006, I was director of advising for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and by 2008, was assistant dean of the Honors College, where I had direct oversight of admissions, recruitment, retention, and graduation. In 2016, I joined the faculty of the Honors College to teach full time. I very much owe my career in higher education to EM. The program and work experience it afforded me are now contributing immensely to my role as a faculty member.
    José F. Rodríguez, 2004
    Faculty Fellow, Ph.D., The Honors College
    Florida International University
  • I’m finishing up my eighth year of teaching at Palomar College, where I earned tenure four years ago. For the last three years, I have served as Faculty Senate president. I’m co-chair (with the Vice President for Instruction) of our Strategic Enrollment Management Committee; I helped initiate the committee and worked to draft our college’s first ever strategic enrollment management plan. I use the skills and knowledge I learned in the program every day as I help to break down silos at Palomar and move us forward as an institution that puts students at the center of everything we do.
    Travis Ritt, 2001
    Palomar College, California
  • EM was exactly what I wanted and needed personally and professionally. It was on the forefront of cutting-edge solutions and applications in higher education, and I continually apply the principles learned almost every day. I am the Project Manager/Advising-Transfer Specialist of a five-year, $6 million Title III Grant at HCC, and I began my Doctor of Education degree at the University of St. Francis in Fall 2018. I strongly feel that without the program, my peers, and professors, I would not be where I am today.
    Yovan Reyes, 2006
    Project Manager & Advising/Transfer Specialist
    Hillsborough Community College, Dale Mabry Campus, Tampa, FL
  • What a deserved milestone for the program. For the past four years, I have been at Borough of Manhattan Community College, managing student affairs communications to retain our 27,000 students. I have no doubt that the strength of the program contributed to my hiring, especially having an innovative capstone portfolio to bring to the interview. The two-track Enrollment Management/Student Life & Development degree/certificate options are also noteworthy. I look back fondly on the program as a family of dedicated, knowledgeable professors and a cohort of classmates eager to learn.
    Joseph Picataggio, 2010
    Student Life Manager for Communications
    Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
  • Awareness and intentionality are two invaluable qualities that Higher Education program faculty were able to inspire. Realizing what you do, how you do it, and who you involve has made all the difference in connecting the classroom experience to professional practice, and this has been the key to all of my professional successes.
    Sean Kilpatrick, 2010
    Assistant Dean, Student/Post-Graduate Support Services
    UM School of Nursing & Health Studies
  • EM taught us principles that the rest of higher education is just beginning to leverage today. The tools the program provided have allowed me to not only fast track my career, but also ensure that I am a leader on which my institution and profession can rely.
    Catherine Mund, 2004
    University Registrar
    University of South Florida
  • Candice Keith, 2002
    Hard to believe it is 20 years!  I’m in my 18th year at Villanova University as Senior Associate Director of Admission. Needless to say, I use my EM degree on a daily basis and continue to appreciate the degree personally and professionally. The degree is particularly impactful when trying to predict the enrollment for the next year’s class (especially being in our second year of Early Decision). There’s never a dull moment!
    Candice Keith, 2002
    Senior Associate Director of Admission
    Villanova University
  • For a graduate who works at UM, the greatest advantage of the program has been to build an active network that benefits me in my job. By serving as a judge for the program’s practicum poster presentations every year and participating in other events, I have managed to create connections that have led to fruitful collaborations, which exemplifies EM.
    Matt Kaeiser, 2008
    UM Intensive English Program Lecturer
    International Teaching Assistants Coordinator
  • The principles I learned in EM have aided me in both my professional and personal life. I use strategic planning in everything from aiding my clients in reaching their institutional goals to preparing for my next family vacation. Forecasting, program evaluation, the 4 C’s/P’s, all provided management training that continues to serve me well as a business owner, postsecondary education consultant, author, and speaker. I am grateful for the privilege to be part of the amazing 20-year EM legacy!
    Tierini D. Hodges-Murad, 2007
    Author, Educator, Consultant, Speaker, & Ed.D.
  • As an EM student in the Higher Education Program, I was immersed in projects that prepared me for my current role as college recruiter. I’m making informed decisions daily based on data and tools I acquired to be innovative in my recruitment practices. The HE program allowed me to dive into the EM world and led me to where I am now.
    Isabella Figueroa, 2017
    College Recruiter
    UM School of Nursing & Health Studies
  • How grateful I am for the lessons learned in EM. I’ve had a very satisfying professional career, and it’s all because of the way Paul, Scott, and Carol-Anne prepared us. The case studies, the case study method, readings, papers, and the capstone course fundamentally shaped the way I manage my professional roles. I teach first-year experience classes using case studies, and I have taught them to use the case study method as an approach to solving problems.
