Speech-Language Pathology — S.L.P.D.

Program Director
Keith Wolgemuth

The Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology (S.L.P.D.) is a post-entry level professional degree for individuals who want to increase depth of knowledge in the field of speech-language pathology while also acquiring clinical research experience. Graduates of the program will be trained to take positions as master clinicians, clinical researchers, and university clinical faculty.

The post-entry level professional program at Loma Linda University is one of a handful of such programs in the country and is currently the only such program in California. Current practitioners will gain advanced knowledge in the field of speech-language pathology, with specialized training in evidence-based practice, critical thinking, legal and ethical issues, and problem solving. Doctoral students will become adept at analyzing and synthesizing the existing research literature as they design and conduct their own clinical study in their area of interest.  Doctoral students will be required to complete a research capstone (applied dissertation) project designed by the student and his or her faculty mentor.  This project will be a clinical research study that will be a written manuscript in published form.

Student learning outcomes

In addition to the institutional learning outcomes (ILOs) described elsewhere, the S.L.P.D. degree student is expected to meet the following student learning outcomes (SLO):

  1. Discovery: Independently conduct clinically based research.
  2. Discovery: Disseminate information from their novel research findings.
  3. Applied knowledge: Demonstrate specialized knowledge in speech-language pathology
  4. Applied knowledge:  Demonstrate knowledge in disciplines outside the field of speech-language pathology

Note: If you live in a state that has regulatory requirements for online education, please check if Loma Linda University is able to accept residents of your state for online education. Contact the Admissions office for School of Allied Health Professions, 909-558-4599.

In addition to Loma Linda University and School of Allied Health Professions admissions requirements, the applicant must also complete the following requirements:

  • Be speech-language pathologists with a Master’s degree (M.A./M.S.) in speech-language pathology or equivalent and six months of professional practice
  • Have a current Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), and current licensure in one of the 50 United States.
  • Minimum graduate GPA of 3.3
  • Three letters of reference
  • 2-3 page written statement describing your research interests (and experience, if any), your professional experience/accomplishments, why you want to pursue a Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology, and why you want to attend Loma Linda University.  If you have a particular faculty mentor in mind, you should mention it here as well.

In the admissions screening process, the applicant’s recommendations, interview, personal statement, and work experience are all considered. The most qualified applicants will be selected to be interviewed. The strength of the interview  will be evaluated along with the stated research goals/plans of the applicant. Admission will be decided based on the perceived potential of the applicant to succeed in this clinical research program as well as availability of a faculty mentor suited to the applicant’s research area.

Courses in the program fall into two broad domains: research and content. Students will be required to take all courses in each domain

SLPD 550Advanced Seminar in Neuroanatomy and Neuroscience3
SLPD 560Advanced Seminar in Motor, Speech, and Voice3
SLPD 570Special Topics in Speech-Language Pathology 13
SLPD 580Clinical Issues in Speech-Language Pathology3
SLPD 600Components of Clinical Inquiry3
SLPD 610Capstone IRB Proposal4
SLPD 621Capstone Planning3
SLPD 622Capstone Proposal2
SLPD 623Capstone II3
SLPD 624Capstone III3
SLPD 625Capstone IV3
SLPD 626Dissemination of Research3
AHCJ 541Managing Stress3
Religion (Choose from two of the following areas)6
RELE_ 5__ Religion elective ethics
RELR_ 5__ Religion elective relational
RELT_ 5__ Religion elective theological
Electives 13
Total Units48

Course will be taken twice with a different topic each time.


SLPD 550. Advanced Seminar in Neuroanatomy and Neuroscience. 3 Units.

Provides in-depth information on the role played by the brain in speech and language. Reviews functional neuroanatomy as an introduction to the following topics: functional commitment, neuroplasticity, long-term potentiation, etc. Informs clinical best practice by focusing on the complexity of the brain with regard to cognitive and motor function, and by providing background on functional brain imaging research.

SLPD 560. Advanced Seminar in Motor, Speech, and Voice. 3 Units.

Provides an in-depth look at the anatomy of speech and the parts of the CNS that control speech structures. Examines the anatomy of the larynx, as well as respiration, the structures of the vocal tract, and the nerve signaling pathways that connect them to the brain (e.g., pyramidal/extrapyramidal, lower/upper motor neuron). Explores the impact of disturbances to one area on the entire system. Connects current research to students' clinical practice (e.g., dysarthria, dysphonia, apraxia vs. articulation and phonology).

SLPD 570. Special Topics in Speech-Language Pathology. 3 Units.

Provides an in-depth look at a variety of topics in the field. Topics selected by faculty with input from students may include dysphagia, autism, dysfluency, bilingualism, etc. Students critically examine current research in the topic area in order to determine best practice. May be repeated for additional credit.

SLPD 580. Clinical Issues in Speech-Language Pathology. 3 Units.

Topics covered include clinical supervision, administration, and starting/managing an independent clinic; as well as ethics and counseling. Focuses on interprofessional collaboration both within the allied health professions (e.g., occupational or physical therapy) and beyond (for either education or medical contexts). Students comment in online discussions on case studies.

SLPD 600. Components of Clinical Inquiry. 3 Units.

Focuses on skills fundamental to critical evaluation of the strength of scientific research. Covers elements of research design important to the validity of a study and identification of flaws in design and conclusions.

SLPD 610. Capstone IRB Proposal. 4 Units.

Provides instruction in developing an individual research proposal, completing Institutional Review Board (IRB) training, and successfully submitting a proposal to the IRB. Emphasizes reflective discussions of research interests and experiences, planning, conceptual framework, proposed methodology, and data analysis. Includes interprofessional peer reviews throughout the course.

SLPD 621. Capstone Planning. 3 Units.

Instructs students in how to design their capstone project with guidance from the primary course instructor. Emphasizes identification of a focus area, objectives, goals, outcomes, on-site mentor, faculty mentor, and time frame.

SLPD 622. Capstone Proposal. 2 Units.

Provides framework for developing and submitting a proposal to the student's research advisor(s) for final approval.
Prerequisite: SLPD 621.

SLPD 623. Capstone II. 3 Units.

Continues the capstone project, requiring students to complete a needs assessment and program development. Provides information in data collection, data management techniques, and introduction to various data analysis strategies.
Prerequisite: SLPD 622.

SLPD 624. Capstone III. 3 Units.

Continues with remaining data collection and beginning data analyses for capstone project.
Prerequisite: SLPD 600, 610, 621 622, and 623.

SLPD 625. Capstone IV. 3 Units.

Requires final implementation of aspects of the capstone. Requires student to prepare a manuscript and participate in online critical discussions with classmates.
Prerequisite: SLPD 623.

SLPD 626. Dissemination of Research. 3 Units.

A culmination course in which students complete their manuscript and perform an oral presentation for their completed research project. Prerequisites: SLPD 600, 610, 621, 622, 623, 624, and 625.