The Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Science seeks to develop individuals for professional careers in a variety of positions including research and college teaching in the concentration areas of speech and language pathology, audiology, speech-language science or hearing science. The degree program is research oriented with primary emphasis on processes involved in normal, or disordered speech, language, and hearing. As a rule, students are not permitted to transfer from the Ph.D. program to the M.S. SLP program. Ph.D. students will be expected to demonstrate their knowledge in areas related to their concentrated field of study. These areas include:
- Basic speech, hearing, or language processes;
- Basic speech, hearing, or language disorders or differences;
- Related disciplines providing insight into human communication processes;
- Technical skills in instrumentation and experimental design that enable the student to investigate problems pertaining to speech and hearing processes.
Admission and Selection
The matriculation for new students is in the Fall term, which begins about mid-August. Most students apply before December in the year prior to matriculation. The final application deadline is February 15th. Applications are reviewed as received. The admission requirements are:
- Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) - preferably in the field of communication sciences and disorders. Degrees from other areas will be considered, though students without graduate training in core areas will require additional coursework.
- A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- A minimum revised Graduate Record Examination (GRE) combined verbal and quantitative score of 300.
- Any applicant to the graduate program whose first language is not English and who has earned neither a bachelor’s nor a master’s degree from a college or university in an English-speaking country must have achieved a TOEFL score of at least 213/79 on the computer-based/Internet- based exam or an IELTS score of 6.5 (earned within 2 years prior to application). Any applicant whose first language is not English but who has earned a baccalaureate or advanced degree from a college or university in an English-speaking country where instruction was in English may be exempted from the requirement for the TOEFL or IELTS examination.
- Three letters of recommendation.
- Transcripts from any non-US institution must be verified and certified to generate a grade point average (GPA) based on a 4.0 scale. Verification must be completed before February 25th.
- Identification of a faculty member as the student’s major advisor.
Technical Standards and Accommodations
The minimum abilities for eligibility to participate successfully in educational programs and activities by students enrolled in the College of Graduate Health Sciences are listed below. All persons who wish to enter one of the programs in the college should be aware of the minimum abilities required for success. Admission decisions for the college programs do not take disabilities into consideration; students may disclose their disabilities after admission.
Minimum abilities are as follows:
- To make proper assessments and ethical judgments regarding research and professional decisions.
- To communicate effectively with colleagues and professional staff.
- To acquire necessary information developed through classroom instruction, laboratory experience, independent learning, and consultation.
- To search and evaluate articles in the scientific literature.
- To obtain, interpret, and accurately document research data.
- To complete computer-based assignments and use computers.
- To understand and carry out safety rules and precautions in the laboratory.
- To handle emergencies in the laboratory, including fire, exposure to dangerous agents, and explosions.
These abilities may be accomplished through direct student response, use of prosthetic devices, or personal assistance (e.g., readers, signers, and note takers). Upon admission, students are invited to disclose any disabilities (with certification) to the Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) https://www.uthsc.edu/sassi/. The college will provide reasonable accommodations, as required by the student’s documented disabilities with SASSI, and at the student’s written request to the Dean, College of Graduate Health Sciences. Purchase of prosthetic devices to aid the student in meeting these requirements is the responsibility of the student. On a case-by-case basis, and upon written request of the student, the College may assist in providing attending services.
Students entering the Ph.D. program who have completed an accredited graduate degree in communication sciences and disorders (e.g., an AuD degree or Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology) will require a minimum of 60 graduate academic credit hours, plus a 1-hour ethics course. Students entering the Ph.D. program with a Bachelor’s degree will require a minimum of 90 graduate academic credit hours plus a 1-hour ethics course. The additional 30 hours will typically be selected from core course content in the Master of Science in speech-language pathology (MSSLP) or from the clinical doctorate in audiology (AuD) programs (degree programs offered through the College of Health Professions).
All necessary coursework will be determined by the student’s doctoral committee and may require additional academic credit hours beyond the minimum. However, at a minimum the following will be required:
- 24 credit hours in SPH 900 - Doctoral Research and Dissertation 5
- 6 credit hours in a research tool.
- 1 credit hour in approved research ethics course.
- 6 credit hours in a cognate area outside the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology.
- 24 credit hours of graduate-level coursework within the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology:
- a minimum of 6 credit hours must be at the 600-level (doctoral);
- a minimum of 6 credit hours in the topic of major interest;
- a minimum of 6 credit hours in topic(s) of related interest;
- 3 credit hours in SPH 911 - Experimental Design in Speech and Hearing ; and
- 3 credit hours in supervised teaching experience (SPH 955 ).
- In addition to the courses specified above, students are required to complete two publishable quality research projects in collaboration with their research advisor, and pass comprehensive examinations prior to beginning work on their dissertation.
5 Additional credit hours may be required to maintain full-time status. Continuous registration for dissertation research is required until the degree requirements are met.
The minimum requirements do not necessarily meet the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) standards for certification. If a Ph.D. student wishes to pursue clinical certification through ASHA, then the student needs to ensure they have met all ASHA course and competency requirements.
Individual program lengths may vary according to the amount of coursework required and/or time taken to complete research, projects, comprehensive exams and dissertation.
Transfer of Credit
Courses taken at another institution for graduate credit, completed with a grade of B or better, and accepted by the student’s program in the College may be transferred into the student’s UTHSC degree program. The number of hours that may be transferred will be determined by the Program Chair or Director, but at least 50% of the credit hours for a master’s or Ph.D. degree must be earned at UTHSC.
(Typical) Sequence for a Student Entering with a Master’s Degree
- 9 credits of Related Area and Cognate coursework
- 3 credits of Experimental Design (e.g., SPH 911 )
- 6 credits of Directed Research (SPH 956 , SPH 958 , SPH 959 , SPH 960 )
- Completion of first research project
- Advancement to Candidacy
- 3 credits of Cognate or Related Area coursework
- 1 credit of Research Ethics (SPH 955 )
- 11 credits of Directed Research (SPH 956 , SPH 958 , SPH 959 , SPH 960 )
- 3 credits of Dissertation Research (SPH 900 )
- Completion of comprehensive exams
- Completion of 2nd research project
- Defend Dissertation Proposal
- 3 credits Supervised Teaching (SPH 955)
- 21 credits Dissertation Research (SPH 900 )
- Dissertation Defense
Promotion and Graduation
Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average or greater throughout the program.
Admission to Candidacy
The student must apply for Ph.D. degree candidacy by the end of their third year. Admission to candidacy for this degree depends upon the student’s (1) successful completion of Research Project One, (2) certification by the student’s Faculty Committee and the Program Chair, and (3) approval by the Dean. Upon admission to candidacy, all graduate students, including those who have been enrolled part-time, must be enrolled full-time for the remainder of their program, unless an exception is approved by the Dean.
Research, Electronic Dissertation, and Oral Defense
Research accomplishment is a principal requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and the dissertation must show substantial evidence of independently achieved and original results. This research and preparation of the dissertation must in each case be conducted in accordance with general college policies and under the immediate direction of the student’s Research Advisor and Faculty Committee. The dissertation is written after completion of experiments or other graduate studies designed to answer the questions posed by the statement of the problem. The scientific content and style of the dissertation are the responsibility of the student and student’s Faculty Committee. The dissertation must be formatted and delivered according to the electronic thesis and dissertation policies outlined in these bylaws under “ET/D Program Policies”.
Additional information regarding this program is available at http://grad.uthsc.edu/Programs/index.php?page=Programs.