Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does it take to earn a PhD?

Students entering the PhD program with a master’s degree require a minimum of 4 years to complete the program. Most students require 5 years to complete all of the degree requirements.

2. Is it possible to begin the PhD program in CSD in a quarter other than Fall?

No, all students must begin their studies in the Fall Quarter.

3. Is it possible to apply to the PhD program without a master’s degree?

Yes, applicants with a bachelor’s degree are encouraged to apply.

4. Can a student be admitted to the PhD program without an undergraduate or master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders?

Yes, many students enter our program with degrees in other fields. In recent years we have had PhD students enter the program with undergraduate degrees in such varied fields as education, physics, cognitive science, engineering, linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, and other related fields.

5. What is the average grade point average (GPA) for students who are admitted to the program?

Both undergraduate and graduate GPAs are important in PhD applicants’ admission decisions. These scores are typically about 3.5 on a 4-point scale for those admitted.

6. What are the average Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for student admitted to the program?

The average of the Verbal and Quantitative score is generally about the 75th percentile (approximately 160 and above) for admitted students.

7. What factors in addition to GPA and GRE scores are considered important in admissions decisions?

In addition to the applicant’s GPA and GRE scores, previous research and work experience, letters of recommendation and the applicant’s personal statement are all considered important factors in the decision-making process.

8. Who should I have write recommendation letters on my behalf?

An applicant’s letters of recommendation should be from individuals who can directly assess applicant’s ability to be successful in a challenging PhD program. It is particularly helpful to have letters written by those who can address your past research and course experience and potential in these areas.

9. Is funding available for PhD studies?

Currently, every student accepted into the CSD PhD program will receive 100% tuition support, health insurance and a monthly stipend, year-round, for five years. This funding usually takes the form of some combination of teaching assistantships, graduate research assistantships and fellowships.

10. Will I be given Teaching Assistantship responsibilities?

Teaching is an essential part of the education and training of PhD students at Northwestern. The Graduate School requires that all PhD students serve in some instructional capacity for a minimum of one quarter during their graduate education at Northwestern. This teaching requirement is considered an integral part of a student’s professional development. PhD students in CSD are expected to do comparable teaching work to other students within and across programs at Northwestern.

11. Can I visit the department?

Interested students are welcome to visit the department and if interested should make appointments to meet with relevant faculty. After the first of the year, once all applications have been reviewed, our top applicants will be invited to visit the department during our Recruitment Weekend. All Recruitment Weekend expenses are covered by the CSD department.

12. Does the department hold an interview weekend?

After the first of the year, once all applications have been reviewed, our top applicants are invited to either visit the department during our interview weekend, or (in the case of international applicants) invited to interview remotely via video chat. Interview weekend expenses are typically covered by Northwestern.