Q. I have been a practicing speech-language pathologist for several years and the field has grown and changed since I earned my master’s degree. I would like to take some new courses and update myself professionally. Is this Ph.D. Program a means for accomplishing that?
A. Most of the courses taken at the doctoral level will not be the type of courses taken in a master’s degree program in speech-language pathology (SLP). The master’s degree in SLP prepares an individual for clinical practice and provides the academic and clinical experiences necessary for obtaining the professional credentials required for clinical practice. The Ph.D. is a research degree. Most of the courses taken in a Ph.D. program are focused independent studies, directed research studies, doctoral seminars, and methods courses in research and statistics (e.g., in our program seven such methods courses are required). In addition, it is likely that coursework related to the student’s area of research interest will be taken outside the Communication Disorders Program.
Q. I already have a master’s degree in a discipline other than Communication Sciences and Disorders. I would like to change careers and become a speech-language pathologist. Since I have a master’s degree could I accomplish this in the doctoral program?
A. If you wish to become a speech-language pathologist who provides clinical services, you will need to become certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and, in most states, licensed by the appropriate state agency (e.g., Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Audiology and Speech Pathology). If you wish to practice SLP in the public schools, you may need an additional credential. Master’s degree programs in SLP provide students with the academic and clinical experiences that make them eligible for these professional credentials. The Ph.D. program does not.
Q. Is completion of a master’s degree thesis required for acceptance into the doctoral program?
A. No, to be accepted into the UVa doctoral program it is not necessary to have completed a thesis during the master’s degree. However, all applicants, especially those whose master’s degree programs may not have included practical research experiences, must understand that the apprenticeship component of doctoral study requires substantial and sustained engagement in research activities. Moreover, all students in our Communication Disorders doctoral program are required to continually conduct and present research projects. In addition each doctoral student must design, complete, and submit for publication at least one research project (see “Preliminary Research Project”) prior to being eligible to take their comprehensive examinations.
Q. What are the GRE and GPA requirements for acceptance into the doctoral program?
A. The Curry School of Education requires a combined verbal and quantitative GRE score of 1000; however, in rare instances exceptions to this are possible. Our admissions process is highly individualized. Rather than focusing on GRE and GPA minima, we rely heavily on the applicant’s letters of recommendation, personal statement, and statement of research interest/intent. The latter is especially important. It should detail your research interests as specifically as possible, as this will help the Committee to determine whether we can provide an academic and research program that will meet your needs. In order to provide sufficient detail, you may wish to spend time visiting a library, reading relevant professional literature, etc.
Q. What are the TOEFL score requirements for acceptance into the doctoral program?
A. The University requires a minimum TOEFL score of 650 (paper based test) or 250 (computer based assessment).
Q. How large is your doctoral program?
A. Our doctoral program is small and allows for a great deal of personal attention and interaction with faculty members.
Q. What are the University’s requirements for Virginia residency?
A. For authoritative information and access to related forms, please visit the following University web page
Q. How can I obtain application materials and additional information?
A. Application materials can be obtained by contacting the Curry School of Education Office of Admissions at 434-924-3334.
For additional information about the Ph.D. Program in Communication Disorders, please contact Dr. LaVae Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.