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Communication Sciences and Disorders, M.S.

Format: In person on the Armstrong Campus
Credit Hours: 57
Entry Term: Fall

The Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders provides students with the knowledge and skills to prevent, assess, diagnose and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. Evidenced-focused, team-orientated, problem-based instruction prepares graduates to enter the workforce as clinical fellowship-ready speech-language pathologists. Graduates are also prepared to pursue the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). The degree includes a total of 54 semester hours of academic coursework and clinical practica.

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Program Information

Mission

The Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSDS) Program supports the mission of the University to prepare individuals to think, lead, and serve, as well the mission of the Waters College of Health Professions (WCHP) to prepare future health professionals through academic excellence and interdisciplinary collaboration, while advancing knowledge through scholarship and serving culturally diverse communities.

The purpose of the Master of Science Program in CSDS is to prepare graduate students for certification in speech-language pathology through didactic coursework in foundational concepts; clinical instruction in assessment, intervention, prevention, and counseling; volunteerism and advocacy. The program teaches graduate students to evaluate and utilize evidence from scientific research; think critically in order to solve clinical problems; convey complex health information through written and spoken modalities; collaborate effectively to realize exceptional clinical outcomes; act ethically to serve clients within a culturally and linguistically diverse society as outlined in the accreditation standards of the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Vision

The Communication Sciences and Disorders program will continue to uphold a strong commitment to higher learning and clinical education across the curriculum. This will include inter-professional relationships and innovative instructional formats that employ scholarly activity and civic responsibility, while acknowledging and meeting the needs of the city of Savannah and the surrounding community.

Values

  • The Communication Sciences and Disorders program supports these core values:
  • Academic and clinical instruction that is transformative, experiential and rigorous, leading to student success.
  • A balance among service, teaching, mentoring and scholarship.
  • An environment of mutual trust and collegiality that respects diversity in professional collaborations and the clinical populations served.
  • Ethical behavior and accountability for faculty, staff and students that support high standards of academic and clinical performance.
  • Our relationship with Savannah and the surrounding areas for its rich history and abundant resources, through strategic community partnerships that provide learning opportunities for faculty and students.

Strategic Objectives

  • The faculty within the Communication Sciences and Disorders program will use evidence-based instruction and transformative learning strategies to stimulate the critical thinking skills necessary for practice, advocacy, and leadership in the profession.
  • The Communication Sciences and Disorders program will develop and maintain partnerships within the community to promote service opportunities for students as well as meet community needs.
  • The Communication Sciences and Disorders program will develop and maintain partnerships with other health and non-health professions to promote interprofessional collaborations.
  • The Communication Sciences and Disorders program will develop international partnerships and educational opportunities as well as increase the intercultural competence of students, faculty and staff.
  • The Communication Sciences and Disorders program will maintain adequate resources for teaching, scholarship, communication, and productivity to meet current and future needs.

Prospective Students

Communication Sciences and Disorders Degree Completion

The graduate admissions process for the Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders is managed by the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application System (CSDCAS). Applications may be submitted beginning Sept 1st through the January 15th deadline. The Georgia Southern graduate application will NOT be accepted. Only materials submitted via CSDCAS will be reviewed.

Admission Requirements

Coursework

Applicants to the program must have knowledge of the scope of speech-language pathology practice. This knowledge will be demonstrated in one of two ways:

  1. The applicant must complete the requirements for a baccalaureate degree in  communication sciences and disorders, speech-language pathology, speech and hearing sciences or an equivalent discipline from a regionally accredited institution OR
  2. The applicant must complete the requirements for a baccalaureate degree in a field other than communication sciences and disorders plus appropriate prerequisite coursework in the field of speech-language pathology/communication sciences and disorders. Students will be admitted to the Communication Sciences and Disorders program after completing the five (5) pre-requisite courses listed below are successfully completed and official transcripts are submitted.
    • The pre-requisite courses can be taken at any accredited university; this includes Georgia Southern. Any or all of the needed prerequisite courses are offered through our program in the fall and spring semesters prior to enrollment.
    • Students must complete all of the prerequisite courses and submit official transcripts no later than August 1 of the enrollment semester. Classes begin the third week of August.

