Disability and Equity in Education, Ed.D.

Social equity and justice require action and social action requires leaders who are critically reflective, future-oriented thinkers willing to take risks and accept responsibilities for enacting the vision of a just society. The heart of the Disability and Equity in Education doctoral program is a commitment to working actively and strategically toward social justice and equity in schools, communities, policy, politics and practice.

This program is designed for those interested in exploring the historical, political, social, cultural, pedagogical and philosophical values, beliefs and processes that have constructed disability in education. The Disability and Equity in Education program prepares educators for roles in higher education, teacher education, research, community leadership or public policy analysis.

In addition to National College of Education Doctoral Admissions Requirements, applicants must:

  • Submit three letters of recommendation. Two of the three required letters should be completed by people who can attest to the candidate’s capacity to complete rigorous graduate studies and one by a person supervising the applicant’s professional work.
  • Submit written responses to the following four questions:
    • What are your professional goals and how do you envision doctoral experiences supporting and/or relevant to achieving those goals?
    • What previous professional and personal experiences encouraged you to apply to this doctoral program?
    • Please explain what readings, academic studies or specific ideas have contributed to your current understandings as a professional.
    • How do you strive to enact these understandings?
  • Note: The admission process occurs in two stages:
    • First, the applicant submits the application and supporting documentation to the Office of Admissions by the published deadlines. The Office of Admissions will forward to the doctoral committee the completed application form once all documentation is received. A faculty committee will review the documents and decide if and when to invite the applicant for a second stage of the admissions process.
    • The second stage will consist of having all applicants who appear to be a good match for the program being invited to campus for the second stage of the review process that includes three components: a group interview, a written response, and an individual interview
    • The first part of this will be a group interview in which a faculty committee will interview applicants as a group. This will include a discussion/conversation among the candidates and the committee members, focusing on an article, selected by faculty and sent to the applicant in advance. 
    • After the group discussion, students will write a reflective essay on the ideas provoked by the discussion. Faculty will later review the essays to assess the student’s ability to construct a written document. 
    • Individual interviews will follow the writing portion to enable faculty and the applicant to focus on individual and programmatic goals

Program Details:

  • Requires 63 SH for completion
  • Requires a qualifying paper
  • Requires a dissertation

Required Courses

Foundational Core - 18 SH

CCD 605Scholarly Habits of Mind

1 TO 6

CCD 615Psychological Foundations of Teaching and Learning


CCD 620Epistemology of Learning, Teaching and Inquiry


CCD 625Critical Policy Analysis


CCD 630Teacher Knowledge in Disciplines


Note: CCD 605 must be taken for a total of 6 SH.

Disability and Equity in Education Core - 15 SH

DEE 603Activism and Inclusion in Democratic Education


DEE 604Politics of Assessment


DEE 605History of Disability in Education


DEE 690Seminar: Special Topics in Disability and Equity in Education


DEE 693Disability Studies in Education Seminar


Research and Dissertation - 17 SH

ESR 612Empirical/Analytic Research I


ESR 614Interpretive and Critical Research I


ESR 616Empirical/Analytic Research II



ESR 618Interpretive and Critical Research II


CCD 699EDissertation: Disability and Equity in Education

1 TO 8

Note: CCD 699E must be taken for a total of 8 semester hours.

Program Electives - 13 SH

Choose 13 SH of NCE graduate courses in consultation with the doctoral advisor

Qualifying Paper

When students complete all courses, with the exception of ESR 616 or ESR 618, they will work with a faculty

advisor to plan a qualifying paper that represents a synthesis of their learning. This plan must be approved by

the advisor and the program director for the paper’s focus and the start date. Before starting the writing, but

after obtaining approval, the student registers for CCD 697E.