    Pam Fischl, 2004
    Retention Specialist, First Year Programs
    University of Connecticut
  • If I had to "do it all over again," I would choose the EM program every single time. I'm convinced today that Paul and Carol-Anne saw the Enrollment Management Geek in me before I even knew she existed, and I've been discovering her and nurturing her in the years since completing the degree. Today, I am humbled to think that I’m in an admissions senior leadership position at Caltech, where I have been a part of materially changing the enrollment demographics of the undergraduate population in my four years here. I am also now in my second year as a Ph.D. student in Colorado State University's Higher Education Leadership Program. All of this has been possible because of my EM foundation built at Miami.
    Nikki Chun, 2006
    Senior Associate Director of Admissions
    California Institute of Technology
  • I enjoyed the program’s focus on data-driven decision-making, predictive modeling, and strategic planning. While a full-time student, I also worked full time at UM as an assistant director in admission. I was able to use the knowledge gained to tackle projects and improve several programs in real time. Upon graduation, I became an assistant dean of admissions, and I now work on the Pomona College Access Team (PCAT) and with the Pomona Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), both aimed at increasing enrollment and supporting underrepresented students.
    Katrina G. Bruno, 2017
    Assistant Dean of Admissions
    Pomona College, Claremont, CA
  • The Enrollment Management Program provided a great blend of theory and practice. I was able to formulate connections between what I was actively learning in the program’s interdisciplinary curriculum and my day-to-day practice in enrollment management; it was definitely worth the investment.
    Carol Jacqueline Archaga, 2013
    Assistant Registrar
    UM Miller School of Medicine
  • When I started the program more than six years ago, I was an office assistant in UM’s Office of Student Financial Assistance and Employment. I’m now Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission at UM. Without the program, I wouldn’t have progressed in such a short time frame.
    Nichole R. Antilla, 2012
    Associate Director
    UM Office of Undergraduate Admission
  • In addition to the irreplaceable campus aesthetics, the University of Miami provided me with opportunities that prepared me for the next step in my career. Earning my Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning was a challenging journey that was nurtured by my fabulous peer cohort, generous Department faculty, expert faculty across campus, and an advisor whose knowledge and guidance ensured my success.
    Dr. Chelsea T. Morris
  • The critical and often intersectional lens through which we learned to read, analyze, and conduct research [in the Teaching and Learning Department] broadened my intellectual capacity and allowed me to examine and challenge my own beliefs about teaching and learning. This process, alongside strong mentoring and support from faculty, shaped what I like to call my “transition” from a teacher to a teacher educator.
    Dr. Lindsey A. Chapman
  • What I want to share is how helpful the EdD program has been, how the theories and research we learned really do inform practice and world view. They become internalized and part of the everyday and help illuminate ways forward. . . . I can perceive now what has happened, this developmental process and transformation, and I know that I am a high-level professional because of it.
    Sandra Gross, EdD 2018
    Dean, International Programs & Intercultural Education
    Universidad Internacional del Ecuador
    Quito, Ecuador
  • This was a great experience in linking theory to practice.
  • This course is the most effective way to learn about higher education in practice. I have gained knowledge I will use.
  • We were truly challenged to think critically about our experiences at our practicum sites, which is an important piece of this class: purposeful reflection.
  • Jessica
    My time in UM’s Community and Social Change program was an opportunity to grow in understanding and empathy, while sharpening my professional skills. The dialogue and assigned readings provided an in depth review of various social issues and how we can begin to work with communities to address them. However, the program’s flexible nature allowed me to push myself to get the most out of my time in the program, allowing me to sharpen skills in writing, synthesizing information, time management, and project management.
    Cohort 5
  • Laylah
    The entire program was fantastic. My favorite memories were of the group discussions in class, the new exposure to tools like Prezi, and of course the wonderful potlucks and get togethers.
    Cohort 5
  • Claudia
    "I have found a significant paragon that symbolizes our entire program material: a tool-kit created for developing social consciousness. The experiences I accumulated these past 18 months have represented a fundamental contribution both academically and towards critical consciousness development. I came to this program with a pre-conceived view of me, my place in the world, my individual contribution. However, after interacting with the material used during the Community and Social Change course - readings, lectures, seminars, projects, practicum site - I am gratified to state that I feel much more empowered, significantly more prepared and strongly ready to advance in my personal commitments of being an agent of change". (Part of my Capstone Project "Social Impact Movement" presented on April 2016 at University of Miami) (Part of my Capstone Project "Social Impact Movement" presented on April 2016 at University of Miami)
