Skip to navigation Skip to content

PhD Program

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

University of Missouri Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences PhD student presenting research at the Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association annual conference.

The School of Health Professions offers a PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Science.  This interdisciplinary research doctoral program prepares students for careers in research in the health disciplines.  The program uses a mentorship model to provide an in-depth education beyond the master’s degree.

Prospective doctoral students with an interest in basic or clinical research in speech, language and hearing sciences (SLHS) identify an area of study and advisor within SLHS.  Upon acceptance into the program, the student and advisor develop a committee and program of study during the first two semesters of the program.  Program requirements for students with a concentration in SLHS are outlined below.  They are consistent with the overall requirements of the PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Science.

Program of Study Requirements

A total of 72 credit hours completed as part of the doctoral program of study

  • 12 of these hours may be relevant master’s level coursework if the content fits within the program of study.
  • Remaining 60 hours are completed as part of the doctoral program, as follows:
    • 6 hours: courses in foundational theory and research in health and rehabilitation science
    • Minimum of 12 hours: research design and statistics, drawn from SLHS and other departments
    • Minimum of 30 hours of didactic coursework, including classes and seminars, exclusive of research hours (SLHS 8050, 8090, 9090). At least 12 of these hours will be taken in SLHS, and at least 12 in other departments.  Research design and statistics courses in excess of the 12 required above may be counted in this category.
    • Research credit hours (SLHS 8050, 8090, 9090) to bring the total program hours of study to a minimum of 60 semester hours beyond the Master’s degree. Research credit hours will not exceed 28 hours.  Students are expected to obtain research experience with multiple faculty members.

Research Products and Examination Requirements

  • Research project completed during first two years of program. Requirement may be waived if master’s thesis was completed prior to entering the doctoral program and the thesis is approved by the student’s committee.
  • Comprehensive written and oral examination. May be taken after the student has completed 48 of the final 60 hours of coursework, as follows: foundational courses in health and rehabilitation science (6 cr), research design and statistics courses (12 cr), and didactic coursework (30 cr).  Format and content of this examination will be determined by the doctoral committee, in consultation with the student.  The primary purpose of the exam is to evaluate the preparation of the student for dissertation and other research, and for university-level teaching.  Students are expected to have identified a primary and a secondary research area.  The three components of the exam will cover these two areas and either an additional secondary area or research methods/analysis.  The components of the exam should include a variety of formats, such as a literature review and formulation of research questions, a position statement on a controversial issue, a research design, a critical article review, a faculty-written limited-time exam, or other formats/question types.
  • Completion of one or more professional presentations of research at national- or international-level conferences.
  • Submission of at least one research article (may be co-authored) to a peer-reviewed journal prior to defense of doctoral dissertation.
  • Doctoral dissertation consisting of original research.

Additional Experiences

In addition to these required, credit-based experiences, PhD students will be encouraged to participate in a range of other professional activities to gain additional academic experience.  These activities may include:

  • The development of a research statement
  • Teaching or co-teaching a college-level course under faculty supervision
  • Gaining experience in student clinical supervision
  • Submitting a grant proposal
  • Reviewing a journal article


For students who have already completed a master’s degree in SLHS, 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 (see MHS/PhD Program), 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 PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Science with a concentration in SLHS, the graduate will be well prepared for university-level teaching and research in the speech, language and hearing sciences. An additional strength of the program is that students will have the opportunity to gain interdisciplinary research experience through exposure to different labs and research methodology outside of their SLHS concentration. Assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships are available on a competitive basis both from the Department, the School of Health Professions, and the Graduate School. Some financial aid awards allow doctoral students the opportunity to develop and refine skills in the areas of research, university teaching, or clinical supervision.

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 with a concentration in SLHS, an applicant must:

  • Hold a master’s degree in the area of speech, language and hearing sciences
    – OR –
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree and be accepted to the MHS/PhD Program, in which case the student will complete a clinical or non-clinical MHS degree in speech, language and hearing sciences in the process of completing the PhD (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, with 28 on Speaking. Applicants must meet or exceed this minimum score to be considered for admission.
  • 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

Deadline: Feb. 1

Questions specific to the SLHS concentration may be addressed Dr. Stacy Wagovich, Chair of SLHS, at:, or by calling 573-882-4278.