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The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders offers two degree programs, both at the graduate level. The master's degree program has been continuously accredited for 30 plus years by the Council of Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and has two degrees: the Master of Speech Pathology (MSP) and the Master of Communication Disorders (MCD). Both degrees are designed to prepare students for the clinical practice of speech-language pathology.  Graduates are eligible for national certification, state licensure, and South Carolina teacher certification.  The doctoral degree program (PhD) is intended for those interested in scholarly research and who wish to pursue careers in university research and teaching.

Undergraduate Minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) has developed a minor for undergraduate students interested in learning more about the field of speech-language pathology, expanding their background in child development or adult rehabilitation, or the study of normal human language function.

The minor is an excellent area of study for students in education, exercise science, sociology, psychology, biology, foreign languages, linguistics, or special education as well as many other related fields. Although the hour requirement of a minor is defined by the student's major, courses for the COMD minor can be chosen from the 18 hours described below. Students may also be able to take these COMD courses without declaring the minor and without completing all the requirements for it. These courses include:

Course# Course Title Semester Taught
COMD 500 Introduction to Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (3 cr) Fall, Spring and Summer
COMD 501 Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech and Hearing
Mechanism (3 cr)
COMD 507 Language Theory and Phonetics (3 cr) Fall
COMD 560 * Observation of Speech-Language Pathology (3 cr) Fall and Spring
COMD 526 ** Disorders of Articulation: Evaluation and Therapy (3 cr) Spring
COMD 570 ** Introduction to Language Development (3 cr) Spring

The following courses are also available via distance learning:

Course# Course Title Semester Taught
COMD 501 J50 Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism (3 cr) Fall and Summer I
COMD 507 J50 Language Theory and Phonetics (3 cr) Fall and Summer I
COMD 526 J50 ** Disorders of Articulation: Evaluation and Therapy (3 cr) Spring and Summer II
COMD 570 J50 ** Introduction to Language Development (3 cr) Spring and Summer II
* COMD 500 and Background Check prerequisite
**COMD 501 and COMD 507 prerequisites

Additional Information on the Undergraduate Minor in COMD (PDF)

Apply to the Undergraduate Minor Program

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Master's Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology

Prerequisite Coursework
All applicants to the graduate programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders must have completed college-level coursework in the each following: 1) a human biological science (not marine biology, etc.), 2) a social/behavioral science (e.g. psychology), 3) Physics or Chemistry, and 4) statistics. These must be stand alone courses, and not simply material that is part of a course covering a broad range of topics. All four requirements must be met prior to enrolling in our graduate program. Under no circumstances will an applicant, even if admitted, be permitted to enroll in graduate courses if any of these prerequisite courses has not been completed.

Verification of CAA Standards
The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is accredited by the Council of Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). The CAA developed standards, representing a set of knowledge and skills, that students must meet to apply for ASHA certification. The Department provides opportunities via courses and clinical experiences for students to demonstrate competency in these knowledge and skills representing those standards. At the end of their program, the Department chair, based on data and documentation supplied from the Department faculty and relevant others, will complete and sign a verification form that confirms whether the student has met some or all of the CAA standards.

Master of Speech Pathology (MSP)
The MSP degree is the traditional, on-campus program. Students admitted to the MSP program must be continuously enrolled on a full-time basis for two calendar years. While a student's undergraduate major, and post baccalaureate courses, are not a consideration for admission, the point of entry into the MSP program is dependent upon previous coursework, clinical observation, and practica completed. Students begin the program during fall semester, provided they have completed a minimum of 25 clock hours of supervised observation plus three semester hours of coursework in each of the following:

  • anatomy & physiology of the speech & hearing mechanism
  • phonetics
  • language development
  • articulation disorders

All other students enter the program in the summer to complete the above prerequisites.

A limited number of graduate assistantships and/or stipends are available on a competitive basis. These may provide out-of-state students with lower in-state tuition rates.

In addition to a broad-based training in communication sciences and disorders (infants through adults), the Department offers opportunities for students to pursue additional course work and practicum several areas. These include, but are not limited to: 1) long-term rehabilitation of neurogenic speech-language disorders (with particular emphasis on traumatic brain injury) and 2) habilitation of individuals with cochlear implants. Applicants should indicate their specific interests in either of these areas in their applications.

Master of Communication Disorders (MCD)
The MCD degree is an alternative to the MSP and is intended for individuals who, due to geographic and/or financial circumstances, are unable to attend the full-time program in Columbia, SC. Courses are taken on a part-time basis (generally two courses each fall and spring semester) with summers being reserved for clinical practicum experiences. As is the case with the MSP degree, the exact point of entry into the MCD sequence is dependent on a studentís previous coursework and clinical practicum. For applicants with undergraduate majors in speech-language pathology (that include a minimum of 25 hours of clinical observation and 50 hours of supervised practicum), the MCD sequence begins in the summer and continues for three calendar years plus a summer internship. Students with undergraduate majors in other disciplines take prerequisite coursework during fall and spring semesters prior to entry into the regular MCD curriculum that begins in the summer. Financial assistance is available for students who agree to work in the South Carolina public schools for a specified period of time upon completion of the degree program.

Please note: Courses offered through distance education are not self-paced. Instead, they follow the universityís academic calendar and semester schedule. Course content is provided on DVD with internet support (e.g., interactive online chat, discussion boards, and Blackboard).

Which Master's Degree is Best for Me?

Additional Information on the MCD Degree via Distance Learning (PDF)

Apply to the Master's Degree Program

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Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders

The Ph.D. degree prepares professionals for academic careers, and therefore its emphasis is on research and the scholarly study of the science of human communication and its disorders. Doctoral students, under the director of a mentor, regularly participate in laboratory activities and pursue a program of scholarly research leading to publication in scientific journals. Academic coursework consists of 12 credit hours of statistics and experimental design, 9 hours in speech and hearing science, and 24 hours in a concentration area, followed by written and oral comprehensive examinations. The degree culminates in the successful defense of a dissertation (12 credit hours).  Students may enter the doctoral program following the bachelor or master degree, depending on their professional goals and interest in clinical certification. Applications are invited from students with majors in a variety of disciplines, including (but not limited to), audiology, engineering, linguistics, psychology, physics, physiology, and speech-language pathology. Research assistantships are available for qualified applicants.

Apply to the Ph.D. Program

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