Communication Disorders and Sciences

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The Communication Disorders and Sciences (CDS) program offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science degree. The program is designed to develop competence in the assessment and treatment of persons with communication disorders.

The degree requires 63-71 credit hours of study, depending on the students' course of study. Students have the option of a comprehensive exam or a thesis. Coursework is planned to meet the academic and professional requirements for state and national certification, which are required for professional employment. These requirements comprise the minimum course work. At least 50% of the courses earned toward the degree must be at the 500-level. The M.S. in Communication Disorders and Sciences degree program will culminate in eligibility for the Certificate of Clinical Competence of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and state licensure. ASHA certification is required for work in agencies, hospitals, medical centers, and higher education. Students may take additional course work to qualify them for the program.  The School of Health Sciences maintains active research facilities which provide laboratories and specialized equipment for the study of both the normal and impaired functions of the speech, language, and hearing processes.

Communication Disorders and Sciences is a competitive admissions program.

Competitive Admission Process – Communication Disorders and Sciences Graduate Program: SIUC Undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher at the end of Fall Semester prior to graduation, offered admission.

Standard admission criteria:

  1. GPA last 45-60 credit hours of 2.7 as indicated by the SIUC Graduate School - requests for exception to the 2.7 GPA may be possible if admissions committee identifies additional strengths such as trending positive GPA, strong GPA in communication disorders and sciences courses, or other than academic experiences that strengthen a packet.
  2. Students take the GRE but there is not minimum requirement.
  3. Students write a personal statement that is reviewed by the admissions committee members.
  4. Students complete a resume portion of the online application through communication sciences and disorders application system (CSDCAS).
  5. Students supply a minimum of three reference letters through CSDCAS.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication Disorders and Sciences

The M.S. in Communication Disorders and Sciences degree is a six semester course of study of approximately 63 to 71 credit hours. Specific course requirements and total number of hours are generally determined by advisement after consultation with the graduate student. The M.S. in Communication Disorders and Sciences degree also requires that each student either successfully pass a comprehensive examination or successfully complete an approved thesis. Students must select one of the following plans:

Thesis Option

Required Core Courses (29 CH)

  • Speech (12 CH)
  • Language (9 CH)
  • Speech or Language (6 CH)
  • Speech, Language or Hearing (2 CH)

Required Clinical Courses (30-32 CH)

Required Research Tools (6 CH)

Thesis (3 CH)

Total: 68-71 Credit Hours

Comprehensive Examination Option

Required Core Courses (29 CH)

  • Speech (12 CH)
  • Language (9 CH)
  • Speech or Language (6 CH)
  • Speech, Language, or Hearing (2 CH)

Required Clinical Courses (30-32 CH)*

*varies depending on selection of CDS 598 or CDS 597

Required Research Tools (3 CH)

Comprehensive Exam (1 CH)

Total: 63-66 Credit Hours


Students may petition the faculty for an M.A. in Communication Disorders and Sciences degree which does not include the clinical courses and does not culminate in eligibility or certification in speech pathology (minimum of 34 required credit hours).      

Academic Standing

The graduate student whose overall graduate grade point average (GGPA) falls below 3.0 shall be placed on academic probation by the Graduate School. Students are restricted from clinical experiences while on academic probation. The time limit for being removed from probationary status shall be maximum of two consecutive regular semesters. If at this time the student’s overall GGPA is not at least 3.0, the student’s enrollment will be terminated. In addition, students whose semester GGPA falls below 3.0 for two consecutive regular semesters, will be terminated from the program. Grades of “C” or below are considered failing grades in the CDS graduate program.