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PhD Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a PhD?

With a Ph.D., you can teach at a university, conduct research, be the director of a clinic, and have many more options for employment.  There is a shortage of people with the Ph.D. in our field.

How long does it take?

It will typically take about 4 years, if you come in with a Masters in the field.  If you enter with an Au.D., the PhD usually takes 2-3 years. See an example of a typical timeline for a doctoral degree in the SLHS department..

What about my Clinical Fellowship Year – CFY?

Students can complete their CFY part-time (5-15 hours/ week) while they are taking doctoral coursework. CFYs are arranged on an individual basis.

Is funding available for Ph.D. students?

All incoming and qualified PhD students are provided with a generous stipend and tuition waiver for at least 3 years of study.

How do I get into the Ph.D. program?

You need to apply for the doctoral program.  If you are applying for admission to the graduate program, you indicate your intentions to do a Ph.D. on the graduate application and in your personal statement.  More specific information about the admissions process can be found here.

When do I take my qualifying examinations?

The qualifying examination occurs after completion of the academic coursework, supervised teaching and lab rotations. Typically, qualifying examinations are undertaken after two years in the Ph.D. program.

What types of classes do doctoral students take?

Our program is very interdisciplinary and each student takes classes to fit their interests and needs. There are certain curricular requirements that must be filled, but these can be addressed in many different ways.

Can I visit the department?

Of course!  We hold a doctoral open house late in the Fall Semester before Doctoral applications are due. The next scheduled Prospective Doctoral Student Open House will be held December 15 and 16, 2011. A limited number of travel stipends are available for highly qualified students to help defray costs. For more information about this event, please email Dr. Lori Altmann ( If you are unable to attend the Open House, you can visit the department at any time, but you should definitely email the particular faculty members you wish to speak with in advance to verify their availability.

Whom should I talk to if I have additional questions?

Dr. Lori Altmann, Doctoral Student Advisor, and read the Handbook for PhD Students