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The PhD program is designed to prepare future scholars who will provide leadership and contribute to the knowledge base in speech, language, and hearing sciences. The program offers direct training in research, teaching, technology, and service delivery.
The primary goals are to recruit, educate and graduate individuals who will:
- Engage in programmatic basic or clinical research
- Facilitate interdisciplinary efforts in research, personnel preparation, and service delivery
- Develop effective procedures for translating research to clinical practice
- Create and share innovations in the use of technology and teleclinical applications
- Offer state-of-the art learning and mentoring experiences for future generations of students and practicing professionals
Each student is required to complete a minimum of 48 semester hours in the PhD program. Each student is required to take courses from four areas. These are:
1. Three statistics courses (9 hours total) to assure competency in designing and conducting independent research. Most students take the Statistics series in Education (EDUC 684, EDUC 784, EDUC 884), however, some do so in the Psychology Department. Discuss these options with your mentor.
2. Twelve hours of PhD seminars in the DSHS/AHS or their equivalent in another program to assure that each student is exposed to the principles and content embodied in the program goals and objectives, and that he or she develops the skills in research, teaching, communication, and grant preparation necessary for a successful academic career. Currently, these 12 hours include:
- Three credit hours in AHS Introductory Research Methods Courses:
AHSC 902: Philosophical Foundations of Research (1 credit hour)
AHSC 903: Qualitative Foundations of Research (1 credit hour)
AHSC 904: Quantitative Foundations of Research (1 credit hour)
- Three credit hours in some combination of other AHS Research Methods Courses, e.g., Designing Mixed Methods Research (1 credit), Single Subject Design (1 or 2 credits), Measurement and Psychometrics (1 credit), Participatory Qualitative Methods: Advanced Applications (1 credit), Fundamentals of Group-Based Intervention Trial Designs (1 or 2 credits), Survey Design and Methods (1 credit), Academic Writing (1 credit).
- Grant Writing (3 credits, offered alternate fall semesters).
- Teaching and Professional Development (3 credits, offered alternate spring semesters).
3. Seven additional courses (21 hours total) related to specialized areas of the student’s program of studies. At least two of these courses must be taken within the DSHS, and at least two must be taken outside of the DSHS. These courses commonly include independent studies that the student develops with a faculty mentor.
Courses in the student’s area of specialization taken in the DSHS. Guided by the student’s PAC, a set of courses within the DSHS will be chosen to enhance the student’s professional knowledge related to the chosen area of specialization.
Related cognate courses taken outside the DSHS. The intent behind the cognate courses is to provide students with maximum flexibility in a related area of study while assuring a consistent level of quality education. Related courses available on the UNC-CH campus are rich in content and number. The cognate courses should represent a sub-focus or clear direction that is linked with the student’s primary area of specialization, rather than assorted courses that are of interest to the student.
4. Six hours of dissertation research (6 hours total).
The PhD program in Speech and Hearing Sciences seeks applications from students who have already acquired a master's degree in speech-language pathology or audiology. Consideration will also be given to students with a master’s degree (or equivalent) or a bachelor's degree in a related field. Students seeking admission to the program will be required to meet the admission requirements described below. Applicants with a master's degree or a bachelor's degree in a field other than speech and/or hearing sciences will need to complete the prerequisite undergraduate courses required for a master's degree (see below) and between 12-18 graduate credit hours within speech and/or hearing, in addition to the doctoral curriculum.
For those applicants with a master’s degree (or equivalent) or a bachelor's degree in a related field, during the interview process the applicant can talk with faculty about the number and type of graduate courses that might be recommended. The applicant may then want to begin taking the recommended coursework before entering the doctoral program. Once admitted, the final decision for the number and type of graduate courses will be determined by the faculty mentor and program of studies committee, based on the applicant’s previous coursework and experiences, and future research and career plans. Both the undergraduate prerequisites and the additional graduate coursework, as with the courses required for the doctoral degree, will need to be completed before the student can take comprehensive exams.
For applicants with a master’s degree or a bachelor's degree in a field other than speech and/or hearing sciences, the prerequisite courses are: Introduction to Audiology, Phonetics, Speech Science, Language Development, and Anatomy & Physiology. These courses are offered online through a number of universities and admitted students are encouraged to complete these courses before entering the doctoral program.
