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Training in the Professoriate for Special Education (TIPS)

Special Education Doctoral Study Scholarship:

Become a faculty member in special education

At the heart of special education is the desire to offer students with academic, behavioral, health, or physical needs the support that they need to succeed beyond those met by traditional educational programs or methods. Special education professionals make a difference in the lives of students. To continue that great tradition, there must be qualified special education  professionals, who are trained by special education faculty members.The special education program in Penn State's College of Education received a federal grant called Training in the Professoriate for Special Education (TIPS).

The goal of the TIPS program is to produce highly trained and prepared individuals with the necessary research knowledge and teaching skills to be successful professors in special education.

What is TIPS?

TIPS is a federally funded program that provides financial and academic support to full-time doctoral students in special education at Penn State.

Why would I want to be a faculty member in Special Education?

By working as a faculty member in special education in an institution of higher education, you will have the opportunity to conduct original research and work with the teachers of tomorrow. University faculty enjoy a flexible schedule in which they have the freedom to pursue intellectual interests, while at the same time contributing to improved services for students with special education needs. There are often significant opportunities to travel both nationally and internationally, and to earn additional income through writing and consultation activities.

The demand for qualified special education faculty already exceeds supply, and the demand for qualified special education faculty will continue to grow in the 21st century.

What activities are included in the doctoral program?

The doctoral program at Penn State is based upon the Criteria of the Next Environment (CONE) model; graduate students learn and have opportunities to practice the skills expected of Special Education faculty. In addition, students supported via TIPS participate in an orientation seminar and a seminar focusing on Research-to-Practice issues in the field.

Who should apply?

Individuals who:

  • Have at least 2 years full-time service in special education or a closely related field
  • Are interested in earning a Ph.D. in special education
  • Plan to seek a faculty position in an institution of higher education after graduation

Individuals supported via TIPS need to meet the admissions criteria.

    How do I apply?

    Individuals interested in the TIPS program can apply by following the graduate application process. Individuals who would like more information may contact David Lee or Paul Riccomini.

    What financial support is available?

    • $36,000 per year available through an annual scholarship of $20,000 and potential for graduate assistantship—$16,000 stipend plus tuition remission
    • One-time relocation allowance of up to $2,000
    • $2,000 in travel for professional conferences each year
    • Up to $900 for textbook and course materials each year
    • Up to $600 for research allowance
    • Health insurance through Penn State's student plan (available with the graduate assistantship only)
    • Money to support a pre-admission visit to meet faculty and current students


    David LeeDavid Lee, Ph.D., BCBA-D
    Project Co-Director




    Paul RiccominiPaul J. Riccomini, Ph.D.
    Project Co-Director




    Individuals with disabilities and those from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.