Communication Disorders, M.S. - Speech Language Pathology

Vision Statement

To advance our status as an outstanding leader in educating, training and inspiring future speech-language pathologists to serve and advocate for individuals with communication disorders and differences.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Communication Disorders is to prepare graduate students for careers as speech-language pathologists.  Upon graduation, students will possess the knowledge and skills required to pursue the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

To accomplish this mission, the Department will provide an exemplary curriculum that prepares graduates to:

  • Provide current, responsive, and ethical assessment and intervention services for varied communication disorders across the life span;
  • Work with culturally and linguistically diverse populations;
  • Engage in interprofessional collaboration;
  • Be life-long learners, critical consumers, and evidence-based practitioners;
  • Support, conduct, and disseminate research;
  • Advance our discipline by educating the general public about our mission and available services; and
  • Become advocates and leaders in the field.

The Department of Communication Disorders offers a Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology through the College of Health and Human Services. Matriculated students come from a variety of undergraduate degree programs. Their differing preparations provide a welcome diversity which enriches the program's educational offerings. The program is designed to prepare students to practice as speech-language pathologists in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, public and private schools and private practice. The educational program includes instruction in a broad array of diagnostic and treatment paradigms as well as supervised hands-on experience in the department's unique Center for Communication Disorders and at selected off-campus sites including schools and hospitals.

The curriculum prepares students to serve as effective professionals in speech-language pathology. All students acquire a core of knowledge in normal developmental processes, language development, anatomy and neuroanatomy related to speech, language, hearing, and swallowing, as well as, speech and hearing science.  Students learn the requisite skills to diagnose and treat children and adults with disorders in language, articulation, phonology, fluency, swallowing, voice and velopharyngeal function, as well as neurophysiologically-based speech and language, and cognitive disorders.  Students also become proficient in the use and application of augmentative and alternative forms of communication and in the implementation of collaborative service delivery models. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge in the following areas: normal developmental processes; hearing science; speech science; diagnostic audiology; rehabilitative audiology; research in the field of communication disorders; diagnostic and remedial principles in communication disorders; learning theory; cognitive development; dysphagia; literacy. This professional competence is demonstrated through successful completion of the ASHA Knowledge and Skills Acquisition (KASA) requirements.

  2. Students will demonstrate knowledge of research findings and an interest in continuing education in order to develop and maintain clinical competencies to meet the needs of the speech-language-hearing impaired individual.  This is demonstrated through completion of the Competency-Based Evaluation for Clinical Practicum and successful completion of the 605 capstone project or a thesis.

  3. Students will demonstrate skills in goal setting, evaluation, interpersonal management, counseling, and professional report writing.  This is demonstrated through the successful generalization of knowledge and skills as assessed by clinical instructors incidentally and through completion of the Competency-Based Evaluation for Clinical Practicum.

Application and Admission

As part of the Graduate School at Southern Connecticut State University, the Department of Communication Disorders offers a program leading to the Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Learn more in the Academic Catalog.

Applicants must meet the admissions requirements of the Graduate School and the Department of Communication Disorders. 

Fall semester - February 1
Spring semester - not offered

All application materials must be processed by the Office of Graduate Admissions and listed as "received" in the graduate application portal by the deadline or the file will not be considered.  Be sure to submit application materials well in advance of the deadline to allow for processing to occur.  Applications completed after the deadline can be retained for consideration for the following year if the applicant makes this request in writing by April 1.  Incomplete applications are not retained.

Please both:  Review both the application procedures below and visit the Graduate Admission's website for detailed document submission information. 

Once the Graduate Application is submitted, applicants will be given access to the graduate application portal.  Applicants MUST check the graduate application portal to make sure all materials have been processed by the Graduate School.  Applicants will be able to upload materials to the graduate application portal.  Any materials not listed as "received" on the graduate application portal have not been processed.  If materials are mailed to the graduate processing center in New Hampshire, it takes up to 2 business days to process materials once they are received, so please submit ALL materials well in advance of the deadline.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure ALL required documents have been received by the February 1 deadline. Applications not completed by the deadline will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 

