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Application Information

To apply:

Each year the application portal opens on August 1st.

Application Deadline: December 15 
The application, test scores, and all supporting materials must be received by December 15.

The most promising Ph.D. applicants will be invited to interview remotely on January 26, 2024.

Admission Decisions

Ph.D. applicants are reviewed by a special committee. A select group will be contacted by the committee chair to arrange a visit sometime in February.

Response from Students: April 15

If your written response is not received by April 15, the Department has the right to rescind the offer of admission and financial award. Confirmed receipt of an email to the director of graduate studies specifying your decision by April 14th can be used to extend our deadline for receipt of the written response.

The Vanderbilt Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences is committed to recruiting, admitting, and training a diverse student body of future audiologists, speech-language pathologists, educators of the deaf, and researchers. Accordingly, we are continually working to establish and maintain equity and inclusivity in all areas of our educational mission. Our commitment to embrace and promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity is broad with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality, disability and differences, among others. This commitment is founded in our core belief of equality for all humans. Our goal is that our culture and the diversity of our department will reflect the diversity of the nation and the populations that we serve. Furthermore, we strongly believe that our focus to embrace diversity is a critical element in education that will prepare our future audiologists, speech-language pathologists, educators, and researchers to serve the populations with whom we work in all settings. To learn more about our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, please visit our DEI webpage.   

Statement of Purpose (personal statement)

The Statement of Purpose is a required and important part of the application. The DHSS has no set criteria for the personal statement, it should be no less than one page, but no more than 1-1/2 (single spaced).

For Ph.D. applicants, the statement should indicate research interests and experiences, potential PhD mentors as well as long term career objectives. In the acceptance of PhD students, the faculty seeks to match research interests of applicants with individual faculty mentors. Thus, it is appropriate as well as strongly encouraged for Ph.D. applicants to contact individual Vanderbilt faculty members in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences prior to submitting an application.

Required Materials

Transcripts/Academic information

Official transcripts, which also should be sent after the completion of your degree, must be sent directly to Vanderbilt at the address, below. You will be prompted to upload your academic record for each college or university you have attended when you officially submit your application. An academic record can be in the form of a legible scanned copy of a transcript or an academic record from the institution’s Student Information System portal. If you are currently enrolled, please submit your academic record after your fall semester grades have been posted if at all possible.

If you don’t have your official transcripts during your application, unofficial transcripts can be provided instead. Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission is made and accepted. To be considered official, a transcript must be sent directly from your institution to Vanderbilt. Official transcripts should be mailed to Vanderbilt at the address below or delivered through your school’s secure electronic transcript service (if available) to  All other transcripts are considered unofficial. Please do not mail transcripts to the department office.

Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University
PMB 407833, 2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833
phone: none, please inquire via email message only

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters are required and up to five can be accepted. Letters of recommendation should be from individuals who can speak to the applicant’s academic abilities and accomplishments and the likelihood of the applicant’s success in a clinical or research program. With a maximum of five, supervisors, teaching assistants, etc., are certainly welcome to provide a recommendation for you.

Recommenders are strongly encouraged to submit their letters electronically. The application allows the applicant to identify their recommenders and the system will notify them (on your behalf) by e-mail. When the electronic recommendations are submitted, they are attached to the application, and you will receive an email message confirming receipt of each recommendation.

Please note: Email addresses should be proofed for accuracy before finalizing the application. If an incorrect email address is entered into the system, the recommender will not receive the request for a recommendation.

If you choose not to use the electronic method, it is your responsibility to contact your recommenders and provide them with our recommendation form. Paper letters of recommendation should be sent to the Center for Data Management (see details, above) and should be received in that office by the application deadline.

Test Scores

Official GRE scores come electronically from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and are optional. Official TOEFL scores are required for international applicants only. The scores should be sent to institution code 1871. The department code is not required in order for your official scores to attach to the application.

  • The minimum acceptable score on the paper-based TOEFL is 620, and for the Internet-based test, 105. However, your area of study might require a considerably higher level of proficiency. Please discuss with Michael de Riesthal, Director of the Ph.D. Program.

Important Note: It is the applicant’s responsibility to allow sufficient time for the ETS to score and report test results. Please refer to the ETS website ( to access the Detailed Score Reporting Schedule for the GRE exam.

Although International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test scores are not required, applicants who have taken the IELTS can report their scores in the online application.

Special Requirements for International Applicants

Previous Degrees
International applicants should apply only if they have four years of college (four-year degree or three years plus one year of a master’s program).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Prior to consideration for admission, international student applicants for whom English is a second language must submit a report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. Scores should be less than two years old and above 620 (paper-based) and 105 (computer-based) to demonstrate proficiency (, or address inquiries and requests for applications to TOEFL, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151

International students applying to or enrolling in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Proficiency in English for Coursework and Clinical Practicum

International students (whose native language is not English) who are accepted to and progressing through the program may also be required to complete an intensive English language program at Vanderbilt University during their initial semester of classes in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences or, later in their course of study, in the event that spoken English skills adversely affect academic/clinical performance. Information about Vanderbilt’s English language program may be obtained at


International student applicants must supply official academic records from all colleges and universities attended including certificates, mark sheets, and examination results. These may be copies of the original documents certified by an official of the institution issuing the record. If you are currently enrolled at a USA university, Vanderbilt will accept (for admission purposes only) copies of documents that may be on file at that university. Should you be admitted, you must supply the official documents described above.

Financial Resources

In order to meet requirements for entry into the USA, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to cover the cost of their education. Please be prepared to provide evidence of this funding.