Leadership in Secondary Curriculum, Outcomes, and REsearch (SCORE) for Youth with Severe Disabilities

Opportunity for Doctoral Study at the University of Illinois 

The purpose of Leadership in Secondary Curriculum, Outcomes, and REsearch (SCORE) is to prepare knowledgeable, dynamic leaders in the field of special education with expertise in severe disabilities and secondary education curriculum.  Individuals who participate in this doctoral program will actively participate in research, teaching, and service activities with faculty and community collaborators.  Six competency areas will be emphasized.

  • Secondary education curriculum that enhances outcomes for students with severe disabilities
  • Collaboration in inclusive school and community settings
  • Educating culturally and linguistically diverse students in high need schools! Evidence-based research practices
  • Effective teacher preparation
  • Disability policy and advocacy
Core Doctoral Program Requirements

The Doctoral Program in Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign requires 64 credit hours beyond the master’s degree. Upon entry into the program, students create an Individual Plan of Study with their advisor that is tailored to their individual needs and interests. Doctoral students must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours of coursework in the major subjects, 16-24 credit hours in an area of research specialization, and at least 4 hours (but no more than 32 hours) of dissertation research. In addition, the degree includes an early research requirement, qualifying exams, and a dissertation. For more information about the requirements of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree please see: SPED Doc Manual

Program Features

Individuals who participate in SCORE complete the core doctoral program with several program enhancements that contribute to a specialized focus on severe disabilities and secondary education curriculum.

  • Cohort Model– The program is completed as a cohort with other doctoral students who are interested in severe disabilities and secondary education curriculum. Incoming students receive mentoring from advanced doctoral students.
  • Specialized Academic Coursework– Doctoral students complete 4 required courses and choose a minimum of 3 Advanced Topics courses to address the SCORE competency areas.
  • SCORE Seminar–Each semester doctoral students participate in a bi-weekly seminar to discuss evidence-based practices in severe disabilities and engage with national and state experts regarding issues relative to the competency areas.
  • Externship– During the first two years of study, doctoral students participate in a 2-day externship in the Chicago Public Schools to observe culturally diverse middle and high school classrooms that include students with severe disabilities and learn about educating students in urban, high need schools.
  • Mentoring Teachers in High Need Schools– Each year doctoral students partner with teachers from our low incidence off-campus graduate program in Chicago to engage in a reciprocal mentoring relationship.
  • Service-Learning Course/Research– Doctoral students co-teach an 8-week course once a year to preservice special education teachers that is focused on high school service-learning.  As part of the course, preservice teachers will implement a 6-week arts-based service-learning project that includes students with and without disabilities at 3 local high schools and conduct research on the project.
  • Traineeships- A 20 hour paid traineeship is completed each semester that focuses on research, personnel preparation, or service learning (depending on the semester) and allows collaboration with key faculty and leaders in the community

This program is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.  SCORE provides program participants with a:

  • Tuition waiver for up to 5 years
  • Fee waiver of most university fees
  • Paid 11-month traineeship ($23,000)
  • Generous stipend for conference attendance, research materials, and participation in each externship

Participants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to qualify for funding through SCORE.  In addition, individuals funded by SCORE must sign a service agreement indicating that they will work in the field of special education for two years for every year of funding received. 

Doctoral Program Application Process

To apply to the program, please visit:  http://education.illinois.edu/programs/grad/how-to-apply

For more information

Please contact Dr. Stacy Dymond, Professor and Program Director, at sdymond@illinois.edu.

IDEASWomen, minorities, and individuals with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.