Academic Programs Catalog

College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders

Graduate Study
Communicative Sciences and Disorders - Doctor of Philosophy

The Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders offers doctoral programs directed toward advanced study of human communication sciences and disorders.  Doctoral programs of study are designed to meet the individual needs of students preparing for careers in research and education.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Admission to the doctoral program in communicative sciences and disorders requires a minimum of a master's degree or the equivalent that focused on human communication sciences and disorders; evidence of high academic achievement; a minimum of three letters of recommendation (submitted on forms supplied by the department) attesting to the student's academic abilities and achievements, and to the student's potential for doctoral–level academic and research success; and approval of the department.  Students must also submit a statement of purpose clearly specifying why they wish to pursue a doctoral degree including career goals following graduation. In some circumstances, an extremely promising student with an undergraduate degree may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program. 

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders

Students must meet the requirements specified below:

1. Students entering the program without a master’s degree will complete at least 18 credits of graduate-level course work, including 9 credits of clinically-focused courses from CSD, as well as a research experience equivalent to the preparation for a master’s thesis.
2. Students with a master’s degree who did not complete a clinical master’s in communicative sciences and disorders within 3 years of enrolling in the doctoral program will select 6 to 9 credits from the CSD clinical course work. Additional clinical courses may also be required of students with a clinical master’s degree as determined by the guidance committee. Students who are not required to take CSD clinical courses may still elect to take such courses in consultation with their guidance committee.
3. Core Courses (6 to 9 credits):
All students will successfully complete at least 2 of 4 courses addressing fundamental aspects of the field of communicative sciences and disorders, including:
CSD 901 Speech Perception 3
CSD 902 Speech Production 3
CSD 903 Language Science 3
CSD 904 Hearing Science 3
These courses are not offered every semester or every year. Students are encouraged to plan carefully so they can take courses of interest while being mindful of which courses will be available during their programs.
4. All students will select methods and skills courses in statistics and experimental design, as well as in related areas including signal processing, programming, instrumentation, or imaging. As part of these credits, students will be required to gain course work and/or experience in the scholarship and fundamentals of research and teaching.
5. All students will take 18 to 24 credits of advanced graduate specialized study courses in their area of research interest. Courses may be within the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders or within other departments at the University. Students may split these specialized study courses into a primary and secondary area as appropriate for their goals and interests. The specific courses that students take must be approved by the guidance committee.
6. In addition to approved course work, all students will engage in the experiences designed to prepare them for academic work in the field, including the responsible conduct of research, research ethics, and grant writing.
7. Successfully complete a one-semester laboratory rotation in a lab other than their primary mentor’s lab, in order to gain experience with other ways of approaching research.
8. Successfully complete a pre-dissertation research project reflecting a semi-independent research study that is acceptable for publication in a scholarly journal.
9. Successfully complete a written and oral comprehensive examination designed to assess the student’s knowledge about topics related to the student’s program of study.
10. Successfully complete a written and oral defense of a dissertation, including 24 to 36 credits of CSD 999: Doctoral Dissertation Research. The dissertation must be based upon original research that represents a contribution to the scientific knowledge base of human communicative sciences and disorders.