    Cohort 5
  • Ana
    Beyond the knowledge gained, it's the relationships I've developed I most value - with professors, students and within the community - and will carry forth with me. :)
    Cohort 4
  • Kareen
    The Community and Social Change program allowed me to combine graduate school with Peace Corps Service and in the process I learned how to become an agent of change, use a holistic framework for well-being and develop skills to evaluate programs.
    Cohort 4
  • Rasheed
    Wow! There is so many memories. I would say my fondest memory is attending the intervisions. The Master's in Community & Social Change Program is a vibrant family. A family that is made up of a collection of individuals who are aspiring to make this world a better place. We come from different walks in life: education, politics, sociology, psychology, business, etc. Be as it may, the beauty of it all is that we recognize that our collective voice will be key to creating a preventive transformation in society (rather than an ameliorative approach). So cheers to those who are not afraid to go to the grassroots of our societal issues, and strive to effectuate change!
    Cohort 3
  • Meghan
    My greatest takeaway from the program are the relationships I built there, with faculty, my peers, and community members. I gained a solid foundation for humanizing research and social change through authentic relationships.
    Cohort 3
  • Karen
    One of the best memories I have was of that first weeklong seminar that started our journey, led by Isaac.
    Cohort 3
  • Jennifer
    Best memory would be graduation, the spirit of community is evident in everybody's celebration of each other
    Cohort 3
  • Edward
    I have only fond memories of the program.  It was especially a great tool in exercising a broader way of thinking and also a wonderful vehicle for meeting like-minded good doers!!
    Cohort 3
  • Charles
    I have many memories from the program - mostly of the classes, which I enjoyed tremendously. I remember our initial class with Isaac Prilleltensky, I remember assisting Scot Evans with a logic model presentation for a local organization, I remember many conversations with Laura Kohn-Wood about my ideas and development, and I remember the culminating class on managing community organizations and having the whole cohort together to celebrate the end of our 'core' classes. The overall experience changed my perspective on the world and myself in ways I hadn't expected or predicted. I'm fortunate to have been a part of the 3rd cohort, and grateful.
    Cohort 3
  • Deborah
    My fondest memory was attending the Global and Social Change Leadership Institute at NYU Wagner, as an Independent Study. This experience provided me the opportunity to strengthen my leadership ability, skills and learn about cutting-edge research on leadership and social change. Alongside 30 other students from around the world, I was exposed to different perspectives and first-hand experiences on what makes organizations successful in advancing social justice.
    Cohort 2
  • Brett
    I have made so many lasting friendships and valuable professional relationships with my cohort, the cohorts after me and with faculty, administrators and staff at UM school of Education and Human Development.  I feel it has truly become the base of our network in Miami for Educate Tomorrow.
    Cohort 1
  • Virginia
    I was accepted into the CSC program after I had been in the not for profit sector for a decade.  I was astounded on how much information I gained to project the organization I founded to the next level.  It's been 5 years since I graduated and have had tremendous growth, and insight into our expanding methodology.  The other added benefit is the remarkable students we met, and continue to meet.  I believe we have hired over 11 CSCers since the program started.
    Cohort 1
  • Joseph
    I appreciated learning about the approaches of community psychology and prevention science. We have too many reactionary interventions to social problems in the United States. While it feels we are often the lone voices in solution-finding for social problems, I feel these approaches are very much needed in our world.
    Cohort 1
  • I am truly enjoying my experience in the Community and Social Change master’s program thanks to the conversations with my outstanding colleagues, the education from my experienced professors and the great opportunities of networking here in Miami. This program has provided a space for understanding the view of Community psychologists towards our societal problems, and for preparing us to become active social leaders that will transform our societies. Next semester, I hope to get more involved in academic, extracurricular and volunteer activities, and mobilize all the innovative and helpful resources at UM.
    Andrea C. Ruiz Sorrentini
    Community & Social Change B.A.
  • With a UM degree I feel like I will be able to do more than just be a coach. It gives me a lot more options. The networking is also unbelievable, I have gotten access to front offices and influential sporting people in the industry.
    Leslie Fitzpatrick
    Current UOnline Sport Administration student, Former World Cup soccer player for Trinidad & Tobago
  • I love the diversity of students, the professors and classes, all of the fun events, the great weather, and the incredible school spirit.
    Nicole, 2012
    Dean's Dozen
  • The Campus! Studying on the green, eating at the Rat with friends or simply hanging out by the lake, there's no way you can ever have a bad day at the U!  
    Vanessa, 2012
    Dean's Dozen


