The professional Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology (SLPD) is a degree for practicing clinicians who want to increase depth of knowledge in the field of speech-language pathology while also acquiring significant clinical research experience. Graduates of the program will be trained to take positions as senior clinicians, clinical researchers, and university clinical faculty. Current practitioners will gain advanced knowledge in the areas within the field of speech-language pathology, with specialized training in evidence-based practice, critical thinking, and leadership. Doctoral students will become adept at analyzing and synthesizing the existing research literature as they work with a Faculty Research Mentor to design and conduct their own clinical study in their area of interest.

About the Program

It is projected that students will spend 2.3 to 3 years in the program (9-11 quarters). Students take 2 classes a quarter for 2 years (8 quarters) and put the finishing touches on their capstone project for the last 1 to 3 quarters.

Classes are predominantly online, synchronous, cohort based, and most include weekly Zoom class components one evening a week. Students will attend Loma Linda University in person at three different times during the program.

  • The first visit is at the start of the program (fall quarter). At this 1-day visit, students will familiarize themselves with the University, department, faculty, current students, the program, and the Canvas learning system.
  • The second visit is at the start of the second year (summer quarter) where students will present their proposed research capstone project to the faculty for approval.
  • The third visit is at the end of the third year for the commencement proceedings (end of spring quarter). Students will attend a doctoral hooding ceremony as well as the general LLU commencement events.

These three required meetings on campus are an opportunity to meet faculty, attend presentations, and interact with other SLPD students.

The Loma Linda Experience

Loma Linda University is a world-renowned health sciences institution recognized for the emphasis on educating students in a values based environment that promotes a lifestyle of wellness. The SLPD program provides licensed clinicians an opportunity to upgrade their knowledge base within a convenient and flexible online academic format.

An onsite orientation familiarizes students with the University, department, faculty, current students, the program, and the Canvas learning system. Students return again a year later to present their research capstone proposal, and then a third time 12 to 16 months later to present and defend their research capstone projects. These three required meetings on campus are an opportunity to meet faculty, attend presentations, and interact with other SLPD students.

View our Strategic Plan


Information regarding applying for the program can be found on the admissions page. Frequent questions are addressed on our FAQ page

Speech-Language Pathology Doctorate


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. You may check LLU State Authorization online or 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 a speech-language pathologist with a Master’s degree (M.A./M.S.) in speech-language pathology or equivalent and six months of professional practice beyond completion of their Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY).
  • Have a current Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), and current licensure in one of the 50 United States.
  • Document a minimum graduate G.P.A. of 3.3.
  • Provide three letters of reference.
  • Submit a two- to three-page written statement describing research interests (and experience, if any), professional experience/accomplishments, reason for pursuing a Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology, and reason for attending Loma Linda University.  If the applicant has a particular faculty mentor in mind, they should be mentioned here.

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 applicant's stated research goals/plans. 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 theory. Students will be required to take all courses in each domain

SLPD 550 Advanced Seminar in Neuroanatomy and Neuroscience 3
SLPD 570 Special Topics in Speech-Language Pathology (3) 1 9
SLPD 580 Clinical Issues in Speech-Language Pathology 3
SLPD 600 Components of Clinical Inquiry 3
SLPD 610 Capstone IRB Proposal 4
SLPD 621 Capstone Planning 3
SLPD 622 Capstone Proposal 2
SLPD 623 Capstone II 3
SLPD 624 Capstone III 3
SLPD 625 Capstone IV 3
SLPD 626 Dissemination of Research 3
Cognates 3

RELR 540

Wholeness and Health  
Electives 9

AHCJ 541

Managing Stress  

AHCJ 546

Therapeutic Humor in Health Care  

AHCJ 555

Writing for Health-Care Professionals  

AHCJ 566

Theoretical Foundations of Leadership  

AHCJ 318

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Skills for Health-Care Professionals  

AHCJ 422

History of Disability  
Total Units 51
  • Course will be taken three times with a different topic each time.


This requirement may be met by taking a religion course designated as a service learning course. For more information about this requirement and a list of religion courses that fulfill it, see section on academic service learning in this CATALOG.


2.5 - 3 years (nine (9) - eleven [11] academic quarters) 

Program Curriculum

Student Learning Outcomes

In addition to the institutional learning outcomes, by the end of the program, the graduate should be able to:

  1. Identify and develop personal leadership skills.
  2. Construct and design clinical-based research questions.
  3. Interpret and disseminate research findings.
  4. Apply current clinical practices to personal practice case studies.

