Doctor of Philosophy in Audiology and Speech Sciences (PhD)

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For the past 50 years, the School of Audiology and Speech Sciences has endeavoured to advance knowledge of human communication, its disorders, and related areas by actively engaging in research, and by educating individuals to become audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and researchers. In its teaching and research programs, the School emphasizes both the importance of basic science to the understanding of communication disorders and the relevance of clinical data to theories of human communication.

The School offers a program leading to the Ph.D. with professional specialty in one of the following areas: acquired language and cognitive communication disorders, bilingualism, developmental language disorders, developmental phonetics and phonology, discourse analysis, dysphagia, electrophysiologic and otoacoustic emissions diagnosis, hearing science, language acquisition, phonological and phonetic disorders, psycholinguistics, speech perception, and speech understanding in the elderly.

What makes the program unique?

The School of Audiology and Speech Sciences (SASS) in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC is the only Ph.D. program in British Columbia that offers doctoral education in the field of human communication, its disorders, and related areas.

SASS faculty are internationally renowned for their research. In addition to mentoring and training Ph.D. students, faculty members are regularly sought after to provide specific expertise. They often introduce cutting-edge techniques used by clinicians and institutions throughout B.C., across Canada, and around the world.

The School can provide the unique opportunity of completing coursework and clinical training required for certification as an audiologist or speech-language pathologist within the doctoral program of studies. Currently, any prospective student considering this option must first apply to enter the Master of Science in either audiology or speech-language pathology. Applicants must meet all of the MSc admission requirements. Although the MSc application is not a formal application to the PhD program, prospective students interested in continuing into the PhD program should indicate this in their Statement of Interest.

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Program Enquiries

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Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

Program Instructions

Eligibility for admission will be decided by the Doctoral Studies Committee. The Committee will consist of the Graduate Advisor and a minimum of three other full members of the graduate faculty who are full-time faculty at the School.

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100









IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0









Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

An applicant to the doctoral program should have completed a master's degree, typically in audiology and speech sciences, psychology, linguistics, or a related discipline.

Document Requirements

If you are a non-native English speaker, and you do not have at least four years of continuous post-secondary education in an English-speaking university, you must provide proof of proficiency in English by meeting the following two requirements: 1. Upload a copy of your official test scores from either the TOEFL or IELTS tests, ensuring that you meet the minimum stated individual component scores AND the overall score for admission to our program. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application. Minimum scores must be achieved in a single sitting of the test (i.e., scores across multiple instances of a test may not be used to satisfy minimum component requirements). 2. Provide the School with a five to ten-minute recording of your speech. This speech sample may be on any topic, as long as it is neither read nor recited. An interview may follow. You should submit your recording to the School by e-mail to as an attached electronic audio file (e.g., MP3).

Other Requirements

Please indicate in your application if you would like to be considered for full-time or part-time classification for your PhD. Note: we are unable to change a student status (from part-time study to full-time study and vice versa) once the program has started. A maximum 8-year time period is allowed for completion of the part-time doctoral program (compared to a 6-year time period for full-time students).

2) Meet Deadlines

January 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2023
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 August 2024
Transcript Deadline: 01 August 2024
Referee Deadline: 16 August 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 August 2024
Transcript Deadline: 01 August 2024
Referee Deadline: 16 August 2024

May 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2023
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 August 2024
Transcript Deadline: 01 August 2024
Referee Deadline: 16 August 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 August 2024
Transcript Deadline: 01 August 2024
Referee Deadline: 16 August 2024

3) Prepare Application


All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Audiology and Speech Sciences (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Program Components

Students are required to take courses in research methodology and in major and minor areas of specialization, with the sequence of courses and seminars totaling at least 18 credits beyond the master's degree. All doctoral students are required to successfully complete a comprehensive examination. The major requirement for the Ph.D. is completion of a research dissertation meeting the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements.

Tuition & Financial Support


FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 4 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $19,381.
  • 3 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 3 students was $12,518.
  • 1 student received Academic Assistantships valued at $768.
  • 4 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 4 students was $1,050.
  • 1 student received external awards valued at $35,000.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

7 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 7 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):

RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (3)
Universite de Saint-Boniface
University of Alberta
Kuwait University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
BC Family Hearing Resource Society
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Executive Director
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

There is a shortage of academic personnel throughout North America. A PhD in Audiology or Speech-Language Pathology can open many doors, both inside and outside of academia. The School’s Ph.D. graduates have been successful at obtaining positions at academic institutions, as well as leadership positions in the professional community. PhD training provides the skills to carry out one’s own research, as well as to participate in research teams. Faculty positions at universities allow one to teach tomorrow’s rising stars, while conducting research that informs knowledge and practice. University faculty positions are highly flexible, often provide sabbatical leaves, and can provide the security of tenure. Salaries for faculty show substantial growth, with far less of a “ceiling” than other jobs. Positions for those with doctorates are also widely available outside of universities. The skills attained with a PhD are required for many high-level jobs in universities, hospitals, clinics, private industries, and public organizations.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Audiology and Speech Sciences (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.


