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Many questions can be answered by looking in the Ph.D. student handbook or online.

For procedural questions that a graduate student cannot easily address on their own, a good first contact is the graduate program administrative assistant.

The student’s CSD faculty advisor is the next contact to ask for help and support. 

In cases where the primary advisor is unable to or not sufficient to address a question, graduate students are encouraged to reach out to the graduate professor-in-charge (PIC) and/or department head as the next step. 

When additional resources are needed after working with the grad PIC and/or department head, there are college, University level, and other resources as needed.

Ph.D. student handbook

The Ph.D. student handbook is a guide to the Ph.D. program for currently enrolled doctoral students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

The guide is housed in Canvas and includes information on:

  • Admission and retention
  • Financial appointments and graduate assistantships
  • Professional presentations
  • Student teaching
  • Degree requirements
  • Dissertation and exam timelines
  • Policies and procedures

Independent study and research credits

Graduate students seeking to register for independent study or research credits in CSD should submit the appropriate request below. Your request will be reviewed and, if approved, the credits will be added by the department.

CSD 596: Independent Study icon-olus-circle

CSD 596 is an independent study course, which is a non-thesis research course. Students work closely with a faculty member on creative projects that fall outside the scope of a formal course. The number of credits is determined between the student and faculty member the student is working for, which is dependent on the amount of work that is expected of the student.

CSD 600: Thesis Research icon-olus-circle

CSD 600 is a Thesis Research course. Students registering for this course will work closely with a faculty member to develop their research. This course can be scheduled for 1-15 credits.

CSD 601: Dissertation icon-olus-circle

CSD 601 is available for full-time Ph.D. degree candidates who have passed the comprehensive examination; students taking this course have finished all required coursework, but are working on their dissertation. This course is 0 credits.

CSD 602: TA Training Course icon-olus-circle

CSD 602 is designed to introduce graduate teaching assistants to the fundamentals of course design, development, delivery, assessment, and evaluation. This course can be scheduled for 1-3 credits.

Support resources

HHD Office of Research and Graduate Education

The HHD Office of Research and Graduate Education can be contacted for unusual situations that can not be addressed at the departmental level and/or where college-level resources are needed.

HHD Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The HHD Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is working to develop new resources at the college level to promote student community, resources, and well-being. If there are questions that cannot be addressed by the departmental DEI committee, including questions related to graduate student recruitment, this office may be a good resource.

Penn State Graduate School

The Graduate School is committed to your success and wellness during your Penn State experience and can be a particularly good resource when there are substantial and ongoing issues that cannot be addressed at the departmental or college level.

Student support resources include various campus and community services accessible to graduate students, including:

  • Professional development
  • Academic support
  • Personal well-being, including physical and mental health
  • Getting involved
  • Campus services, such as parking and transportation
  • Campus communities
  • Living in State College
  • Help and support

Mental Health Crisis Intervention

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or need immediate support:

The Penn State Crisis Line can also be used for consultation if you know someone or are with someone who is experiencing a crisis.

Student Disability Resources (SDR)

If graduate students want to seek accommodation, including accommodation in classes or with graduate milestones, it is imperative that they go through the Student Disability Resources (SDR) office. Documentation from a health provider and/or other supporting evidence will be needed to receive accommodation.

It is recommended that a graduate student contact SDR as soon as possible if they anticipate needing any accommodation (even if they are not sure yet if they will request accommodation), as it can take some time to arrange. If an accommodation letter from SDR is provided, it will not go into detail about the issue (to preserve relevant confidentiality), but will suggest what accommodations might be warranted. If a graduate student decides to seek accommodation, this letter should then be shared in a timely fashion with the individual(s) who will be involved in making accommodations (e.g., instructor, Grad PIC/advisor).

Faculty members who are given a letter from SDR will note that it includes an SDR specialist contact. If they have any questions about how to address the accommodation request, they are encouraged to reach out to SDR directly.

Graduate Writing Center

The Graduate Writing Center offers one-to-one consultations that are most useful to writers seeking ongoing support or consultations on shorter documents. Consultants commonly assist writers with theses, dissertations, seminar papers, proposals, personal statements, fellowship applications, CVs, letters of application, among many other genres.


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