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In collaboration with a mentor, doctoral students create a personalized plan of study based on their interests.

All students complete an evidence-based course sequence and a capstone project of their own design. Remaining elective courses are taken within and outside of the department and are tailored to the student’s interests and career goals. A plan of study can be personalized and some courses may be available online via distance learning; however, the majority of courses take place on campus. See an example plan of study in the KU Academic Catalog.

Students may be enrolled full-time or part-time in the program. Continuous enrollment each semester is required once coursework has begun. This program normally is completed in 18 months if taken on a full-time basis.

All plans of study are individualized to student interests and are created through collaboration between the student and the mentor. A minimum 33 credit hours are required to complete the program requirements.

Research Project Requirements

A dissertation is not required for this program. However, students will complete a capstone project. Most students choose long-term investigative projects relating to their professional interests that offer clinical applicability in the work setting.

Capstone projects will be in written form with a final presentation to the student’s committee. The project must also include a plan for dissemination to relevant audiences/readers.

Additional Clinical Experience

Because students enter this program with certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, admission requires no additional clinical experience.

However, students may choose to include additional clinical experiences as a part of their plan of study. Additionally, students may be asked to apply clinical methodologies discussed in coursework in their professional settings, and subsequently report on the outcomes.

Two-campus program work allows students attend classes on both campuses, providing exposure to additional top faculty and the opportunity for expanded access to clinical training sites throughout the Greater Kansas City and Lawrence/Topeka areas. Students often carpool to the KU Medical Center for Monday/Wednesday class days and to the Lawrence campus for Tuesday/Thursday class days.

Degree Requirements

The SLPD (Clinical Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology) degree program is designed for post-master’s speech-language pathologists holding the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence and wanting to specialize in an area of interest with a clinical doctoral degree.

It may be completed in eighteen months (including summer and with a common entry point in the fall semester).  Exceptions to this timeline may occur for the student who chooses to complete the program on a part-time basis.  A full-time student usually enrolls in 10 - 14 credit hours each fall and spring semester and 6 to 8 credit hours in the summer session. A minimum of 33 credit hours is required to complete the SLPD program requirements.

Degree requirements

Program Applied Research Concentration (15 credits)                                                       

  • SLPD 801, Seminar in Evidence Based Practices in Communication Disorders A, 3 credits.
  • SLPD 802, Seminar in Evidence Based Practices in Communication Disorders A, 3 credits.
  • SLPD 903, Applied Research Experience (Capstone Project), 6 credits.
  • BIOS 704, Biostatistics - Prin Stat Pub Hlth, 3 credits.

Primary Concentration of Study (10-12 credits)

Courses may be taken from within the KU Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders or other graduate programs from the University of Kansas; however, selected courses should reflect advanced knowledge not present in the master's degree in speech-language pathology curriculum.

  • Neuro-developmental disorders
  • Adult language disorders
  • Child language disorders
  • Clinical Supervision
  • Clinical Leadership
  • Literacy

Secondary Concentration of Study (8-10 credits)

Courses are selected together by student and faculty advisor to represent a correlative area of study.

Total credit hours: 33 credits

  • Specific elective courses are selected to complement the student's program in consultation with the student's academic advisor.
  • Degree requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. See student handbook for additional program information. In most cases, use the catalog in which the student first entered the program.
  • Please see the KU Academic Catalog for more information.

Vaccines and Clinical Site Requirements

The University of Kansas Medical Center requires various immunizations for its students. For a detailed list please visit the student health forms webpage or speak with Student Health Services. These immunization requirements help promote health and safety and facilitate clinical placement.

Many, if not all, clinical sites who partner with the University of Kansas Medical Center require proof of these vaccines for students engaged in training or other programmatic experiences at clinical sites. Not being vaccinated may preclude students from participating in activities, potentially impeding their ability to complete all program requirements for degree completion. Applicants with questions should speak with a representative from the academic program to which they intend to apply.

KU School of Health Professions