Guide to Oral Qualifying Exam in SHBT

Oral Examination in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology

Every student in the Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology Program is required to take an oral exam that tests the depth of understanding in a chosen concentration area.

Planning your Concentration

The concentration requirements tested by the oral exam include both course work and a research project.  The course work consists of four related graduate courses in one of 5 broadly defined concentration areas.  Select your courses in consultation with your academic advisor and dissertation advisor.  Submit a Plan for Concentration form to the SHBT Program no later than June 1 of your second year in the Program.

The research project should have a scope equivalent to half-time effort for one academic term or full-time effort for a summer and apply scientific principles from your chosen Area. This project may or may not be related to your future dissertation work.


Area Chair Email
Neurobiology and Physiology
Neurocognition and Perception
Quantitative Analysis
Speech and Language

Speech-Language Pathology
Dan Polley
Josh McDermott
B. Delgutte
S. Shattuck-Hufnagel
R.E. Hillman
daniel_polley (at)
jhm (at)
bertrand_delgutte (at)
sshuf (at)

hillman.robert (at)


Requesting an Oral Exam

Once you have completed or are about to complete your concentration requirements, you should request an oral exam by meeting with your Area Chairperson and completing a Request for Oral Examination form. Return the form to the SHBT Program no later than August 31 of your third year in the program.

Preparing for your Oral Exam


After you meet with the Area Chairperson to request an oral exam, a faculty committee will be appointed for you, or you will be asked to contact potential committee members.  As soon as the composition of your committee is finalized, you should start preparing for the exam as indicated below:


  1. Contact your committee to schedule a date for the Exam. If there are any committee members you don't know, it is a good idea to introduce yourself in person. Find a room for the Exam and reserve it for 3 hours.
  2. As a focus for the Exam, you are required to produce and distribute a short paper about your research project. This research summary should not exceed 6-8 pages not counting figures and references. Hand it in to the committee at least one week before the exam.
  3. Prepare a short (10-15 min) research presentation. Assume the committee will have read your summary.