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The doctoral program at Penn State strives to prepare high-quality researchers to serve as leaders in the field of communication sciences and disorders. Graduates of the program will be prepared to assume careers as researchers and scholars at colleges, universities, and research institutes. The Ph.D. program is not an advanced clinical degree; it is conferred in recognition of the attainment of the highest academic excellence and productive scholarship.

Students who enter the Ph.D. program in Communication Sciences and Disorders should have already obtained a Master's degree in CSD or another field. Students who hold a Master's degree outside of CSD may choose to seek the Master's degree in CSD along the way to earning a Ph.D., but this is not a requirement.

Regardless of the method of entry, all students will complete, at a minimum, three projects: a first, second, and third doctoral project.

Since the intent of the doctoral program is to prepare outstanding researchers and scholars to assume leadership roles within the field of communication sciences and disorders, only high-caliber students who demonstrate strong academic performance and research potential are accepted into the doctoral program. Admission to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Penn State is very competitive.

Students accepted into the doctoral program have:

  1. a cumulative GPA in their Masters program of well above a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  2. outstanding letters of recommendation documenting their performance and their potential as researchers and scholars
  3. a written statement of scholarly interests and research career goals
  4. completed the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

It is recommended that applicants have GRE scores greater than the fiftieth percentile on the verbal and quantitative sections and a 4.5 or above on the writing section.

According to the practices of the Graduate School at Penn State, admission to the Ph.D. program is a two-stage process. First, the initial application to the Department for permission to enter the graduate program; and second, the Candidacy Examination to enter the doctoral program as a doctoral candidate.

It is important to note that students admitted to the graduate program are not doctoral candidates until they pass the Candidacy Examination and have been admitted to the doctoral program. Completion of the Ph.D. program is dependent upon the student's successful completion of all academic course work and degree requirements (e.g., comprehensive examination, dissertation).

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For full consideration for funding, all application materials must be received by February 1.