About the program

The PhD Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSCD) at the University of Delaware is the first doctoral program in CSCD – also known as Speech-Language Pathology – in the State of Delaware.  Through our faculty, who represent a range of interests within the discipline, we offer doctoral training in speech articulation, phonology, language and bilingualism, voice, and their respective disorders, in children and adults.  Diverse research modalities are used including research using human, imaging, and computational modeling.  The program is deeply interdisciplinary, having emerging connections across the University including connections with Linguistics, Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, Tissue Engineering, Psychology, and Music.

Students are encouraged to reach out to potential mentors before they apply in order to ensure a good fit. Applicants must submit all materials directly to the Graduate College using the online admission process before admission can be considered. Admission applications are available at: and funding are a commitment on the part of the entire program to support the student’s successful matriculation through the program. In the majority of cases admission and funding decisions go hand in hand; in rare cases, students will be admitted without funding.

Admissions are determined based on a combination of previous grades, letters of recommendation, interview, personal statement, prior research and practical experiences, an appropriate match to an advisor, and available funding. GRE scores are optional but highly recommended. Admission is based on a holistic evaluation of the student’s profile, available funding, and identification of a willing mentor who is a good fit for the student’s interests. While an appropriate advisor and willing mentor must be identified as part of this process, admission is competitive and meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission nor does failure to meet all of these requirements necessarily constitute preclusion from admission if applicants offer other appropriate strengths.

An undergraduate or master’s degree in speech-language pathology (communication sciences and disorders) is not required for admission, but students without this background may be required to make up deficiencies by enrolling in appropriate courses, as determined by a Plan of Study (POS) committee described under a separate tab. To receive priority in admissions and funding decisions, applications must be completed by December 15 for the following fall. In rare cases in which applicants target spring admission, applications must be completed by June 1 for the following spring. The former applicants will be notified of acceptance in mid-March and will be expected to respond to the offer on or before April 15. Latter applicants will be notified of acceptance in mid-September and will be expected to respond to the offer on or before October 15.

Students admitted into the CSCD PhD Program may be admitted into one of two categories:

  • Regular Admission. Regular admission status is offered to students who meet all of the established entrance requirements, who have a record of high scholarship in their fields of specialization, and who have the ability, interest, and maturity necessary for successful study at the graduate level in a degree program. These students will be admitted with funding under most circumstances.
  • Conditional Admission. Successful applicants are typically admitted conditionally because information stated on, and documentation uploaded into, the application is self-reported and unofficial. Fulfilling the conditions stated on an offer of conditional admission by the first date of graduate coursework is critical, so the instructions stated in the letter must be followed carefully. Failure to clear all stated conditions by the start of graduate coursework may result in revocation of admission to the graduate program.

The program requires:

  • applicants have a minimum of 3.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA) in prior degrees, including bachelor’s and typically also master’s degree, from an accredited institution, in CSCD or a related field.
  • GRE is optional but highly recommended because it is required for some funding opportunities
  • consistent with University policy, a minimum of 79 on TOEFL is required for non-native English speakers who have completed prior degrees in non-English speaking institutions (those with prior degrees from an accredited institution in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand are exempt). An IELTS score of 6.5 or better may be submitted in place of a TOEFL score.
  • a primary advisor must be identified, a satisfactory interview with the advisor must be completed, and the advisor must be willing to mentor the applicant.
  • three letters of recommendation with satisfactory characterization of the applicant are required; two or more letters must address academic skills and research potential.
  • all applications need to include a personal statement. In addition to discussing areas of interest, career goals, and how this program will help the applicant to reach goals, the following information should be included in the statement:
  • research experience, when applicable: please indicate length and type of experience
  • advisor preference: please designate primary faculty advisor, and secondary advisors in order of preference.

Note that individuals who apply and are admitted to the PhD research degree and find that they wish to pursue a clinical master’s degree must reapply to that degree program. Similarly, those who apply for a clinical master’s degree and decide they wish to pursue a research doctorate must apply to this program.

A minimum of 56 credit hours is required. A maximum of 9 hours of graduate credits can be transferred in from another university to satisfy requirements for the CSCD Ph.D. program. Course work completed while pursuing a prior bachelor’s or master’s degree does not apply to completion of the doctoral degree.