Submit to the Office of Graduate Admissions

  • The Graduate school application and fee (online submission)  If you have any questions, please call the Office of Graduate Admissions at 203-392-9670. 
  • Official undergraduate and graduate degree transcripts from all accredited colleges or universities attended. Even if only a few credits were taken at an institution, those transcripts MUST be submitted as well. A total undergraduate degree quality point ratio of 3.0 or higher is required. Any transcripts submitted from education completed outside the United States must be evaluated by an appropriate accrediting agency (e.g. World Education Service, WES) in order to equate credits and grades with United States standards.
  • Recent scores obtained on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), including Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Writing sections.
  • All students for whom English is not their first language must submit recent scores of at least 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Follow guidelines regarding who should take the TOEFL.
  • A resume, no more than 2 pages, highlighting personal strengths with a specific focus on leadership, volunteer efforts, extracurricular activities and work experiences must be submitted.  Applicants are encouraged to include weekly/semesterly/yearly time commitments to help concretely quantify levels of commitment and involvement.
  • A 250-300 word well-written essay on a personal challenge and how it was handled or a project initiated and maintained independently that demonstrated your skills in interpersonal communications, initiative, problem solving and/or organization.
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to professional promise and academic ability.  Recommendations should offer support for academic characteristics such as critical thinking and writing skills as well as potential to succeed in a graduate program.  Letters should also offer support for personal characteristics such as enthusiasm, dependability, initiative, adaptability as well as ability to interact with peers and faculty. Recommendations from professors are encouraged, although not required. 

Please follow the directions for document submission outlined on the graduate admissions' website. It is the responsibility of each applicant to review the graduate application portal to verify that all required materials are received by February 1.

Admissions decisions are made on a competitive basis. By April 1, letters are mailed to applicants indicating that they have been accepted, wait-listed or rejected to the program. Accepted students have two weeks to reply before their admission status will be revoked. Letters of acceptance or rejection will then be mailed to wait-listed applicants.

All students accepted to the Communication Disorders Program must interview with the Graduate Program Director at the time of program planning during the spring or summer following admissions. They must subsequently be formally admitted by the Office of Graduate Admissions and the College of Education upon final review of transcripts and application materials in order to finalize the admissions process.

Accepted students begin their studies in the fall semester.  Students who have completed all of the required prerequisite coursework will be offered the option of beginning courses in the summer following admission, space allowing.

The Department of Communication Disorders offers a limited number of graduate assistant positions on a competitive basis. Graduate assistants support the research and/or teaching needs of the Department.

Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders in order to apply to the Master's Program?
No. The completion of undergraduate courses in communication disorders is not required in order to apply to the Master's program.  Students who are admitted to the program will meet with the program adviser early in the summer to design a planned program of study that will include any undergraduate prerequisite courses that have not yet been completed.

How long is the Master's Program if I have not completed the prerequisite coursework?
Approximately 3 years of full-time study.  The typical program includes 1 year of prerequisite coursework followed by 2 years of graduate coursework.  

Do I need to submit the PRAXIS® Core, formerly PRAXIS® I, SAT or ACT scores?
No. The GRE scores are sufficient for the Connecticut State Department of Education requirements for Special Services Endorsement.  All students complete clinical placements in a public school system, so all students must meet the University's requirements for school certification. 

Are there minimum undergraduate GPA and GRE scores required in order to be considered in the admissions process?
The minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA to be considered is a 3.0, however, the average cumulative GPA for the most recent incoming class was a 3.63.  No minimum exists for GRE scores, however, the average GRE scores for the most recent incoming class were around the 50th percentile for the quantitative and verbal sections and the 65th percentile for the written section.  

Clinical Experiences

Each student completes a minimum of 30 credits of clinical practica and upon graduation meets all of ASHA's clinical contact hour requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence.

Clinical experiences are obtained in the Department's three on-campus clinical programs; The Center for Communication Disorders, The Access Network and Southern Connecticut Audiology Services as well as off-campus sites such as public and private schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and private practice settings under the supervision of department and on-site ASHA-certified clinicians.

Students begin their clinical training in the Department's on-campus clinical service programs and initially receive high levels of direct supervision. As skills develop, less intense direct supervision is provided.  In all practicum experiences, students receive hands-on work with clients in a variety of evaluative and treatment modes.

