Special Education and Communication Disorders

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate degrees offered


  • M.A. and M.Ed. in Special Education
  • M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Ph.D. in Educational Studies with a specialization in Special Education
  • Ph.D. in Human Sciences with a specialization in Communication Disorders
  • Au.D. in Audiology


A specialization is a well-defined area of study that will appear on your transcript with your degree and major. Specializations are optional in most UNL programs.

Special Education Specializations
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Teaching of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Severe Disabilities
Special Education Areas of Study
  • Autism
  • Behavior Disorders
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mild/Moderate Disabilities
  • Severe Disabilities
  • Special Education Transition
  • Visual Impairments
Communication Disorders Areas of Study
  • Aphasia and Acquired Cognitive Disorders
  • Audiology
  • Augmentative/Alternative Communication
  • Fluency Disorders
  • Hearing Science
  • Motor Speech Disorders
  • Language and Phonological Disorders
  • Speech Science
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Vestibular and Balance Disorders
To apply for Au.D. program, select the M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology on the application then include in the comments section that you are seeking the Au.D.

Distance Education Opportunities

M.A. and M.Ed. in Special Education with these specializations only:
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education (Pre-12)
  • Early Childhood Special Education (Birth to age 5)
  • Visual Impariments (Pre-12)
Promo image for Special Education and Communication Disorders

Contacts for Special Education and Communication Disorders

Graduate Chair

Professor Karen Hux

Graduate Secretary

Ms. Jill England



Campus Address

318 Barkley Center

Lincoln NE 68583-0738

Application checklist and deadlines

Required by the Office of Graduate Studies

See also: steps to admission.

Required by Special Education and Communication Disorders in GAMES

After you apply, allow one business day for us to establish your access to GAMES, where you'll complete these departmental requirements:

  • Entrance exam(s): GRE
  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 550, Internet TOEFL 80, IELTS 6.5
  • Statement of Personal/Professional Goals
  • Resume
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Statement of Writing or Research (Ph.D. only)
  • Mentor/Advisor agreement (Ph.D. Only)

When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, UNL's institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

Application Deadlines for Special Education and Communication Disorders
M.S. in Speech-Language PathologyFall: January 15
Au.D. in AudiologyFall: January 15
M.A. and M.Ed. in Special EducationFall: January 15
Ph.D. in Educational Studies with a specialization in Special Education and Ph.D. in Human Sciences with a specialization in Communication DisordersFor Financial Consideration: January 15 Otherwise rolling admission.


The Barkley Center, home to the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, provides a stimulating environment for educational, clinical, and research activities. Learning to assist individuals with special education needs or those with communication disorders of speech, language, balance, or hearing is central to programs in the department.

Programs of study are offered leading to the Master of Education and Master of Arts degrees in special education, the Master of Science in speech-language pathology (thesis and nonthesis options), the Doctor of Audiology in audiology, the Ph.D. in special education, and the Ph.D. in Human Sciences with a specialization in communication disorders.

The interdepartmental Ph.D. programs in educational studies or human sciences allow for specializations in special education or communication disorders, consistent with the student's interests and employment goals. The professional doctoral degree, the Au.D., typically does not require a research project or dissertation of the magnitude necessary for the Ph.D.

Students can take many classes in special education online, however, speech language pathology and audiology are only available as on-campus options

Courses and More

Students in Special Education and Communication Disorders are most likely to take courses in: See also: Course Catalog in the Graduate Bulletin.

Students will work with an advisor to create a Program of Studies or Memorandum of Courses during the first half of their coursework.

Faculty and research

Steven Barlow
Communication Neuroscience
Stephen Boney
Aural Rehabilitation; Pediatric Audiology; Amplification
Tom Carrell
Speech Perception
Cynthia Cress
Infant Vocal Development
Angela Dietsch
Swallowing; Motor Speech; Voice
Emily Dorsey
Early Childhood Special Education & Autism
Kristin Duppong Hurley
Special Education Behavior Disorders
Malinda Eccarius
Visual Literacy
Judy Harvey
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); Aphasia; Neuroscience
Michael Hebert
Writing & Literacy
Julie Honaker
Balance; Vestibular Disorders and Rehabilitation; Audiology
Karen Hux
Acquired Brain Injury; Aphasia; Dementia; Right Hemisphere Disfunction
Sherri Jones
Audiology; Auditory and Vestibular Physiology; Vestibular Assessment
Department Chair
Timothy Jones
Physiology; Pharmacology and Development of Hearing and Balance of Organs
Sue Kemp
School Management; Alternative Teaching Methods
Matthew Lambert
Quantitative Research Methods
John Maag
Functional Assessment; Depression; Attention Deficit Disorders
Christine Marvin
Communication Development of Children; Early Literacy Intervention Programs
Ron Nelson
Students with Disabilities; Academically At-Risk Students
Reece Peterson
School Violence and Discipline; Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Dixie Sanger
Communication Skills of Female Juvenile Delinquents; Adolescent Language
Mackenzie Savaiano
Visual Impairments & Blindness
Alexandra Torkelson-Trout
Students With and At-Risk of Disabilities; Out-of-Home Care; Transitions

Departments: Have an update for this page? Contact Stacy Dam.

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