Child Language

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Foreign:$ 17.8 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 15, 2025
351–400 place StudyQA ranking:4469 Duration:4 years

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The doctoral program in Child Language offers a specialized degree in this interesting area of study. The program crosses traditional academic boundaries to give students the theoretical, empirical, and methodological competence necessary to study basic and applied issues in language acquisition. This multidisciplinary program is a cooperative endeavor of faculty members from the Departments of Applied Behavioral Science, Clinical Child Psychology, Linguistics, Molecular Biosciences, Psychology, and Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders. In addition, the Child Language Doctoral Program has faculty specializing in genetics of language and speech, and in quantitative methods.

Students study 4 areas:

  1. Core theoretical and experimental work on language acquisition,
  2. Relevant methods and theories in linguistics and psycholinguistics,
  3. Theoretical perspectives on developmental psychology, and
  4. The nature of disordered language development and methods and techniques for language intervention.

In addition, new areas of study are offered in genetics of language acquisition and impairments, as well as quantitative methods.

Each student is advised by a support committee of 3 faculty members. Enrollment in a proseminar in language acquisition is required of all students in addition to participation in research activities. Opportunities for individual research projects include the projects of participating faculty members and the research teams of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, and the clinical/research facilities of KU Medical Center.

Graduates are candidates for teaching and research positions, clinical positions providing service to communicatively disabled persons, and research work in business and governmental sectors.

Ph.D. post-master’s requirements include a minimum of 47 additional graduate credit hours. These should include at least 8 hours of additional core courses, 18 hours of additional supplemental courses, 9 hours of additional statistical and methodological courses, and a minimum of 6 hours of dissertation. Continuous enrollment in the proseminar is required.

After completing the research skills requirement and the major portion of the course work, the doctoral student must pass a written preliminary examination and a comprehensive oral examination. The written examination covers 4 areas:

  1. Language acquisition,
  2. Psycholinguistics,
  3. Developmental psychology,
  4. Disordered language development or language intervention.

The comprehensive oral examination covers the major field, taking one of 5 forms:

  1. A defense of the written preliminary examinations,
  2. A defense of a completed research project,
  3. A prospectus for a future research project,
  4. A discussion of a major review paper, or
  5. A review of a research grant proposal and a simulated site visit defense of the proposal.

All doctoral students are expected to complete a dissertation and complete a successful defense of the dissertation.

All students are expected to be engaged continuously in research on child language. Research involvement is documented with appropriate enrollment in research, thesis, and dissertation credit hours, and in the proseminar in child language.

Students must submit 3 letters of recommendation, 1 copy of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and scores from the Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative, analytical). Applicants should have earned bachelor’s degrees that include course work in linguistics, psychology, speech pathology, and statistics with minimum grade-point averages of B. Preference is given to those with master’s degrees in linguistics, psychology, education, special education, speech and hearing sciences, molecular biosciences, genetics, or to applicants with relevant post-baccalaureate work experience. No one is admitted for a terminal M.A. degree. Admission materials are reviewed by a subcommittee of the CLDP faculty. The admissions committee supervises the admission process and recommends applicants for admission.

The Doctoral Student Research Fund is designed to support KU doctoral students on the Lawrence Campus who need assistance to carry out research that advances progress toward the degree. A doctoral student is eligible to apply for up to two awards during their graduate program, one before doctoral candidacy (up to $1500) and one as a candidate (up to $2000).

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