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Audiology Specialization

The doctoral program in Audiology is a specialization within the Disability Disciplines PhD Program in the Emma Eccles Jones School of Education and Human Services. The Disability Disciplines Doctoral Program offers a multidisciplinary doctoral degree that brings together faculty and students across disciplinary and departmental lines to explore interrelated aspects of disabilities. All specializations balance a common core of multidisciplinary coursework and applied activities with a strong disciplinary focus. Thus, both faculty and students work within a multidisciplinary context without compromising their important disciplinary perspective, knowledge, and skills.

The Audiology doctoral specialization at Utah State University prepares graduates to be highly effective university faculty in audiology programs. Prospective students enter the program with an earned graduate degree in audiology (AuD, M.S.). Programs of study can be created for students with an earned bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders, or for students interested in completing a combined AuD/PhD.


Audiology Contact
Name: Dr. Karen Muñoz
Phone: 435-797-3701


Graduate students in the Audiology specialization have the opportunity to conduct research in multiple areas, including the following:

Speech and Auditory Perception lab - explores both normal and impaired hearing to develop techniques to overcome difficulties associated with hearing loss.

Spoken Language Processing lab - explores how people of all ages learn through listening, specifically in situations when listening may be especially challenging (e.g., when listening to a teacher with a foreign accent or listening through a cochlear implant (CI) device).

Listening and Spoken Language lab - explores parent and professional factors that facilitate and/or interfere with spoken language outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.


Core coursework, common to all areas of disability disciplines, includes multidisciplinary courses that bring together diverse perspectives on disabilities and effective services as well as research methodology. In addition, specialization courses provide deep coverage of current developments in audiology.

Core Coursework

Course Title / Description Credits (17/19)
EDUC 6570 Introduction to Education and Psychological Research
Introduction to research methods including identifying research questions, conducting research literature reviews, and design and implementation of research projects. (Students should enroll in the section of this course that is designated for full-time doctoral students.)
EDUC 6600 Measurement, Design, & Analysis
This course integrates concepts in measurement, research design, and statistical analysis for research in psychology and education. (STAT 5200 is an acceptable substitution.)
REH/SPED 7820 Seminar: Special Topics
In-depth study of special topics in special education and rehabilitation. Seminars examine historical aspects, relevant research, and theoretical positions on selected topics.
1 (3)
SPED 7400 Multicultural Issues in Disability
This seminar will focus on the juxtaposition of disability and ethnic/cultural/linguistic diversity. Three broad areas will be presented. The first area will focus on the ethnic/cultural/linguistic demography of disability. The second area will focus on the prejudice, discrimination, and handicapism and the ways in which these forces impact upon an individual who has a disability and who is a member of an ethnic/cultural/linguistic minority group. The third area will focus on practice applications, translating the concept of the first two areas into practical suggestions for professional practice.
SPED 7920 Doctoral Orientation Seminar
Orients new students to the doctoral program including career planning, program planning, fundamental concepts of scientific research and literature review, and knowledge of the available facilities and faculty members.
SPED 7940 Journal Reading Group
Under faculty direction, students read and discuss published research. Students learn to critique empirical and theoretical papers as well as current research findings in important areas of Disability Disciplines.
SPED 7820 Evidence-Based Practice
This seminar explores evidence-based practice as a framework for providing the most effective possilbe services to persons with disabilities by linking research and practice. Students will learn processes for posing appropriate clinical questions, systematically and critically reviewing research, and developing formal practice quidelines.
USU 6900 Research Integrity
The purpose of this class is to provide an underpinning of ethical conduct for students entering the research enterprise at USU. The course is designed for graduate students based on regulatory requirements from federal funding agencies. Subjects covered are ethical treatment of human participants in research, conflicts of interest, ethical care and use of animals in research, collaborative science, data ownership, management and sharing, mentor/trainee relationships, authorship and publication practices, research misconduct and peer review.

Audiology Coursework

Course Title / Description Credits (18)
COMD 7730 Advanced Topics in Audiology
Discussion of advanced topics and issues in hearing and balance disorders, including assessment and treatment considerations, underlying influences related to treatment adherence, and functional outcomes.
COMD 7740 Research in Audiology
Under faculty direction, students read and discuss current research in audiology, examine methods, conclusions, implications and limitations.
COMD 7890 Journal Reading - Audiology
Under faculty direction, students read and discuss published research. Sutdents learn to critique empirical and theoretical papers as well as current research findings in important areas of Audiology.
COMD 7710 Evidence-Based Practice in Audiology
Discussion of evidence-based practice in hearing and balance disorders, including existing research base, areas in need of further research, client values, clinical decision-making, and implementation.
COMD 7880 Research Methods in Audiology
Discussion of research methods used in audiological research and design consideration.
Various Additional Research Methods
Students will take a minimum of 6 additional credits in research methods. Students are encouraged to consider the following, although additional options will be considered by students' committees: EDUC 7610, PSY 7020, PSY 7670, PSY 7780, SPED 7700, and SPED 7710.


Preliminary Exams

Preliminary exams are conducted after approximately one year of full time study (or the equivalent) and provide a focus for students to attain foundational skills in research design and critique, and disciplinary knowledge. This three part exam is completed across a three day period. Components of the exam are:

  • Disciplinary knowledge. Specific questions focus on key foundational knowledge of audiology.
  • Design of Research. The student outlines the design of a research project on a given topic relevant to audiology.
  • Critique of Research. The student critiques a research manuscript within audiology.

Professional Products and Internships

A set of professional products and internships provide opportunities for mentored experience in critical professional skills.


The dissertation is the capstone experience of the doctoral program. The student plans, carries out, analyzes, and interprets substantial original research that contributes to the advancement of their field of study.


Primary Faculty:

Dr. Karen Munoz
Professor and Department Head

Dr. Brittan Barker
Assistant Professor

Dr. Sarah Leopold
Assistant Professor

Dr. Naveen Nagaraj
Assistant Professor 

Supporting Faculty Section:

Jeffery Larsen, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor

Lauri Nelson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Cache Pitt, Au.D.
Clinical Associate Professor

Elizabeth Preston, Au.D.
Clinical Associate Professor