Special Education and Communication Disorders

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate programs offered

Earn a Graduate Degree

  • MA in Special Education (30-36 cr, Option I, II, or III) with optional specialization:
    • Early Childhood Special Education
    • Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    • Visual Impairments
  • MEd in Special Education (36 cr, Option II only) with optional specialization:
    • Early Childhood Special Education
    • Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    • Visual Impairments
  • MS in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology (45 cr, Option I or III)
  • PhD in Educational Studies (90 cr) with a specialization in Special Education
  • PhD in Human Sciences (90 cr) with a specialization in Communication Disorders
  • AuD in Audiology and Hearing Science (87 cr)
Areas of Study

These informal areas of focus may help to shape your course of study but they will not appear on transcripts.

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
  • 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

Earn a Graduate Certificate

Certificates have their own deadlines and checklists; select one for details.

Online and Distance Opportunities

Offered online:
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 Impairments (Pre-12) (summer on-site participation will be required at various locations)

Other programs:
Some online coursework may be available for your program; contact dept. for details.

Contacts for Special Education and Communication Disorders

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Other Ways to Connect

On the Web
Special Education and Communication Disorders

Graduate Chair
Dr. Matthew Lambert

Graduate Secretary
Ms. Jill England

Campus Address
318 Barkley Center
Lincoln NE 68583-0738

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Application checklist and deadlines

1. Required by Graduate Studies

2. Required by Special Education and Communication Disorders

  • 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, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

Application Deadlines for Special Education and Communication Disorders
  • M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology: January 15 for Fall.
  • Au.D. in Audiology: January 15 for Fall.
  • M.A. and M.Ed. in Special Education: January 15 for Fall.
  • Ph.D. in Educational Studies (specialization in Special Education): January 15 for Financial Consideration. Otherwise rolling admission.
  • Ph.D. in Human Sciences (specialization in Communication Disorders): January 15 for Financial Consideration. Otherwise rolling admission.

Application/admission is for entry in a specific term and year. Our academic year is divided into 3 terms: Fall (August-December), Spring (January-May), and Summer (multiple sessions May-August). Some programs accept new students only in certain terms and/or years.


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 non-thesis 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

Faculty and research

Where available, names link to bios or homepages and contact card icons () link to directory listings with address, phone, and email.

Steven Barlow

Communication Neuroscience

Stephen Boney

Aural Rehabilitation; Pediatric Audiology; AmplificationEmeritus

Marc Brennan

Childhood Hearing Loss; Auditory Perception; Hearing Aid Amplification; Speech Perception; Compression Amplification

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

Marc J. Goodrich

Language and Literacy Development

Judy Harvey

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); Aphasia; Neuroscience

Michael Hebert

Writing & Literacy

Michelle Hughes

Karen Hux

Acquired Brain Injury; Aphasia; Dementia; Right Hemisphere DisfunctionEmeritus

Sherri Jones

Audiology; Auditory and Vestibular Physiology; Vestibular AssessmentDepartment Chair

Timothy Jones

Physiology; Pharmacology and Development of Hearing and Balance of OrgansEmeritus

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

Min (Jessica) Namkung

Understanding Factors that Contribute to Individual Differences in Learning Math; Developing Interventions for Students with Learning Difficulties in Math

Ron Nelson

Learning Technologies, English Language Literacy, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, and Risk Factors for Behavior and Learning Problems

Peng Peng

Reading Instruction; Learning Disabilties; Executive Functions; Meta - Analysis

Amanda Rodriguez

Dixie Sanger

Communication Skills of Female Juvenile Delinquents; Adolescent Language

Mackenzie Savaiano

Visual Impairments & Blindness

Alexandra Trout

Students With and At-Risk of Disabilities; Out-of-Home Care; Transitions

Yingying Wang

Child Development, Reading, Language, NeuroImaging

This summary page is maintained by Graduate Studies.
For additional details check out the dept./program website: Special Education and Communication Disorders.

Departments: Have an update for this summary? Contact Kurt Mueller.