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Graduate Studies - Hearing and Speech Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions - Ph.D.

 

How does the Vanderbilt Graduate program compare to others? Our Audiology program ranked #1 and our Speech-Language Pathology program ranked #5 in the 2009 Edition of 'America's Best Graduate Schools,' published by U.S. News & World Report. The Ph.D. program encompasses both disciplines and is a significant factor in the high overall ratings of the individual programs.

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What are the entrance requirements for the Vanderbilt Ph.D. Program? All applications to Vanderbilt’ s Ph.D. in audiology, speech-language pathology and hearing and speech sciences are electronic. Ph.D. applicants must submit an online application form as well as official transcripts of all relevant previous degrees, recent GREs (verbal , quantitative, analytical), and at least three letters of recommendation. Although there are no set criteria for these various aspects of the PhD application, the completed application of successful applicants must be consistent with Vanderbilt standards.  Our decision to admit a student to the PhD program is based on a composite of information about the applicant, not merely one variable. Again, within this mosaic of information, we seek consistency of abilities and performance as reflected in letters of recommendation, grades, and GRE scores. The student’s statement of purpose submitted with the application is also an important indicator of scholarly potential.

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Do I need a background in communication disorders in order to be admitted? While a background in audiology or speech-language pathology (AUD/SLP) is not required - some of our PhD students have a minimal AUD/SLP background - it would be highly recommended for certain sub-disciplines within AUD/SLP, for example, those pursuing or involving applied and/or clinically-oriented research.  It should be pointed out, however, that non-AUD/SLP backgrounds are not necessarily similar in terms of the implications this has for the nature of as well as time to complete the PhD program.  That is, for those whose background is non- but relatively similar to AUD/SLP, for example, those with a behavioral, biological, physical or social science background, it will generally take less time to complete the degree and require less pre-requisite courses, seminars, etc. than those with non-behavioral, biological, physical or social science background, for example, English, History, and Theology

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Can I be accepted for any semester (e.g., Fall, Spring or Summer)? No. The Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt admits applicants only for Fall Semester (classes beginning late August). The deadline for applications is the January 15 prior to the Fall semester of interest (e.g., January 15, 2013 prior to enrollment for Fall, 2013).

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What is the cost of tuition? The per graduate-credit hour tuition for 2013-2014 year is $1,747.

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Are part-time students accepted? No. The Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University is for full-time residential students only.

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Is it possible to work outside the program while obtaining the degree? It is expected that Ph.D. students will devote full time effort to their studies. While exceptions occur, working outside the program is not strongly encouraged and typically occurs only for established Ph.D. students. A Ph.D. student establishes him or herself academically and/or research-wise after at least one but as many as 3 semesters, based on consultation between the student, the faculty advisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies. Once the Ph.D. student is established academically and/or research-wise, it is possible for them to work part time provided they are making satisfactory progress in their academic coursework and research towards completion of their degree in a reasonable timeframe. Typically such part time work occurs toward the end of the degree program, when formal course work has been completed.

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Are scholarships available? Most of our Ph.D. students receive financial support. Ph.D. students who receive financial awards typically have full tuition support and a monthly stipend to help cover living expenses. Financial awards – which are competitive in nature - are offered at or around the time we let students know of admission decisions, which is generally around the second week of March. Given that almost all Ph.D. students need financial assistance, financial awards are offered on the basis of merit, using criteria very similar to those used to judge acceptance into the program.

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Is other financial aid available? Yes. Vanderbilt University has a financial aid department that is committed to assisting students with financial aid/loans:

University Office of Student Financial Aid

2309 West End Ave.

Nashville, TN 37203-1725

(615) 322-3591

1-800-288-0204

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/financialaid/

finaid@vanderbilt.edu

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To what extent are Ph.D. students involved in research projects? It is expected and required that the Ph.D. student, under faculty direction, will be involved with research projects throughout their Ph.D. program. Research experiences in the PhD program include individual student research projects as well as research assistantship efforts on faculty research projects. Many of these PhD research projects result in presentations at professional/scholarly meetings and submissions for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

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Are research projects required for completion of the Ph.D.? As part of the formal program requirements, Ph.D. students complete three research projects: first research project, second research project, and dissertation. The degree of student independence at conceiving and carrying out these projects grows over the course of the program. In addition to these required projects, most students participate collaboratively as investigators in other projects with students and faculty.

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Does the department assist the students in finding employment after graduation? Most definitely – faculty play an active role in helping students identify potential job opportunities, assisting students with contacting potential employers, and writing letters of support. The majority of the faculty serves on national boards, committees and working groups and consequently are well “connected” to the teacher-scholar (Ph.D. graduate) job market across the U.S.A. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, because of the national reputation of Vanderbilt’s graduate programs, many prospective employers contact Vanderbilt when job openings are available. In addition, the Center for Teaching supports PhD students in their preparation for academic job searches (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/cft/).

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How do I apply to the Vanderbilt Ph.D. program? As previously mentioned, the application is electronic and the deadline is January 15 for admission the following Fall. First, read the application instructions on our Ph.D. program page. A link is also provided so that you can easily initiate your application: https://graduateapplications.vanderbilt.edu

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Can I visit the department? Of course! We see visiting students (depending upon availability of faculty and by appointment only) on Mondays and Fridays at 9:00 a.m. central time. During these visits you will meet faculty, staff and students as well as see our facilities. In order to schedule a visit, call our Office of Graduate Studies at (615) 936-5104 or e-mail our Education Assistant,Carol Modos at carol.modos@vanderbilt.edu. Prior to such on-campus visits, Ph.D. students are encouraged to identify specific faculty members whose research interests match theirs, so that meetings with individual faculty can take place during their visit as well.

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I’m trying to complete my application on-line but I can only find the application for the Au.D. program. What do I need to do? You are probably in the School of Medicine’s application program. The Graduate School application is at: https://graduateapplications.vanderbilt.edu

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