Special Education

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Doctoral Program in Special Education, offered jointly with San Francisco State University, culminates in a PhD degree. The joint program draws on the strengths of both universities in developing leaders and researchers in the field of atypical development and learning.

The faculty and program resources on the two campuses support advanced research and theoretical discourse in a focused area of exceptionality. Area specializations in the Special Educational program include human development; early childhood, language, and literacy; mathematics, science, and technology; educational policy and administration; and area specializations selected by students in consultation with their faculty advisers.

Courses are taken on both university campuses, and faculty are drawn from both institutions.

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Admission to the University

Applying for Graduate Admission

Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. A complete list of graduate academic departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Admission Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;

  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and

  3. Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.

Where to apply?

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.

Doctoral Degree Requirements


Courses Required
EDUC 214Human Development and Education Seminar1
EDUC 200ACulture and Cognitive Development: Theoretical Perspectives3
or EDUC 205 Instruction and Development
EDUC 275BData Analysis in Educational Research II4
EDUC 275LEducational Data Analysis Laboratory II1
EDUC 293AData Analysis in Education Research4
EDUC 293LEducational Data Analysis Laboratory1
EDUC 299Special Study and Research1-12
Courses Required at SFSU
SPED 902: Seminar in Program Development
SPED 903: Research in Special Education: Program Design and Analysis
SPED 905: University-level Teaching Internship (RECOMMENDED, not required).
SPED 907: Learning and Development: The Influence of Disabilities
SPED 908: Directed Special Study Topics
SPED 909: Current Issues in Special Education Policy and Practice
Additional Courses per Area of Study (Concentrations)
Areas of Study: Early Childhood Special Education; Communicative Disorders; Deaf/Hard of Hearing; Mild/Moderate Disabilities; Autism Spectrum; Moderate Severe Disabilities; Physical Disabilities & Augmentative & Alternative Communication; Visual Impairment; Orientation & Mobility
3 Areas of Specialization required within the Area of Study requiring 3 UCB Graduate courses (or 9 semester units) per each area of specialization as approved by adviser
Foundational courses (SFSU) approved by adviser for Area of Study as needed per possible individual student background deficiencies


Special Education

Contact Information

Berkeley School of Education

2121 Berkeley Way, 4th Floor

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Department of Special Education & Communicative Disorders

SF State University

156 Burk Hall

Phone: (415)338-1161


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