Pre-requisite courses

  • Anatomy of Speech and Hearing Mechanism
  • Normal Speech and Language Development
  • Phonetics
    • Non-Communication Sciences and Disorders coursework (i.e., linguistics courses) is NOT acceptable
  • Speech Science
  • Introduction To Audiology

GPA

A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 is required. This minimum GPA is based on ALL college-level work.

Test Scores

GRE

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required as an admissions requirement for fall 2023.

Test of English as a Foreign Language

For students whose second language is English, a score of 550 (paper-based) or 100 (computer-based) or better on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 6.5 or better on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Scores should be within 5 years of the application date.

Documents

The following documents are required for admission to the Master of Science program in communication sciences and disorders and should be submitted via the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application System (CSDCAS).

  • Official college transcripts requested using the CSDCAS transcript request form.
  • Three (3) Completed CSDCAS Reference Forms
    • At least two of the three forms should be completed by professors with knowledge of the applicant’s academic performance and professionalism. Professors in communication sciences and disorders are preferred.
  • No more than one of the three forms should be completed by a professional reference such as an employer.
  • Personal Statement (Vital information from resume’s should be included in the Letter of Intent) (Please submit via CSDCAS)

Essential Skills

The attached document includes essential functions you will be expected to perform during your educational program as a student and professional career. Persons interested in applying for admission to the Communication Sciences and Disorders program should review this document  in its entirety (cover sheet, Appendix A, and Appendix B) to develop a better understanding of the cognitive skills, physical abilities, and behavioral characteristics necessary to successfully complete the program and work as a speech-language pathologist.

A cover sheet with acknowledgment, signature, and date  MUST be submitted as part of the admissions packet. (Please submit via CSDCAS)

Video Submission

Video Recording:

In lieu of onsite interviews, the CSDS program requires all applicants to submit a video recording as part of the admissions process. Information regarding requirements for the video can be found in the questions section of CSDCAS.

Additional Requirements

The graduate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders is accredited by the Council of Academic Accreditation (CAC). Pre-requisite courses that provide a foundational understanding of speech, language, hearing, and swallowing, as well as (basic) courses in natural sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, and math must be completed to meet accreditation standards.

We require all courses be completed prior to enrolling in the program. Official transcripts must be submitted to verify completion. Courses include:

  • Biological Science (Science of living things-Biology, Human Anatomy, etc)
  • Physical Science (Physics or Chemistry)
  • Social Science (Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, etc)
  • Statistics

Application Submission

  • Deadline: The online application and all support materials should be received and/or postmarked by January 1 of each year.
  • Verification of application materials can take up to 4 weeks during peak periods. Be sure to submit all required documents as soon as possible.
  • The applications and support materials are reviewed and a limited number of applicants are accepted into the program.
  • Meeting the minimum criteria for application for graduate school does not guarantee admission to the communication sciences and disorders program. It should be noted that the pool of applicants for the program includes many highly qualified applicants, and the number of available positions is limited. Therefore, admission to the communication sciences and disorders program is highly competitive.

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen

  • A background investigation and ten-panel drug screen must be completed with Professional Screening and information, the company selected by Georgia Southern’s Waters College of Health Professions, prior to the start of classes. Students who do not pass the criminal background check and a drug screening test may be restricted from clinical placements and may be dismissed from the program at the discretion of the program faculty and the College administration. Any fees or cost associated with the background checks and/or drug testing will be the responsibility of the student.

Further information will be provided to students upon acceptance to the program. 

Additional Requirements

Current proof of the following requirements must be provided to the program upon the student’s receipt of an official acceptance letter from the program no later than July 15.

  • Professional liability insurance (Further information will be provided to students upon acceptance to the program)
  • Health insurance or waiver (Further information will be provided to students upon acceptance to the program)
  • 25 ASHA CCC-supervised clinical observation hours
  • First aid certification, only the American Heart Association will be accepted
  • Infant/child and adult CPR HealthCare Provider certification (Only American Heart Association will be accepted.)
  • Negative TB PPD skin test (or negative chest x-ray following positive PPD)
  • Flu Shot (required from October 1 to March 31)

Fees

Students selected for admission must formally accept the position and submit a non-refundable deposit. Students who matriculate in the CSDS program at Georgia Southern University will have their deposits refunded during the second week of classes.

