Doctoral Studies

The doctoral program provides students with the necessary training to have successful careers as academic researchers and scholars. Through rigorous research experience, intensive coursework, and collaboration with faculty mentors, the doctoral program is designed to prepare students for careers as independent researchers in CSD.

Admission requirements and application deadline

The strongest applicants will have evidence of academic excellence, strong GRE scores, excellent letters of recommendation from scholars familiar with academic potential, and a clearly demonstrated interest in research. We encourage students with degrees in communicative sciences and disorders as well as related fields including psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience, with a strong and demonstrated interest in CSD-based research and scholarship to apply to our program. Prospective doctoral students do not need a master’s degree before applying.

To apply, see the Application Guide for the PhD in CSDThe application deadline is January 6, 2017.  

Financial support

This five-year full-time program includes several academic research milestones and comes with a competitive funding program that supports tuition and living expenses.

Degree requirements

Degree requirements for incoming candidates with a master's degree:

  • Individualized doctoral coursework (minimum of 43 points) fitting student’s research and scholarship interests
  • Complete the candidacy research and scholarship requirements
    • Two qualifying papers in two distinct areas/approaches within CSD
  • Develop and defend a dissertation consisting of original research that makes a novel contribution to the field
  • Teaching experience to enable students to compete successfully for academic positions

Degree requirements for incoming students without a master's degree:

  • Complete additional content-related coursework in CSD (30 points)
  • All other requirements as stated above

While there is a general structure to the program’s requirements, each student will inform his or her coursework for the program based on interests and background, in consultation with his or her mentor. There are general requirements, however, highlighted by a rigorous training in research methodology and statistics (15 points) providing students with the skills to perform independent research. In addition, students are required to take a course in Seminal Readings in Communicative Sciences and Disorders (3 points) and are expected to attend the department Doctoral Seminar and Research Colloquia each semester. These one-credit classes will be taken for credit half the time (a total of 10 points). The remaining 15 points consist of in-depth coursework to help solidify the student's knowledge in his or her area of interest, and students are strongly encouraged to take courses outside of the department as appropriate.

Research milestones

The doctoral program is structured around the completion of research milestones.

Qualifying papers (QPs): Students complete two qualifying papers (QPs) of the quality expected in peer-reviewed research journals. Each QP provides depth in an area of CSD research, and is conducted and written by the student under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students achieve breadthin their research training through the completion of two different QPs, which have different empirical and/or theoretical approaches and are typically done with different mentors as part of a lab rotation. Each paper is submitted to a committee consisting of the mentor and two readers, and is followed by an oral defense which includes a department-wide presentation about the research paper. It is expected that this work will form the basis for conference presentations and journal article submissions. Students are expected to complete these two papers within three years.

Dissertation proposal and dissertation: In the final years of the program, students develop, write, and defend their dissertation proposal and ultimately their dissertation. The dissertation is supervised by a faculty mentor(s), but reflects the ideas and empirical contribution of the student, and will further our field’s knowledge in the area of inquiry. 

More information 

To read more about the PhD program, view the 2015-2016 PhD Student Handbook.

For specific research queries about the doctoral program, please contact the faculty member whose interests most reflect your own. Learn more about our faculty members' active research

For general questions, please contact Professor Adam Buchwald, director of the PhD program.