The minimum requirements are:

  • Statistics: 9 credits, including a 2-course sequence on the basics (t-test etc.), ANOVA and Regression, and a third course depending on student needs (e.g., single- subject, mixed modeling, non-parametrics, Bayesian, qualitative methods, etc.).
  • Research principles: 3 credits, aimed at coverage in philosophy and history of science, contemporary scientific philosophy and research principles, and initial development of students’ current research ideas in their domains of interest in line with these principles.
  • Research design: 3 credits, A course aimed at teaching the basics of experimental design.
  • Research ethics and responsible conduct: 2 credits, a 2 semester sequence in which there will be in-person discussion of topics regarding research ethics that fulfill the NIH recommendations for Responsible Conduct of Research training.
  • Instrumentation: 3 credits, oriented towards students’ specific needs and direction (e.g., Matlab, Eprime, Programming, fMRI/fNIRS, Eye tracking, etc.). This may be an undergraduate course if appropriate and approved by the student’s POS committee. In these cases, UD policies for course numbering shall be followed.
  • Relevant coursework in content area: Courses in associated basic sciences relevant to the student’s interests (cognate courses), lab rotations, and independent studies specific to the student: 21 credits total. At least 3 credit hours should be from an independent study with the student’s primary advisor to be taken in the first year. The student must take at least 3 credit hours of Advanced Seminars in CSCD. The topic will vary with the instructor.
  • Optional credits may include credits obtained outside the department. There is value in participating in formal seminars and classes as a group. With this in mind, a maximum of 9 credits for lab rotations and/or independent study registrations may count toward the degree.
  • Grant writing course: 3 credits; a goal will be to complete a fundable federal application. Products should be submitted for funding if the student is eligible. This course will typically be taken after the student completes his/her qualifying exam successfully and may be repeated with permission of the instructor.
  • Pre-candidacy study (Prospectus): 3-6 credits, may be repeated. Will initiate after the successful completion of the qualifying exam.
  • Dissertation (see below for description): Variable credit, 1-9 credit hours. Students may enroll for dissertation credit following successful presentation and defense of the prospectus. The first semester of the dissertation will carry 6-9 credit hours of dissertation credit. Subsequently, students may enroll for 1 credit of dissertation per semester, unless fellowship or funding rules require greater registrations.

Spring Summer (variable) Summer (variable)
Year 1 Total 12 credits
Statistics (3)
CSCD 810: Advanced Seminar (3)
CSCD 820: Independent Study (3)
Cognate Course (3)
Total 12 credits
Statistics (3)
CSCD 800: Research Principles (3)
Cognate Course (3)
Cognate Course or Lab Rotation (3)
Variable credits
(Possible spreading out of
coursework from other semesters)
Year 2   Total 9 credits
Statistics (3)
Research Design (3)
Cognate Course (3)
Total 9 credits
Instrumentation (3)
Cognate Course (3)
Cognate Course or Lab Rotation (3)
Total 1 credit
Qualifying Exam Prep/CSCD 820:
Independent study (1)
Year 3 Total 6 credits
CSCD 860: Grant-writing in CSCD (3);
CSCD 964 Pre-candidacy Study (3)
Total 6 credits
CSCD 964 Pre-Candidacy Research (3-6)
CSCD 969 Dissertation (6-9 credits, as needed)
Total 1-9 credits
CSCD 964: Pre- Candidacy Study (3-6)
CSCD 969: Dissertation
Year 4 Total 0-9 credits
Dissertation/continuing registration)
(0-9 credits, the latter for candidates with fellowship as needed) *
Total 0-9 credits
Dissertation/continuing registration)
(0-9 credits, the latter for candidates with fellowship as needed)*
 Total 0-9 credits
registration) (0-9 credits, the latter for candidates with fellowship as needed)*
Year 5  Total 0-9 credits
Dissertation/continuing registration)
(0-9 credits, the latter for
candidates with fellowship as needed)*
 Total 0-9 credits
Dissertation/continuing registration)
(0-9 credits, the latter for candidates with fellowship as needed)*

The successful applicant will receive a 9- or 12-month stipend commensurate with PhD stipends at the University of Delaware, plus tuition remission, typically for an initial period of 3 years. Sources of stipend include faculty grant money and in some cases, university or foreign government sources. Funding may be extended if available, assuming the student is making satisfactory progress towards degree completion. Rarely, a student will be offered admission without funding.