Application Information for Doctoral Degree In Special Education & Habilitative Services
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Download Special Education & Habilitative Services Application
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Submit All Required Materials
All materials required by the specific program of interest must be on file with Dr.
Flynn (Bicentennial Education Building, Room 246) before the applicant can be considered
for admission by any of the college’s doctoral screening committees. There are small
but important differences in application requirements among the four programs. An
applicant who is successfully screened into a doctoral program is permitted to begin
coursework leading to the Qualifying Examination.
Criteria Governing Application Screening
Please Note:Content on the web site is not definitive; rather, it is provided for the convenience
of students and visitors. The most recent university catalog will always contain "official"
program requirements, or you may obtain information from the graduate coordinator,
Applicants should consult the UNO Graduate Catalog and any special information bulletins
offered by individual programs.
A. The applicant must be unconditionally admitted to the Graduate School. Note: A
separate application to the Graduate School must be filed in addition to the application
for screening for College of Education doctoral programs. The Graduate School application
is sent directly to the Graduate School, UNO, New Orleans, LA 70148. The doctoral
application is sent to Dr. Flynn, UNO, New Orleans, LA 70148.
B. The applicant must present satisfactory scores for the Graduate Record Examination
(GRE) taken within the last five years. A score of 1000 on the Aptitude Test (combined
Verbal and Quantitative scales) is considered satisfactory. Additional testing may
be required at the discretion of a doctoral program screening committee. GRE scores
must be on file in the Office of the Associate Dean, College of Education, before
an applicant can be given an initial screening. GRE has changed as of Fall 2011, so
different policies will be put in place when information is available.
C. The applicant must submit the Application for Screening: Doctoral Programs in
Education that is attached to this information bulletin or can be obtained from the
College of Education. The Application for Screening must be filed with Dr. Flynn.
D. The applicant must arrange to have three (3) letters of recommendation sent to
Dr. Flynn. None* of the letters may be from faculty members in the department that
sponsors the doctoral program of interest to the applicant (*except that the Department
of Curriculum and Instruction allows one such letter to be from a department faculty
member). One of the three (3) letters should be from the applicant’s latest employer.
Each letter of recommendation should contain:
1. The relationship of the recommender to the applicant
2. Specific instances of demonstrated leadership by the applicant
3. Initiative and responsibility demonstrated by the applicant.
4. Aspects of the applicant’s personality relevant to doctoral study.
5. Other capabilities that would indicate the applicant’s potential to successfully
undertake advanced study including the conceptualization and execution of a dissertation
study in the student’s area of specialization.
The three (3) letters of recommendation must be on file with Dr. Flynn before a doctoral
screening may take place.
E. Some programs require applicants to demonstrate satisfactory competence in written
and oral communication. Some require the submission of a personal resume and/or statement
of interest in doctoral work. Some programs ask applicants to interview with the screening
To determine if the program of interest to the applicant requires written materials
or an interview, the applicant should consult detailed doctoral information bulletins
for the programs or call the program’s Graduate Coordinator.
In general, doctoral screening committees consider completed applications at one or
two review meetings during the Fall and Spring semesters. Doctoral screening committees
do not usually review applications during the Summer term.
Stages in the Doctoral Program of Study
Early in the program after a student has been successfully screened into a doctoral
program, the student must take a Qualifying (preliminary) Examination to determine
whether he/she is to be permitted to continue work toward a doctoral degree. The Qualifying
Examination assesses a student’s capacity to synthesize theory and practice and identifies
strengths and weaknesses in a student’s preparation, including the ability to write.
The Qualifying Examination may be oral, written, or oral and written as determined
by each program committee. The Qualifying Examination may be taken only twice; two
failures constitute dismissal from the doctoral program without recourse.
