Doctor of Philosophy in Audiology and Speech Sciences (PhD)
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.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org as an attached electronic audio file (e.g., MP3).
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
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 supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Audiology and Speech Sciences (PhD)
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.
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
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,767.18||$3,104.64|
|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)||$1,057.05 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,366.20 (check cost calculator)|
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.
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
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 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 $22,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
- 4 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 4 students was $2,213.
- 3 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 3 students was $7,563.
- 5 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 5 students was $11,791.
- 1 student received an external award valued at $11,667.
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.
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.
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 direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
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.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
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.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
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 EducationUniversity of British Columbia (3)
Universite de Saint-Boniface
University of Alberta
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationBC Family Hearing Resource Society
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationExecutive Director
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese 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.
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.
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)
Small, Jeff (Acquired language and cognitive communication disorders, including dementia and aphasia; adult language processing/psycholinguistics)
|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
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.