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PH.D. in Communication 
Sciences and Disorders

doc students

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program provides a rigorous course of study along with mentored research and teaching experiences to enable students to become high-quality researchers and serve effectively as leaders in the discipline of communication sciences and disorders. Graduates of the program are prepared to assume careers as researchers and teacher-scholars at colleges, universities, hospitals, industrial settings, and research facilities. 

The program is not designed to provide an advanced clinical degree. Rather, the Ph.D. degree will be conferred in recognition of the attainment of the highest academic excellence and productive scholarship. As doctoral programs are an integral step on a life-long journey of learning and scholarship, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders has established the Ph.D. program in Communication Sciences and Disorders to support students in developing knowledge, judgment, skills, and attitudes to facilitate their growth and learning throughout their careers as researchers, scholars, and teachers.

Program Objectives

The primary objective of the Ph.D. degree program is to assist students to develop in-depth mastery of subject matter in a narrow and specific area within the broad discipline of communication sciences and disorders and, simultaneously, to broaden one’s knowledge base in other fields related to the special area of interest, such as health, linguistics, education, and the physical, biological, and socio-behavioral sciences. With the intent to prepare high-quality researchers to serve as leaders in the discipline of communication sciences and disorders, graduates of the program will be prepared to assume independent careers as researchers and scholars at colleges, universities, and hospitals, as well to become key personnel at leading private and public research institutes.

Specifically, the objectives of the Ph.D. program include:

  1. The development of independent research skills through sequential experiences that involve the planning and conduct (or implementation) of research projects, the writing of grants, and the dissemination of research findings through the presentation of papers at scientific and other professional conferences and publication in peer-reviewed journals in the discipline; 
  2.  The preparation of academicians equipped to teach the university students of tomorrow through guided coursework in educational methods and evaluation, instructional technologies including online course delivery, international and intercultural experiences, and classroom practice; and 
  3. The acquisition of advanced knowledge and understanding of a specialized area with the ability to apply this understanding to research, teaching, and scholarship.  

A Highly Individualized Experience

The Ph.D. program in Communication Sciences and Disorders is a highly individualized experience that includes prescribed and selected coursework designed to meet the objectives of the program, ongoing participation in research and other scholarly activities, and the independent completion of a dissertation under the mentorship of a research advisor. As such, the time needed to complete the program will vary to ensure sufficient time for the building of adequate teaching and research skills and a creditable curriculum vitae. Some diligent and highly motivated students may be able to complete their work in less time, whereas others may require more time to achieve independence as a scholar and researcher.

Because the discipline of communication sciences and disorders supports two professions, audiology and speech-language pathology, students in the Ph.D. degree program may pursue one of the following  areas of emphasis :

1) Speech and Language Sciences and Disorders  or 
2) Hearing Science and Disorders

It is expected that—through study, scholarship, and mentorship—Ph.D. candidates will develop deep expertise in a specific topic within an area of emphasis.