Doctor of Philosophy in Child Language

Child Language Doctoral Program

The doctoral program in Child Language offers a specialized degree in this interesting area of study. The program crosses traditional academic boundaries to give students the theoretical, empirical, and methodological competence necessary to study basic and applied issues in language acquisition. This multidisciplinary program is a cooperative endeavor of faculty members from the Departments of Applied Behavioral Science, Clinical Child Psychology, Linguistics, Molecular Biosciences, Psychology, and Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders. In addition, the Child Language Doctoral Program has faculty specializing in genetics of language and speech, and in quantitative methods.

Students study 4 areas:

  1. Core theoretical and experimental work on language acquisition,
  2. Relevant methods and theories in linguistics and psycholinguistics,
  3. Theoretical perspectives on developmental psychology, and
  4. The nature of disordered language development and methods and techniques for language intervention.

In addition, new areas of study are offered in genetics of language acquisition and impairments, as well as quantitative methods.

Each student is advised by a support committee of 3 faculty members. Enrollment in a proseminar in language acquisition is required of all students in addition to participation in research activities. Opportunities for individual research projects include the projects of participating faculty members and the research teams of the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, and the clinical/research facilities of KU Medical Center.

Graduates are candidates for teaching and research positions, clinical positions providing service to communicatively disabled persons, and research work in business and governmental sectors.


We are a cross-disciplinary program and our faculty is involved in research spanning many diverse fields of study. Our portfolios are dynamic and growing, so you will be directed to our most recent information.

An internationally recognized scholar leads program activities: Mabel L. Rice.