Qualifying Year Option

Highly motivated students with a solid academic background and demonstrated interest in conducting research in the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders may be admitted directly to the Qualifying Year of the Ph.D. program.

Students admitted through this option complete a qualifying year of coursework and a research project supervised by their faculty supervisor. Students admitted to the Qualifying Year normally possess a Bachelor's degree or Master's degree (without thesis) in a related field and can demonstrate evidence of a defined interest in human communication and its disorders.

Successful completion of the Qualifying Year Option requirements permits the student to advance to full status in the Ph.D. program. Once at full status, students will finish all the remaining Core Requirements necessary for the Ph.D. degree.

Qualifying Year Option Requirements (first year):

All students must successfully complete the following coursework:

  • at least one of their required statistics courses (3 credits)
  • one departmental Advanced Research Seminar (3 credits)
  • 6 elective credits by the end of the qualifying year. Elective courses are chosen freely by the student and the supervisor. However, students without previous graduate-level training in Communication Sciences and Disorders are expected to choose from courses offered within the School.


Research Project

The student's aptitude for advanced research (and continued candidacy in the Ph.D. program) is also evaluated through a small research project, to be completed and submitted by the end of the first year of the Qualifying Year Option.

The research project is meant to familiarize students with issues related to experimental design and analysis, and showcase the student's ability to arrive at a reasoned explanation of a limited set of data. The topic of the research project is developed collectively by the student and the research supervisor, and may or may not bear a conceptual relationship to the topic eventually developed for the Ph.D. thesis.

While not a requirement, many of our students have gone on to publish data from their first-year project as papers in scientific journals!

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