Communication Sciences and Disorders PhD


Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

About the Program

The PhD program in Communication Sciences and Disorders seeks to bring students to a level of education at which they may participate as scholars in the discipline. It is the program's objective to provide doctoral students with a base of information sufficiently broad that they understand the range of their discipline, yet deep enough in a chosen area of specialization to enable them to comfortably assume positions of leadership. The program emphasizes education in specific methods of research, appropriate to the student's area of specialization, reaching a level at which the graduate will be able to make original and valuable contributions to the knowledge of the field. A final objective is to infuse students with the spirit of scientific inquiry and wisdom in the methods and philosophy of science to place their own contributions, and the contributions of others, in a proper perspective with regard to theoretical and philosophical positions and trends. It is anticipated that graduates will contribute to the discipline as leaders and exemplars in the areas of teaching, research, administration and clinical services.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can only be completed on a full-time basis.

Interdisciplinary Study: Students often take elective coursework outside the department in disciplines such as biostatistics, education and psychology.

Affiliation(s): Cooperative efforts have been established with Temple University Hospital and Lewis Katz School of Medicine, the Camden School District, MossRehab, and the School District of Philadelphia.

Areas of Specialization: Areas of concentration are Speech-Language Pathology with emphases in adult language disorders, child language and literacy development and disorders, and motor speech.

Job Prospects: Graduates are prepared for careers in universities and research institutions.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Departmental permission is required for registration in graduate classes. A maximum of 9 credits earned as a non-matriculated student may be applied toward the degree.

Financing Opportunities: Research and Teaching Assistantships may be available. Contact the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders to inquire.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: December 15

All applicants to the PhD program in Communication Sciences and Disorders must apply via the Centralized Application Service for Public Health (SOPHAS). The system can be accessed at

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from professors, employers or colleagues who are able to evaluate the applicant's research potential. One letter must be from a previous professor, advisor or research supervisor.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Applicants must demonstrate coursework taken in statistics and probability.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A master's degree is not required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree in Communication Disorders, Education, Linguistics, or Psychology is required.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, address your background, academic and professional goals, and how your interests fit with the program.

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79 (send officially to SOPHAS using the SOPHAS-specific TOEFL code 5688)
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53
  • Duolingo: 110

Resume: Current resume required.

Writing Sample: A writing sample that is expository in nature, e.g., a chapter of a thesis, a convention paper, and/or a paper from senior undergraduate or master's level coursework, should be submitted.

Laptop: Beginning in Fall 2020, all incoming students in the College of Public Health are required to have a laptop. Academic programs in the college are technology intensive. They incorporate statistical and database analyses; utilize specialized tools for athletic training, kinesiology and physical therapy; stream audio and video for communication sciences; facilitate online interactive counseling for social work; and foster clinical experiences and online assessments. The laptop requirement enables the College of Public Health to improve opportunities for active learning and provide greater access to specialized software and required tools in and out of the classroom, better preparing students for the workforce. Learn more about device specifications and suggested vendors. Students can use excess financial aid (i.e., funds that are reimbursed after all tuition and fees are paid) to meet student needs, including the purchase of a laptop. Scholarships may also provide funding.

Advanced Standing: The student’s advisor recommends advanced standing to the PhD Program Director based on a review of prior coursework and experience. Coursework taken as part of a degree program for which a degree has been conferred is not considered for advanced standing. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 6.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 45

Required Courses:

Core Courses
CSCD 5411Psycholinguistics3
CSCD 5730Topics in Speech, Language and Hearing (2 terms)6
HRPR 5001Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions0
PHIL 5216Philosophy of Science3
Research and Statistics Courses 1
EPBI 5002Biostatistics3
EPBI 5201Epidemiological Research Methods I3
EPBI 8012Multivariable Biostatistics3
EPBI 8212Grantsmanship in Health Research3
HRPR 5999Research Experience in Health Professions0
Statistics and Methodology Electives
Select two from the following: 26
Single Subject Research Design
Structural Equation Modeling
Multilev Mod in Int Res
Content Area Electives
Select three from the following: 39
Written Language Development and Disorders
Neurocognitive Language Disorders
Teaching in Higher Education: Health Professions
Teaching in Higher Education Practicum
Neuromotor Science 3: Cognition and Learning
Affective Neuroscience
Topical Seminar in Cognitive Psychology
Core Course in Cognitive Psychology
PSY 8513
Research Courses
CSCD 9994Preliminary Examination Preparation1
CSCD 9998Pre-Dissertation Research2
CSCD 9999Dissertation Research3
Total Credit Hours45

Minimum Grade to be Earned for All Required Courses: B-

Culminating Events:
Preliminary Examination:
The preliminary examination is undertaken when the student has completed all other requirements for advancement to candidacy, but no later than the end of the third year of study. Specifically, students are expected to have produced at least two publishable manuscripts and completed all coursework prior to registering for the exam. Students should have successfully presented the first-year project and second-year evaluation.

The examination itself includes a written examination and an oral defense. The written examination consists of three to five questions developed by the student’s committee and approved by the PhD Program Director and department chair. Students have two weeks to complete the written examination. At least one question addresses methodology and the other two are on distinct but related topics close to the student’s area of research. Upon submission of the written examination, the student orally defends the written responses in a meeting of graduate faculty. At a minimum, the student’s committee, the PhD Program Director, and department chair are present. The student must pass the preliminary examination in no more than two attempts. The Doctoral Advisory Committee evaluates the exam on a pass/fail basis. All judgments are by committee consensus.

The preliminary examination prepares students to write a data-driven dissertation proposal, which is a prospectus with literature review and proposed methodology. When the student has successfully defended the preliminary examination and submitted an approved prospectus, the student has ascended to doctoral candidacy.

The dissertation is an original study that makes a significant and publishable contribution to the field. It should demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the theoretical and empirical literature in the area of investigation. It should also be of sound and rigorous methodology. Original research of quality appropriate for publication in a first-tier national journal is expected.

Graduate School guidelines for announcing the defense are followed. Notice is given through postings, email and listserv announcements. The defense lasts two hours.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders

110 Weiss Hall

1701 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6085


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


CPH Office of Admissions


Program Director:

Jodi Reich, PhD



Lisa Bedore, PhD