JD Emphasis and Specialization

The Joint Doctoral Program area of specialization: University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University.

Area of Specialization - University of California, Berkeley

The Ph.D. program requires demonstration competence in the substance and method(s) of the intended field of scholarship, as well as acquisition of an informed perspective on educational issues sufficient to formulate significant questions for research. Its goal is to increase our understanding of the nature of the educational process or of the social, political, and economic forces that affect education. Ph.D. candidates are expected to select three distinct areas of study, referred to as the "Areas of Specialization". These areas represent substantial and different bodies of relevant literature. The Ph.D. student is expected to acquire a sufficient academic and methodological preparation to be able to present, analyze, and develop a theoretical understanding of selected problems and issues.

Each student’s program is individually designed and includes work in both a special education subspecialization and an academic specialization for doctoral studies. Faculty and program resources on both campuses are used to develop advanced knowledge of theory and research competence in an area of exceptionality. Among the academic specializations that can be pursued with respect to an area of exceptionality are human development, early childhood, educational and administration, vocational education, language and literacy, bilingualism, mathematics, science and technology, mild/moderate disabilities, moderate/severe disabilities, autism, deafness and deaf education, vision impairments, and other areas selected by students in consultation with faculty advisors.

Special Education Specializations and Foundations - SFSU

In addition to the general core course requirements, students select a course of study with their faculty advisors that are congruent with their own professional development goals, previous course work and experiences. Students who enter the Joint Doctoral Program with minimal or no academic course work in Special Education will need to enroll in foundation courses in the disability area of emphasis or interest. Students are required to meet with primary advisors in selecting three areas of specialization or emphasis. A minimum of three courses or nine units is required in each area of specialization, not including directed or independent study. Specialization and foundation program courses available to support students towards advancement to candidacy include:

  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Mild to Moderate Support Needs
  • Extensive Support Needs
  • Orientation & Mobility
  • Visual Impairments

Program specializations provide a breadth of study, research and teaching experience on topics and issues which may include, but are not limited to: public policy and practice, administration and leadership, advocacy, transition services, integrated services, community collaboration and inclusion, curriculum, assessment and diagnosis, cultural and social influences, health issues, rehabilitation alternative/augmentative communication, adaptive technology, cognitive and socioemotional differences, sensori-motor functioning, language and literacy, speech language pathology, audiology, environmental design, service delivery, instructional practice and other educational and human service related topics and issues.