Readmission Procedures

  • The student must complete the readmission application and go through the readmission process by submitting the current graduate applications for both Georgia Southern University and the Communication Sciences and Disorders program.
  • The student will be required to meet admission requirements in effect at the time of application for readmission.
  • The student’s admission will be based upon available space in the class to which the former student is seeking readmission and recommendation of the program faculty.
  • The student who has been dismissed for inability to meet minimum grade requirements or ethics violations is NOT eligible for readmission

Progression Requirements

  • Students must maintain a B average or better on all coursework taken as a graduate student. If the student’s average falls below 3.0, the student will have one probationary semester to earn the required B average or better. The student must be registered for all of the required courses in the program of study during the probationary semester. If the average is not raised to a B or better in that term, or the student earns a C or below or more than 6 hours, the student will be dismissed from the program. Students who are dismissed due to unsatisfactory performance cannot reapply to the program.
  • A student who earns a D, F or WF in an academic course or a grade of C, D, F or WF in a clinical practicum but has not met the criteria for dismissal must demonstrate mastery of the failed content before the program is completed and the degree is granted. The student may be required to retake the failed course or retake specific course content via independent study or special topics classes.
  • Students must adhere to the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association Code of Ethics and guide for professional practices and the state of Georgia’s rules and regulations governing the practice of speech-language pathology. The program provides copies of, and instruction in, all of these policies. Students who violate these rules and regulations will be dismissed from the program and are ineligible for readmission.
  • Graduate coursework and clinical practicum are completed simultaneously over five consecutive semesters, which includes summer. Students are admitted as full-time. If the student is not enrolled for two consecutive semesters, that student must reapply for admission.
    • Students are responsible for providing their own transportation and lodging expenses (if required) to clinical sites for clinical education courses. Some clinical sites may be located outside of the city of Savannah. The majority of clinical assignments are within approximately 150 mile radius of the University. Moreover, students may be required to attend multiple out-of-town clinical education sites. Some clinical education sites are out of state.
    • Due to contractual obligations of Georgia Southern University to some clinical sites, students may be required to fulfill clinical obligations on days that are not normally scheduled class days for the university including breaks between semesters.
  • Students must complete the program within seven years.
    • Students who do not complete the program in seven years must reapply for admission. Those students must begin to meet the program requirements in effect at the time of readmission. For clarification, see Readmission Procedures below.
  • Students must annually present evidence of professional liability insurance, health/medical insurance and first aid/CPR certification. In addition, students may need to provide evidence of preventative inoculations depending on extern placements.

Graduation Requirements

  • Students must apply for graduation through the Office of the Registrar.  Students must submit a Graduate Application by the first class day of Spring semester if they plan to complete their graduation requirements in Spring or Summer. Student must submit a Graduate Application by the first class day of Fall semester if they plan to complete their graduation requirements in Fall.
  • Students must take the Praxis II examination in speech-language pathology and present a score of 162 or higher to the graduate advisor by March 31st if graduating in May, June 31st if graduating in August or October 31st if graduating in December.
    • Students who do not earn a Praxis II score of 162 or better must take a comprehensive assessment developed by the program and earn a score of 80% or higher.
  • Students must maintain a B average or better in the program.
  • Students must accumulate a minimum of 400 client contact hours as described by the department and guidelines set forth by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association.
  • Students who plan to work in the State of Georgia as a school speech-language pathologist must pass the Program Admissions Test on the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) prior to graduation or meet the exemptions based on previous SAT, ACT, or GRE scores. See GACE website  for further detail.

Information Sessions

Information sessions are led by CSDS graduate program faculty and include an overview of the program and the admissions process. Information sessions will be held on the following dates and times:

April 12, 2024 from 10 AM – 11 AM (Virtual)
April 12, 2024 from 10 AM – 11 AM (In person)

If you want to attend one of the above sessions, please register below. All in-person information sessions will be held on the Armstrong Campus. Once registered, you will receive a parking pass for in-person sessions or a link for virtual sessions two days prior to the session.

RiteCare® Center for Communication Disorders

The RiteCare® Center for Communication Disorders at Georgia Southern University is the primary RiteCare facility in the Savannah area. The center is staffed by students pursuing their master’s degrees in speech-language pathology in the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSDS) program at Georgia Southern. Supervision is provided by CSDS program faculty, all of whom are certified by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and licensed by the State Board of Examiners in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology.