The SPED faculty combine practical classroom expertise and scholarly attainments. We see these two aspects of our work as a natural and necessary combination: either would be diminished by the absence of the other. Through research, we seek to advance knowledge in our respective fields to inform policy and improve practice. As teachers, scholars, and learners, we engage in collaborative school and community improvement efforts locally, nationally, and internationally.

Mary Beth Calhoon

Associate Professor

305 284 4149

Office: Max Orovitz Building 230 K

Wendy Morrison-Cavendish


305 284 5192

Office: Merrick Building 222-E

Batya Elbaum


305 284 4218

Office: Merrick Building 308 A

Elizabeth Harry


305 284 5363

Office: Merrick Building 222 C


More Info

The following is a summary of coursework. Please reference the Doctoral Student Handbook and Course Bulletin for specific program of study.

Core Special Education Courses (12 credits)

TAL 753: Cognitive Psychology in Special Education
Learn about different cognitive theorists and discuss various theoretical positions as to their strengths and weaknesses within and across theories.

TAL 756: Research in Special Education
Critical analysis of empirical research studies in selected areas of special education research focusing on research designs, data analysis methods, and interpretation.

TAL 755: Current issues in special education
Current issues and trends in special education from historical, societal, policy, practice and research perspectives.

TAL 752: Seminar in Reading and Learning Disabilities
Open only to advanced graduate students in reading and learning disabilities pursuing specialist or doctoral degree.

TAL 754: Disability and diversity. Critical views:
Examines critical issues in the cultural/historical conceptualization of the field of special education, against the background of cross-cultural views of disabilities.

Coursework in Diversity

TAL 703: Issues and Trends in Multicultural Education
The study and critical examination of the theory and practice of multicultural education. Development of a personal theory of effective education for pluralism.

In addition to TAL 703, students will take at least two graduate-level courses organized around thematic topics involving diversity in its various manifestations. The courses may be taken from different departments (e.g., psychology, sociology, modern languages, law) or may be part of a master's degree program; nonetheless, they should form a coherent whole. The student and advisor shall determine which courses from across the University of Miami campus can be used to meet this requirement. Topics in diversity that are considered acceptable for thematic study include: (a) poverty and social class, (b) gender, (c) race and ethnicity, (d) exceptionality, (e) culture, (f) urban issues, (g) rural issues, (h) emigration, and (i) international issues.

General Teaching and Learning Requirements

TAL 702: The Social and Cultural Foundations of Education
This course is an interdisciplinary seminar reviewing the major literature in the Social and Cultural Foundation of Education. Classic, Modern and Post-Modern texts will be read with an emphasis on the literature written after 1980 (Post-Modern). Emphasis will be placed on the exploration of key policy questions, as well as the analysis of key sociological concepts related to the field such as hegemony, cultural reproduction, social capital and privilege. The course is intended to provide a "baseline" for understanding the field.

TAL 704: Introduction To Learning Theories/ Learning Sciences
This course explores perspectives and research on domain-specific and domain-general learning in and out of schools. It examines various perspectives researchers use to inform their work and how these perspectives provide insight into what it means to learn and know.

TAL 700: Proseminar
Consists of a series of interactive sessions at which faculty, doctoral students, and guest speakers have the opportunity to discuss current topics in education research. Its purpose is to enhance the culture of scholarship and collegiality within the Department and to provide informal guidance to doctoral students on research and career directions in education. All students are required to take the proseminar, which will be offered once per year, for a total of 3 credits (1 credit per seminar).

Research Methods Competencies

TAL 710: Introduction To Research In Education
This course focuses on diverse philosophies and epistemologies of research and the scientific enterprise, and the various methodologies that arise from these to conduct research in education. Students will develop an understanding of and appreciation for complementary yet unique educational research traditions brought to bear on substantive local, national, and international educational issues to be able to participate meaningfully and critically in multiple discourse communities that employ and/or produce educational research.

Research courses offered by Department of Education and Psychological Studies (EPS). Course Bulletin for course descriptions.

