Communication Sciences and Disorders

Research Ph.D. in Audiology

Consult the Course Catalog for speciifc Ph.D. course requirements

A PhD in Audiology prepares you to be a successful scholar and a leader in the field.  This degree is appropriate for those who wish to pursue academic and research careers, while the AuD is a clinical degree which prepares individuals to become independent clinicians and supervisors of clinical practice. The PhD program in Audiology includes experience conducting research in your area of interest under the guidance of a faculty mentor or mentors. You will gain valuable academic experience preparing you to study important topics in the field. The job market for graduates with a PhD is excellent, as programs in communication sciences in disorders report a critical shortage of PhD faculty.  The PhD degree can lead postdoctoral fellowships, or to jobs at universities, research laboratories, clinics, hospitals, industry, and other prestigious organizations.

Each student in the PhD program at Syracuse University has an individualized experience. You will work with a mentor with expertise in your chosen area. You develop a program of study with your mentor and take graduate-level courses that are relevant to your areas of interest. Our program is small, allowing for individualized training and close collaborations with faculty. You will be provided with personalized support on important academic skills: designing research, preparing manuscripts for publication, presenting at local, state, and national conferences, networking with top professionals in the field, and teaching in your areas of expertise.

Syracuse University is in close proximity to three local medical centers (Crouse Hospital, Upstate University Hospital, and the Syracuse Veterans Administration) and houses an on-campus speech-language-hearing clinic (the Gebbie Clinic). A number of collaborative research projects are conducted among these and other institutions. 

Each faculty member has dedicated research laboratory space, and students enrolled in the PhD program will have the opportunity to assist with ongoing research and conduct their own research under the guidance of their assigned mentor. There is dedicated office space for PhD students.

Laboratories and Research Space

Audiology laboratories feature a range of equipment, including:

  • Large double-walled sound-attenuated booths
  • Otoacoustic Emissions
  • Regular and wideband acoustic immittance
  • 64-channel Electroencephalography (EEG) to measure neural activity and event-related potentials
  • Clinical multi-channel evoked potential equipment
  • Multichannel audiometers and sound presentation systems
  • State-of-the-art hearing aid testing equipment
  • Sound field speaker systems
  • Pediatric behavioral audiometry

Please see the faculty webpages for further information.

Optional Concentration in Neuroscience

The department in Communication Sciences and Disorders is part of a university-wide interdisciplinary Neuroscience initiative. A concentration in Neuroscience is available for students in the PhD program. The interdisciplinary neuroscience offering includes coursework that spans several departments such as Communication Sciences and Disorders, Psychology, and Biology.

Students who already have an AuD degree or equivalent may apply directly to the PhD program. In some cases, students may wish to pursue a PhD without obtaining a clinical degree. These may be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Syracuse University also offers a combined AuD/PhD degree program for those students interested in receiving both a professional doctoral degree (AuD) and a research doctoral degree (PhD). The AuD/PhD is 110 a credit program, which allows students to pursue both their clinical training and their research training in a rigorous, intensive and streamlined program.

All students must first be accepted into the AuD program, and application to the dual AuD/PhD program is made after successful completion of a minimum of the first year of the AuD program. Each student in the AuD/PhD program must have a faculty research sponsor, and this sponsorship must be agreed upon prior to the time of enrollment in the dual program. Students must pass a prequalifying exam at the end of their first year in the AuD/PhD program, and qualifying exams at the end of their coursework. The academic and research experiences lead to the dissertation, which is typically begun in the fourth year of study. It is anticipated that the dual degree can be completed in 6 years of full-time study.

Residency Requirement

All candidates for the PhD program must enroll as a full-time student in the program for a minimum of two semesters. As stated in the Academic Rules for Doctoral Degrees, “At least 50% of a doctoral student’s planned coursework (exclusive of dissertation) must be in courses offering “residence credit” at Syracuse University.” Up to 50% of graduate coursework from other accredited universities can be accepted towards the PhD. However, experience credit, clinical practicum, and professional experience courses from other universities cannot be included. Current rules should be reviewed in the online Academic Rules for Graduate Degree Programs/Doctoral Degrees, found in the online Syracuse University Course Catalog for the current year.

Continuous Registration Requirement

Candidates must register for a minimum of 3 semester hours for each academic semester until coursework is completed. Degree in progress (GRD 998) enrollment may be used, after successful completion of the coursework for the doctoral degree, as specified below. GRD 998 enrollment may include semesters in which the student is preparing for the Qualifying Exam and semesters preparing for or conducting the dissertation.

Course Work

Courses will be determined by the student and faculty advisor. Candidates are expected to complete a minimum of 83 academic credits beyond the bachelor’s degree including coursework, independent studies and dissertation credits (note that up to 50% of those credits may be transferred in from another graduate-level degree program such as a Masters or AuD degree). Coursework is subject to university requirements for transfer and department’s residency require as stated above. Coursework is often interdisciplinary and may include courses from other departments and programs such as Speech Language Pathology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Biology, and Bioengineering.
Most of the research in Audiology requires considerable expertise in statistics. Therefore, the candidate must pass at least 3 graduate courses in statistics and 1 in experimental design.

Guided Research Experience

Under the guidance of the faculty advisor, the student will be expected to design, implement and analyze the results of a research project that will be submitted for publication before taking the Qualifying examination.

Pre-qualifying Exam

At the completion of at least 18 credits in the PhD program, the student must pass a Pre-Qualifying exam. The purpose of the exam is to examine the candidate’s abilities to perform critical thinking, to express ideas in writing, and to conduct analysis of research.

