Graduate Program in Human Development and Communication Sciences


Professors: Hervé Abdi, Peter F. Assmann, James C. Bartlett, Thomas G.R. Bower, Duane Buhrmester, J. Michael Coleman, W. Jay Dowling, George M. Gerken (emeritus), Richard Golden, Susan W. Jerger, Aage R. Møller, Bert S. Moore, George Moushegian (emeritus), Alice J. O’Toole, Margaret T. Owen, Ross J. Roeser, Allen L. Rupert (emeritus), John W. Santrock, Robert D. Stillman, Emily Tobey, Hanna Ulatowska, Anne van Kleeck
Associate Professors: Lawrence J. Cauller, William F. Katz, Michael Kilgard, Stephen G. Lomber, Teresa Nezworski, Pamela Rollins, Melanie Spence, Linda Thibodeau, Lucien T. Thompson, Marion Underwood
Assistant Professors: Marco Atzori
Distinguished Scholar in Residence: James Jerger


The School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences was recently authorized to offer Ph.D. programs in Cognition and Neuroscience, Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Psychological Sciences. These new Ph.D. programs are an outgrowth of the three tracks described in the Ph.D. in the Human Development and Communication Sciences. Admission to the new Ph.D. programs will begin in 2005. Please see the on-line catalog for details regarding coursework and requirements for the new degrees.

The doctoral programs in Cognition and Neuroscience, Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Psychological Sciences offer preparation in basic and applied aspects of behavioral and brain sciences. The faculty consists of specialists in developmental psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and communication sciences and disorders. Students may specialize in any of these areas or pursue study across areas as in the study of language development, aging, auditory and visual perception, and behavioral and neural plasticity. Core and specialized courses provide the foundation for a wide spectrum of doctoral research in laboratories, schools, and clinics. The programs are intended for students with interests and career goals related to communication sciences and disorders, psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience.


The offices and research facilities of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences are located on the Richardson campus and at the UTD/Callier Center for Communication Disorders on the campus of the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Facilities on the Richardson campus include teaching and research laboratories for neuroscience, facilities for the study of child development, and laboratories supporting research in the cognitive sciences. Callier- Richardson also located on the Richardson campus provides speech-language pathology and audiology services to the community and serves as a research and training site for students.

The School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences supports three research centers: The Advanced Hearing Research Center; the Center for Brain Health; and the Center for Brain, Behavior, and Cognition. These centers provide research opportunities for doctoral students in cochlear implants, auditory neuroscience, brain plasticity, and neuroimaging.

Admission Requirements

The University’s general admission requirements are discussed here.

Admission to the doctoral program in Human Development and Communication Sciences is based on a review of the applicant’s GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and narrative description of research interests and career goals. The admissions committee weighs heavily the match between the applicant’s research interests and the research areas available to students in the school. For information about faculty research interests, see our web pages at   The GRE score is included in the evaluation of the applicant’s record. In general, verbal and quantitative scores on the GRE of at least 1000 are advisable based on our experience with student success in the program and most scores are substantially higher. However, there is no minimum cutoff score nor does a score above 1000 assure admission to the program.

Many courses in the master’s programs in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience, Communication Disorders, and Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders complement doctoral coursework and, upon a student’s admission to the doctoral program, can be applied toward the Ph.D. Students who have taken courses in these master’s programs or who have earned degrees in these programs, should consult with the program office to determine which courses can be applied to the Ph.D.

Combining the M.S.and Ph.D. Programs

Students desiring clinical certification (CCC) in speech-language pathology in addition to the Ph.D. may combine their masters and doctoral program. An individualized plan of study allows students to earn the M.S. degree in Communication Disorders while meeting requirements for the Ph.D. degree. In addition, students may choose to combine doctoral study with master’s work in Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders.

Degree Requirements

The University’s general degree requirements are discussed here.

All students complete a basic curriculum including the six-semester-hour Proseminar, a minimum of six semester hours of research methods beyond HCS 6312, including HCS 6313, eighteen semester hours in a major area of study, and six semester hours in a minor area of study. Students select their major and minor areas from:

The choice of a major and minor is open, but all students must complete at least one core course in the Communication Sciences area. Thus, the basic curriculum encompasses a minimum of 36 hours (for students majoring or minoring in Communication Sciences) or 39 hours (for all others). In addition to the basic curriculum, students select advanced coursework in consultation with faculty advisers. Students also are expected to be continuously involved in research for which they earn supervised research credit. All students must complete a critical literature review and a report of a research project before forming their dissertation committees and formally proposing their dissertation research. Successful defense of a written dissertation completes the requirements for the degree.

The option of creating an individualized degree plan is available to students whose interests cut across the three program areas. One such plan offers a focus in Child Language Development and Disorders. This focus allows students to take advantage of unique interdisciplinary research opportunities in the School’s demonstration programs for infants, toddlers, and preschool children. Individualized plans should be drafted in consultation with the student’s research advisor and require the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.

Course Requirements Within Areas

Students majoring in an area are responsible for the two core courses and any four advanced courses offered in that area.