Main Content:

Note: The Doctor of Clinical Science (CScD) in Medical Speech-Language Pathology is currently undergoing revision.

This program is an advanced professional doctorate degree recommended for the student or speech-language pathologist (SLP) aiming for clinical excellence and leadership as an SLP in a wide variety of practice settings.

We are revising this program to best meet the professional needs of our students. We anticipate opening admission to the program in late spring 2021 with options for students to begin the program in fall 2021 or spring 2022.

Complete this inquiry form to receive updates about the revised program.

Who should apply?

Students with an entry level master’s degree in SLP who want to develop advanced skills for working with medically complex patients, as well as professional presentation, leadership, and clinical teaching skills. This program provides a foundation for moving into leadership positions in clinical settings (e.g. hospitals, specialty clinics, etc.) or university settings. CScD graduates may also contribute to clinical research teams.

How long is the program and when does it start?

The program is three years and requires clinical practice and simultaneous study beyond the entry level master’s degree. The program starts in May each year.

When should I apply?

The application deadline for all applicants is December 1st for consideration to begin the program the following summer term.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early due to the length of time required to secure a clinical position.

Do you require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score for Admission?

Yes, please submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores to the University of Pittsburgh institution code 2927. 

For applicants who have taken the GRE 5-10 years prior to this application, the CScD program will accept a copy of the official GRE scores that were sent to the applicant (not just applicant's self-report). After 10 years, all applicants will need to retake the examination.

Do I have to have a Master’s Degree to apply?

Yes, a CSD MS/MA is required in order to fulfill the clinical component of this program.

Are there deadlines or other requirements for international students?

The CScD program is designed for practicing clinicians seeking advanced study. Applicants need to ensure that they have the required qualifications to work clinically in the State of Pennsylvania. Please see the bottom of our Admissions page for detailed information.

Is an interview required for admission?

Applicants will be required to participate in interviews addressing content knowledge and discussions of the program.

Do you offer Advanced Standing?

All students must complete a minimum of 87 credits to satisfy didactic and clinical requirements for this degree. Eight credits of advanced standing will be given for Clinical Mentored Experience for those entering the program with their Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC).

No more than one-third of the total number of required credits (87) may be granted to a student as transfer credit for work done at another accredited graduate institution. These credits must be appropriate substitute coursework taken beyond what was required for the MA/MS degree.

Where a course and/or clinical/teaching experience is/are being considered as a substitute for a CScD requirement, the candidate must show evidence of having attained the CScD course objectives. The request will be considered by the CScD Plan of Study Committee. Approval by the committee and the course instructor of record (for CSD courses) are required for approval of the course substitute.

How are applications reviewed?

While cumulative and prerequisite GPAs and GRE scores are very important, equally important are the applicant’s response to essay questions, their letters of recommendations, and interview performance.

When are decisions made on applicants?

Once an application is submitted and complete (complete means all supporting documents have been received - transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores; as well as English Language Proficiency scores and Academic Credential Evaluation for international applicants) the application will be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review. The Admission Committee will contact the applicant to schedule interviews. Following the interviews the application will be reviewed by the CScD Admissions Committee and a decision communicated to the applicant. The decision is typically available several weeks after the interviews.

Will I be able to work during the program?

A successful applicant will be offered conditional admission contingent upon:

Securing a one-half time clinical fellowship or post-clinical fellowship position as a speech-language pathologist in a facility with which the academic department has a working relationship. The department will help to locate possible positions, but is it the responsibility of the candidate to successfully secure the position following normal hiring practices at the specific facility. These practices typically include the provision of a letter of interest, a professional CV, and the successful completion of an interview with the appropriate personnel at the facility.

Engaging in unsupervised clinical practice in Pennsylvania: To engage in unsupervised clinical practice, you must obtain a Pennsylvania State License. This is most easily obtained by completing all academic and clinical requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). If you do not have your CCC, please review the requirements and process on the ASHA website ( If you have your CCC’s, please make sure you have a current PA license or will be able to obtain one (

In addition, be advised that maintenance of the clinical practice described above and the State License are mandatory throughout your time in the Program. Failure to maintain these requirements is grounds for dismissal from the program as they are an essential component of the academic Program.

Do I need a car?

Students are expected to provide their own transportation and some of the clinical sites may not be easily accessed with public transportation. University of Pittsburgh students enjoy the benefit of being able to use the local transportation system, Port Authority of Allegheny County ( for free within the local area.

What are graduates of this program doing with their degrees?

The program is designed for SLPs to work with medically fragile patients (and their families) across the lifespan in a range of settings including but not limited to acute hospitals, specialized pediatric or adult institutes, and community based practices.

How can this degree “advance” my career?

Graduates of this program will be prepared for interprofessional practice, leadership, and excellence in clinical practice in the medical setting, as well as clinical faculty positions.  Our graduates hold titles such as: Assistant professor, Communication Disorders and Sciences department; Lead Speech Language Pathologist and Clinical research coordinator for the Pediatric Voice/Resonance Center; Assistant Professor and Clinic Director: Speech-Language Pathologist Institute for Voice and Swallowing; Chairperson of Communication and Swallowing Disorders in urban rehabilitation hospital.