Child Language Doctoral Program

Teacher and Student

Mabel L. Rice, Director

The University of Kansas offers a specialized Ph.D. in Child Language focusing on the interdisciplinary academic preparation and research training of child-language specialists. The faculty represent a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of language acquisition, social and environmental influences on language acquisition, and the identification and remediation of atypical patterns of language acquisition.

Faculty of the Child Language Doctoral Program

Faculty are drawn from the departments of: Linguistics, Psychology, and Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders. Two internationally recognized scholars lead program activities: Mabel L. Rice is the Director and Susan Kemper is the Graduate Advisor.

Resources and Opportunities

Students in Child Language have available to them a rich variety of research tools and databases as well as the opportunity to participate in the Child Language Acquisition Studies Lab. They draw upon well-established research facilities and field sites in pursuing their own research. Seminars in child language, a weekly Proseminar, workshops on special issues in language acquisition and intervention, and research practica are regularly offered by university faculty and visiting scholars.

Additional instructional, research, and clinical experiences are provided by the Institute for Life Span Studies. Research sites and practica are provided by the Institute for Life Span Studies, the Language Acquisition Preschool, and the clinical and research facilities of the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. Funding resources include trainee support from a NIDCD T32 Training grant, research assistantships in labs of participating faculty, and graduate teaching assistantships. In addition, fellowships including Self Fellowships, Honors Fellowships, and Dissertation Fellowships are available through the Graduate School.

Students Study Four Areas:

  • Core theoretical and experimental work on language acquisition
  • Relevant methods and theories in linguistics and psycholinguistics
  • Theoretical perspectives on developmental psychology
  • The nature of disordered language development and methods and techniques for language intervention

Degree Requirements

For the Ph. D. in Child Language, the student must complete all requirements of the Graduate School of the University of Kansas including residency and research skills. For students entering the program without a master's degree, the M. A. requirements include:

  • Core courses in language acquisition
  • Supplemental courses in linguistics, psycholinguistics, developmental psychology, and/or language intervention
  • Courses in statistics
  • Continuous enrollment in the Child Language Proseminar
  • A research-based thesis and oral examination and defense of the thesis

Post-master's requirements include:

  • Additional core courses in language acquisition
  • Additional supplemental courses in linguistics, psycholinguistics, developmental psychology, and/or language intervention
  • Additional courses in statistics and methodology
  • Continuous enrollment in the Child Language Proseminar
  • A Written examination covering language acquisition, psycholinguisitics, developmental psychology, and disorders of language development and intervention
  • A comprehensive oral examination
  • A research-based dissertation and oral examination and defense of the thesis

Doctoral Program Profile

Click here for statistics including acceptance rates, mean GRE scores, and number of years to degree.

Nondiscrimination Statement

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University's programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.