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University of Pittsburgh    
2019-2020 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  May 21, 2024
2019-2020 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Communication Science and Disorders, PhD

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Program Requirements

A minimum of 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree level is needed for the PhD degree in communication science and disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. For further detail on allowable credits, see Credit Requirements  under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Study.

All CSD PhD students are required to take the PhD Research Seminar (CSD 3048 ) and a minimum of three additional departmental PhD seminars: one in speech/language/voice/swallowing, one in hearing, and one in the student’s major area of study.

CSD PhD students also take a minimum of 12 credits of coursework in statistics and experimental design, and 6 credits of PhD research practicum. In each semester, until they enter full-time dissertation status, PhD students are required to attend the departmental Proseminar (CSD 3060 ), to participate in poster sessions, attend invited colloquium talks, and present “think aloud” talks about their own research, at whatever stage it is in its development. Students also have the opportunity to take courses in teaching and grant preparation, and to complete teaching practica.

Four formal degree requirements must be satisfied before a student initiates PhD dissertation work:

  1. No later than the second term of study, students, with the help of their major advisers, develop a proposed Plan of Study that specifies their background, goals, and tentative plans for their program of study. Students schedule a Plan of study meeting with a faculty committee, to review this document and their plans (see Major Adviser and Advising Committees, below).
  2. Annually after the initial plan of study meeting, the student compiles an academic portfolio, until the time at which the student takes the comprehensive examination. The portfolio consists of at least three new pieces of scholarly work that are provided to the student’s Plan of Study Committee prior to an annual review meeting. The student’s Plan of Study will also be reviewed at these annual meetings.
  3. The student must complete a pre-dissertation research project, culminating in a publishable manuscript resulting from a research practicum experience. This project must be completed prior to initiating the comprehensive examination.
  4. The student must pass a comprehensive examination consisting of two substantive written projects and an open-ended oral examination. Students on provisional or special status, or on probation, are not eligible to take the comprehensive exam.

Students must then successfully complete both the written dissertation overview (prospectus document) and oral examination of their prospectus. After the prospectus is passed, students file an application for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. For details see below and also Admission to Candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in this bulletin for details.

Major Adviser and Advising Committees

Students admitted to the PhD program are assigned a major adviser in their main area of specialization. The adviser is primarily responsible for providing assistance and advice to the student throughout all facets of the PhD program, and typically serves as the chair of the Plan of Study, Comprehensive Examination, and Dissertation Committees. Either PhD students or their advisers may initiate a change of adviser, but no student may remain in the program without an adviser.

The student, upon consultation with the major adviser, secures the agreement of at least two other departmental faculty members with graduate faculty status to serve with the adviser on the student’s Plan of Study Committee. This committee initially convenes to review and make recommendations about the student’s Plan of Study. Thereafter, the committee meets annually with the student to review and make recommendations about the student’s portfolio and general progress in the PhD program. This committee, with or without changes in faculty membership, also administers and evaluates the student’s comprehensive examination.

See Doctoral Committee  under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees for an overview of the dissertation committee’s makeup and responsibilities.

Overview or Prospectus Meeting

See Overview or Prospectus Meeting  under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Study for the regulations pertaining to this meeting and then read the following information that is specific to the PhD program in Communication Science and Disorders. After securing the adviser’s approval, each PhD student must submit a written dissertation proposal to the Dissertation Committee at least two weeks prior to a formal overview meeting with that committee. (See Dissertation and Abstract section for details on the characteristics of an appropriate dissertation.)

Final Oral Examination

See Final Oral Examination  under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Study and then note the following additional program-specific information. After securing the adviser’s approval, the student submits copies of the complete document to the dissertation committee at least two weeks prior to the final oral examination in defense of the dissertation.

PhD Curriculum

For the CSD PhD degree, a minimum of 72 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree is needed. 

Required coursework includes: the departmental PhD Research Seminar (CSD 3048); a minimum of 3 additional PhD seminars (one in speech and language, one in hearing, and one in the student’s major area of study (speech/language/voice/swallowing); a minimum of 12 credits in research design and statistics; and attendance each fall and spring term at the weekly departmental Proseminar (CSD 3060). The proseminar includes student and faculty poster sessions, a colloquium series, and a student-centered research roundtable that allows participation and problem-solving by students at various stages of their research training. 

Otherwise, coursework and other experiences are individually tailored for each student, in consultation with the student’s adviser and the adviser-chaired Plan of Study committee.

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