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The PhD program in Speech and Hearing Sciences is not accepting applications for admissions for the fall of 2024. Admissions will resume for the fall of 2025.

Admissions Process

Admission is a multi-step process. Applicants should complete the following process.

  • The applicant is encouraged to contact faculty mentors who share her/his interest area/s and discuss individual aspects of the program and research activities.
  • Once applications have been reviewed, a select group of students will be invited to campus for an interview. Interviews typically take place in mid-January on a day selected by the faculty (typically a Friday or Monday) and invited applicants will be notified of the date. All applicants will be notified of the program’s decision.

Applicant Guidelines and Considerations

The PhD program in Speech and Hearing Sciences seeks applications from students who have already acquired a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or audiology. Consideration will also be given to students with a master’s degree (or equivalent) or a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Students seeking admission to the program will be required to meet the admission requirements described below. Applicants with a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in a field other than speech and/or hearing sciences will need to complete the prerequisite undergraduate courses focused on normal processes required for a master’s degree (see below) and between 12-18 graduate credit hours within speech and/or hearing focused on disability areas, in addition to the doctoral curriculum.

For those applicants with a master’s degree (or equivalent) or a bachelor’s degree in a related field, during the interview process the applicant can talk with faculty about the number and type of graduate courses that might be recommended. The applicant may then want to begin taking the recommended coursework before entering the doctoral program. Once admitted, the final decision for the number and type of graduate courses will be determined by the faculty mentor and program of studies committee, based on the applicant’s previous coursework and experiences, and future research and career plans. Both the undergraduate prerequisites and the additional graduate coursework, as with the courses required for the doctoral degree, will need to be completed before the student can take comprehensive exams.

For applicants with a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in a field other than speech and/or hearing sciences, the prerequisite courses are as follows. These courses are offered online through a number of universities and admitted students are encouraged to complete these courses before entering the doctoral program.

  • Introduction to Audiology
  • Phonetics
  • Speech Science
  • Language Development
  • Anatomy and Physiology.

Applicant Selection Criteria

  • Availability of faculty
  • Availability of funds to support all or some portion of the student’s doctoral program
  • The student’s academic record (i.e., institution, grades, recommendation letters)
  • A match between the student’s research interests and the ongoing research programs of faculty in the DSHS
  • The applicant’s future career plans
  • The applicant’s leadership potential

In general, applicants with GPAs below 3.0 are less likely to be invited for an interview.

It is the expectation of the program that applicants who desire to complete a Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY), should do so either before or after finishing their doctoral program. It has been our experience that students who attempt to complete a CFY during their doctoral studies not only take longer to finish the program, but also have a difficult time balancing their clinical and research/coursework/teaching responsibilities. In addition, the Licensing Board of North Carolina requires that CFY fellowships be completed with no less than 20 hours/week devoted to clinical activities, making it very difficult for the students to perform their other responsibilities in a timely manner. Therefore, the program strongly discourages students from attempting to complete a CFY during their doctoral program.

Residency Requirements

Doctoral students are required to complete a minimum residence of four full semesters, either by full-time registration, or by part-time registration over a greater number of semesters. At least two of the required four semesters of residence must be earned in contiguous registration of no fewer than six credit hours on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Because UNC-Chapel Hill is a state-supported institution, tuition rates for students who are residents of North Carolina are lower than those for our-of-state students. A residency form must be completed and submitted by every applicant who claims eligibility for in-state tuition rates.

Additional Information

Copies of thesis, master’s project, research papers, or original published work if available, should be sent to:

Karen Erickson, PhD
Interim Coordinator of PhD Studies
Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Center for Literacy and Disability Studies
321 South Columbia Street
Bondurant Hall, Suite 1100
CB #7335
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7335


For specific questions not addressed on this website, email us: or give us a call at (919) 966-1007.

In addition, questions can be directed to: Dr. Karen Erickson, interim coordinator of PhD studies.