Commitment to Diversity

The Communication Sciences and Disorders program, in alignment with diversity initiatives within the Water’s College of Health Professions and Georgia Southern University, celebrates diversity in all its forms. Inclusive Excellence is a strategic pillar and a core value at Georgia Southern University. We recognize that our success as an institution of higher learning and a program depends on our ability to embrace, value, and appreciate the diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni across our campuses.

Student Achievement Data

The Communication Sciences and Disorders program reports data on PRAXIS results, graduation and employment for their accrediting body, the Council of Academic Accreditation (CAA).

Number of students who took the PraxisNumber of students with a passing score Passing Rate Percentage
2023222195
2022171694
20211818100
20202020100
20192020100
Academic Year# of Graduates% of Graduates
2021-202217100
2020-202118100
2019-202020100
Academic Year# completed program within expected time frame# completed later than expected time frame# not completing% completing within expected time frame
2022-20232200100
2021-2022151383
2020-2021180289

Accreditation

The Master of Science (M.S.) in speech-language pathology (residential program) at Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301- 296-5700.

National accreditation ensures that the program meets specified standards in the areas of administrative structure and governance, faculty and instructional staff, curriculum, students, assessment, and program resources. Students graduating from an accredited program are eligible for state and national certification. For more information, visit the website at https://caa.asha.org/about/.

Professional License Disclosure

Upon graduation, students who complete the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) graduate program at Georgia Southern University will be eligible to apply for the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). The CCC is considered the gold standard for employment in speech-language pathology and is required in most employment settings. States may also require a license to practice. The state license is required in addition to the CCC. Some states also require an additional teacher certification to work in the K-12/school setting. 

The CSD graduate program at Georgia Southern University is intended to prepare students to meet requirements for ASHA certification and Georgia state licensure. Admission into the program or completion of the program does not guarantee that students will obtain the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) or state licensure. Certification and licensure requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with Georgia Southern University. In addition, certification and licensure requirements can change at any time.

State Licensure: Georgia Southern University has not determined whether its CSD graduate program meets other states’ educational and/or professional requirements for state licensure. Students enrolled in our program who are planning to pursue licensure in other states are responsible for determining whether they will meet their state’s requirements for licensure. Individual state requirements may be viewed at: https://www.asha.org/advocacy/state/info/.

K-12/School Certification: Georgia Southern University has not determined whether its CSD graduate program meets other states’ educational and/or professional requirements for K-12 certification. Students who complete the Master of Science program in speech language pathology are eligible to apply for K-12 certification as a service provider in the state of Georgia. Instructions regarding the certification process are provided to all students in the fall of the second year of graduate study. In addition, you can view the rules as prescribed by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for Speech-Language Pathology. Some states require that teacher certification applicants be eligible for certification in the state from which the Master’s degree was earned. As a result, completion of the credentialing process for the state of Georgia is optional but highly recommended. Students enrolled in our program who are planning to pursue certification in other states are responsible for determining whether they will meet their state’s requirements for certification.

Frequently Asked Questions

A master’s degree is required to practice as a certified speech-language pathologist and a professional doctorate degree is required to practice as an audiologist. Graduate programs generally will not accept students who have less than a 3.0 grade point average for all college courses.

The Communication Sciences and Disorders program offers a Master of Sciences degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a major in speech-language pathology. The speech-language pathology graduate degree program is designed to lead to professional licensure by the State of Georgia in speech-language pathology as well as certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Unfortunately no. The Communication Sciences and Disorders program is full-time.

The graduate program in communication sciences and disorders is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Georgia Southern is currently on the semester system.

Yes. Travel to and from campus as well at to educational sites are required of all students during all five semesters of the program. Students are responsible for providing their own transportation (and transportation related expenses) to educational sites for clinical practicum and course related experiences. Students are expected to travel throughout Savannah and the surrounding areas without exception.

The Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate program typically takes five semesters to complete. The students will begin in the fall and then continue taking courses for spring, summer, fall and spring semesters consecutively.

Students with a strong academic record in another field are encouraged to apply to the Communication Sciences and Disorders program. In order to apply, students must take foundation courses not completed in their undergraduate program and 18 hours of prerequisite coursework related to speech and hearing. The foundation courses include courses in biological sciences, physical sciences, statistics and the social/behavioral sciences. Students are also required to complete 18 hours of coursework to include the following courses (or equivalents as determined by Georgia Southern’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program faculty): Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing mechanism, Phonetics, Normal Speech and Language Development, Introduction to Audiology, Speech Science and Language Disorders. The foundation and prerequisite courses must be completed or in progress when the application is submitted. Students who plan to apply to multiple graduate programs should review the prerequisite courses for each graduate program.

