College of Education

Exceptional Learning Ph.D.

Our program focuses on the characteristics, strengths, and educational needs of individuals and groups whose learning potential and opportunities for success are frequently unrealized.

Information & Assistance

Denette Way
College of Education
Exceptional Learning Ph.D.
Tennessee Tech University
Box 5116
Cookeville, TN 38505
Ph: 931-372-3177

Exceptional Learning Ph.D. Student Handbook 2017-2018 (PDF)

  • Exceptional and at-risk populations include people for whom social, economic, and physical characteristics may serve as a barrier to development and learning.
  • The Ph.D. in Exceptional Learning prepares leaders to work in schools, agencies, and universities to effect positive change in populations of diverse and at-risk learners, addressing social, economic, and physical characteristics that may serve as barriers to learning, primarily through research and service activities.

Program Concentrations

  • Four concentrations allow you to focus on specific interests:
    • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) prepares professionals who can develop and deliver behavioral interventions and supports for individuals in educational and habilitative settings. There are two strands with ABA:
      • Young Children and Families (YCF) prepares professionals to provide support and interventions to young, at-risk children and families with emphasis on building relationships with and advocating for those groups. (Strand Leader - Dr. Jane Baker)
      • Applied Behavior Analysis School-Aged Children and Adult Populations (ABAS) prepares professionals who will implement and provide empirical support for behavioral interventions for a range of populations and pursue board certification as a behavior analyst. (Strand Leader - Dr. Seth King) The ABAS course sequence is approved by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). NOTE: See page 20 of the Exceptional Learning Ph.D. Student Handbook for BACB information.
    • Literacy empowers educational innovators to develop cutting-edge, socially conscious approaches to multi-literacies and challenge narrow conceptions of learners, families and world views. (Concentration leader – Dr. Deborah Setliff)
    • Program Planning and Evaluation prepares professionals for leadership roles in program evaluation and planning with an emphasis on statistical methods. (Concentration leader – Dr. Barry Stein)
    • STEM Education builds the capacity of innovative educational leaders to advance new ideas and to design/implement strategic innovations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. (Concentration leader – Dr. Holly Anthony)

Graduate Admission Requirements & Forms