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Speech & Hearing Science

Promote effective communication, a human right, through research and clinical practice. Prepare for a career that improves lives.

Speech & Hearing Science PhD

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Illinois is a research-oriented degree that prepares students for academic research careers in the field of communication sciences and its disorders.

The PhD program is rigorous in terms of expectations but flexible in terms of prerequisites, thereby allowing students to take advantage of the wide variety of courses and research labs available at the university in order to build their own individual expertise. In addition to completing an individualized program of coursework and research experiences, students will develop the necessary skills to review research, develop research questions, design studies, present at conferences, submit papers, and teach courses. Our goal is to prepare visionary leaders in translational research to fill a variety of influential career positions in communication sciences and its disorders, including academic appointments at research-intensive universities, research institutions, public agencies, and clinical research settings.

Deadline to submit applications

The deadline to submit applications is January 5th.

Application Requirements

The application deadline is January 5. You will need to complete the University of Illinois application through Slate at grad.uiuc.edu/Admissions/instructions.

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  • The Graduate College requires a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (A=4.0). Transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable) from all institutions attended (follow ApplyYourself instructions). Scanned copies of all transcripts should be clear and easy to read. Please be sure that your scanned transcript(s) are legible. If they are not you may need to submit official transcripts.
  • Results of the Graduate Record Examination. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The results must arrive at the University by the application deadline. Therefore, make sure that you make arrangements and take the test early enough. Use the Institution Code (1836) for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (do not use the department-specific code). The GRE must have been taken within five years of the date of application.
  • For the MA-SLP program, a minimum of two letters of recommendation are required. For the AuD and PhD programs, three letters are required. Request letters of recommendation from faculty who are acquainted with your educational background and academic abilities. If possible, persons writing a reference letter should comment on your interpersonal and/or collaborative skills, as well as your clinical skills if relevant to the degree for which you are applying. Letters from PhD faculty are strongly recommended.
  • A personal statement. This statement is a very important part of your application. The statement should be approximately 500 words in length but a maximum of one page. In general the personal statement should explain why you have specifically chosen the program at the University of Illinois. Certain points that could be addressed include: i) why you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the field, ii) what education and skills you expect to acquire through the degree, iii) how you expect to use your degree after graduation, and iv) PhD applicants should state their area of research interest and identify potential faculty mentors. To illustrate these points you may briefly describe any experience including volunteer time, paid work, internships, coursework, and pertinent training that have led you to apply. Applicants with professional work experience are encouraged to explain how they think their work experience has prepared them for graduate study at the University of Illinois. PhD applicants are encouraged to contact potential faculty mentors prior to submitting their application materials.
  • A Resume. Your resume should include details (i.e. when, where, direct supervisor) about your work history, volunteer activities, teaching, clinical, and research experience. You should also list any honors/awards, grants publications and presentations you may have, as well as any other information you would like us to know about. There is no page limit for your resume.
  • International students must also submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For information on minimum score requirements for admission, see grad.illinois.edu/admissions/instructions/04c. Complete instructions for international students are contained in the on-line application.
  • Students who are currently enrolled in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and affiliated with the Department of Speech and Hearing Science apply to the Ph.D. program through an internal application process. The internal application will include transcripts, GRE scores, and previous letters of recommendation. New GRE scores will be required if they are more than five years old. The internal application must include a new personal statement and three letters of recommendation that address the student's preparation and potential for success in the Ph.D. program. These materials will be reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee and departmental faculty in the usual manner to determine acceptance of the internal applicant into the Ph.D. program.

Program Structure

  • Stage 1
    The completion of a master’s degree or its equivalent
  • Stage 2
    Advanced coursework and the completion of departmental requirements
  • Stage 3
    Conduct of the dissertation, the defense, and the deposit.

Doctoral degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are divided into three stages: Stage I, which includes the master's degree or its equivalent; Stage II, which is advanced course work and completion of all departmental requirements, with the exception of the dissertation defense and deposit; and Stage III, which is the conduct of the dissertation, its defense and deposit. For more information on Doctoral Degree Stages, refer to this part of the Grad Handbook.

Based on Graduate College requirements, students who enter the program in Stage I must complete their program (minimum of 96 semester hours) in seven years. Students entering in Stage II must complete their program (minimum of 64 semester hours) in six years. All students must maintain a 3.0 GPA, complete 64 hours of resident credit, pass a preliminary examination and successfully plan, conduct and defend a doctoral dissertation. See the Graduate College Handbook for details about these and other Graduate College policies. Students may enter the PhD in Speech and Hearing Science in either Stage I (from B.A./B.S.) or Stage II (from M.A./M.S.). Specific requirements for each stage of doctoral work in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science are outlined below.


Degree requirements with an approved master's or Au.D. degree

For more information about degree requirements contact the program director or refer to the university catalog.

Code Course
SHS 590
SHS 590 History of Comm Sci & Disorders

Hours: 4

SHS 592
SHS 592 Prosem Speech & Hearing Science

Hours: 2-4

SHS 594
SHS 594 PhD Early Research Project

Hours: 6-8

SHS 599
SHS 599 Thesis Research

Hours: 24

3 Statistics or related courses

Hours: 12

1 or 2 advanced 500-level SHS seminars

Hours: 4-8

Restrictive Electives

Hours: 8-12

Total Hours: 64

Other Requirements

  • Minimum of 96 credit hours beyond a bachelor’s degree or 64 credit hours beyond a master’s degree
  • Qualifying Exam Required Yes
  • Preliminary Exam Required Yes
  • Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required Yes
  • Dissertation Deposit Required Yes
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0

Degree Requirements with an approved Bachelor's Degree

For more information about degree requirements contact the program director or refer to the university catalog.

Code Course
SHS 590
SHS 590 History of Comm Sci & Disorders

Hours: 4

SHS 592
SHS 592 Prosem Speech & Hearing Science

Hours: 2-4

SHS 594
SHS 594 Ph.D. Early Research Project

Hours: 8

SHS 599
SHS 599 Thesis Research

Hours: 24

3 Courses in Statistics or related field

Hours: 12

1 or 2 advaced 500-level SHS Seminars

Hours: 4-8

Restricted Elective Hours

Hours: 40-42

Total Hours: 96

Additional Information

Financial support through the Department, typically research or teaching assistantships, is available for a limited number of students. Assistantships are awarded first to doctoral students and are based on merit and the strategic goals of the Department. For more information on financial aid, need-based financial support may be applied for through the University Financial Aid Office.

Additional information can be found at the links below:

Student Achievement Data

Requirements for PhD in Speech and Hearing Science

Program Structure for PhD in Speech and Hearing Science

Sample Programs of Study for PhD in Speech and Hearing Science

Research Themes and Labs

Application to the PhD Program in Speech and Hearing Science

Mentoring and Advising


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Upcoming Events

Speech and Hearing Science Professional Programs Information Day
Speech and Hearing Science Building, 901 South Sixth Street

You are invited to join us Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 10:00am-2:30pm, to learn more about our programs of graduate study.

  • Tour our Clinics!
  • Meet Faculty & Current Students!
  • Launch a Career in Audiology or Speech-Language Pathology!
  • Register online here!

RSVP by Oct 23 to receive meeting details!

AHS PhD Day 2019
114 Huff Hall

The College of Applied Health Sciences (AHS) is holding its annual Ph.D. Recruitment Day on Friday, November 15th from 8:00-3:00 in Huff Hall. See this page for more details.