Each program requires that a minimum number of hours must be completed after the Qualifying
Examination is passed. These requirements are 33 hours in Curriculum and Instruction,
45 hours in Administration and Counselor Education, and 49 for the Ph.D. in Special
Education (after screening). At least 18 hours in the major area must be completed
in semesters after the semester in which the Qualifying Examination is passed.
Upon admission to a doctoral program, in consultation with the student, the chairperson
of the major department will assign a major professor who will advise and direct the
student’s studies. A minor professor may also be assigned when a minor is taken.
An advisory committee of three graduate faculty members may participate in formulating
the student’s program. After the outlines of the program have assumed more definite
form, when major and minor (or related fields) have been determined, and the direction
of research has been clearly established, the advisory committee is enlarged from
three to five or more members. The doctoral committee must have at least five members
before the student takes the General Examination. The full advisory committee consists
of the major professor who acts as chair or co-chair, at least one member from a department
other than the major department, and other members to compose a committee of at least
“Applicancy” for the Doctor’s Degree
A student is formally admitted to a doctoral program upon successful completion of
a Qualifying Examination and the approval of a program of studies by the Graduate
School. The program of study is a detailed statement of courses accepted from prior
coursework and planned for completion during the remainder of the course of study.
The program of study consists of 91 graduate semester hours, including the following
minimum hours to be completed during the doctoral program. Typically, courses from
you master’s degree can be utilized within the course requirements.
? 36 hours in the major area of study
? 18 graduate hours in a minor area of study
? 18 graduate hours in research tools.
? 3 hours in foundations course work
The normal full-time load for a graduate student is nine semester hours for the Fall
and Spring terms and six semester hours for the Summer term. Hours above nine must
have departmental approval and above 12 must have Graduate School approval. Students
on graduate assistantships are expected to take five to nine semester hours in the
Fall and Spring and three to six hours in the Summer.
The research tools requirement consists of at least 18 hours of quantitative and/or
qualitative research methods, research design, and other methodologies. The research
tools requirement should be completed prior to the presentation of a dissertation
proposal for approval by the doctoral (advisory) committee.
Transfer credit is determined by the student’s major professor; some programs also
require approval by the advisory committee. In general, transfer credit is granted
for most or all of the graduate hours in a student’s master’s degree, if the course
content is consistent with the student’s doctoral specialization or minor area. A
maximum of 15 semester hours of transfer credit beyond the master’s degree may be
accepted from regionally accredited institutions that offer doctoral work in areas
related to the student’s doctoral program. Only credits for courses in which the student
received an “A” or “B” may be transferred into a doctoral program.
The doctoral degree must involve at least three years of coursework beyond the Bachelor’s
Degree. One full academic year of continuous residence must be spent at the University
of New Orleans subsequent to successful completion of the Qualifying Examination.
Residency requirements are met by enrolling in at least nine hours in either contiguous
Fall-Spring or Spring-Fall semesters (graduate assistants meet the requirements with
six hours each semester).
Pre-Dissertation Research Project
All students are required to complete a research project involving the standard elements
empirical research prior to completing the General Examination. A Master’s Degree
thesis may be accepted as meeting the pre-dissertation research project requirement.
Completion of the pre-dissertation research project is reported with the General Examination.
After completing most of the required coursework, including the research tools and
pre-dissertation research project, and being judged ready by academic and professional
aptitude according to the student’s advisory committee, the student undergoes a comprehensive
assessment of the areas included in the student’s program. For most programs, the
General Examination is taken both in written and oral formats. The objectives of the
General Examination are:
- To assess the student’s ability to synthesize, apply, and evaluate knowledge from
the major field of study and knowledge outside the major field of study; and
- To assess the student’s ability to organize and synthesize ideas and to communicate
The General Examination may be taken only twice; two failures constitute dismissal
from the doctoral program without recourse. The General Examination is regarded as
the culmination of a student’s program in coursework. In most cases, after successful
completion of the General Examination, the remainder of time spent in the degree program
is devoted to work on the dissertation and the Final Examination on the dissertation.
