The PhD program is grounded in research. Supervisory, administrative, instructional and research activities acquaint students with problems and concepts at a higher level of professional activity and responsibility. Students in the PhD program gain the knowledge and skills that will prepare them to become independent scholars, teach in higher education, conduct research, and become leaders within the discipline.

Wide latitude prevails in planning individual PhD programs. It is expected that students have some professional or research experience before entering the program and that they have specific academic or professional goals in mind. PhD students must take a four-course sequence in statistics, four core courses within Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (SLHS), complete the preliminary and comprehensive examinations and successfully defend a dissertation research project. Beyond that, student degree plans are individually designed through the joint efforts of the student and an advisory committee.


The student will select an advisory committee during the first semester of his or her program. Then the student will develop a plan of study in conjunction with the advisory committee during the first year of doctoral study. The plan of study will detail the student's goals, coursework to be completed to meet those goals and departmental and Graduate School requirements, and a proposed schedule for completion of doctoral work. The plan of study will become the student's blueprint for their doctoral work. The advisory committee must approve the plan of study, which may be amended later with the committee approval.

Departmental and Graduate School requirements for doctoral students are intended to allow maximum flexibility in developing a plan of study. All students take three SLHS doctoral seminars, at least 12 credit hours in statistics and research tools, and additional coursework in their own research area. There is no foreign language requirement. The Graduate School specifies that not more than 25 percent of coursework can be taken through independent study.

Required Coursework
Three doctoral-level SLHS seminars.9
At least 15 credit hours in the student's major content area.15
One teaching practicum:3
Practicum 3: Classroom Instruction
One research practicum.3
Two courses each in statistics and research tools.12-15
Thirty hours of doctoral dissertation credit.30
Doctoral Dissertation
Total Credit Hours72-75

Upon approval of the advisory committee, a maximum of 21 credit hours of coursework may be transferred to fulfill the above requirements. This should be accomplished by the end of the first semester of doctoral study. Requests must be made to the Graduate School on a form, which they provide; an official transcript must accompany the request.

In order to continue in the program, a grade point average of 3.50 or better on coursework every semester will be required as well as continued recommendation of the SLHS faculty advisory committee. Grades below B will not count toward a doctoral degree.

The minimum registration requirement for doctoral students is six semesters beyond the attainment of an acceptable bachelor's degree. Two semesters of minimum registration credit may be allowed for a master's degree from an accredited institution; however, at least four semesters of minimum registration credit, two of which must be consecutive in one academic year, must be earned for work taken at CU Boulder.

Dual Degree Programs

Students may pursue a dual PhD with neuroscience or cognitive science. In addition, the department offers students the opportunity to pursue an integrated program of study leading to dual doctorate degrees in the field of audiology and speech, language and hearing science. The PhD/AuD dual degree program trains students in clinical research and clinical practice in audiology. The dual degree program allows students to pursue both their clinical training and their research training in a rigorous, intensive and streamlined program. Students may apply to both programs simultaneously, or may apply to the PhD portion after having been accepted into the AuD portion or may apply to the AuD portion after having been accepted into the PhD portion.

For more information, visit the department's Graduate Coursework webpage.