Admission to Speech and Hearing Sciences (DSHS) at UNC-Chapel Hill is a multi-step process. To save time for the applicant and the faculty reviewers, the following process should be completed:
- The applicant requests an Initial Contact Sheet from Dr. Elizabeth Crais, the coordinator of PhD studies (email@example.com).
- The applicant completes the form and returns it to Dr. Crais.
- During the initial contact with Dr. Crais, if some aspect of the information provided by the applicant is missing or falls below the below listed criteria, Dr. Crais will notify the applicant.
- Dr. Crais and other faculty from the PhD Committee examine the information supplied on the form and based on the student’s area/s of interest, recommend 1-2 potential mentors.
- The applicant is then encouraged to contact DSHS faculty who share her/his interest area/s and discuss individual aspects of the program and their research activities.
- Once discussion between a potential mentor/s and the applicant has taken place, the potential mentor/s and/or Dr. Crais will contact the applicant to talk about next steps.
- Based on the initial review, a select group of applicants will be encouraged to complete an application for admission and submit the $85 application fee to the Graduate School.
- Application for admission must be submitted prior to 5 p.m. on December 8 for the following fall semester. Applicants will not be admitted in the spring semester.
Once applications have been reviewed, a select group of students will be invited to campus for an interview and all applicants will be notified of the program’s decision. Interviews typically take place in mid-January on a day selected by the faculty (typically a Friday or Monday) and invited applicants will be notified of the date.
Selection criteria include:
- Availability of faculty
- Availability of funds to support all or some portion of the student’s doctoral program
- The student’s academic record (i.e., institution, grades, GRE scores, recommendation letters)
- A match between the student’s research interests and the ongoing research programs of faculty in the DSHS
- The applicant’s future career plans
- The applicant’s leadership potential
In general, applicant’s with GPAs below 3.0 and/or GRE scores on the verbal, quantitative, and writing sections below the 30th percentile, are less likely to be invited for an interview.
It is the expectation of the program that applicants who desire to complete a Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY), should do so either before or after finishing their doctoral program. It has been our experience that students who attempt to complete a CFY during their doctoral studies not only take longer to finish the program, but also have a difficult time balancing their clinical and research/coursework/teaching responsibilities. In addition, the Licensing Board of North Carolina requires that CFY fellowships be completed with no less than 20 hours/week devoted to clinical activities, making it very difficult for the students to perform their other responsibilities in a timely manner. Therefore, the program strongly discourages students from attempting to complete a CFY during their doctoral program.
Doctoral Training Grant Funding
The Division of Speech & Hearing Sciences has an excellent record of obtaining doctoral level leadership grants from the U.S. Department of Education and has had continuous funding since the inception of the program in 2002. Funds typically pay for a student stipend, health insurance, in-state tuition, and travel. Out-of-state tuition is typically covered by the Department and Graduate School. We currently have two doctoral training grants, but both have already accepted students. The program has applied for a grant that would begin August 2017. More information will be available in late spring about this potential opportunity.
Graduate School One-Year Merit Fellowships
The Graduate School each year provides merit-based one-year fellowships for doctoral students. All students who apply for admission are eligible and each department nominates their top candidates (Speech and Hearing Sciences is typically allotted two nominations). The division will contact you if you are being nominated for such an award. The awards cover an $18,500 stipend, in-state and out-of-state tuition, and health insurance. The Graduate School will notify you if you are awarded one of the fellowships.
Graduate School Five-Year Fellowships
The Graduate School each year provides for a small number of five-year fellowships for doctoral students. All students who apply for admission are eligible and each department nominates their top candidates (Speech and Hearing Sciences is typically allotted one to two nominations). The division will contact you if you are being nominated for such an award. The awards cover $24,000 in stipend, in-state and out-of-state tuition, and health insurance. The Graduate School will notify you if you are awarded one of the fellowships.
Additional Funding Opportunities
- Sertoma Communicative Disorders Scholarship Program - $2,500 Scholarships.
- ASHA Foundation Scholarships
- NCSHLA Student Educational Achievement Award - Given to student members of the North Carolina Speech, Hearing, and Language Association. You will need an application, two letters of recommendation, and a list of current course credits sent to the Committee Chair.