The dissertation must demonstrate a mastery of research techniques, ability to do
original and independent research, and skill in formulating conclusions. The student
may conduct research after approval of a formal proposal by the student’s advisory
committee and the UNO Committee for the Protection of Human and Animal Subjects.
Final Examination – Defense of the Dissertation
The dissertation is written according to guidelines established by the UNO Graduate
School. The Final Examination or Defense of the Dissertation constitutes the last
phase of work for the degree. Although it is traditionally conducted as an oral examination
concerned with the dissertation and related problems, the content may be varied in
any way the committee decides. The dissertation is not formally accepted until the
Final Examination has been successfully completed.
The Final Examination is considered passed and the dissertation is considered accepted
once the members of the committee have signed the examination report form and the
form has been approved by the Graduate School. The Final Examination may be taken
only twice; two failures constitute dismissal from the doctoral program without recourse.
Coursework must be completed in a five-year span between the Qualifying and General
Examinations. All degree requirements must be completed within five years after the
candidate passes the General Examination.
(All programs are built upon the College’s Conceptual Framework of the Interaction
of Theory and Practice.)
Department Of Special Education & Habilitative Services
University Of New Orleans
Doctoral Program Fact Sheet
The doctoral program in Special Education and Habilitative Services incorporates innovative
approaches to leadership training. The program is a synthesis of traditional doctoral
training efforts which have either: (1) focused on key issues in the field of special
education, or (2) trained personnel to be proficient in identified leadership competencies.
All doctoral students pursue the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree.
Students enrolled in the program address critical issues primarily through coursework.
Courses are divided among the following areas:
- special education
- research skills, and
- the minor area of study.
In addition to completing formal coursework, students address identified competencies
through participation in a variety of professional activities which take place in
both university and field settings.The competencies are addressed across the three
leadership areas: research, personnel preparation, and systems intervention.
In addition to the selection of a specific role focus for the individual doctoral
program, students are offered various areas of study within Special Education and
Habilitative Services. Areas of study include mild/moderate disabilities, severe/profound
disabilities, educational diagnostician (assessment), early intervention, hearing
impairments/deaf education, visual impairments, and gifted/talented education. It
is expected that the doctoral student will select a major area of emphasis (usually
based on prior educational and professional experiences) and one additional area to
broaden his/her experience in special education. A broader program of study creates
flexibility and strengthens the training of future leaders in the field of Special
Education and Habilitative Services.
As each student progresses through the program, s/he further individualizes the program
of study to:
- specialize in one of the role areas
- focus on issues and content targeted for a particular exceptionality group(s), and
- focus on particular activities which allow the student to build professional skills
Throughout the program of study, each student maintains a professional portfolio of
the various products resulting from the activities selected via coursework and committee
input. The portfolio is used as a primary component of the student evaluation process
throughout the program of study.
Complete application packets are due by April 1.
To be considered for admission to the doctoral program, a student must be unconditionally
admitted to the UNO Graduate School. A graduate application form may be obtained by
writing to the Office of Graduate Admissions, University of New Orleans, New Orleans,
LA 70148. Complete application packet due by April 1.
Applicants are expected to present evidence of the following qualifications:
- A baccalaureate degree from a university or college approved by a recognized accrediting
- Satisfactory academic standing at the last university or college attended.
- A grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5 for undergraduate work and 3.0 for all
graduate and post-baccalaureate work on a possible scale of 4.0.
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE) total score of at least 1000 on the verbal and quantitative
sections. The GRE must have been taken within five years of the date of applying for
admission to the Graduate School.
- Applicants from foreign countries where English is not the national language must
have a score of 500 on the TOEFL, with a score of 50 on the listening section.
- At least three letters of recommendation from outside the UNO community. These are
to be addressed to Dr. Linda Flynn, Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Special
Education and Habilitative Services, UNO.
