Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The doctoral program, administered through the Department of Communication, offers flexible and innovative, yet rigorous preparation for students who desire an in-depth education beyond the master’s degree in the discipline. A doctoral student’s program of study will include not only advanced graduate coursework in communication science and disorders but also in areas complementary to the student’s research interests. This additional coursework will be selected from among over 95 PhD-granting departments on the comprehensive Columbia campus of the University of Missouri. Individualized programs of doctoral study are designed according to each student’s background and areas of interest; doctoral candidates design their programs under the supervision of an advisory committee approved by MU’s Office of Graduate Studies. Progress toward the degree, as well as development and completion of the dissertation, are assisted and supervised by a faculty adviser in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences who is a member of the Doctoral Faculty of the University. Both basic and clinical research are encouraged within the department. Students have access to a diversity of educational opportunities and research populations. Additionally, a wide variety of resources across campus are available to enhance graduate coursework, including the humanities, physical and social sciences, the arts, education, and medicine.

For students who have already completed a master’s degree in communication disorders, completion of the PhD will require three to four years, depending upon qualifications, background, and rate of progress. We also invite applications from highly qualified students who do not yet have a master’s degree, or have a master’s degree in a related field. Their program will be somewhat longer in order to provide a comprehensive education in the discipline. See the MU Graduate Catalog for information regarding residency and other requirements.

Upon completion of the doctoral program, the graduate will be well prepared for university-level teaching and research in the speech, language and hearing sciences. Assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships are available on a competitive basis both from the Department and the Office of Graduate Studies. Some financial aid awards will allow the doctoral student opportunities to develop and refine skills in the areas of research, clinical supervision, and university teaching.

PhD Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission, the applicant must have submitted all required materials. Admission to the PhD degree program is competitive and dependent on available program resources. In order to be considered for acceptance into the doctoral program, an applicant must:

  • Hold a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology and possess the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology, awarded by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA).
    – OR –
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree, in which case the degree program will be longer.
  • Have attained at least a 3.4 GPA on the most recent 60 hours of college/university coursework.
  • Have achieved satisfactory GRE scores (within the past five years). A combined verbal plus quantitative score above 306 is preferred.
  • Demonstrate native or near-native ability in spoken and written English, if English is not the applicant’s native language. A minimum score of 92 on the internet- based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL – iBT) is required. Applicants must meet or exceed this minimum score to be considered for admission to our doctoral program.
  • If requested, participate in an interview either in person or by telephone with three departmental faculty members who are members of the Doctoral Faculty.

PhD Application Process

Students who wish to apply to the PhD program must submit the following materials by February 1 for summer or fall semester admission.

  • An online Graduate Studies Application with application fee.
  • Unofficial transcripts from every college or university attended. Official transcripts are required only after an applicant has been accepted by the academic program.
  • Official GRE scores taken within the past five years (sent directly from the Educational Testing Service.)  The University of Missouri Graduate School institution code is 6875.  Our department code is 0620.
  • (For international applicants only) Official TOEFL iBT scores (sent directly from the Educational Testing Service).
  • A letter of intent detailing: a) the applicant’s interest in pursuing doctoral study; b) the applicant’s specific research interests and goals; c) how the applicant believes that these goals can be met through doctoral education at MU.
  • Three to five letters of recommendation from individuals who can comment on the applicant’s potential for success in doctoral-level study.
  • A curriculum vitae or resume describing the applicant’s educational background, professional experience, awards, honors, grants, presentations, publications, etc.
  • At least one example of the applicant’s scholarly work. Master’s thesis, research publications, or other examples of scholarly writing are acceptable.

Questions about the application for the doctoral program in CSD should be directed to Dr. Wagovich at:, or by calling 573-882-4278.

Qualifying Examination:

The student must have achieved a score of 660 or better on the Praxis II for Speech-Language Pathology or a score of 172 or better on the Revised Praxis II for Speech- Language Pathology. If this requirement has not been met, then by the end of the first semester of doctoral study the student will need to:

  • retake the Examination and achieve a minimum score of 172, or
  • pass a qualifying examination prepared by the department faculty before continuing further in doctoral studies.

For applicants holding a CCC-A, please contact Dr. Wagovich, Department Chair, regarding the Qualifying Examination requirement.