All clinical hours are recorded and tracked by the program.  Students are kept up to date regarding accumulation of clinical hours through computer-generated reports at the end of each semester.

Students are responsible for meeting the health and criminal record clearances established by each clinical practicum site. Practicum sites may require proof of immunization for communicable diseases such as hepatitis, rubella, and poliomyelitis, may require proof of a recent physical exam, and may require participants, at their own expense, to maintain health insurance.  Professional liability insurance is provided by the University to student interns participating in external practica. Criminal background checks are completed at the student's expense through a source arranged by the university. Individual practicum sites reserve the right to refuse to accommodate any student based on the site's criteria for an acceptable background check.

Clinical Sites

Clinical experiences may be provided through:

  • SCSU Center for Communication Disorders
  • Public and private schools in Connecticut
  • Acute care hospitals
  • Rehabilitation hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Outpatient rehabilitation facilities
  • Veteran's Administration medical centers
  • Adult group home settings
  • Connecticut Birth to Three service providers 

Courses and Descriptions

Departmental permission is required for enrollment in all CMD courses.

Prerequisite/Undergraduate Courses

CMD 203 - Phonetics and Phonological Systems
CMD 317 - Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism
CMD 319 - Language Development: Ages Birth to Five
CMD 320 - Introduction to Hearing Science
CMD 321 - Introduction to Audiology
CMD 418 - Neurological Bases of Communication
CMD 419 - Language Acquisition: School Age-Adolescence
CMD 420 - Speech Science
CMD 461 - Clinical Practice of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Additionally, students must complete a minimum of 25 observation hours of practicing speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

Required Graduate Courses

CMD 527 - Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders
CMD 503 - Research Methods in Communication Disorders
CMD 531 - Disorders of Phonology
CMD 537 - Cognitively Based Communication Disorders in Adults
CMD 545 - Disorders of Fluency
CMD 550 - Language Acquisition Disorders:  Birth to Five
CMD 551 - Language Acquisition Disorders: School Age
CMD 583 - Voice and Velopharyngeal Disorders
CMD 627 - Dysphagia

A total of 69-72 credits, completed over six semesters full-time, is required for graduation.


Must choose 2 of the following:
CMD 602 - Augmentative & Alternative Communication
CMD 608 - Topics in Medical Speech-Language Pathology
CMD 610 - Developmental Disabilities
CMD 652 - Autism Spectrum Disorders
CMD 656 - Literacy for the SLP
CMD 665 - Counseling and Guidance Procedures in Speech and Hearing

Must chose 1 of the following:
CMD 559 - Educational Audiology
CMD 575 - Central Auditory Processing Disorders in Children

Practicum Courses

CMD 560 - Speech & Language Practicum A
CMD 561 - Speech & Language Practicum B
CMD 562 - School Practicum
CMD 564 - Speech & Language Practicum C
CMD 568 - Audiology Practicum
CMD 569 - Advanced Clinical Practicum

Capstone Experience Courses

CMD 590 - Thesis Seminar 1
CMD 591 - Thesis Seminar 2
CMD 605 - Special Project in Communication Disorders

Courses required for ASHA certification (These requirements may be satisfied by courses in the Liberal Education Program as electives.):
MAT 107 - Elementary Statistics
One course in Chemistry or Physics
One course in a Biological Science with a content area related to human or animal science
Two courses in the social/behavioral sciences in psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health

Required coursework for Professional Certification in Connecticut Public Schools
One of the following:  SED 481, 482, 225

Two courses of the following: PSY 210, PSY 215, PSY 311, PSY 313, PSY 370, PSY 371, EDU 200, EDU 301, EDU 309, EDU 312, EDU 318, SED 325, SED 375

See the Undergraduate Catalog and the Graduate School Catalog for descriptions of Communication Disorders courses.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of all courses in planned program with GPA of at least 3.0 within six year limit.
  2. Pass Praxis II test for speech-language pathology; have pass indicator placed on transcript.
  3. Complete all clinical hours and practica requirements to meet ASHA and department standards.
  4. Complete capstone - Either pass CMD 605 - Special Projects or successfully complete thesis (approved by School of Graduate Studies).
  5. Apply for graduation through Registrar's Office (online).
  6. Information on applying for CT State Licensure, Teacher Certification, and ASHA certification.