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Communication Disorders

Speech-Language Pathology

Master of Communication Disorders (M.C.D.)

College: College of Nursing and Health Professions

Department: Communication Disorders


The Graduate Program in Communication Disorders meets the rigorous requirements for accreditation for speech-language pathology from the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).  It has been designed to lead to state licensure and the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology issued by ASHA.  

The Master of Communication Disorders degree consists of 49 semester hours beyond the Bachelor's degree, including credit for clinical practice.  Clinical practice consists of direct clinical experience supervised by the Communication Disorders faculty and/or clinical instructor.  Each candidate and the advisor will plan and design a program of study to ensure that professional requirements will be met.  

The successful student is expected to have demonstrated expertise and in-depth knowledge of the normal communication processes, development, and disorders thereof; evaluation procedures to assess the bases of such disorders; and clinical techniques that have been shown to improve or eradicate them.  In addition, competency must be demonstrated in the related areas of human anatomy and physiology, psychological dynamics, and research.


Curriculum and degree requirements can be found in the most current Graduate Bulletin.

Visit the bulletins page >>

  • Prerequisites

    Undergraduate Degree

    The MCD is a professional degree, required for state licensure and the Certificate of Clinical Competence. Therefore, for students wishing to pursue the MCD, a pre-professional degree in communication disorders is strongly recommended.

    Students possessing the undergraduate degree qualify to apply, however, if admitted, deficiencies in undergraduate preparation may be assigned as corequisites. These deficiencies include (but are not limited to) Fluency Disorders, Articulation and Phonological Disorders, and Statistics.

    Non-Communication Disorders Undergraduates

    Students that do not possess the undergraduate degree in CD are not eligible to apply for the MCD until the leveling requirements are met. See "Non-Communication Disorders Leveling Requirements" below for more details.

    Competitive Admission

    Students should be aware that admission to the MCD program is competitive and based on space available. Meeting minimum admission requirements and/or completion of the non-Communication Disorders leveling requirements does not imply or guarantee admission to the MCD program. Note: the MCD program only admits in the summer term.

  • Non-Communication Disorders Leveling Requirements

    Non-Communication Disorders Graduates

    Applicants with undergraduate degrees in majors other than speech-language pathology may make application to the MCD program upon meeting the leveling requirements (listed below), which include 38 credit hours of core coursework.

    Prior to Program Screening

    The following courses must be completed prior to program screening and should be taken during the spring semester:

    Communication Disorders
    Sem hrs.
    CD 2653: Introduction to Communication Disorders 3
    CD 2203: Phonetics 3
    CD 2104: Anatomy & Physiology of Communication 4
    CD 3003: Speech and Hearing Science 3
    CD 3303: Normal Language Development 3

    Program Screening

    Upon completion of the above courses, post-degree students must complete Program Screening to qualify for continuation in the program.

    • 2.75 or better Overall GPA
    • A minimum of 30 hours of earned academic credit
    • "B" or better in the following class:
      • MATH 1023 College Algebra
    • "C" or better in the following classes:
      • ENG 1003 Composition I
      • ENG 1013 Composition II
    • 3.20 or better combined GPA for the following classes:
      • BIO 2203 / 2201: Human Anatomy & Physiology Lecture & Lab, if taken
         Note: BIO 2203/BIO 2201 are only calculated if taken.  If not taken, GPA will be calculated on remaining courses only.
      • PSY 2013: Introduction to Psychology
      • PHSC 1203: and 1201 Physical Science Lec and Lab
      • CD 2653: Introduction to Communication Disorders
      • CD 2104: Anatomy and Physiology of Communication
      • CD 2203: Phonetics
    • Ten (10) clock-hours of documented, prescribed observation
    • A speech & hearing screening (Free for CD Students)

    Remaining Coursework

    Upon successfully qualifying, the remaining coursework should be completed in the next fall/spring academic year.

    Applicants must identify the specific year for which they are applying, and will be considered for admission only after indicating in writing that they understand admission for the targeted year is contingent on their provision of evidence (in the form of an official transcript) of having successfully completed all of the screening and core specified leveling requirements. Such evidence must be received prior to the first day of classes for the targeted year, if admitted.

    In the event documentation is not provided by that time, the admission decision will be considered null and void. The applicant may re-apply for admission for a subsequent year, however, admission is not guaranteed.

    All equivalents/course substitutions must be approved by the CD Admissions and Credits Committee.

    Note: the MCD program only admits in the summer term.

