PhD Program Survey Results
2002 - Executive Summary
The Joint Ad Hoc Committee on the Shortage
of PhD Students and Faculty in Communication Sciences and
Survey Subcommittee: D. Kimbrough Oller, Cheryl Scott, Howard
The Joint Ad Hoc Committee on the Shortage of PhD Students and
Faculty in Communication Sciences and Disorders was established
to address the shortage of PhD faculty in Communication Sciences
and Disorders. The committee was formed by the Council of
Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders
(CAPCSD) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
A subcommittee of the Joint Ad Hoc Committee (D. Kimbrough
Oller, Cheryl Scott, and Howard Goldstein) was formed to survey
PhD programs. The subcommittee received assistance from the staff
of both ASHA and CAPCSD. This report summarizes survey results
collected in winter and spring of 2002.
The survey was preliminarily analyzed for presentation at a
special meeting organized by the Joint Ad Hoc Committee regarding
PhD programs and training at the CAPCSD meeting in Palm Springs
in April 2002. To our knowledge, this was the first general
meeting ever of PhD program directors in CSD.
A total of 56 programs responded (52 US universities). The Joint
Ad Hoc Committee hereby expresses its gratitude to the program
directors and their representatives for responding to the survey.
The rate of response was impressive--86%. Not all items, however,
were answered by the entire sample of respondents.
Age of faculty members
To project retirement rates over the next 2o years, we needed to
know ages of faculty, full and part time, with and without
research doctorates. Estimated from a sample of 575 full-time
faculty, the mean age of PhD faculty in PhD training programs was
49 years. These data provide the first characterization of the
distribution of PhD faculty by age within PhD programs in
Communications Sciences and Disorders.
Size of programs
The majority of programs had 6-16 students each, while the 10
smallest programs had fewer than 6 students each, and the 4
largest had more than 25 each. The 4 largest programs accounted
for about a quarter of the total current enrollment of PhD
students. The most typical programs in terms of size (6 to 15
students each) accounted for 46% of the total enrollment.
Capacity for additional doctoral training
Programs reported a total of 333 unfilled slots (value adjusted
to 100% reporting rate) available for PhD students in 2001-2002.
The mean number of slots per program was 2.9 students in
speech-language pathology, 2.0 students in audiology, 1.9
students in communication science, and 2.6 students in other or
What happened to PhD students enrolled since 1995?
Approximately 41% graduated; approximately 8% dropped out;
approximately 52% of graduates were hired as faculty members.
Relative importance of factors restricting enrollment
Availability of funding was the one factor rated as highly
important. Other factors were rated as moderately important
(i.e., number of faculty, faculty time, faculty expertise).
Recommended funding initiatives
The survey sought to provide information that might be helpful to
CAPCSD, ASHA, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation,
and other potential sponsors that were exploring funding
mechanisms and other strategies that might be effective in
increasing the supply of PhD graduates. Among several possible
strategies, recruiting first-year students was most highly rated
by PhD program representatives. Other high ratings were obtained
for supplemental training awards, supplemental research awards
for doctoral candidates, and supplemental research awards.
Perceived success of recruitment strategies
Funded research assistantships and master's theses were rated
as most successful in recruiting future doctoral students.
Master's research projects, summer research internships,
undergraduate honors theses and research projects were rated
slightly lower. Volunteering in labs was considered less than
Comparing faculty composition in PhD programs versus all
Comparative data for "all programs" were drawn from
four cycles of the CAPCSD regular survey conducted every two
years. The great majority (63%) of the faculty in programs
offering the PhD, held the PhD and worked full time as faculty.
In all programs combined, fewer than half the faculty held the
PhD and worked full time.
Reported and recommended levels of financial support for
The reported range in funding levels was large. The average
levels for extramurally funded PhD trainees or fellows,
extramurally funded research assistants, university-funded
research assistants, and university-funded teaching assistants
was $14,730, $13,550, $13,320, and $11,360, respectively.
Recommended funding levels averaged from $17,500 to $15,170 for
the various categories.
Student involvement in research
PhD programs reported the involvement of 431 undergraduate
students and 697 master's students (estimates adjusted to
100% reporting rate), averaging 8.7 and 11.6 students per
Demographics of current students
The adjusted estimate of the total number of doctoral students in
communications sciences and disorders in 2001 based on the survey
was 813. Among the doctoral programs reporting, 65% detailed
information for a sample of 405 individual students. At least 67%
of students were full time. The proportions were distributed
among speech-language pathology (68%), audiology (22%),
communication science (5%), and other (5%).
Gender 82% female Cultural/Linguistic Diversity 13% of
culturally/linguistically diverse backgrounds Disability 2% with
disability Citizenship 20% international Prior degree 77% CSD
11% master's from other fields
12% bachelor's only Source of degree 31% from same university
55% from other US universities
14% from non-US universities
Student funding types and sources
Approximately 24% of doctoral students were reported to be
self-supporting. The majority were supported by university funds
(50%); other major sources were research grants (22%) and
training grants (14%). Some students were funded from multiple
Most often, PhD students were funded as research assistants
(46%), approximately 35% as teaching assistants, ~15% as
trainees, ~6% as clinical supervisors, and ~12% in other
categories. An estimated 64% and 19% of PhD students received
full tuition waivers and partial tuition waivers,
[PDF, 1.1MB] of survey results.