New Registrations00203
Total Enrolment77887
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year.

Research Supervisors


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Audiology and Speech Sciences (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.


This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Black, Alexis (Cognitive sciences)
  • Ciocca, Valter (Auditory System; Perception and Representation; Recognition of Speech; Speech and Language Development Disorders; Auditory grouping of speech and non-speech sounds, also known as "auditory scene analysis"; perception and production of normal and disordered speech)
  • Colozzo, Paola (Developmental language disorders; language and cognition; discourse, assessment and intervention for children with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds)
  • Herdman, Anthony (Auditory System; Visual System; Audiovisual, Visual, Audio and Written Communications; Electrophysiology; Language and Cognitive Processes; Neuroimaging Methods (EEG/MEG); Central auditory processing; Auditory and visual perecptions related to reading acquisition (1st and 2nd languages); Brain computer interface)
  • Howe, Tami (Acquired language disorders, aphasia)
  • Jenstad, Lorienne (Other health sciences; hearing aids; Aging; audiology; hearing health; amplification)
  • Marinova-Todd, Stefka (bilingualism, second language acquisition, language development, literacy, ESL children, children at risk of language difficulties, language disorders in bilingual children and adults, Second language acquisition; language development and language learning difficulties of bilingual children)
  • Shahnaz, Navid (Hearing, noise, audiology, ears,  effect of personal listening devices (iPods) on hearing, hearing in infants and adults,   high frequency thresholds, Diagnostic audiology, including multifrequency tympanometry and acoustic reflex studies in adults and newborns)
  • Skoretz, Stacey (Dysphagia; Swallowing disorders; Artifical Airways; Mechanical ventilation; Integration of multiple systems and biomarkers during swallowing; Swallowing following artificial airway use and/or non-invasive ventilation; Cross-species conceptual frameworks of feeding and swallowing rehabilitation; Dysphagia risk profile; Early identification of dysphagia; Biomechanical and biomarker analyses; Clinical practice pattern assessment; Clinical practice guideline development for those with artificial airways)
  • Sladen, Douglas (Medical, health and life sciences; cochlear implantation among children and adults)
  • Small, Jeff (Other health sciences; communication; Dementia; strategies; memory training; hearing loss; Accessibility; Stigma)

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2024 Dr. Davies explored the communication needs of individuals living with primary progressive aphasia, a language led dementia, and their families. The findings of this research provide guidance for the provision of evidence-based care and for further research in this area investigating avenues of meeting the communication needs of this underserved population.
2022 Dr. Labuschagne investigated the perception of noise in vowels and vowel-like stimuli. She found that fundamental frequency, level, and frequency band affected noise detection and discrimination. The research contributes to our understanding of the auditory processing mechanisms involved in the perception of the voice quality breathiness.
2022 Dr. Zhang's dissertation revealed that it takes much longer than generally expected for high school students who speak English as a second language to catch up with their peers on academic language competency. It highlighted the importance of the language support offered in the schools for assuring the academic success of these students.
2019 Dr. Takai investigated orthographic processing in the brain. He found that the brain is a system for symbol processing that keeps becoming faster, more specific and efficient than processing unfamiliar visual symbols throughout adulthood. These results assist learners of an additional language in our multicultural society.
2016 Background noise is one of the biggest challenges for people with hearing loss. Dr. Chong examined the effects of hearing aid noise reduction on Mandarin speech sounds. She found that noise reduction did not impede novel speech sound identification. Her findings have implications for the widespread use of noise reduction systems in hearing aids.
2016 Dr. Mason studied school-aged children's speech in long words, that may impact learning to read. Her results indicated that children with a history of speech therapy had difficulty with multi-syllabic words even though they were able to pronounce short words. Her work also contributed a clinical measure for assessing speech in long words.
2013 Dr. Bérubé compared the language and reading skills, in both English and French, of Anglophone and ESL students in French immersion programs. He found that by Grade 6, all students had developed equally strong skills. This confirms that French immersion programs are viable for all students in promoting bilingualism in the official languages in Canada.
2012 Dr. Charest's doctoral research investigated the ways in which children of different ages plan and produce sentences. Her research examined how the time needed to call up words from the lexicon affects the grammatical planning of young children. This is one of few existing studies to explore these processes in very young speakers.
2011 Dr. Hadeel Ayyad analysed the development of the speech skills of typically developing Kuwaiti Arabic-speaking preschool children, documenting types of word structures and speech sounds acquired by age 4. Her research project set some of the groundwork for the development of a phonological assessment tool for Kuwaiti Arabic.
2009 Dr. Colozzo's work described children's memory strategies - how they change with age, relate to intellectual and language abilities, and vary from task to task. Her findings offer a solution to debates about the nature of verbal rehearsal and indicate greater individual variability than has been recognized in prior studies.

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Information

Audiology and Speech Sciences endeavours to advance knowledge of human communication and its disorders by actively engaging in research, and by educating individuals to become audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and researchers.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier




Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.

January 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2023
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 August 2024
International Applicant Deadline
01 August 2024

May 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2023
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 August 2024
International Applicant Deadline
01 August 2024
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