Jul 20, 2024  
2015-2016 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2021 
2015-2016 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2021 [Archived Catalog]

Communication Disorders (BS)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments

Affiliation: School of Health Sciences & Education

The undergraduate major in communication disorders is designed to provide a broad background in normal communication processes, an introduction to the techniques and tools with which speech, language, and hearing disabilities are evaluated, and an introduction to the characteristics of disorders of communication in adults and children. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) explicitly recommends that the best preparation for graduate work in communication disorders is a strong undergraduate background in liberal arts and sciences. The undergraduate major in communication disorders, in conjunction with the Truman general education curriculum, is designed to provide such preparation.

An undergraduate major in communication disorders draws from the content and methodologies associated with many closely related areas of study, such as linguistics (phonetics), psychology (language development), biology (anatomy of speech and hearing, audiology), physics (speech and hearing science), and education (principles of clinical practice, aural rehabilitation). Courses in the major are carefully sequenced, leading to a senior-level culminating experience. Students choose a clinical or non-clinical culminating experience, depending upon their qualifications, interests, and long-term career goals.

Students who have questions about majoring in communication disorders should contact the Department Chair in Communication Disorders (660-785-4669) for more information. The number of students permitted to major is limited. 


The mission of the communication disorders undergraduate program is to mentor students of strong academic ability and character and to establish in them a commitment to lifelong learning and interest in the complex and diverse process of communication. Through the program’s emphasis on typical and atypical speech, language, and hearing, students gain knowledge, skills, and values that foster their individual growth as well as a passion for contributing to society and improving the lives of others. 


  1. To ensure that students who major in communication disorders gain a broad understanding of typical human communication and development across the lifespan, with sensitivity to cultural and individual variations.
  2. To ensure that students who major in communication disorders gain a basic familiarity with a range of atypical conditions that result in impairment of speech, language, and/or hearing abilities.
  3. To ensure that through the study of communication and communication disorders, students develop and value strong communication skills.
  4. To provide superior opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills in a supportive clinical environment, including involved faculty supervision and excellent clinical facilities.
  5. To provide individual advising and support for students to help them accomplish their personal goals and maximize the benefits of a liberal arts and sciences education.
  6. To provide opportunities for students to form mentor relationships with faculty, collaborate closely with peers and faculty, and explore topics of individual interest through learning communities, special assignments, independent study, and/or research projects.
  7. To model and promote integrity and ethical conduct in clinical practice, academic achievement, and research.
  8. To model and promote professional values that include a respect for diversity, the importance of lifelong learning, and the rewards of service to others and the community. 


The Communication Disorders Department staffs and maintains the Truman State University Speech and Hearing Clinic. The Clinic has individual and group therapy rooms, observation facilities, and video recording capabilities to facilitate supervision and observation by student clinicians and client family members. An audiological testing suite is available for complete hearing evaluations. The Kenneth M. McGuire Clinical Media Center houses the Clinic’s extensive collection of diagnostic and therapy materials and is used by student clinicians as they prepare for therapy and complete other case management tasks. Student clinicians make use of the Assistive Technology Lab to explore and prepare clinical applications of computers for direct use with clients.

The Clinic is open throughout the academic year and summer semesters, serving a local and regional population of all ages. Members of the University community including students, faculty, staff and their families are also served by the Clinic. All Clinic services are provided under the supervision of faculty who are licensed by the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 


The Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders can serve as strong preparation for a number of careers which require specialized graduate level study, including speech language pathology, audiology, special education, and others in health, education, or communication-related fields. It is considered a pre-professional degree by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Undergraduate majors are encouraged to consider graduate education alternatives, and assisted in making plans to do so. Master’s level work is required in order to obtain professional credentials such as certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, public school certification, and the state license from the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts.

Courses designated as Required Support for the major in Communication Disorders are chosen to help students meet a variety of certification requirements. Substitutions should be considered only after consultation with an academic advisor who is well-informed about the details of the curriculum.

All student majors must observe a minimum of 25 clock hours of evaluation and/or intervention services as approved by the Truman Communication Disorders faculty. These observations normally take place in the Truman Speech and Hearing Clinic. Note that observations must be completed as a prerequisite to enrolling for either undergraduate or graduate level clinical practicum (CMDS 480, CMDS 681).

Communication Disorders majors must have a 2.50 cumulative GPA and a 2.50 in the major in order to graduate. 


Recipients for Departmental Honors must meet the following qualifications. Departmental honorees are noted in the commencement program and the honor is recorded on their transcript.

  1. An overall Truman GPA of 3.65.
  2. A major GPA of 3.75.
  3. Leadership and pursuit of leadership/knowledge out of the classroom demonstrated by evidence in at least three of the following four categories: a. Presentation of research at a state of national conference such as the annual convention of the Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA, etc. b. Officer or Gold Member status in the student Communication Disorders Association (CoDA).
    c. Completion of senior capstone CMDS 480 Clinical Practicum with a grade of “A”. d. Demonstrated leadership in a university activity such as music or athletics, or in a non-CMDS university or community organization.
  4. Approval by the Communication Disorders faculty.

Students who anticipates meeting these standards by the end of their final semester may apply with the understanding that honors designation is contingent upon attaining them. With the application for departmental honors, students must submit supporting evidence related to how they would satisfy at least three of the four areas under criteria 3 (see Communication Disorders Departmental Honors Application for details). The deadlines for submitting the application and all required materials are as follows:

Spring semester graduates: end of the tenth week of class
Summer semester graduates: end of the fourth week of class
Fall semester graduates: end of the tenth week of class


Liberal Studies Program Requirements: 31-57 Credits

Missouri Statute Requirement: 1-3 Credits


The Communication Disorders major consists of two (2) parts: Required Support and Major Requirements.  Each student must complete both parts.

Part I: Required Support: 18 Credits

Electives to Total: 123 Credits

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments