This program can be completed in 77 credit hours (including dissertation). Additional
credit hours could be required if optional research tools coursework or additional
externship hours are chosen.
Choose the enrollment level that is right for you. Full-time students generally finish
in three years; part-time students can typically finish within five years.
- Content courses are offered in the Fall and Spring terms. Three 16-week courses are
available. You can enroll in 1 to 3 courses.
- In Summer terms, you will focus on electives, research tools courses, externship,
and your dissertation. These courses are also available in Fall and Spring.
Coursework (77 Credit Hours)
To see the upcoming courses, visit this program's Current Students page.
Research Core (12 Hours)
Research Tools (12 Hours Minimum)
Students in special education must demonstrate proficiency in two of the four research tools. You will work with your advisor on research tool course options.
Electives (9 Hours)
Students are to select 9 semester hours of courses in a cognate closely related to
the student’s program goals. Electives are chosen in consultation with the major advisor
and are an integral part of the program plan.
Dissertation (16 Hours)
Externships (3 Hours Minimum)
Add a Director of Gifted Education Licensure/ Endorsement
You can include Director of Gifted Education Endorsement preparation if you take it as an Area of Special Interest for this PhD degree.
Contact the Program Coordinator for details and advice based upon your academic background.
Comprehensive Performance Assessment
The comprehensive examination consists of a written Major Paper plus a matrix of performance
options that demonstrates competency in theory, pedagogy, research methodology, evidence-based
practice, public policy/advocacy, and collaboration.
For full details, see the official program listing in the UNC Graduate Catalog.
Possess (or be in the process of finishing) a master's degree from a regionally accredited
college or university, or a comparable degree from a foreign institution.
Have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better (on a 4.00 point scale) for the most recent
degree earned or current degree in progress. If you are still completing your master's
degree at the time you apply, admission will be based on your current cumulative GPA,
and you will need to re-submit your official transcript (showing your conferred degree
and final GPA) during your first semester. If your final GPA fell below 3.00, you
will be given additional requirements as defined by the academic program that must
be met within one calendar year to remain enrolled at UNC.
Note: the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required for this program.
Prerequisite course: SRM 600 Introduction to Graduate Research (3) or equivalent (you can be admitted without this prerequisite, but will need to take
it prior to taking your first SRM course in the program).
Eligibility by State
At this time, UNC can serve online education to students from every state, the District
of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, we are not currently
accepting students to our online programs who reside in the CNMIs. Due to how fluid
these agreements can be at the state or federal level, we recommend checking our Eligibility by State page for details.
International Student Eligibility
International students residing outside of the United States are eligible to apply
to our online programs. Applicants for online programs must demonstrate English proficiency,
or enroll in the UNC Intensive English Program, in order to be considered.
Students in completely online UNC programs are not required to come to the United
States. You will not need a student visa or receive any immigration documentation,
and do not need to provide financial documentation.
Please visit the International Students Admission Requirements page for details about English proficiency requirements and applying as an international
Applicable graduate credit with a grade of A or B from a regionally accredited university
may be able to be applied towards this academic program. Doctoral students must complete
a minimum of 40 semester hours through UNC of the 64 minimum required for a doctoral
degree. If the program requirements exceed the 64 credit minimum, students are allowed
to transfer additional credits, as determined by their advisor. All work counted in
a doctoral degree program must be completed within eight years. The time limit is
calculated from the beginning of the first class transferred in and counted in the
degree program. See the full Graduate Transfer Credit Policy.
Students must submit an original transcript to their advisor for review. Student and
advisor then complete a (pdf) Transfer of Credit form to submit along with the original transcript to the Grad School for review and final
A student who possesses a specialist degree may count a maximum of 21 semester hours
of specialist work in the doctoral program with the approval of the Graduate School,
the program advisor, and all members of the doctoral committee. Schools may have requirements
that exceed the minimums established by the university.
This is an Extended Campus program, which means:
- A flat per-credit tuition rate for all students (in-state or out-of-state)
- There are no student fees – they are incorporated into our flat tuition rate
- Certain courses may carry specific course fees for additional services and materials
Program tuition for the 2022-23 academic year (which runs Fall, Spring, and Summer
terms) is $672 per credit hour. Tuition for the 2023-24 academic year will be determined
Limited graduate assistantship opportunities are available to offset program costs.
Multiple factors are involved in awarding these positions, but the earlier you apply
for your chosen start term the greater your chance of full consideration. Contact
the Program Coordinator with any questions about assistantships.
Federal Financial Aid
Degree-seeking students who cannot pay for tuition alone are encouraged to apply for
federal financial aid. Students must first complete the Free Application for Federal
Student Aid (FAFSA). The UNC FAFSA/financial aid page for graduate students has key dates and support, including the release date and deadline for each academic
year (a Fall-Spring-Summer cycle which begins each August).
Late submissions of the FAFSA are still accepted throughout the school year but you
may not be considered for the maximum amount of aid. If the priority deadline has
passed for the upcoming/current school year, we encourage you to apply for FAFSA consideration
as soon as you enroll for your first courses. Depending on the time of year, you may
be able to submit an application for the current academic year and an early/priority
application for the following academic year.
Doctoral degree students must be enrolled in a minimum of 5 credits per academic term for financial aid eligibility. Full time
enrollment is based on 9 credits per term.
To apply for federal financial aid assistance
Fill out the FAFSA form at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa
For more specific help, contact the Office of Financial Aid: firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-351-4862 or via the UNC Financial Aid website.
Students can also find helpful information such as the Guide to Federal Student Aid
at https://studentaid.gov/resources. Most of the resources are available in English, Spanish, and Braille.
Student Health Insurance
The University of Northern Colorado offers a Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)
to all degree-seeking students who enroll in courses on our main UNC Campus, an Extended
Campus Center, or Online.
Degree-seeking graduate students enrolled in 6 or more credit hours will automatically
receive this benefit each term. SHIP premiums will appear on your semester bill. If
you have comparable insurance coverage, and do not want to be charged for SHIP coverage,
you must opt out of this plan each Fall via an online waiver process.
Please visit the UNC Student Health Insurance pages for more information about the insurance plan.