FAQs about the Ph.D. Program

Application Process

What is the average GPA of students accepted into the Ph.D. program?

The GPA (and GRE for students who submit these scores) play less of a role for Ph.D. student admissions when students have work experience in the field or previous research experience.


Is the application process online or paper?

The application process is online and accessed through LSU’s graduate schools website. LSU requires a personal statement and three letters of recommendation. The Department also requires that a faculty member(s) agree to mentor the Ph.D. student. Interested applicants should contact individual faculty members directly to discuss mentoring availability.


How many students apply and are accepted into the Ph.D. program each year?

The number varies, but over the last 10 years, we have accepted approximately 2-3 Ph.D. students each year.


When do you accept students for the Ph.D. program?

We accept students into the Ph.D. program at any time; however, students are most likely to receive funding if they apply by April 1 (note: some additional funding opportunities are available on a competitive basis for students who apply by February 1).


Must I have an undergraduate degree or MA in communication sciences and disorders in order to be accepted into the Ph.D. program?

An undergraduate or graduate degree in communication sciences and disorders is not necessary for the Ph.D. program. However, many of our current Ph.D. students have a BA and MA/MS degrees in the field.


When is the deadline for applying?

There is no deadline but funding is dedicated in the spring for students who are starting their Ph.D. studies in the fall. Students who do not apply in the spring may be limited in their funding options.


Ph.D. Program Outline

What is the average length of the program?

Length of program varies but funding is typically granted for four years for full-time students. Whenever possible, full-time students are funded until their degrees are completed; however, after 4 years, funding is not guaranteed.


Will I be given a graduate advisor to help with planning and scheduling?

Students are accepted into the Ph.D. program after a faculty member(s) has agreed to the mentoring. Nevertheless, students are always encouraged to change mentors if a better fit exists within the department. Both the new faculty member and the student need to agree to the switch.


Must I attend full-time, or is it possible for me to attend part-time?

Part- vs. full-time status is dependent upon the student’s mentor. Students should contact individual faculty members directly to discuss mentoring options.


What are the chances of getting a scholarship/fellowship?

Almost all of our Ph.D. students are funded on teaching or research assistantships. 


How many courses do students typically take?

LSU requires that Ph.D. students in our department complete 60 hours of graduate credit and 12 hours of dissertation credit to complete a Ph.D. For students who have completed a MA/MS degree in the field, they will probably take 3 courses each semester for two years. Following this coursework, students will complete their general examination and dissertation. The dissertation typically involves a prospectus and an oral defense.


What is the General Examination?

The general examination is completed after all coursework is completed and before the dissertation is started. The nature of the general examination varies across academic mentors but within the department, they involve a comprehensive written document that shows the student’s breadth and depth within the field and an oral defense of the written content.


What is a Prospectus?

A prospectus is the student’s plan of h/her dissertation research and it often includes a written proposal and an oral presentation of the proposal. LSU does not require Ph.D. students to complete a prospectus but students in our department are highly encouraged to complete one to gain feedback from h/her dissertation committee members.