The Ph.D. is intended as a research degree for people who expect to work in:
- Institutions of higher education offering doctoral and/or master's degrees,
- Research agencies or organizations, or
- Governmental or non-profit organizations focusing primarily on research and/or program evaluation.
Students entering a Ph.D. program wishing to acquire a teaching endorsement, certification, and/or licensure in Special Education, Audiology, or Speech-Language Pathology may be able to perform the required associated coursework and practicum experiences concurrently with their Ph.D. studies but extend the length of the program. Some students may have to pursue completion of these professional credentials outside their Ph.D. programs.
The Ph.D. in Educational Studies with specialization in Special Education prepares scholars for leadership roles focusing on the generation of new knowledge or the reinterpretation of existing knowledge related to Special Education topics. This is inclusive of the scientific evaluation of techniques and programs used in schools and other agencies to facilitate the learning of people with disabilities, birth to age 21. This focus of study may be applied in nature and function to improve Special Education practices, but it also may relate to theory development beyond practice-related issues.
Ph.D. students with a focus in Special Education acquire the academic and experiential knowledge necessary to perform research and to pursue university teaching positions. Within this framework, this doctoral program may emphasize research, grant writing, the evaluation of educational practices, and/or teacher preparation. The focus of study is on typical/atypical development in children and youth, learning theory, instructional design and evaluation, and factors associated with social and academic success or independence.
Teaching aspects of the program prepare students for taking the lead in course development, course organization and delivery. Students learn to evaluate their teaching and the student learning outcomes from such efforts. Teaching, service, and outreach experiences incorporated into the Ph.D. program assist students in their development of skills necessary for working with professional organizations, institutes of higher education, schools, and other agencies and programs that prepare or support Special Education professionals or services to students with disabilities and their families. Research aspects of the program prepare students to work independently and on teams to design and implement scientific investigations, and to secure external funding to support these research efforts.
The Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders offers two Ph.D. programs specializing in Communication Disorders.
Audiology and Hearing Science. This Ph.D. program prepares scholars both in applied and basic aspects of the human auditory and balance mechanisms.
These Ph.D. students acquire the knowledge and expertise to assume leadership roles in research, teaching, and clinical management, depending on individual program goals and objectives. The focus is on biophysics, neurophysiology of hearing, and advanced investigatory techniques.
Research aspects of the program prepare students to work independently on the design and implementation of scientific investigations and expose them to the process of grant writing to support these research efforts. Teaching experiences assist students in developing skills necessary for university teaching positions in programs focused on communication science and disorders. Students wishing to function primarily as clinical practitioners should matriculate into the Au.D. (Clinical Doctorate in Audiology) program rather than the Ph.D. in Human Sciences program. The Au.D. program prepares students for clinical positions in hospitals and other medical settings as well as in freestanding private practices.
Speech-Language Pathology. The Ph.D. program prepares scholars both in applied and basic aspects of communication.
Students acquire the knowledge and expertise to assume leadership roles in teaching, research, and/or clinical management related to the theory and understanding of human communication disorders. Students pursue advanced studies of theoretical and applied issues releveant to the acquisition, remediation, supplementation, and/or loss of speech, language, and communication abilities.
Research aspects of the program prepare students to work independently to design and implement scientific investigations and secure external funding to support these research efforts. Teaching experiences assist in students' development of skills necessary for university teaching positions in programs focused on communication science and disorders.