  • Essential Functions of Candidates

    Essential Functions of Candidates for Admission & Continuance


    The accredited graduate program in Communication Disorders (MCD) at Arkansas State University (A-State) adheres to the standards set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Within ASHA standards, the MCD program has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for the following: the selection of students; the design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum; the evaluation of student progress in both classroom and clinical activities; the determination of whom should be awarded a degree; and the determination of whom should be recommended for ASHA certification and state licensure.

    When requested, the University, College, and the Department will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with properly certified disabilities. However, the MCD faculty holds responsibility for the welfare of students in the Department and the clients we serve. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the Department has established academic standards and minimum essential requirements that must be met with or without reasonable accommodations in order to participate in the program and graduate.

    Essential Functions

    In order to acquire the knowledge and skills requisite to the practice of speech-language pathology, to function in a broad variety of clinical situations, and to render a wide spectrum of patient care services, individuals must have essential skills and attributes in five areas: communication, motor, intellectual-cognitive, sensory-observational, and behavioral-social.

    These skills enable a student to meet graduate and professional requirements as measured by state and national credentialing agencies. Many of these skills can be learned and developed during the course of the graduate program through coursework and clinical experience. Failure to meet or maintain Essential Functions may result in action against the student, including, but not limited to dismissal from the program.


    A student must possess adequate communication skills to:

    • Communicate proficiently using both oral and written English language.
    • Possess reading and writing skills sufficient to meet curricular and clinical demands.
    • Perceive and demonstrate appropriate non-verbal communication for culture and context.
    • Modify communication style to meet the communicative needs of clients, caregivers, and other persons served.
    • Convey information accurately with relevance and cultural sensitivity. 

    A student must possess adequate motor skills to:

    • Sustain necessary physical activity level in required classroom and clinical activities
    • Respond quickly to provide a safe environment for clients in emergency situations including fire, choking, etc.
    • Access transportation to clinical and academic placements
    • Participate in classroom and clinical activities for the defined workday
    • Efficiently manipulate testing and treatment environment and materials
    Intellectual / Cognitive

    A student must possess adequate intellectual and cognitive skills to:

    • Comprehend, retain, integrate, synthesize, infer, evaluate and apply written and verbal information sufficient to meet curricular and clinical demands.
    • Identify significant findings from history, evaluation, and data to formulate a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
    • Solve problems, reason, and make sound clinical judgments in patient assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic plan and implementation.
    • Self evaluate, identify, and communicate limits of one’s own knowledge and skills and be able to identify and utilize resources in order to increase knowledge and skills.
    • Utilize detailed written and verbal instruction in order to make unique and independent decisions.
    Sensory / Observational

    A student must possess adequate sensory skills to:

    • Visually and auditorily identify and discriminate normal and disordered communication.
    • Identify the need for alternative modalities of communication.
    • Visualize and identify anatomic structures.
    • Visualize and discriminate imaging findings.
    • Recognize when a client’s family does or does not understand the clinician’s written and/or verbal communication.
    Behavioral / Social

    A student must possess adequate behavioral and social attributes to:

    • Display mature, empathetic, and effective professional relationships by exhibiting compassion, integrity, and concern for others.
    • Conduct oneself in an ethical and legal manner, upholding the ASHA Code of Ethics and university and federal privacy policies.
    • Maintain general good physical and mental health to prevent jeopardizing the health and safety of self and others in the academic and clinical setting.
    • Adapt to changing and demanding environments which includes maintaining both professional demeanor and emotional health.
    • Manage the use of time effectively to complete professional and technical tasks within realistic time constraints.
    • Accept appropriate suggestions and constructive criticism and respond by modification of behaviors.
    • Dress appropriately and professionally. 
    Reference:  Adapted from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (2007)
  • Admission Process

    How to Apply

    Applicants should apply for admission to Graduate School and pay the application fee. Note: the MCD program only admits in the summer term.

    All students are required to present written documentation of immunization for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella). This immunization must have been received after the first birthday and after January 1, 1968. 

    Arkansas law requires that in order to be eligible for enrollment at a public institution of higher learning a male applicant, between the ages of 18 and 25, who is a U.S. citizen must be registered or be exempt from registration with the selective service system.

