The School of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Health and Public Affairs offers a doctoral program in collaboration with the College of Education, known as the Ph.D. in Education-Communication Sciences and Disorders Track. The focus of this program is on language and literacy in children and adolescents.

(Left to right) Doctoral student Lynne Telesca; Professor Barbara Ehren, who directs the doctoral program; doctoral student Ruth Gorlin; and doctoral student Erika Nicsinger

The major purpose of this program is to prepare doctoral-level scholar/leaders to serve as (1) faculty members in colleges or universities who will prepare the next generation of school-based speech-language pathologists or other educators with expertise in language and literacy; (2) researchers who will play a vital role in advancing the knowledge base in the language basis of literacy (3) professional developers/consultants for national, state or local educational agencies to facilitate implementation of evidence-based practice in language and literacy; (4) change agents who will affect policy and procedures in language and literacy initiatives.

Although the program is primarily intended for professionals in the field of speech-language pathology, students from related disciplines who are interested in children and adolescents struggling with literacy acquisition and who wish to explore the language correlates of literacy difficulties may be admitted. Students without a master’s degree in speech-language pathology take a minimum of 6 hours of prerequisite courses.

Program Components

The school recognizes that the induction of scholars into the field requires more than learning in individual courses. It requires the cultivation of scholarship within a robust research culture. Therefore, this doctoral program consists of the following major components:
1. 81 hours of course work beyond the master’s degree

  • Research tools (24 credits)
  • Language/literacy specialization (15 credits)
  • Interdisciplinary work in reading, special education and TESOL (12 credits)
  • Internships in college teaching, clinical supervision and professional development (6 credits)
  • Dissertation (24 credits)

2. “Leadership in Language and Literacy” – a required bi-monthly, non-credit seminar in semesters preceding candidacy
3. Individual mentoring scheduled on a bi-monthly basis
4. Production of scholarly works (Typically, students complete course work and two preliminary research projects during the first two years of study and the dissertation during the third year of study.)
5. Comprehensive examinations – an 8 clock-hour written examination and a 3-hour oral examination
Current information about the program also can be found in the UCF Graduate Catalog.

Applicant Requirements

  • A minimum 3.0 GPA in an undergraduate degree program
  • A master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders or related discipline, with a minimum preferred GPA of 3.5
  • A minimum preferred GRE combined score of 1000
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 560 on the paper-based test, 220 on the computerized test or 80 on the internet-based test for international students

*Application Procedures*

  • * New applications are not currently being accepted for this program.*
    • An official admission application
    • Official copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts
    • Official copies of GRE scores achieved within the last five years
    • A current resume
    • A narrative statement of 1,000 words or less, describing educational expectations, career aspirations and any special qualifications or experiences
    • Three letters of reference

    Prospective graduate students should apply online at

Doctoral Program Competencies

The doctoral program curriculum is designed to develop student expertise in the following competency areas: core, research, language and literacy, leadership/system change, college teaching, professional development, and clinical education (for those with the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology). The major competencies are listed below.

1. Communicate effectively.
2. Employ a multicultural approach.
3. Use technology effectively.
4. Maintain personal wellness.

1. Analyze and critique published literature.
2. Design and use an observational measurement system in research.
3. Demonstrate knowledge of psychometric reliability and validity.
4. Identify a research question or hypothesis and design a research study to address this problem.
5. Conduct and describe appropriate analyses of research data.
6. Implement research in a community setting or natural environment.
7. Prepare a manuscript on a research project designed and implemented by the participant.
8. Present a research report at a state or national conference.

1. Integrate theoretical constructs involved in language processes to ground approaches to assessment and intervention.
2. Evaluate language and literacy literature for technical soundness and formulate new research questions that can lead to promising findings.
3. Design and evaluate procedures for performance assessment of language and literacy.
4. Select, implement and evaluate evidence-based practices for students at risk for or identified with language and literacy disabilities including those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
5. Generate strategies to enhance collaboration in inclusive educational settings.
6. Demonstrate understanding of design and implementation of school-wide literacy approaches, including Response to Intervention (RTI).

1. Differentiate practices and policies in the schools that contribute to positive outcomes for students with disabilities and those that do not.
2. Employ research-based change facilitation practices.
3. Demonstrate leadership.

1. Design a course syllabus.
2. Plan and conduct diversity sensitive learning activities for courses.
3. Design methods of evaluating student performance for each content unit.

1. Demonstrate knowledge of adult learning theory.
2. Demonstrate a knowledge of high quality professional development (HQPD).
3. Design and conduct HQPD.

VII. CLINICAL EDUCATION COMPETENCIES (for doctoral students with the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology)
1. Establish and maintain effective, goal-directed collaborative relationships within a program model.
2. Supervise students within a community education program.

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