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Ph.D. in Applied Language & Speech Sciences
Program Goal
  The goal of the ALSS doctoral program is to mentor students into published research. Its aim is to advance knowledge of how human communication works, how it sometimes breaks down, and how breakdowns can be remediated and/or managed. The program emphasizes assessment, diagnosis, and measurement of communication and disorders. It studies the efficacy of therapeutic and educational interventions. It examines the full range of linguistic systems applied in human communication. Our students team up with faculty members who are actively pursuing published research agendas.
Theoretical Foundations and Applications
  The theoretical foundations of the ALSS doctoral program are based in the fields of study that are concerned with human communication. These include theoretical semiotics (the study of signs), linguistics, phonetics and phonology, and interaction studies such as ethnography, discourse and conversation analysis. All these fields of inquiry have in the recent past been successfully applied to furthering our understanding of the nature of communicative disorders, and of the various contexts of language learning, such as first and second language acquisition.
Faculty Research Interests
  To facilitate the discovery of new knowledge doctoral students are led into active research agendas through graduate seminars, the on-going Research Colloquium, and the student's own development of a personal research and publication agenda within active areas of faculty expertise. Click on the following links to access information on the research interests and key publications of the graduate faculty of the department.

In alphabetical order by rank the graduate faculty include:
The department also has five full-time clinician supervisors who provide clinical services and support for the doctoral program. Because the study of communication disorders demands a multifaceted and multidisciplinary grounding for its practitioners, doctoral students in the ALSS Ph.D. program develop a solid background in the major disciplines and especially the clinical sciences that deal with the sign systems that make human communication possible. These include the study of perception and psychophysics, social action theory and conversation analysis, and the psychology of cognition and language. The disciplines of linguistics, sociology, psychology, physiology, and their interrelations are implicated. More particularly, the ALSS Ph.D. program encourages studies that address the interactions of semiotic systems in the empirical domains already mentioned.
Research Base
  In its commitment to rigorous quantitative and qualitative research the ALSS Ph.D. program relies on both internal and external resources. At the head of the list is the University of Louisiana Speech Language and Hearing Center (also known simply as "the Clinic"). In addition there are approximately 60 off-site settings in hospitals and external clinics where research opportunities abound. There are many language and literacy programs in private and public settings ranging from preschool to the universities and the community at large. For those interested in comparative studies there is the UL Lafayette New Iberia Research Center where one of the world’s largest captive primate populations is housed.
Career Prospects
  Because of the growing demand for doctoral level professor/researchers, exacerbated by a diminishing supply of doctoral graduates (especially in communication sciences and disorders), career prospects for graduates of the ALSS Ph.D. program are excellent. The demand for doctoral graduates exceeds by 2 to 8 times the number of doctoral graduates currently being produced by all of the institutions of higher education presently offering Ph.D. training in our field. Surveys by the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders show that prospects for employment are enhanced by both the research emphasis and the diversity of training the ALSS Ph.D. affords.
Centers of Excellence and Cognate Ph.D.Programs
  The intellectual home of the ALSS Ph.D. program is the Doris B. Hawthorne Center for Special Education and Communicative Disorders. Mrs. Hawthorne left a generous endowment to the Department of Communicative Disorders. The Hawthorne Center is directed by Dr. Martin J. Ball. The Hawthorne Center is the home base of operations for the Doris B. Hawthorne Eminent Scholar Chair held by Dr. Jack S. Damico. The Center also houses four other Doris B. Hawthorne and Board of Regents Endowed Professorships. One of these is held by Dr. Martin J. Ball who is Founding Editor of the journal Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics; another by Dr. John W. Oller, Jr.; another by Dr. Nicole Müller, Founding Editor of the Journal of Multilingual Communication Disorders. The Ben Blanco Memorial Professorship is held by Dr. John Tetnowski. The department has yet to fill one additional endowed Hawthorne professorship.

The Hawthorne Center is closely allied with the New Iberia Research Center and the Institute of Cognitive Science (which houses the world's second largest colony of chimpanzees) and the Center for Advanced Computer Studies. It also benefits from the wide ranging expertise of world-class faculty in the Cognitive Science Ph.D. program, the Francophone Studies Ph.D. program, and the outstanding doctoral programs in biology and computing science. Studies in closely allied Ph.D. programs range from artificial intelligence and robotics to folklore and literacy and include comparative studies of the cognitive and social behaviors of chimps, macaques, and other primates with human beings.
Applying to the Ph.D. Program

Admission decisions for the Ph.D. program in Applied Language and Speech Sciences will be made on or about the following dates:
Sept 1 and Nov 1 for Spring Admission; Feb 1 and April 1 for Fall Admission

The following documents are required before the faculty may consider your application. Only completed applications will be considered.

(1) A completed application to the graduate school. To apply to the program go to http://gradschool.louisiana.edu and select online application. A paper application can be obtained from the graduate school only for very special situations on an as needed basis. Students unable to register online will need to contact the graduate school directly.

(2) A complete set of official transcripts from all universities attended.

(3) A letter of intent, signifying your career goals, your major area of
study during your doctoral program, your research interests, and who you would like to have as your primary mentor. A list of potential mentors is included above on this page. It is recommended that you contact your primary mentor through e-mail, and discuss your interests with them prior to writing your letter of intent.

(4) Three letters of recommendation. A majority of the letters should be from individuals who know your ability in an academic or research forum.

(5) An official copy of your GRE scores.

(6) A writing sample. This may be an example of a published research paper, a term paper in speech-language pathology, applied linguistics, or a related area.

(7) An updated curriculum vitae.

The letter of intent (3), the writing sample (6), and the updated curriculum vitae (7) can be addressed to the department through the address listed below.

All other application materials should go directly to the graduate school.
For further information about the Applied Language and Speech Sciences program or for questions about admission
  • telephone 337-482-1333, or
  • write to
       John Tetnowski, Ph.D.,
       Coordinator of the Ph.D. Program
       Department of Communicative Disorders
       P.O. Box 43170
       Lafayette LA 70504-3170 , or
  • email Dr. John Tetnowski tetnowski@louisiana.edu

Document last revised Wednesday, September 10, 2014 9:56 AM

Copyright 2006 by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Communicative Disorders · P.O. Box 43170, Lafayette LA 70504-3170
Burke-Hawthorne Hall, Room 236· ncroussel@louisiana.edu
Telephone: 337/482-6721 · Fax: 337/482-1540