Communication Sciences and Disorders

Other Information

Graduate Catalog: CSD

  • Admission requirements
  • Program details
  • Course descriptions

Application Deadlines

Department: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Graduate Director:
Dr. Rebecca Crowell

Program Overview

The graduate program in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Students earning a master of science degree will have completed the academic course work and clinical experiences that make them eligible to apply for the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. As an accredited program, the graduate degree in communication sciences and disorders documents students' knowledge and skills acquisition (KASA) as stipulated to meet the certification standards effective January 1, 2005. The Communication Sciences and Disorders Department does not offer a graduate degree in audiology.

Accreditation Specific to the Program

  • American Speech Language-Hearing Association
  • Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology; re-accreditation awarded and effective March, 2009 through February, 2017.


Graduates have enjoyed professional employment in a variety of settings including: elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private practice.


Apply Online to SCSU by January 15.  The application fee is $40. 

Admission Information

  • The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders conducts the admission process once per year. 
  • Admission is highly competitive and is granted to approximately 15 to 18 Phase II full-time students each academic year. Students accepted into Phase II of the program may begin their study in either summer or fall.
  • A small number of full-time admissions may be granted to students beginning study at Phase I of the degree program. Phase I students must begin study during fall semester. 
  • The CSD program, due to accrediting agency standards, cannot admit part-time students.
  • Applicants are reviewed in a pool by graduate faculty in early February. Qualified candidates are invited to interview, generally around the middle of February
  • Selection is heavily based on the applicant's scores earned on the verbal and quantitative subsections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), on undergraduate GPA, and on recommendation letters from faculty familiar with the applicant's potential for success in graduate school.
  • Approximately 30 to 40 applicants will be invited to visit campus for a half-day session.  Once on campus the group will be broken into smaller groups to tour the campus and facilitiy.
  • An individual interview with one to two faculty members will also take place.
  • For applicants unable to visit campus due to travel distance, an interview via Skype will be offered.
  • Students who are accepted into the graduate program will receive notification approximately the first week of March.
  • Students who are offered admission to graduate study have until April 15 to accept or reject the offer. The admission process continues until the available spaces are filled.
  • Offers for admission to graduate study in CSD are valid only for the specific year in which an applicant applied. Applicants must reapply each year they wish to be considered for admission.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Wait list Information

  • Competition for limited places in the CSD program requires the necessity of a wait list.

Length of Program — Measured by Semesters

  • Full-time Student, Phase I: seven to eight semesters taking 12 credits per semester.
  • Full-time Student, Phase II: five to six semesters taking 12 credits per semester.
  • The length of time needed to complete the degree increases for students who have deficiencies in undergraduate prerequisites, who have not accumulated at least 100 undergraduate clinical clock hours, who elect to complete additional course work, or who elect to carry less than a normal academic load.

Graduate Assistantship Overview

  • Eight to ten graduate assistantships of part-time status(10 hours a week) are available each year.
  • Graduate assistants assist faculty with research and teaching endeavors.
  • Graduate assistantships are awarded to admitted students based on their ranking on the admissions list. 

Phase I and Phase II

The Master of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders is subdivided into Phase I and Phase II. A student must have applied and been accepted into the CSD graduate program in order to complete courses in either phase of the degree program. Admission standards and application deadlines are the same for students accepted into Phase I and Phase II.

Students begin study at Phase I if they are accepted into the graduate program without an undergraduate degree or preparation in the professional discipline or with less than 25 credits of CSD course work. Students with an undergraduate major or minor in communication disorders initiate study at Phase II.

Phase I Overview

The courses in Phase I are prerequisites for Phase II courses. Students will not be permitted to enroll in Phase II courses until Phase I courses have been completed. Phase I consists of a minimum of 33 semester credits. Additional Phase I credits would be required for students with baccalaureate degrees that did not include at least one course in each of the following four areas: 1) human biology, 2) physical science, 3) mathematics, and 4) social/behavioral sciences.

When CSD courses required in Phase I are double-numbered for both undergraduate and graduate credit, Phase I students are expected to enroll for graduate level credit. Students beginning study at Phase I need not reapply for Phase II of the graduate degree program. Progression into Phase II is contingent upon a student maintaining at least a 3.5 grade point average across each semester of Phase I course work. Students must discontinue study in Phase I at any point where the grade point average falls below a 3.5 minimum.

Phase II Overview

Phase II consists of 49 credits that entail 37 credits of academic course work and a minimum of 12 credits of practicum. Phase II credit requirements may exceed 49 credits if prerequisites have not been met, students elect to complete additional course work, or an additional practicum is required to meet clinical clock hour requirements for certification. A 3.0 grade point average must be maintained during each semester of Phase II course work. 

Thesis Versus Non-thesis Option (Plan A versus Plan B)

In order to fulfill the requirements for the master of science degree, students may choose to complete a thesis (Plan A) or written comprehensive examinations (Plan B).

  • Students completing a thesis enroll for six thesis credits and therefore do not have to complete six credits of support course electives.
  • Students interested in writing a thesis are encouraged to make their interest known early in their graduate education.
  • Students must successfully defend the thesis work in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the M.S. degree.
  • Comprehensive examinations are held during fall and spring semesters. Students typically write these examinations during the fall semester of their second year.
  • Students must successfully pass the comprehensive examinations in partial fulfillment of requirements for the M.S. degree. 

Teacher Licensure

Students who complete a Master of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from an ASHA accredited program are eligible to apply for a Minnesota teacher licensure as an educational speech-language pathologist. No specific teacher licensure block of courses is required for a Minnesota teacher license, but students interested in employment in a school setting are encouraged to take education courses of relevance to fulfill the support course electives. The Pre-professional Skills Test (PPST) is no longer required of individuals applying for a Minnesota teacher license in speech-language pathology.