Dec 13, 2018  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Rehabilitation Sciences, PhD

Program Coordinator: Charles Ellis (3310-H Health Sciences Building; 252-744-6098;

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at East Carolina University offers a doctor of philosophy in rehabilitation sciences with a concentration in communication sciences and disorders. The program requires didactic and research experiences. A dissertation is required.


Admission to study at the doctoral level requires acceptance by the Graduate School and the department. The application for admission to the Graduate School and official transcripts from each college or university attended must be sent to the Graduate School.

Applicants seeking admission to the doctoral program should have completed a well-integrated program of study that includes course work in biological/physical sciences and mathematics, behavioral and/or social sciences, and human communication sciences and disorders. Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify a major professor as part of the application process to assist with identification of student funding sources and faculty availability for mentoring.

Admission Requirements

1. Bachelor’s or master’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution in speech-language pathology, audiology, communication sciences or related area, with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.5 (on a scale of A=4.0).
2. Graduate Record Examination within five years. Recent applicants have had mean GRE scores of 150 for verbal, 150 for quantitative, and 4.5 for analytic writing. The GRE is waived as an entrance requirement for EC Scholars at East Carolina University if other criteria are met.
3. Three (3) letters of recommendation, at least two from faculty of the college(s) or university(s) previously attended.
4. A sample of scholarly writing which may be a thesis, a published or unpublished reprint, or term paper.
5. A statement that summarizes reasons for pursuing doctoral study and doctoral research objectives in as much detail as possible.
6. Telephone, online video chat, or face-to-face interview.

Degree Requirements

The communication sciences and disorders concentration requires a minimum 53 credits of didactic and research experiences beyond the master’s degree or 95 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. The student will develop a background in a science core curriculum (12 hours, minimum), a support core taken across disciplines (9 hours, minimum), a statistics core (statistics and research design) (9 hours, minimum), research ethics (2 hours, minimum), research internships (6 hours, minimum), and dissertation (3 hours, minimum). The student and major professor in consultation with the program committee will select and design an area of study that includes 12 s.h. of course work or independent studies.

Except for credits accepted by transfer, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders requires that all graduate work, including the dissertation, be completed in residence. The course of study ordinarily requires four years of full-time study.

Transfer Credit

Credit will be accepted for transfer at the discretion of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and the Dean of the Graduate School. A maximum of 9 s.h. of doctoral credit (course work taken beyond the master’s degree) may be applied toward the support and/or statistics cores.

Doctoral Candidacy Requirements

Following completion of most course work and prior to admission to candidacy for the PhD, students must pass a comprehensive examination intended to test fundamental knowledge in both the major and support fields. The candidate will undergo written and oral examinations. The student’s program committee is responsible for the administration and evaluation of the comprehensive examination. The candidacy recommendation of the committee is sent to the director of doctoral education who forwards it to the dean of the Graduate School.

The student’s major professor and program committee will determine the composition of the written examination. The written examination must be completed within one semester. The written examination may include (but is not limited to):

  1. field-based questions
  2. integrative paper
  3. in-house questions
  4. grant proposal
  5. a combination of these or other written formats deemed appropriate by the major professor and program committee

The program committee members reviewing the responses will notify the major professor of their rating/evaluation of the responses within one week of the examination. The major professor will notify the director of doctoral education in writing of all feedback from the program committee. The committee member(s) submitting a particular question will evaluate that question only but may also read the student’s other written responses.

Committee members will rate the responses as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. If the student receives unsatisfactory for any part of the written examination, the student must meet with the committee member to discuss areas of weakness prior to retaking those portion(s) of the exam. The student must re-write the unsatisfactory portion(s) of the comprehensive examination no less than one-month and not more than four months following the delivery of the unsatisfactory review. Failure to do so will result in termination of the student from the program.

The committee member(s) who developed the question(s) will review the rewrite. Failure of the written examination question(s) a second time will result in termination of the student from the program.

Upon successful completion of the written examination, the oral defense will be scheduled.

The major professor and program committee members will judge the oral defense as satisfactory, satisfactory with deficiencies, or unsatisfactory. Receiving more than one unsatisfactory vote at the oral defense of the comprehensive examination will be considered a fail.

