Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences

The Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences program (PhD in RCS) provides students with education and research training to develop their area of expertise to become independent scholars, educators, administrators, or leaders within their disciplines. Students will be expected to complete academic core, research core, specialized program, dissertation and other program requirements for degree completion. The program is offered through either traditional (on-campus) or non-traditional (online) models with full-time or part-time options, however certain limitations may apply. See more information at the PhD Program website

Program Learning Outcomes

School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences (SRCS) PhD in RCS program graduates will have: 

  • successfully completed the 1) core curriculum in the program, 2) comprehensive examinations, and 3) submitted a grant proposal for funding consideration
  • participated in cross-disciplinary and interprofessional education and pedagogy, which may include clinical, research, or teaching experiences outside of their professions
  • demonstrated proficiency in face-to-face and online teaching (e.g., lecture, discussion, laboratory, lesson planning, testing, and grading) and use of innovative strategies for access (e.g., video interaction, online teaching, independent study)
  • demonstrated the ability to plan, initiate, conduct, analyze, and disseminate quality research within their discipline

Admission requirements 

Applicants seeking admission consideration for the Doctor of Philosophy in  Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences program at ISU must apply to, and meet all criteria for, admission to the ISU Graduate School. The program has rolling admissions with the following priority consideration dates: February 15 (summer and fall) and October 15 (spring). In addition, the following items will be evaluated for admission consideration: 

  • Submit documentation of cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or greater over the last 60+/- semester credits (90± quarter credits)
  • Submit three recent letters of professional recommendation
  • Submit an example of scholarly writing (e.g., thesis, publication, term-paper, etc)
  • Submit a letter of intent (1000 words or less) describing your professional area(s) of interest and experiences that lead you to pursue your PhD degree at Idaho State University and how this would help you attain your professional goals
  • Submit a current professional resume/curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Submit documentation of the applicant's identified potential major advisor and written consent from the potential major advisor indicating a willingness to work with the applicant if they are accepted into the program (e.g., pdf of an email exchange) 

International Students 

Applicants whose first language is not English need to meet the following TOEFL requirements for Classified admission:

  • Internet-based test (iBT): a total score of 80 with a score of at least 20 on each Section (graduate assistants who teach courses must score 23 or above on the Speaking Section) on the iBT; or
  • Computer-based test: a total score of 213 with a score of at least 21 on Section 1 (Listening Comprehension) on the computer test; or
  • Paper-based test: a total score of 550 with a score of at least 55 on Section l (Listening Comprehension) on the paper test or a score of 84 on the MTELP, or a score of 6 on the IELTS.

*Altered consideration may be given to items evaluated for admittance pending petition approval from the PhD in Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences Executive Council (PhD EC)

All applicants are reviewed on a competitive case-by-case basis. Qualified applicants may be invited for an interview with members of the SRCS faculty. Meeting entry level requirements for admission does not guarantee a seat in the program. Admission into the program is separate from an offer of funding.  

Preferential consideration will be given to those applicants already holding graduate degrees / clinical certification and demonstrated academic potential in Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, or other related fields. Others may apply and will be considered for admission based on merit and potential for success.  

General Requirements  

The Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences requires a minimum of 60 credits post graduate degree or equivalent across: Academic Core, Research Core, Specialized Program, and Dissertation areas. Prior to starting the program the applicant must have completed a bachelor’s degree; completion of a graduate degree is also preferred. If a student is accepted to and starts the program without having completed a graduate degree in Audiology, Occupation Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Speech Language Pathology, or if they are currently enrolled in a graduate program, they may be required to complete graduate-level clinical-entry didactic coursework within their primary discipline during their program (typically an additional 30 or more credit-hours). These students may or may not receive specific clinical education training along with clinical placements during their program, but it may be an option if desired and if approved by the student’s advisory committee, PhD EC, and PhD Program Directors.  

All students and candidates must adhere to: 

  • ISU / ISU Graduate School policies, procedures, and requirements
  • SRCS PhD program policies, procedures, and requirements

*Failure to adhere to the policies, procedures, or requirements, poor performance / progress, or unprofessional / unethical conduct may result in probationary actions or immediate dismissal from the program.

Special Requirement (may not apply to all students) 

Thesis Equivalent (1-6 credits of CRCS 7050): Students who did not complete a graduate thesis (or comparable research project) must complete a supervised research project prior to starting their research practicum. The project will follow ISU Graduate School requirements, policies, and procedures with the exception of not having to submit the final document to the graduate school for approval.  

