The department offers graduate programs leading to the MS and PhD in communication sciences and disorders. An additional program in the department leads to the AuD in audiology. The graduate program provides the opportunity for study in the areas of audiology, speech–language pathology, hearing science, language science, and speech science. The purpose of the graduate program is to prepare clinicians, researchers, and teachers who possess a solid foundation in both the theoretical and applied aspects of the discipline of communication sciences and disorders.

The PhD program provides relevant classroom and laboratory experiences for the scholar–researcher interested in communication processes and communicative disorders. A student's academic program will consist of course work within the department and in related areas such as psychology, biology, linguistics, statistics, computer science, and education. Students completing the program will be prepared for careers as university professors, laboratory researchers, and senior clinicians.

Individual programs can be designed for students who wish to pursue professional training/clinical certification (in either speech–language pathology or audiology) and the PhD degree. Such students follow a modified sequence of course work, clinical training, and research experience in order to satisfy all academic and certification requirements in five to six years.


Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline January 1
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1241.
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

The program is open to individuals who have completed an undergraduate degree and who meet the minimum admission requirements of the Graduate School and the department. Entering students who do not have undergraduate majors in communicative disorders will typically be required to take prerequisite course work, which may lengthen the time require to earn a graduate degree.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the Graduate School’s admission requirements, as well as department-specific requirements.

A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (4.0=A); however, the students we accept into the program typically have much higher GPAs

Letters of Recommendation

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. Please submit no more than three letters of recommendation. 

Reasons for Graduate Study

This is an opportunity for you to highlight experiences, related skills, and personal attributes which make you an exceptional candidate. 1-3 pages, single-spaced.

CV or Resume

Include honors and awards


Upload a copy of your unofficial transcripts. These show grades earned at every college or university you have attended, including study abroad. If admitted, the Graduate School will request official transcripts.

Supplemental Application

Fill out the supplemental application that is found in the online graduate school application. 

English Proficiency Requirement

International degree-seeking applicants must prove English proficiency using the Graduate School's requirements.

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 statusAfter 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.
  • For more information, review the UW–Madison Graduate School “Steps to Apply” and “Admissions FAQ”.


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Financial assistance, sometimes available to graduate students in communication sciences and disorders, consists of scholarships, fellowships, traineeships, and project and research assistant positions. Financial assistance is very limited and varies from year to year. Students who are considering applying for financial aid should contact the department for further information.

PhD students typically receive funding in the form of research assistantships and work in their advisor's research lab.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

Mode of Instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 54 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 54 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 27 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203.
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations A First Project (a master's-thesis-level research paper; consult program for details) is required. Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary/oral examination after they have cleared their record of all Incomplete and Progress grades (other than research and thesis). Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required.
Language Requirements None.
Graduate School Breadth Requirement All doctoral students are required to complete a doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate. Refer to the Graduate School: Breadth Requirement in Doctoral Training policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1200.

Required Courses

The plan of study must encompass an area of specialization chosen from speech pathology, audiology, language disorders, and normal aspects of speech, hearing and language. Although there are no specific course requirements for the major, the study plan should be comprehensive in scope and should be tailored according to the student's research and academic needs. Students must also satisfy a core requirement by taking the following seminar/courses:

Grant Writing3
Statistical Methods9
Research Methodology (3 credits)
This may include an independent study/directed readings course or a course from outside of the department focused broadly on something related to research methods, depending on the particular student interest.
Professional Seminar (Prosem)8 (4 semesters)
Student are expected to attend the weekly prosem lectures and attend any doctoral student discussion groups associated with the weekly lectures.
Training Methods1

Teaching Requirement

The teaching requirement can be met by taking a 1-credit seminar taught within or outside the department, a 1-credit independent study with the advisor that involves lecturing or developing course materials or student projects, or an independent study with the major advisor that involves reading and discussing scholarly writings that concern teaching. The form of the teaching credit should be discussed with the major advisor and must have the advisor's approval.

Statistical Methods

All doctoral students are expected to become proficient in statistical methods. Students are required to complete at least 9 credits of statistical methods, which must also include a course on research methods or experimental design. Many students satisfy this requirement by taking courses in the Educational Psychology (ED PSYCH) or the Statistics (STAT).

For instance, a rigorous and worthwhile statistics sequence could be STAT/​F&W ECOL/​HORT  571 Statistical Methods for Bioscience I and STAT/​F&W ECOL/​HORT  572 Statistical Methods for Bioscience II plus an experimental design class, such as ED PSYCH 762 Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments.


PhD Core Course Offerings
CS&D 900 Seminar-Speech Science (4 semesters, 2 cr. each semester)2
CS&D 900 Seminar-Speech Science (Grant Writing)3
CS&D 999 Independent Studies (Teaching Methods)1 or audit

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW-Madison

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a University Special Student at UW–Madison

No prior coursework taken as a UW–Madison University Special student is allowed.


Refer to the Graduate School: Probation policy.

Advisor / Committee

When you are admitted as a doctoral student, you will choose an academic advisor who will serve as your sponsor and mentor for the duration of the program. You may change advisors at any time in the course of your program, provided you and your advisor agree on this.

Your academic advisor may be a regular faculty member in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, or may be affiliate or joint faculty. If an affiliate faculty member is serving as your academic advisor, a regular faculty member must be assigned as your departmental contact to regularly review your progress and adherence to departmental requirements.

To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

Students are required to submit an annual assessment of their progress to their advisor, which is then reviewed by the PhD Committee.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits

Time Limits

Refer to the Graduate School: Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.



Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. (Foundations of Research) Possess foundational knowledge about the particular subject area of the chosen area, and be fully conversant with the classic and contemporary literature.
  2. (Foundations of Research) Master data collection techniques specific to their chosen area of research.
  3. (Foundations of Research) Fully conversant with the theoretical issues and tensions within their chosen area of research.
  4. (Foundations of Research) Gain high-level knowledge and expertise in the statistical analysis of research data and graphical approaches to exploration of data sets.
  5. (Foundations of Research) Communicate complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.
  6. (Dissertation) Design and execute an original experiment (or experiments) that clearly fills a gap in the existing literature and is worthy of publication(s) in peer-reviewed journals.
  7. (Dissertation) Skill, experience, and knowledge base to defend the dissertation work to a committee of five faculty members.
  8. (Professional Conduct) Design and conduct experiments.
  9. (Professional Conduct) Formulate research questions that are based on sound analyses of existing literature, and that show evidence of logical argument.
  10. (Professional Conduct) Understand how to examine data for patterns that are meaningful and patterns that reflect likely data collection errors.
  11. (Professional Conduct) Write research proposals and learn to develop carefully argued proposals and explanations.
  12. (Professional Conduct) Make presentations of their research at national and international conferences.
  13. (Professional Conduct) Pass a summary exam (6 hours written, 2 hours oral) that admits them to candidacy for the PhD degree.


Information about faculty and staff can be found on the program's website.