Qualifying Exam

At the completion of planned coursework, the candidate must pass a qualifying examination designed to assess his or her knowledge about his/her area of specialization and the basic methods for research. This exam requires the development of a theoretical rationale, study objectives and hypotheses, and specific methods to achieve each objective. Although this exam focuses on the preparation of research proposals, it is not necessarily a precursor to a candidate’s dissertation prospectus. The candidate is expected to prepare the exam without consultation with his or her advisor.


The culminating project of the PhD is the dissertation. The general topic and research design must be approved by a committee during a Dissertation Proposal Meeting. Students must then plan the study, collect and analyze data, and write their dissertation. Although the faculty mentor will continue to provide guidance, the dissertation is viewed as the student’s work, rather than the faculty member’s work. Once the written document is complete, an Oral Exam (Dissertation Defense) must be completed.

Full-time students who are accepted into the PhD in program typically receive full financial support! Full-time students accepted into the program will be offered financial support that generally includes full tuition benefits as well as stipends. Financial support may include:

Competitive Fellowship

Students awarded a Fellowship that covers tuition costs and provide a 9-month stipend (currently $24,795) for two years of the program (typically Year 1 and Year 3). During the Fellowship years, there is no work requirement and students receive the stipend as they take courses and work on research. Students offered a Fellowship for Years 1 and 3 are also typically awarded a Graduate Assistantship during Year 2.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships cover 12 credits of tuition costs per semester and provide a 9-month stipend (currently $14,780). These GA positions require 20 hours of work per week towards teaching-related duties.

Additional Financial Support

Summer financial support may also be available through a variety of sources, such as conducting research on faculty grants, performing clinical supervision, or teaching summer courses.

Additionally, several of our previous doctoral students have successfully competed for financial support through mechanisms such as:

  • Grants and Scholarships: A variety of mechanisms are available from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other federal or foundation supported mechanisms.
  • Loan repayment: Did you know that some individuals with a PhD in Speech-Language Pathology can apply for loan forgiveness through the National Institutes of Health? Some of our current faculty members have received such support!

The duration of the graduate program varies from person-to-person, and may depend on factors such as whether or not the student already has an AuD degree, whether or not the student is also planning to complete a clinical externship during the course of the program, the number of years of full-time enrollment, and time needed to complete the dissertation.


It is generally recommended that students plan to complete the PhD or AuD/PhD full-time. Students with an AuD degree who are enrolled full-time may complete the PhD in approximately 4 years. Students who are completing the dual AuD/PhD degree will need at least 6 years to complete the requirements.


Part-time enrollment is possible for a portion of the program, although less financial assistance is available to part-time students and the program will also take longer to complete. Additionally, it is required that all PhD students spend at least two semesters enrolled as a full-time student.

See the Advancement to Candidacy/Time to Degree section of the Academic Rules for current timelines and requirements. Candidates must reach candidacy (complete all required course work and pass the qualifying examination) within 7 years from the date of matriculation into the doctoral program. In addition, the doctoral degree must be completed within 5 years from the end of the semester in which candidacy was granted.

Candidates for admission to the PhD degree should possess a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 semester credits of their undergraduate degree. If a candidate has a Master’s Degree or AuD, a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their graduate work is required.

In addition, the candidate should obtain a minimum percentile score of 40% in the Verbal section, 50% in the Quantitative section, and a 4.0 in the Writing section on the Graduate Record Examination taken within the last 5 years.

Acceptable TOEFL scores (105 Internet based) must also be submitted by applicants who are not native speakers of English and/or who have attended foreign universities.

Three strong letters of recommendations and a personal statement indicating enthusiasm for pursuing research in the fields of Audiology will also be required when submitting application materials.

Applications to the PhD program are due January 1 for the fall semester. Students who are already enrolled in the AuD program should express interest in applying to the dual AuD/PhD program and discuss with a possible mentor after the first year of AuD studies. If accepted, students will be required to complete change in degree paperwork (NOT the graduate school application below).

We recommend that potential PhD students begin by contacting the faculty member with expertise in your area of interest. All PhD students must have a faculty mentor who has agreed to work with the candidate upon admission Please see our Faculty page to learn more about the current faculty in the department. Plan to have multiple conversations with the mentor to find out about their expertise and their current areas of research. It is also strongly recommended that you visit Syracuse University to meet with your mentor and to explore the department, the university, and the surrounding area. It is important that your mentor and that Syracuse University are the right fit for you!

Applicants directly to the PhD programs must complete and submit an official Syracuse University Graduate School Application.

How to Submit Supplemental Material

You may upload your application materials when applying online through the Graduate School. If you upload your materials, there is no need to also mail them in duplicate.

If you choose to mail your supplemental application materials (only if you have not submitted them online), send them to:

Enrollment Management Processing Center
Syracuse University
Graduate Admissions Processing
716 E. Washington St., Suite 200
Syracuse, New York 13210-1572

Note: If you are sending materials using a package delivery company (i.e. FedEx, UPS, DHL), use this address: Syracuse University Graduate Admissions Processing P.O. Box 35060 Syracuse, New York 13235-5060
In accordance with Syracuse University policy, any materials submitted by an applicant (or on behalf of the applicant) will not be returned.

Application Fee

All applicants must pay a non-refundable application fee of $75. There are several options for paying the application fee:

  • Include a check or money order payable to Syracuse University with your application materials or
  • Pay by Mastercard or Visa credit card by printing the payment form and completing all information and submitting with your application materials

Do I need to know my dissertation topic when I apply?

No. It is not necessary that you have worked out all aspects of a research project before you apply. Mentorship will be provided to help you formulate appropriate research questions and designs. However, a general clinical research area (e.g., voice or swallowing disorders, stuttering, aphasia, child language disorders, speech sound disorders) is necessary as it will determine the appropriate faculty mentor.

I did not complete a thesis during my Bachelors or Masters program. Can I still apply?

Yes! Even if you do not have previous research experience, you should still consider applying