Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education

The Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education, offered jointly by the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University, culminates in a Ph.D. degree. The program draws on the strengths of both universities in developing leaders and researchers in the field of atypical development and learning.

Students select an area of academic specialization in both special and general education. Faculty and program resources on the two campuses are used to develop advanced knowledge of theory and research in areas of exceptionality. Specializations include human development; early childhood, language and literacy; mathematics, science, and technology; educational policy and administration; and other areas selected by students in consultation with faculty advisers. The areas of faculty expertise that may be of particular interest to students in communicative disorders include augmentative and alternative communication, communication and autism spectrum disorders, early childhood special education, atypical language and literacy development, multi-cultural and multi-lingual issues related to children with disabilities, and special educational policy and administration. In the program, students develop three areas of emphasis or specialization that reflect their research interests and the expertise of the faculty advisors.

Courses are taken on both university campuses, and faculty are drawn from both institutions. Directors: Anne Cunningham (Berkeley), and Marci Hanson (San Francisco). For more information about the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education, please visit