Speech-Language Pathology

Disability Disciplines Doctoral Program

The specialization

Speech-Language Pathology is one of seven specializations within the Disability Disciplines PhD Program in the Emma Eccles Jones School of Education and Human Services. Specializations balance a common core of multidisciplinary coursework and applied activities with a strong focus on the specific disciplinary perspective, knowledge, and skills.

To develop research knowledge and skills, students are expected to engage in multiple research activities with their mentors and other faculty.  

Get the planning guide for this specialization

Program Contact

Dr. Ron Gillam

Professor, Raymond & Eloise Lillywhite Endowed Chair


Annalise Fletcher

Annalise Fletcher

Assistant Professor - Speech-Language Pathology



Ronald B Gillam

Ronald B Gillam

Professor, Raymond & Eloise Lillywhite Endowed Chair



Research Opportunities

Photo from Human Interaction Lab
The Human Interaction Lab is directed by Dr. Stephanie Borrie. In this lab, Borrie and her team investigate speech communication as a dynamic activity involving both speaker and listener. Major research lines include how listeners understand and adapt to speakers with neurological speech disorders, and how communication partners collaborate and coordinate their speech behavior during conversation.  
Photo from School-age Language Lab
The School-age Language Intervention Lab, directed by Dr. Teresa Ukrainetz, investigates how to combine systematic skill intervention with purposeful communicative contexts. The work is driven by the need for effective, practical interventions that tap the distinctive expertise of educational speech-language pathologists in the broad and intersecting domains of speech, language, cognition, and literacy.

Our lab has researched norm-referenced tests, dynamic assessment, phonemic awareness intervention, narrative intervention, and the role of the school SLP. Methods of investigation are varied, including group experimental, single-subject experimental, group descriptive, and qualitative – but almost always occur within the busy life of schools. Our current research examines expository strategy intervention for students with language learning disabilities in later elementary and secondary grades.  
Instructor interacting with kid

Research in the LEAP (Language, Education and Auditory Processing) Brain Imaging Lab, directed by Dr. Ron Gillam, applies the principles of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience to solving core problems in psycholinguistics. Our goal is to advance our knowledge of neural processing and neuroplasticity in children with communication disorders.  We hope our research will lead to greater understanding of the best ways to promote brain changes through language, literacy, and STEM education.

Current research projects combine behavioral experimentation methods with neuroimaging methods (Near Infrared Spectroscopy, EEG, eye-tracking, and pupilometry) to examine neural and cognitive processes involved in accessing, manipulating, storing, retrieving, and classifying information.  We also are examining changes in activation patterns across micro- and macro-brain structures during information processing tasks. 
Sandi Gillam talking to students in her lab

The Child Language Lab is headed by Dr. Sandi Gillam. Research in this lab focuses on the development of assessment tools and intervention approaches for improving cognitive, social and academic performance of individuals with language and learning problems. Students working in this lab use language sampling and coding techniques, administer and score standardized and criterion referenced assessments and investigate methods for measuring and improving discourse-level language. Students are encouraged and mentored to present at national conferences and to contribute to scholarly articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

Admission Deadline

Applications to the PhD Program are due January 15th for the following Fall semester. 

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Financial Aid

Excellent financial assistance is available to qualified students in the Disability Disciplines program. Support includes a monthly living stipend, tuition waiver, participation in professional conferences, and computer technology.