MS in Speech-Language Pathology/PhD in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

The SLHS department offers students with exceptional academic promise and strong motivation for a career in research, the opportunity as a master’s degree student to begin work on the research requirements of the doctoral degree program. The student and their research mentor in collaboration with the clinical faculty advisor will design a plan of study that provides a synergistic approach to both sets of degree requirements. As the primary goal of the doctoral program is research training and the major research goal of the MS portion of the combined program is to complete a thesis, many of the requirements below parallel those for MS-SLP students who choose the thesis track. As the student moves through the thesis process, he/she learns more about research and develops a potential timetable for doctoral work. Please be advised that due to the availability of mentors, funding, and changes in academic goals, not all students who are initially interested in the combined MS-SLP/PhD program will ultimately complete both degrees at Boston University if they make satisfactory progress.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with the MS degree in Speech-Language Pathology will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge in the basic sciences and normal processes related to communication, cognition, and swallowing.
  • Identify, diagnose, intervene, and counsel individuals with communication and swallowing difficulties across the lifespan and from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds within an evidence-based practice framework.
  • Successfully complete a capstone experience that requires the synthesis and integration of acquired knowledge related to communication and swallowing disorders within an evidence-based practice framework.

Requirements during the MS Degree

  • A doctoral-level faculty member from the SLHS program must agree to serve as the research mentor before a student is permitted to work on a thesis in the combined MS-SLP/PhD program.
  • Students must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better at the end of their first semester of graduate study at Boston University. MS-SLP/PhD students must then achieve a minimum GPA of 3.5 by the end of their first academic year (two complete semesters) of graduate study. A minimum GPA of 3.5 is required throughout the MS-SLP portion of the combined program.
  • A student who does not achieve the minimum 3.5 GPA or who otherwise decides not to pursue a thesis and thereby the combined program will be required to pass comprehensive examinations to be awarded the MS-SLP.
  • Students who began thesis work can receive up to 4 credits of independent study for their work and may petition the faculty to have the independent study credits count as a required specialty elective.

Residency Requirement

  • A minimum of one academic year of residency is required for the doctoral programs in speech-language pathology and audiology. Residence is defined as full-time study via coursework and/or research activities, which can be achieved with registration for a minimum of 8–12 credit hours each semester (including dissertation credits) for two consecutive semesters. Full-time status can be demonstrated by either a combination of coursework and appointments to research and/or teaching assistantships (8 credits) or a full-time course load (12 or more credits).
  • For the combined MS-SLP/PhD program, the first two years of the program (primarily clinical training) cannot be used to satisfy the residency requirement.
  • The student must be registered during each fall and spring semester while completing the requirements for the degree. To comply with this requirement, a doctoral candidate should become familiar with the University’s reduced tuition provisions for continuing students. Doctoral programs must be completed within seven years for post-baccalaureate entrants.

Continuation into the Doctoral Program

A student who has successfully deposited their thesis with the Boston University Library and has completed all of the MS-SLP academic and clinical requirements with a GPA of 3.5 or better, may continue into the doctoral program and be formally admitted to the PhD program.

The degree requirements of the doctoral program are specified in the SLHS-PhD program manual. Combined program students must meet all of these requirements, with the exception of the initial project (directed research), which has been satisfied by the MS thesis. Any credits beyond the 67 required for the MS degree that are suitable for the doctoral core course or research design credits may be applied toward the 32 core credits needed in the PhD program. Please refer to the SLHS-PhD program manual for further information.