The graduate admissions process for the Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders is managed by the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application System (CSDCAS). Applications may be submitted beginning Sept 1 through the January 15 deadline. The Georgia Southern University graduate application will NOT be accepted. Only materials submitted via CSDCAS will be reviewed.

  • On the first day of graduate school orientation students will turn in official proof of 25 observation hours of clinical speech-language pathology or audiology (signed by a certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist), proof of professional liability insurance, CPR/First Aid training certification, a background check, negative TB test, and health insurance documentation.
  • Official college transcripts requested using the CSDCAS transcript request form.

The initial review process for completed files begins in February and takes approximately 6-8 weeks.  Admission decisions will be made in writing only.

Official college transcripts from all colleges attended should be submitted via the CSDCAS System.

Application requirements must be received and/or postmarked by January 15.

A minimum GPA of 3.0 across all college level classes is required. This includes both major and non-major coursework.

Register for the General Test on the ETS Graduate Record Examination (GRE) website. You must use the CSDCAS GRE Code listed here: 7712.

Regular admission requires a score of no less than 145 on the verbal section and 141 on the quantitative section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Scores within 5 years of the application due date will be accepted.  (Equivalent scores on the retired GRE are also acceptable.)

  • For students whose second language is English, a score of 550 paper-based score or 100 computer-based score or better on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 6.5 or better on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) may be substituted for the verbal GRE score.

Students need 25 hours of observation from a variety of different sites. Only speech-language pathologists and audiologists who are ASHA Certified can supervise, approve, and sign your observation hours form. Hours can be obtained in a variety of settings and approved by more than one certified professional.

There is unfortunately limited funding available for students. In order to be eligible for financial aid, students must be enrolled full-time.  One option that students may look into is the McCormick Scholarship. Other questions regarding financial aid can be answered by visiting the Financial Aid website.

The number of students accepted varies from year to year. Georgia Southern is expecting to have a class of 20 students each fall.

Graduate students participate in a wide variety of clinical opportunities at a variety of practicum sites including: schools, pediatric hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, non-profit clinics, private practices and the Georgia Southern RiteCare Center on the Armstrong campus. It should be noted that the placement options change from semester to semester.

During the first year of graduate school, students are assigned clients in the university clinic (RiteCare Center on the Armstrong Campus). The clinic runs during normal business hours Monday through Friday and students can expect to have variable clinic hours during the day. During the second year of graduate school, students are assigned to off-site/external clinical practicum in the community. These clinical placements usually run all day Monday-Friday. Some weekends may be required.

Most graduate coursework is offered between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Monday-Thursday. The schedule changes from semester-to-semester and students should not expect the same time and day schedule of courses for each semester.

Students cannot work a full-time job during the two years enrolled in the graduate program. In addition to coursework, students are also in clinical practicum assignments each semester. It is recommended for those students who are working part-time to have a job with flexible hours, which can be changed when needed. Students are also encouraged to seek employment on campus via work study or graduate assistantships.

The program policy regarding the speech-language competence of students in the program is consistent with the Technical Report issued by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association. All students, as do all speakers, speak with an accent and/or dialect. To ensure the equitable treatment of all students in the program, all students regardless of accent or dialect must be able to model the sounds and grammar or mainstream English.

The course schedule varies from semester to semester. Hours for each practicum site are specific to that placement. Students should not schedule a vacation without speaking with faculty to determine the schedule for the final examination. In addition, students should speak with their practicum coordinator and practicum site supervisors regarding clinical responsibilities prior to making any travel arrangements.

Prescheduled graduate school presentations for prospective students are offered throughout the academic school year. Individual meetings can be requested depending on the availability of the communication sciences and disorders faculty. Please contact the program at 912-344-2969 for further information.

The Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Georgia Southern University provides training and education required to meet standards established by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). The program does not guarantee that international students will meet minimum requirements for accrediting bodies outside of the United States.

Do You Have Other Questions? Contact Us!

Department of Clinical Sciences

Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus
11935 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31419

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Phone: 912-344-2969
Fax: 912-344-3472
Email: csds@georgiasouthern.edu

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Last updated: 7/18/2023