  • EPS 553: Introduction to Statistics
  • EPS 650: Meta-analysis
  • EPS 660: Generalized Linear Model (every other year if this new course is approved)
  • EPS 661: Measurement and Psychometric Theory
  • EPS 662: Item Response Theory
  • EPS 670: Introduction to Research Methods
  • EPS 671: General Linear Modeling
  • EPS 672: Applied Multivariate Statistics (every other year)
  • EPS 673: Introduction to Structural Equation Models
  • EPS 674: An Introduction to Multilevel Modeling (every other year)
  • EPS 675: Qualitative Research Methods I 
  • EPS 676: Qualitative Research Methods II
  • EPS 690: Advanced Topics in RME



The following factors are considered when selecting doctoral students for admission:

  • At a minimum, completion of a bachelor’s degree with an outstanding record from an accredited institution.
  • Acceptable and recent (within 5 years) Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. The target minimum is a score of 1100 combined on verbal and quantitative (or 302 on new GRE scoring system) and at least a 4.0 on writing.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Graduate Record Examination. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after test date.
  • Professional experience relevant to degree program.
  • Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  • Graduate grade point average of at least 3.5 (4.0 scale).
  • Three letters of recommendation. At least two of the three letters of recommendation should include specific evaluation of the candidate’s potential to engage in scholarly research required for this program.
  • The written statement of intent (in the UM online application) should describe how the candidate’s specific interests and obtaining a Ph.D. in this area of study fits into his/her career goals.
  • Available student space in the program and someone willing to advise the student. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty in the Special Education area to inquire about the match between the applicant’s interests and the faculty’s areas of scholarly research.
  • A personal or phone interview may be required. Applicants will be notified as appropriate.


Does this program prepare students to be research professors?
Yes, this program is designed to prepare candidates to do research in a variety of educational contexts, such as schools. However, our program graduates have taken different kinds of positions that are not research-focused.
When is the application due?
The deadline to submit applications for fall admissions is June 30. However, review of applications will begin in January. Applicants are therefore advised to submit their applications as early as possible.
Where can I find information about assistantships?
This information can be found here.
What are the GPA and GRE scores required to be accepted?
- Acceptable and recent (within 5 years) Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. The target minimum is a score of 1100 combined on verbal and quantitative (or 302 on new GRE scoring system) and at least a 4.0 on writing
- Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale) and graduate grade point average of at least 3.5 (4.0 scale)
I’m an international student. Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?
If you are an international student who completed a graduate program in an English-speaking country (e.g. United States, Canada, Australia), you do not need to submit TOEFL scores. If you are new to a graduate program in the U.S., then you need to submit TOEFL scores. The minimum TOEFL score is …
How many hours are required to earn a Ph.D.?
The program requires 60 semester hours of study beyond the undergraduate degree.
Do I need to have earned a Master’s degree prior to entering the program?
A Master’s degree is not required for admission.
How many graduate level semester hours can I transfer from my Master’s degree?
With approval of the Program of Study Committee, a student may transfer a maximum of 24 graduate level semester hours to a Program of Study.
What is a Program of Study and when should it be submitted?
- A Program of Study for the Ph.D. degree in the Department of Teaching and Learning are individualized based on the student’s career goals, previous academic and professional background, and faculty recommendations.
- Students are required to file a Program of Study and a Course Sequence Plan prior to the end of the second semester of study, which are developed in collaboration with a faculty advisor and a supervisory committee.
Do I have to be a full-time student?
All students entering the Ph.D. program are intended to be full-time students.
How do I choose which courses to take?
Courses in the major field of study are selected in consultation with a faculty advisory committee.
Can I take courses in other program areas as part of my doctoral degree?
Yes, this is negotiated with your advisor and supervisory committee. Students create a plan of study that includes program requirements and students’ interests.
How long does it usually take to complete the program?
The time to complete the doctoral program for full-time students may range from 3 to 5 years, with most finish in 4 years. It is almost always much longer for part-time doctoral students.
What are admission decisions based on?
We base our admissions decisions on an applicant’s total application folio; so please be sure to submit everything in a timely manner. We suggest the following:
- Your letters of recommendation should speak directly to your academic potential as a student in a demanding doctoral program who will be expected, over time, to assume increased responsibility for independent learning.
- Your statement of purpose should address how your career aspirations match our goals for program graduates.
- If you have any extraordinary accomplishments that we should know about, please submit them with your applications materials.

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Program Director

Batya Elbaum

Acting Chair and Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning


Room: Max Orovitz Building, 308A