If the student is judged as satisfactory with deficiencies, then these deficiencies shall be described for the student and the processes for removing the deficiencies explained by the major professor and program committee at the conclusion of the defense.

Students judged as not passing may submit to another oral defense. The major professor and program committee will determine an appropriate remediation process for the student to complete prior to the second oral defense and will inform the director of doctoral education of the remediation plan. The second oral defense will be scheduled not less than one month and not more than four months following the first oral defense.

Failure of the oral defense the second time will result in termination of the student’s program.

The director of doctoral education will forward the results of the oral examination to the dean of the Graduate School.

Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination the student is recommended to candidacy for the degree, doctor of philosophy.

Doctoral Dissertation

After passing the comprehensive examination, the candidate must initiate the development of an appropriate dissertation research project. The dissertation must reflect independent, scholarly research that will contribute to the candidate’s area of concentration.

Prior to initiating the dissertation research, the candidate’s dissertation committee must approve the prospectus of the proposed dissertation. The candidate formally presents the prospectus to the faculty of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at an open meeting. The dissertation committee must agree that the research proposal is satisfactory, with no more than one dissenting vote allowed.

Upon the satisfactory completion of all requirements, the major professor, dissertation committee and departmental chair will recommend to the dean of the Graduate School the award of the doctoral degree. Students are referred to the Graduate School website for dissertation formatting and electronic submission.

Program Enrichment

In addition to course requirements, each student may be assigned various preceptorships, involving mentored classroom and clinical instruction and administration to assist the student in gaining perspective and experience in university teaching, clinical supervision, and management. Students will be encouraged to participate in university-wide seminars. This enrichment may include being required to take a didactic course on teaching if the student is assigned to teach courses as a part of an assistantship or other contract.

First Year Research Project

Each student is required to complete a research project by the end of first year under the direction of his/her major professor. Successful completion of the research project requires (1) the student giving a formal presentation of the work at an open forum that includes students, faculty, and staff and (2) approval of the written document by his/her major professor and program committee. The student’s major professor and program committee may have additional requirements the student needs to meet to successfully complete the first year project. The major professor and program committee will issue a grade of “satisfactory”, “unsatisfactory with stipulations”, or “fail”. The recommendation of the committee is sent to the director of doctoral education.

Satisfactory indicates the student has successfully completed and defended the first year project.

Unsatisfactory with stipulations indicates the student showed some weaknesses in one or more areas (written paper, oral presentation) and the program committee determines a remediation plan and timeline for completing required activities.

Fail indicates the student’s performance on the written and oral presentation was unsatisfactory. The major professor will summarize the committee’s evaluation of the student’s performance, recommend dismissal from the program, and submit it to the director of doctoral education and the departmental chair.

Termination or Continuance of Graduate Study

Graduate School regulations for most academic issues are utilized and can be found in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog. For the purposes of retention in the rehabilitation sciences doctoral program, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders has developed and adopted stricter standards than the Graduate School.

The ECU Graduate School requires a 3.0 GPA for retention and graduation. In addition, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders requires that students earn no less than a grade of “B” in more than 1 course during their degree program. This includes all departmental courses including didactic, clinical, or research taught by any delivery method.

Upon receipt of the second grade of less than a “B,” a review of the student’s academic and clinical progress will be conducted by the student’s advisor, the director of doctoral education, and the departmental chair. Recommendations for continuance or termination will be made to the doctoral education committee for consideration. If the decision of the doctoral education committee is for termination, this will be communicated by the director of doctoral education to the student and the Graduate School. If the decision is for continuation, this will be communicated to the student.

Upon the 3rd course with lower than a “B” grade, the director of doctoral education shall notify in writing the student and the Graduate School that the student’s degree program is terminated. The student can appeal this termination by writing a letter to the director of doctoral education and asking the doctoral education committee for reinstatement. The director of doctoral education will convey the decision of the committee to the student and the Graduate School. If allowed to continue in the program, the student may not earn any additional credit hours of less than a “B” grade. If terminated at this point the student may appeal the decision through the ECU school appeals procedure (Rev. September 2011).


Time Limits for Completion of Degree Requirements

A doctoral degree program must be completed before the end of the twelfth semester, excluding summers, following initial enrollment. With endorsement of the student’s major professor and program committee and also the department chair, a student may request one extension of not more than two semesters, summers included.