Program Requirements


The specific coursework to be completed for research and tools of research, core content, and concentration/specialized study are determined individually to create a course of study appropriate to the student's desired specialization. The core content normally consists of two advanced seminars (SPA 7802 and SPA 7807), Proseminar in CSD (SPA 7497), and Practicum in teaching (SPA 6505). Students pursuing the Ph.D. without previous graduate study are required cot complete a minimum of 72 credits for the Ph.D. degree. Coursework for the Ph.D. program for students with a graduate degree consists of a minimum of 42 credit hours. Students must complete the following requirements. 


Core coursework in the department (9 cr)

SPA 7802 Critical Analysis of Literature in CSD (3)
SPA 7807 Critical Synthesis of Literature in CSD (3)
SPA 7497 Proseminar in CSD (1)
SPA 7497 Proseminar in CSD (1)
SPA 6505 Practicum in Teaching Foundations (1)

Tools of research (9 cr minimum)

Directed Research (12 cr minimum)

Dissertation (12 cr minimum)


Students in the Ph.D. program must demonstrate the research skills necessary to pursue an independent research career. In addition to course requirements, Ph.D. students complete the following research‐related activities.

1. Pre‐dissertation research project: A completed research project that demonstrates understanding of the research enterprise must be completed before applying for candidacy. This research is typically completed as part of the directed research activities with the student's primary mentor. Students with documented previous research experience, such as a publication, Master's thesis, or Audiology Doctoral Project may petition to have this requirement waived.
2. Qualifying exam: To advance to dissertation candidacy, the student completes a qualifying exam. The qualifying exam consists of a written grant proposal and an oral presentation/defense. The nature and format of the proposal is determined by the student and prospective dissertation committee.
3. Dissertation: The dissertation consists of a written research document describing a novel program of research and an oral defense. In the Department of Communication Disorders, the dissertation may follow a traditional chapter format or a multiple‐article format. The research plan and format of the dissertation is determined by the student and dissertation committee. Doctoral students should consult the USF Graduate School for additional requirements for the dissertation and graduation with a doctoral degree (


To be in good standing, doctoral students must maintain an overall average of 3.0 (B) in all courses. Any doctoral student whose GPA drops below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation by the University. For further information on University policy regarding good standing, see the Graduate Catalog.

Departmental policy further specifies that:

1. The failure to earn a B‐ or better in a course will require that the student repeat the course.
2. Grade forgiveness may not be used at the doctoral level.
3. Any student earning a C+ or less in two courses will be recommended for dismissal from he program.
All students should be aware that they must earn a B‐ or better in each graduate course.


Upon admission into the doctoral program, each student will be assigned an academic advisor. The academic advisor is responsible for approving the student's course of study during the initial advising meeting, prior to the student's enrollment in classes. The Ph.D. Program Director, as well as the Chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders,
must also approve this course of study by signing the student's Advising Form (available for download on Canvas) after the initial advising meeting.


Note that the USF Graduate Catalog indicates that students have seven (7) years from the date of admission to complete all required coursework, pass the qualifying examination, be admitted to doctoral candidacy, and complete the dissertation. Thus, the total time allowed for completion of the doctoral degree is seven years from the date of admission. Typically, a (fulltime)
student will reach candidacy within two years. The time it takes to complete the dissertation can vary widely and depends on a number of factors.


Whatever the rate of progress, the requirements are generally completed in the following order:

• Coursework (including directed research)
• Pre‐dissertation project (while completing coursework)
• Preparation for qualifying examination (while completing coursework)
• Doctoral Committee selection submit committee form to College at least one semester prior to Qualifying Exam
• Qualifying Exam

    • With Committee, choose format, timeline, submit "Plan" portion of Qualifying Exam form to Ph.D. Program Director at least 30 days before exam start date
    • Take qualification examination, submit "Results" portion of Qualifying Exam form to Ph.D. Program Director
    • When exam is successfully completed, apply for candidacy submit Candidacy form to Graduate School

• Dissertation proposal

    • Final draft of proposal to Committee at least 2 weeks before proposal date
    • Proposal defense submit Proposal defense form to Ph.D. Program Director

• Dissertation

    • Complete dissertation work
    • ETD registration (one semester before graduation)
    • Set dissertation defense date with Committee, reserve defense room
    • Recruit chair for defense (the chair is a graduate faculty member from another department that supervises the defense proceedings)
    • Final draft to Committee at least 4 weeks before defense date
    • Complete and submit defense forms at least 2 weeks before defense date
    • Dissertation defense
    • Final manuscript submission (ETD, by deadline)

• Commencement