Joint MS/PhD Requirements
In order to integrate MS and PhD coursework and research and clinic training, two of the essential ingredients are flexibility and individualization in designing one’s course of study. In general, however, the typical program is somewhat “front-loaded” with Master’s degree academic and clinic courses. Specific PhD courses and research experiences are gradually integrated, primarily after the first several semesters of MS courses and clinical practica. In addition, clinical practicum experiences are generally somewhat reduced in scope in any given semester (compared to M.S.-only training), and as a result, clinical training is extended beyond the 5 semesters MS students are engaged in such experiences.
Although some efficiencies can be achieved by pursuing a Joint MS/PhD degree, the specific amount of time saved by doing so will vary from person to person. In general, the time savings should amount to approximately one year of study, but this will vary from student to student for a number of reasons. Because of certification requirements imposed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), academic and clinical courses associated with the Master’s degree program must be adhered to carefully. For example, students must have completed (or be concurrently enrolled in) any clinical courses in order to work with clients manifesting a particular speech or language disorder. Furthermore, as a result of being in the Joint MS/PhD degree program, students will not necessarily take all of the clinical content courses taken by MS-only students, and thus may not have as diverse of clinical experiences as they otherwise would. However, in the event that a student does not take one or more of the courses required for the MS degree, s/he must still acquire and demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for ASHA certification.
Although some of the academic coursework required for the Master’s degree can also fulfill requirements for the PhD degree, MS/PhD students will be expected to complete more detailed and/ or additional assignments (e.g., a course project or paper) in order to receive doctoral credit; such additional experiences are required in a minimum of 4 clinical “content” courses. (Clinical practicum experiences can not be counted toward completion of PhD requirements.)
Because ASHA certification requires that the Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) be completed within 3 years of finishing the Master’s degree in speech-language pathology, students in the Joint MS/PhD program typically will not be awarded the Master’s degree immediately upon completion of all their Master’s-level courses and clinical training. Rather this will be determined on an individual basis associated with a student’s progress toward completion of the PhD portion of one’s training.
Because of the specialized nature of the Joint M.S./Ph.D. training program, applicants will be expected to meet strict GPA and GRE requirements for admission that may exceed those expected of other graduate students. Interviews with faculty will also be a part of the admissions process. Because of the dual nature of the training associated with this program, it is offered as a “full time only” option; students who are admitted are strongly discouraged from working in any capacity, other than in conjunction with assignments they may have as research or teaching assistants.
If a student enrolled in the MS/PhD program decides to discontinue pursuing the PhD degree and wishes to obtain only the MS degree, s/he will be allowed to do so if his/her grades meet the requirements for enrolled master’s candidates (i. e., minimum 3.0 GPA and no more than two C’s in departmental classes). Students who discontinue the doctoral portion of study will likely require additional time to complete the master’s degree depending on how long they have been in the joint program. Non-departmental courses may not be substituted for required CSD master’s courses. Departmental independent studies and research experiences may be used to fulfill master’s level requirements only with approval of the student’s committee.