Program Requirements

  • The student / candidate must have a major advisor and advisory committee as defined in the SRCS PhD studies manual. Mutual consent from both the student / candidate and a major advisor must be obtained and maintained throughout the program of study. Following the student’s self-evaluation the major advisor and advisory committee will initially be responsible for monitoring and evaluating annual performance and progress. Student progress will also be evaluated by the PhD EC and PhD in RCS Program Directors.
  • Curriculum Requirements: The program of study consists of four core elements: Academic Core, Research Core, Specialized Program, and Dissertation. Students will work with their major advisor and their advisory committee to develop a program of study, which must be approved by the PhD EC and PhD in RCS Program Directors. Programs of study are individualized per student therefore the courses listed below provide a sampling of potential options. Changes to the program of study, major advisor, or advisory committee members may occur and will be handled by the PhD in RCS petitions process as described in the SRCS PhD in RCS manual.
    • Academic Core (12 credits): Academic core is focused on enhancing the student’s understanding of the related professions, interprofessionalism, and pedagogical theory and application.
    CRCS 8001Overview of Rehabilitation Disciplines3
    CRCS 8010Mentored Teaching Practicum1
    Select 3 of the following or related coursework:
    EDUC 6602Theories of Learning3
    EDLH 7732College and University Curriculum3
    EDLH 7734Issues and Trends in Higher Education3
    DENT 6605Program Development and Evaluation3
    DENT 6620Advanced Educational Theory and Methods3
  • Research Core (15 credits): Research core facilitates the student’s understanding of statistics, statistical procedures, research design, scholarship, scientific dissemination, and grant writing through theoretical understanding and application of such procedures. Students are required to take a repeatable CRCS 8020, Doctoral Colloquium (1cr) each academic semester they are enrolled in the program.
  • CRCS 8030Advanced Seminar in Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences1-6
    CRCS 8031Independent Study1-6
    CRCS 8032Special Topics in Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences1-6
    CRCS 8033Special Topics Workshop in Rehabilitation and Communication1-6
    CRCS 8050Research Practicum in Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences1-6
    Dissertation (18 credits): Dissertation further enhances the student’s area of expertise and scholarship through development of their dissertation project(s) that follows ISU Graduate School requirements, policies, and procedures for dissertations. Dissertations should be primarily self-guided by the student and should take a minimum of one year to complete.
    CRCS 8080Predoctoral Independent Study1-9
    CRCS 9000Dissertation1-9
    CRCS 9001Dissertation: Summer Research1-6
  • Comprehensive Examinations: During the final semester of didactic coursework, or shortly following that semester, including completion of the student’s research practicum project with manuscript submission for publication consideration, the advisory committee will determine the nature of the written and oral comprehensive examinations. If the student passes their comprehensive examinations they then work with the major advisor to establish a dissertation committee and then begins development of their dissertation project(s). If the student’s performance on the comprehensive written or oral examinations etc is unsatisfactory, the committee will determine remediation procedures, timing, and sequences for the second, final, attempt at the examination. Failure of an examination a second time will result in dismissal from the program.
  • CRCS 8020Doctoral Colloquium1
    Select 3 of the following (in sequence):
    MATH 5557Applied Regression Analysis3
    MATH 5558Experimental Design3
    MATH 5559Applied Multivariate Analysis3
    NURS 8813Qualitative Inquiry and Analysis3
    NURS 8830Current Trends in Research Design and Methods3
    PSYC 6627Statistics and Research Design I3
    PSYC 6632Statistics and Research Design II3
    PSYC 6637Multivariate Statistics and Research Design3
    Select 1 of the following:
    CSD 6600Principles of Research in Communication Disorders3
    DENT 6646Health Research3
    NURS 7735Statistical Analysis in Evidence Based Practice3
    NURS 8830Current Trends in Research Design and Methods3
    Select 1 of the following:
    NURS 8825Research and Grant Writing3
    NURS 8826Approaches to Scholarly Writing2
    PSCI 6603Scientific Communication2
    POLS 5557Grantwriting3
  • Specialized Program (15 credits): Specialized program develops the student’s area of expertise and scholarship through coursework, independent studies, directed student learning, and guided research. At least 6 credits of basic or applied sciences outside of the CRCS must be taken and should be based on the student’s area(s) of interest and program needs. A main requirement of the Specialized Program element is the research practicum, CRCS 8050, where the student is mentored through a research project that results in a manuscript submitted for publication consideration to a refereed academic journal of appropriate caliber. The project must follow ISU graduate thesis guidelines, requirements, and procedures, with the following exceptions: a GFR is not required and neither is submission of the completed document to the graduate school for approval.
  • Research Projects: Students must successfully complete their research projects including their thesis equivalent (when appropriate), Mentored Research Practicum (i.e., CRCS 8050), and Dissertation (CRCS 9000 / 9001). If a student does not successfully pass their first attempt at a prospectus or defense from one of their research projects they are given one attempt to remediate. If the second attempt is failed they are immediately dismissed from the program.
  • Grant Submission: The student and advisor will work together to develop and submit at least one proposal for funding during the student’s / candidate’s program.

Upon successful completion of a student’s dissertation prospectus they are recommended for doctoral candidacy to the ISU Graduate School.

*Students must complete all aspects of the program within five years of completion of their comprehensive exams per ISU Graduate School Requirements.

More information regarding the program can be found on the department's website: PhD Program in Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences