PhD Program in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

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The PhD program provides training for the next generation of scientists in speech, language, and hearing sciences. You will receive world-class training from leading experts in outstanding research facilities. The program includes several major research-focused milestones that help you craft a professional portfolio to prepare you for teaching and research in academic settings.

Program Highlights

  • Faculty engage graduate scholars in a variety of topics covering interdisciplinary research on normative and disordered processes in speech, language, voice, swallowing and hearing.
  • As a PhD student, you will be fully funded (for the first four years of your degree) through a variety of sources, including individual fellowships (at the university and national level), two NIH training grants, research assistantships and teaching assistantships. Additional years of funding are dependent on successful progress towards degree, and availability of funds. You will receive individually tailored training, and students from our program have an exemplary history of moving into impactful research-oriented and academic careers.
  • We are committed to ensuring an encouraging, supportive, collaborative and inclusive environment for our PhD students to thrive as members of the broader academic community.

Research Areas

  • Hearing science; hearing disorders
  • Language science; language disorders and disabilities
  • Speech, swallowing, and voice science; speech, swallowing and voice disorders

Potential Careers

Graduates of our PhD program may have any of the following careers:

  • Positions as faculty members at academic institutions/higher education universities.
  • Research scientists in medical or research centers and/or industry.
  • Positions as directors/leaders in clinical or research centers in academia, healthcare or industry.
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To learn more about our department’s PhD program and see sample course plans, please read our PhD program handbook.

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In the speech, language, and hearing sciences PhD program, you will have opportunities to work with multiple faculty members with compatible research interests — including colleagues from other departments — to investigate disorders related to speech, language, hearing, swallowing and balance.

student and faculty in lab


If you are thinking of applying to the speech, language, and hearing sciences PhD program at Purdue, we strongly recommend you contact prospective advisors/faculty before starting the application process.

If you are applying only for the PhD program, please submit all materials via the Purdue Online Application system.

  1. Online application. (Graduate Application)
    • Statement of Purpose.
    • Curriculum Vita.  This is an optional field in the application system but is recommended by the department.
    • Writing sample. (Optional, submit under Supporting Documents)
    • List of 3 recommenders. 
  2. Application fee. (Application Fee Information)
  3. Official transcripts from all institutions attended. Please upload copies of your official transcripts to the application system. The Purdue Graduate School will use these documents for admission purposes. International transcripts must be uploaded or submitted in their original form and in translation, along with copies of any diplomas awarded. Any transcripts sent electronically through an approved e-service (e-SCRIP, etc) must be sent to the Graduate School at This delays the receipt of the transcript to the department, so uploaded copies of official documents or official hard copies are preferred. Please send any paper transcripts to the SLHS Graduate Program Secretary.
  4. For those whose first language is not English, we require official test scores less than 2 years old from one of the following: TOEFL iBT or IELTS.

PLEASE NOTE: GRE scores are no longer being required for the SLHS PhD program.

Below are some helpful hints about writing a statement of purpose to accompany your graduate school application.

  1. The individuals reading your application for the PhD program will want to know how you can contribute to the program. Therefore, the focus should be on how you’ve spent your time as an undergraduate and/or graduate student preparing for your PhD journey.
  2. Do not include too much personal information. You need to prepare a professional document — something that will convince the admissions committee that you are serious about doing PhD-level work. Anecdotes about how you got interested in the field or how you’ve always wanted to help people or make a difference are not a good idea.
  3. The document should be well-written, concise and free of typos. A sloppy document will send the wrong kind of message (e.g., it might send a signal to the admissions committee that you’ll be just as sloppy about your graduate work).
  4. If you can, be specific about how you fit into the program — in other words, tailor it to the school. Talk about the work of specific professors at the university to which you are applying. This provides yet another way to demonstrate your professional maturity.

To be eligible for departmental funding as a PhD student, all international applicants must meet the following department standards:

  • English proficiency test scores are required of all international applicants whose first language is not English.
  • TOEFL iBT: a minimum total score of 100 with minimum individual scores of 28 for speaking, 22 for writing, 22 for listening and 22 for reading.
  • IELTS: a minimum score of 7.5 with no single band score lower than 7.0.

International transcripts must be uploaded or submitted in their original form and in translation, along with copies of any diplomas awarded.  Please send any paper transcripts to the SLHS Graduate Secretary.

View Application Requirements

Interviews for Admission

All prospective PhD applicants will be interviewed prior to admission. The applicants will be contacted by the department for the scheduled interview.

Application Deadlines

  • January 1 (fall admission) and August 1 (spring admission)

Elizabeth Strickland

Program Director

Dr. Beth Strickland is the graduate chair and PhD program director in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SLHS). Professor Strickland has been in this role for four years and has been a faculty member in SLHS since 1995. She is also the director of one of our two NIH T32 training grants that support PhD students and postdoctoral scientists. She has a long history of mentoring graduate students and research trainees in the department and is the 2023 recipient of the HHS Outstanding Mentor Award and Provost’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentor. Her research is on behavioral measures of hearing, particularly those that may reflect the processing of the peripheral auditory system.