CSD Ph.D. Program

We are delighted that you are completing, or contemplating, graduate work in our department as a Ph.D. candidate.

We are glad you've decided to apply to UW-Madison's Communication Sciences and Disorders Program! Please apply using the link below to the UW Graduate School.

See application deadline(s) on the right-hand side of this page.

Phase I: Apply online to the UW-Madison Graduate School. Your online application includes:

  1. Letters of Recommendation, no more than three. These letters should address your potential for academic success in graduate school. At least two should come from instructors who have knowledge of your academic performance. The third may come from a clinical supervisor, employer, or other individual who has knowledge of your academic potential and likelihood for success in graduate school.
  2. Reason for graduate study. Content is 1-3 pages, single-spaced.
  3. Application Fee
  4. CV, or resume, including honors and awards
  5. Official transcripts. This shows grades earned at every college or university you have attended, including study abroad.
  6. Supplemental application. There is a place to indicate your campus preference (Madison, Stevens Point, or either) on this form.

UW Graduate School electronic application

Phase II: Have your GRE and TOEFL test scores submitted electronically directly from ETS.

  • Use institution code 1846.

  • You may take the test more than once; we will consider the scores from your best testing date. We will only consider scores received by the application deadline.


Notable Advice:

  • Submit all materials one week prior to deadline. Late and incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • File your application early. Do not wait until you can gather all your materials. It is better to file early and send additional items as they become available.

  • Track your application status. After submission of your application, you will receive a link to a personal web page where you can track your application status. We update this page as we receive your materials, usually within two weeks of receipt.

  • Pay your application fee ASAP. We cannot consider your application, nor make a recommendation for admission, until you have paid your application fee.

  • For more information, see the following Graduate School website FAQ's

Welcome to the Current Ph.D. Students section of the UW-Madison Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Web site. We are delighted that you are completing graduate work in our department.

Our Ph.D. program allows you to develop an individualized program that leads to a research career. You may choose a major emphasis in:

  • Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, or Hearing
  • Speech, Language, or Hearing Disorders

Because our program is mentor-based doctorate, you will also work closely with faculty to conduct research in addition to your course work.

As an overview, below are the Ph.D. degree requirements. However, more information must be viewed within the Ph.D. Student Handbook.

  1. Download the Requirements Checklist.
  2. All requirements, including outside minor statistics, required course work, Professional Seminar (ProSem), and first-year project will be explained to incoming students at orientation. All incoming students beginning the program are required to attend.
  3. A first-year project is required of all doctoral students. The completed project is to be presented at the required ProSem at the end of the first calendar year or within the second year. A completed manuscript submitted for publication must serve as a project in-lieu-of thesis for those doctoral students entering the program who have not completed a master’s thesis.
  4. All requirements, including outside minor, statistics, presentation of first-year project at Professional Seminar, required course work within the department, and removal of grades of Incomplete must be completed prior to taking preliminary examinations.
  5. Students should expect to take preliminary examinations about 28 months (two calendar years plus one semester or equivalent) after beginning the doctoral work.
  6. A prospectus for the dissertation should be completed and approved by the dissertation committee of the student no later than two semesters after the semester in which the preliminary examination was taken.
  7. The dissertation can be either an original single piece of research or a collection of cumulative first-author publications that are thematically linked. The exact form is to be determined by the student’s dissertation committee and must conform to Graduate School rules.
  8. The Graduate School requires that you take your final oral examination and deposit your dissertation within five years of passing preliminary examinations.
  9. It is expected that the doctoral degree should be awarded within 3-5 years after entering the program with a master’s degree.

The Faculty of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders views the doctoral degree as a scholarly academic research degree. In addition to the general University regulations for the doctoral degree stipulated in the Graduate School catalog, the following doctoral regulations are specific to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Within the Ph.D. Student Handbook, you will find the other critical information about this program, including:

  • Advising
  • First-Year Project
  • Required Coursework details
  • Ph.D. Minor
  • Preliminary Exam (“Prelim”)
  • Prospectus
  • Final Oral Examination of Dissertation Project
  • Appeals: Doctoral-Degree Program
  • Special Committee Doctoral Programs

Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree is obtained after successful completion of the following requirements: Master's thesis or equivalent research project, coursework within the department as specified in a plan of study, outside-the-department minor, statistics requirement, and a preliminary examination. 

Because each student creates an individual study plan with his or her advisor, there are no specific course requirements for Ph.D. majors. Ph.D. students must, however, take the following seminars/courses to satisfy the core requirement:

Course No. Course Name Credits 
CS&D 900 Graduate Professional Seminar, "ProSem" 8 (Four Semesters) 
CS&D 900 Research Methodology, "Theory to Practice" 2-3
CS&D 900 Grant Writing 2-3 

Teaching Methods 1 OR Audit 

Our research laboratories, developed and supervised by department faculty, offer students cutting-edge training opportunities in basic, applied, and translational research topics in communication sciences and disorders. You can choose a research focus in normal and/or disordered aspects of speech, language, and hearing.

Most of our laboratories are supported by competitive grants awarded by extramural funding agencies, especially the National Institutes of Health. Labs are located across campus, including:

  • Goodnight Hall, where the department is located
  • The Waisman Center, an NIH-funded interdisciplinary research center where many faculty conduct their research programs
  • UW Hospital and Clinics
  • The Medical Sciences Center

For more information on our faculty-driven research, see our Research Overview section here.

Ph.D. Handbooks

The Ph.D. Student Handbook includes detailed information on the Ph.D. coursework, and is updated annually. We have optimized the document for being searchable and interactive. For this reason, we highly recommend downloading a copy for yourself and referencing it as needed. 

Ph.D. Student Handbook

The following components are in the Ph.D. Student Handbook:

  • Detailed information on Degree Requirements
  • Satisfactory Progress throughout the Ph.D. acquisition 
  • Policies and Procedures, both for the department and specific to the Ph.D. acquisition process
  • Resources to assist you in writing your dissertation and being success in your Ph.D. endeavors 

Graduate Studies

Contact Information

(608) 262-6464

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1975 Willow Drive
318 Goodnight Hall
Madison, WI 53706

Application Deadlines

Masters: January 15

MS/Ph.D.: January 1

Post-Bac: June 15

Ph.D.: January 1

Audiology: January 15