The SLPD program is split into two broad domains: research and professional content. In the research domain, students will be given the necessary background and support to complete an independent clinically-based research project in speech-language pathology. During this process, each student will work closely with a faculty member who specializes in their research area.  The research classes include a dedicated class on how to complete a study proposal, a formal 1-day capstone proposal presentation, mentorship through the IRB approval process and implementation of the project, and finally, the presentation and defense of the study. Students will submit their manuscript for publication in a scholarly journal prior to graduating. Final journal publication is not a graduation requirement.

In the content domain, students will gain expertise in some of the most complex topics in the field. The doctoral Special Topics seminars in speech-language pathology are designed to provide clinicians with increased depth of knowledge that is current and evidence-based. Other classes include advanced knowledge in leadership and ethics.

Domain 1. Research

  •             SLPD 600 Components of Critical Inquiry (3)
  •             SLPD 610 Capstone: IRB Proposal (4) 
  •             SLPD 621 Capstone Planning (3)
  •             SLPD 622 Capstone Proposal (2) 
  •             SLPD 623 Capstone II (3)
  •             SLPD 624 Capstone III (4)
  •             SLPD 625 Capstone IV (4)

Domain 2. Content

  •             RELR 540 Wholeness & Health (service learning) (3)           
  •             SLPD 550 Advanced Seminar in Neuroanatomy (3)
  •             SLPD 570 Special Topics in SLP (3) – taken three times in different clinical areas
  •             SLPD 580 Clinical Issues in SLP (2)
  •             SLPD 590 Dissemination of Research (2)
  •             Electives (not all will be taken)
    •             AHCJ 541 Managing Stress (3)
    •             AHCJ Emotional Intelligence & Leadership Skills for Health Care Professionals (3)
    •             AHCJ 566 Theoretical Foundations of Leadership (3)
    •             AHCJ Therapeutic Humor (3)
    •             AHCJ 555 Writing for Health Care Professionals (3)

Faculty Mentors

Dr. Julia Hollister

Julia Hollister, PhD

  • Linguistic development and dissociations in preschool children who stutter
  • The impact of temperament and effortful control in children who stutter
  • Stuttering therapy treatment outcomes
  • Resilience and positive adaptation in families and children with communication impairments
  • Resiliency training outcomes
  • Fluency

Lamitra Baez, MS CCC-SLP

Lamitra Baez, PhD

  • Child language disorders
  • Early Intervention
  • Cultural and/or linguistic diversity
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Assessment and Intervention for children
  • Narrative development in diverse populations

Karen Mainess, PhD, CCC-SLP

Karen Mainess, PhD, CCC-SLP

  • Child language disorders
  • Speech sound disorders
  • Children with autism
  • Narrative development in diverse populations

Christina Nobriga, PhD, CCC-SLP

Christina Nobriga, PhD, CCC-SLP

  • Quality of life in voice and swallowing
  • Practice patterns in voice and swallowing
  • Perceptual rating scales in voice
  • Thickened liquids in swallowing
  • Other topics related to voice and swallowing (e.g., cleft palate)

Eric Reid, M.S., CCC-SLP

Eric Reid, M.S., CCC-SLP

  • Bilingualism/Biculturalism/Bidialectalism
  • Speech Science (Phonetics/acoustics/Instrumentation analysis)
  • Speech Perception 
  • Speech Sound Disorders
  • Dialectal Instruction

Brian Sharp, PhD, CCC-SLP

Brian Sharp, PhD, CCC-SLP

  • Adult Neurogenic Disorders
  • Aphasia Therapy Approaches (e.g., forced use approach)
  • Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)
  • Cognitive Retraining
  • Neural plasticity, adult stroke, adult TBI, etc.

Jennifer St. Clair, CCC-SLP

Jennifer St. Clair, CCC-SLP

  • Clinical Instruction
  • Speech Sound Disorders
  • Supervision
  • Shortage of SLPs

Keith Wolgemuth, PhD, CCC-A

Keith Wolgemuth, PhD, CCC-A

  • Aural/auditory (re)habilitation
  • Child language
  • Reading abilities in children with hearing loss
  • Professional issues related to the SLPD Degree
Julia Hollister, PhD

Julia Hollister, PhD


Email: jhollister@llu.edu

Phone: 909-558-4998 Ext. 83882