    Apply Online >>

    GRE Score

    Submit scores for all subtests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  To be considered, applicants must possess a minimum score of 285 on the combined verbal and quantitative portions of the exam.  Listing school code 6011 will get them electronically sent to A-State.  You may contact the Testing Center at Arkansas State University at 870-972-2038 to make the necessary arrangements for testing. (Average GRE score of most recently admitted class: 299)


    Submit an official transcript from all colleges and universities attended since leaving high school.  Transcripts must be mailed directly from the institutions previously attended.  To be considered for the MCD, applicants must possess an overall GPA of 3.00 or higher or a GPA of 3.25 (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. 
    (Average GPA of most recently admitted class: Overall=3.75, Last 60 hours=3.92)

    Formal Letter

    Submit a letter that requests acceptance into the program and states personal goals and interests.

    Current Resume

    Submit a current resume.

    Rating Forms

    Arrange for completion and submission of three (3) Graduate Readiness Rating forms by persons qualified to speak with authority of your professional abilities and personal characteristics. Narrative letters of recommendation will not be considered unless attached to the completed, required form.

    View the rating form >>

     All documents must be submitted to:

    Arkansas State University
    Department of Communication Disorders
    P.O. Box 910
    State University, AR 72467

    For questions regarding material submission, please call the Department of Communication Disorders at (870) 972-3106
    Materials mailed to the department based on previous application instructions will be forwarded to the admissions office.

    Rankings and Acceptance

    After the deadline of February 15th, the CD Admissions and Credits Committee reviews all applications for GRE scores and GPA's. Applicants that do not provide evidence of meeting the minimum requirements are not reviewed further.

    Qualifying applicants are then ranked and awarded points (based on ranking) from a pre-determined scale and are ranked individually by GPA-overall, GPA-in the major, GRE score (verbal/quantitative combined), and GRE writing score. Points for affective applicant items (resume, intent letter, and rating forms) are totaled and result in a folder score and subsequent ranking. Total applicant points are then ranked and the class is selected based on the number of students the program can accept.

    Formal letters are sent to all qualified applicants notifying them of acceptance status. Invited applicants must respond at their earliest convenience but no later than April 20th.  In the event attrition is high, the committee selects replacements from the remaining qualifying applicant pool, and additional invitations are extended.

    Notice: Admitted MCD students begin the program in the first summer term following admission. Upon successful completion of coursework, practicum, and comprehensive examinations or thesis, matriculation is completed 19 months later, graduating in December.
  • Additional Costs

    Additional Expenses

    In addition to tuition costs, Communication Disorders students will incur the following expenses:

    Clinical Rotations

    Every student will participate in clinical rotations prior to graduation. At the graduate level, the clinical experience will occur on-campus at the A-State Speech and Hearing Center as well as clinical affiliate sites off-campus. When the clinical rotation is scheduled at an off-campus clinical site, it is the responsibility of the student to arrange for transportation to and from clinical sites and any expense related to it.

    CPR & TB Skin Test

    CPR certification and a TB skin test are also required prior to clinical practicum enrollment. Students are notified of free or low-cost certification opportunities regularly (cost varies depending on provider).

    Malpractice Insurance

    All students in the College of Nursing and Health Professions must purchase malpractice insurance prior to rotating through clinical practicum sites. The annual cost of this insurance is approximately $40.00.

    Information regarding purchase of malpractice insurance is distributed prior to the first clinical practicum rotation during preparatory courses.

    Background Check

    Additionally, if the clinical site requires it, a background check may be required at a cost between $50.00 and $100.00.

  • Careers
  • Student Outcome Measures

    Licensure Exam Pass Rates & Employment Rates

    Praxis Pass Rate
    Employment Rate
    2017-2018 27 100% 100%
    2016-2017 25 100% 100%
    2015-2016 26 100% 100%
    Three-Year Average 26 100% 100%

    Program Completion Rates

    Completed within expected timeline
    Completed later than expected timeline
    Didn't Complete
    Completion Rate
    2017-2018 27 0 0 100%
    2016-2017 25 0 0 100%
    2015-2016 26 0 0 100%
    Three-Year Average 26 0 0 100%
  • Post Graduation

    Graduates of the MCD program are required to maintain contact information with the department for a minimum of five (5) years for surveys related to accreditation.  Surveys are distributed at one year, three years, and five years post-graduation.  

    MCD students are required to take the PRAXIS II proficiency exam and supply score to the department prior to graduation.

    A clinical fellowship is required after graduation in order to receive the Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association LogoThe Master of Communication Disorders (MCD) in speech-language pathology at Arkansas State University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Blvd. #310, Rockville, Maryland, 20850.  
(800) 498-2071 or (301) 296-5700