Example electrocortigraphy traces during speech listening (hero photo)

Interested in joining the lab as a graduate student? Dr. Hamilton is able to take students from a number of different graduate programs. Those programs are listed below with some general guidelines. Students should look into the requirements of each program to determine what is the best fit for them. Our research explores the intersection between systems and cognitive neuroscience, communication sciences and disorders, neural engineering, neurolinguistics, and computational neuroscience, so we welcome motivated lab members from a variety of backgrounds.

  1. The PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders
    • This is a research-focused program with an emphasis in speech, language, communication, and related disorders. Students are required to have their Master's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders or similar field before entering as a PhD student (those who do not have an MA must follow the MA-PhD coursework). 
    • Students in the CSD PhD program must apply directly to a lab they are interested in and must secure support from their mentor before applying to the program. This is a direct-admit program (you join the lab immediately upon entering).
    • Many students in the CSD-PhD are clinically certified in Speech Language Pathology or Audiology, and the coursework has a somewhat more clinical emphasis than the Neuroscience PhD program.
  2. The PhD in Neuroscience through the UT Austin Institute for Neuroscience
    • This is a research-focused program with a broader emphasis in neuroscience, including cellular/molecular, systems, computational, and cognitive neuroscience. A Master's is not required for entry into the program.
    • Students in the Neuroscience PhD program rotate through 2-3 labs in their first year, after which they choose a lab in which they will pursue their dissertation work (unlike the CSD PhD program, this is not a direct-admit program).
    • The PhD in Neuroscience does not specifically include any clinical certification and is intended for students interested in pursuing neuroscience-related research.
  3. The Master's in Speech Language Pathology in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
    • This is a clinical program intended for students who wish to become Speech Language Pathologists. Research is not required as part of this program, however, students may opt to undertake research projects through a Graduate Research Assistantship (and an independent study course, for example CSD380E) or through the Masters Thesis option.
    • Students interested in the research thesis option may choose to spend their second year pursuing a research thesis (in CSD698A and CSD698B) in addition to their coursework and clinical hours. 
  4. The AuD in Communication Sciences and Disorders
    • This is a clinical program intended for students who wish to become Audiologists. In the third year, students undertake a capstone project under the supervision of a faculty member. 
    • AuD students who wish to participate in research should contact the faculty member they are interested in working with to discuss potential projects.
  5. The MA-PhD and AuD-PhD programs (in Communication Sciences and Disorders)
    • These programs are intended for students who wish to enter the PhD program and do not yet have the MA-SLP or AuD degree. The MA-PhD has an option for non-clinical coursework as well as a clinical coursework option. 
    • Admission to the PhD program, as in the CSD PhD program option, requires that you secure a research mentor before applying and verify that there is funding/space in the lab.
  6. A research rotation as a second year PhD student in Communication Sciences and Disorders (where you have a different primary mentor)
    • As part of the second year of the PhD in CSD, students are required to perform a research rotation in a lab other than their primary advisor. Students can register for CSD380E (Independent Study) to complete this research rotation.
    • In year 2, the student is required to present the results of their research rotation to the department in an end-of-year student talk series. The student should also submit a final written report (journal article in APA style) to end the research rotation.
    • See the PhD student guide for details.
  7. Medical Students and Residents at Dell Medical School - Neurology
    • Medical Students and/or Residents with an interest in neurology, human neurophysiology, neurosurgery, epilepsy, or speech and language should contact Dr. Hamilton to ask about potential research opportunities.

If you are in another department and interested in collaborating with us, please email!

    General Advice


    The following are some suggestions for people who are interested in working in the lab, and is similar to what I recommend for undergraduates. The following advice is paraphrased from Loren Frank's laboratory at UCSF:

    1. Read (or at least skim) papers from the laboratory before you apply. Make sure that the sort of work the lab does is exciting to you and that you will be willing to put in the time and the effort required to learn about the science done in the lab. You can find some of our papers here.
    2. Do not write a general application letter that you send to a number of research groups. Instead, explain why you think you are interested in the work being done in the specific laboratory to which you are applying.
    3. If you are emailing to inquire about entering as a PhD student, please include your resume/CV with your email. This should have your relevant coursework, any previous research or relevant work experience, honors and awards, and publications or presentations.

    Lab Philosophy


    We cultivate a lab culture where people are encouraged to work together to solve problems and to come together as a team to understand the fascinating mystery of how the brain supports speech and language. We strive for high impact research while working collaboratively. As a mentor, I (Dr. Hamilton) pledge to help you discover your own potential and guide you toward your future goals, whether these be in academia, the clinic, industry, or elsewhere. I appreciate maintaining an open line of communication between myself and my lab colleagues.