Jun 20, 2024  
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog 
2013-2014 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication Sciences and Disorders, PhD

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Doctoral Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders

The doctoral programs are designed for advanced scholars with interest in communication sciences and disorders. The doctoral programs consist of PhD programs in speech language pathology and audiology, or communication sciences, as well as a joint AuD/PhD degree program in audiology. Students may enroll in either the PhD program in speech-language pathology, audiology, or communication sciences or in the joint AuD/PhD degree program. Students enrolled in the PhD programs are required to take course work in a science core, which includes computer applications to the fields, physiology, acoustics and language science (speech-language pathology concentration), a support core taken across disciplines, a statistics core, and an area of concentration developed with the major professor. Students enrolled in the AuD/PhD degree program are required to take course work in a science core, which includes computer applications to the fields, physiology and acoustic sciences, a statistics core, a clinical audiology core, and a clinical residency. All students are required to complete a dissertation project prior to being awarded the degree.


The Admissions Committee will make a holistic judgment of applicant qualifications. 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 dean of the Graduate School. In addition, the following must be received by the Graduate School: Graduate Record Examination scores; three letters of recommendation, with at least two from previous faculty of previous colleges or universities attended; a sample of scholarly writing which may be a thesis, a published or unpublished reprint, or term paper; and a statement that summarizes in as much detail as possible the reasons for pursuing doctoral study and doctoral research objectives.

A bachelor’s, master’s, or AuD degree is required for entrance into the doctoral programs. Acceptable performance on the Graduate Record Examination and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in graduate work are required. Post-baccalaureate entry into the joint AuD/PhD is offered.

Applicants seeking admission to doctoral study 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 for all doctoral degrees are accepted on a rolling basis; admission can occur in either fall, spring, or summer semesters. Priority for financial support through the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders will be given to individuals whose applications are complete and submitted by February 1st.

Admission Requirements for the PhD:

Emphasis in speech-language pathology, audiology or communication sciences

  1. A 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) in graduate work is required for admission to the PhD program with emphasis in speech-language pathology or communication sciences program. A bachelor’s or master’s in speech-language pathology, communication sciences or related areas, or AuD degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution is required for admission into the audiology PhD program. For the audiology PhD program, a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of A = 4.0) for a bachelor’s degree is required. A minimum overall grade point average of 3.5 (on a scale of A = 4.0) is required for master’s and AuD work for applicants to the audiology PhD program.
  2. The Graduate Record Examination must have been taken within the past five years. A minimum score of 1000 (Verbal and Quantitative subtests) will be required for consideration of admission. The Graduate Record Examination is waived as an entrance requirement for Merit Scholars at East Carolina University if other criteria are met.
  3. Three letters of recommendation, at least two from faculty of the college(s) or university(s) previously attended are required.
  4. A sample of scholarly writing which may be a thesis, a published or unpublished reprint, or term paper must be submitted.
  5. A statement that summarizes reasons for pursuing doctoral study and doctoral research objectives in as much detail as possible must be included.
  6. A face-to-face or telephone interview is required.

PhD Program: Communication Sciences and Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

The PhD program requires a minimum 53 s.h. of didactic and research experiences beyond the masters degree or 95 s.h. beyond the bachelors degree, involving the entire doctoral faculty. The student will develop a background in a science core curriculum (12 s.h.), a support core taken across disciplines (9 s.h.), a statistics core (statistics and research design) (minimum 9 s.h.), research ethics (2 s.h.), a research internship (6 s.h.), and dissertation (minimum 3 s.h.). The student and major professor will select and design an area of major concentration, including 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 at least three years of fulltime study. Students who have not completed a master’s thesis are required to complete by the end of the first academic year a research project by the end of the first academic year with the scope of a thesis (thesis equivalence), approved by a majority of the student’s program committee.

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. Credit will not be accepted in the science core or area of concentration.

Doctoral Candidacy Requirements

Following completion of most course work and prior to admission to candidacy for the PhD, students must pass a preliminary examination intended to test fundamental knowledge in both the major and support fields. The candidate will undergo written and oral examinations for mastery of the areas of concentration, the support core, statistical applications in the area of basic and applied research, and research design. Critical analysis and synthesis of all related academic, research, and clinical aspects of the field of preparation must be demonstrated. For the clinical PhD, the second gateway examination will constitute this preliminary examination.

The student’s program committee is responsible for the administration and evaluation of the preliminary examination. The recommendation of the committee is sent to the chairperson of the department who forwards to the dean of the Graduate School one of the following recommendations:

The responses to the preliminary examination are satisfactory and the student is recommended to candidacy.

Some responses to the preliminary examination are unsatisfactory and the student is to be re-examined at a specific time. Areas of deficiency to be rewritten and the dates of re-examination will be determined by the program committee.

The responses to the examination are unsatisfactory and a full re-examination will be administered during the subsequent semester. Failure of the second examination results in termination of the program.

Doctoral Dissertation

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

Prior to initiating the dissertation research, the candidate’s program committee (composed of the major professor and at least three members of the graduate faculty) must approve a prospectus of the proposed dissertation containing the following:

  • A review of the pertinent literature.
  • A statement of the nature of the problem and the objectives of the proposed investigation.
  • A complete methodology, based on preliminary pilot investigations, which include a description and number of subjects to be studied, a discussion of the dependent and independent variables that will be manipulated, and a detailed description of the experimental procedures to be employed, including all experimental instrumentation.
  • A detailed outline and justification of the statistical analysis of the data that will be obtained.
  • A copy of the approved Institutional Review Board Application.

With the guidance and approval of the major professor, the candidate formally presents the prospectus to the faculty of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at an open meeting. The program committee must agree that the research proposal is satisfactory, with only one dissenting vote allowed.

It is the responsibility of the program committee to counsel the candidate in the research program, critique the dissertation, and conduct the final examination. Upon the satisfactory completion of all requirements, the committee and departmental chairperson will recommend to the dean of the Graduate School the award of the doctoral degree.

The basic form of the dissertation manuscript will follow the East Carolina University manual of style. Please see the MANUAL OF BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR THESES AND DISSERTATIONS at www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/gradschool/Thesis-and-Dissertation.cfm.


In addition to course requirements, each student will 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.

Research Internship

In addition to the didactic portion of the doctoral program, each student enrolled in the research concentration will be required to complete two predissertation directed research projects to gain perspectives and laboratory experiences in the area of concentration and/or areas outside the concentration. These projects will be publishable, data based manuscripts, one developed by the end of each of the first two academic years. At least one of the two research internships must be completed with a faculty member whose primary appointment is in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Successful completion of an internship requires a written report approved by the supervising faculty member(s) with credit awarded for two of the following courses: CSDI 8070 , CSDI 8071 , CSDI 8080 , CSDI 8081 , CSDI 8090 , CSDI 8091 .

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 program committee and the departmental chairperson, a student may request one extension of not more than two semesters, summers included.

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