- Current vita/resume detailing education, experience, honors and awards, and other
- Documentation of three years of professional experience in special education or a
closely related field.
- Ability to communicate effectively in written form as demonstrated by writing a personal
essay (suggested content contained in admissions package).
- Ability to articulate professional and personal goals in an oral interview conducted
by the Screening Committee.
Applicants are screened at the discretion of a Departmental Screening Committee, composed
of the Graduate Program Coordinator and two other members of the UNO graduate faculty
selected jointly by the applicant and the Graduate Coordinator to represent expertise
in the specialty area(s) of the applicant.
The oral interview is the final step in the screening process. During Spring and Fall
semesters, this interview takes place when the applicant’s admission file is complete:
- Graduate Record Examination scores, (and TOEFL scores for foreign applicants)
- Application for Screening into the Doctoral Program in the College of Education
- Completed short essay
- Three letters of recommendation
Screening may be done during summer session upon permission of the department. If
distance or circumstances make the face-to-face oral interview untenable, another
form of interview will be determined.
Provisional and Unconditional Acceptance. Students are accepted provisionally into
the doctoral program at the discretion of the departmental screening committee. Unconditional
acceptance into the doctoral program requires passing a qualifying examination which
must be taken upon completion of 12 graduate semester credit hours with a grade of
“B” or higher in each course. At least two of the courses must be from the sequence
of doctoral core seminars, and other courses are specified by committee. In addition
to the course required, the qualifying examination is taken no earlier than one year
after entering the program with provisional admission and with approval of the major
professor and doctoral committee.
All doctoral students must have a minimum of 91 graduate semester hours beyond the requirements
for the baccalaureate degree. These courses include a minimum of 36 semester hours
in Special Education and Habilitative Services, including the core doctoral seminars;
a minimum of 18 semester hours in a single minor field; a minimum of three (3) semester
hours in foundations of education course(s); and a minimum of 18 semester hours in
research tools. Forty-nine (49) of the minimum number of hours must be completed after
All doctoral students are required to earn four semesters of full-time residence.
The Graduate School governs this requirement and provides for a variety of combinations
whereby residency may be satisfied. Each student will work with a major advisor to
determine how to complete this requirement.
To be admitted to doctoral candidacy status, a student must pass a portfolio based
general examination. A graduate student becomes eligible to take the general examination
after demonstrating adequate academic and professional growth to his or her advisory
committee through ongoing portfolio evaluation. In addition to passing the general
examination, a doctoral student must demonstrate research competence by participating
in all phases of at least one research project prior to applying for candidacy to
the doctoral program and beginning work on the dissertation.
Doctoral students must take the general examination within five years after passing
the qualifying examination. Doctoral candidates must complete all requirements, including
a dissertation that demonstrates original scholarship, within five years of passing
the general examination.
Twelve faculty members from diverse universities throughout the United States serve
on the graduate faculty in the Department of Special Education and Habilitative Services.
Their expertise encompasses mild/moderate disabilities, severe/profound disabilities,
assessment, behavior disorders, learning disabilities, mental retardation, early intervention,
deafness/hearing impairments, blindness/visual impairments, and gifted and talented.
The department supports full-time doctoral study via several funding sources: graduate
assistantships, funded research projects, specially funded programs or grants. All
applicants wishing to secure financial aid must fill out a departmental financial
aid application the semester prior to the semester for which the assistance is desired.
Applications may be updated by calling the Graduate Program Coordinator or the departmental
The department accesses the resources of the UNO library and the computer and research
center. The department has excellent relationships with local school districts, the
Louisiana Department of Education, and other related agencies in southeast Louisiana.
Cooperative programming is common with the other universities in the region.
Certification and Honors
The doctoral program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation in Teacher
All individuals who feel that they meet the above qualifications and requirements
are encouraged to apply. Admission is open to all persons regardless of race, creed,
color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital, or veteran status
who meet the admission requirements and qualifications.