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2022-2023 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2028 
2022-2023 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2028 [Archived Catalog]

Communication Disorders (MA)

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Affiliation: School of Health Sciences & Education

The master’s (M.A.) education program in speech-language pathology at Truman State University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700. Truman has been offering this degree since 1967.  ASHA explicitly recommends that the best preparation for graduate work in communication disorders is a strong undergraduate background in liberal arts and sciences. Building on such a background, the graduate program provides the specialized coursework and practicum experiences that prepare and qualify successful candidates for careers in speech-language pathology.

The chief components of the program are: 1) advanced coursework in the assessment and treatment of disorders of speech, language, and hearing; 2) advanced clinical practicum experiences with a diverse clinical population including children and adults in the Truman State University Speech and Hearing Clinic; 3) a sequence of major projects (clinical process commentaries) that provide opportunity for students to demonstrate knowledge and expertise through both oral and written presentation; and 4) full time, off-campus internships in two diverse clinical settings. The Truman graduate program in communication disorders is characterized by high academic and professional standards, close collaboration between students and faculty, and strong, broad-based professional preparation.

Students who wish to pursue graduate study in communication disorders should contact the Department Chair in Communication Disorders (660-785-4669) for information. Students who have undergraduate majors in related fields of study such as English, linguistics, psychology, biology, or others are encouraged to obtain information early, so that an appropriate individualized program of study can be planned.


The mission of the Master of Arts in Communication Disorders program is to prepare speech-language pathologists who will serve all people with communication disorders. The program provides students with advanced academic, research, and clinical opportunities while integrating critical thinking, problem solving, and ethical decision making. These experiences are designed to help them acquire professional knowledge, skills, and values consistent with excellence in the field.


  1. To recruit highly qualified students who demonstrate the academic potential, interpersonal skills, emotional stability, and commitment requisite for success in a clinically-oriented graduate program in communication disorders.
  2. To ensure that all program graduates meet the rigorous pre-employment requirements for obtaining professional credentials.
  3. To prepare graduates who will be qualified to meet the ongoing state and national shortage of speech-language pathologists in rural and urban schools, medical centers, rehabilitation facilities, private practice, and other work settings.
  4. To provide academic and clinical experiences, in accordance with program accreditation standards, that prepare graduates to provide prevention strategies as well as comprehensive speech-language pathology assessment, consultation, intervention, and rehabilitation services.
  5. To explicitly validate the concept of the clinician-researcher and encourage the possibility of doctoral study by providing research experience for all graduate students.
  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 selection of the thesis option.
  7. To model and promote ethical principles and procedures in the conduct of clinical practice, academic achievement, and research.
  8. To model and promote professional values which include a respect for diversity, the importance of lifelong learning, and the rewards of service to clients, the community, and the profession.
  9. To provide special opportunities to explore a) emergent literacy in children at risk, b) the use of new technologies in communication disorders, and c) the role of the speech-language pathologist in rural health and education settings.


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.


  1. The student must be recommended for admission to graduate study by the program’s Admissions Committee and Dean (see the requirements for admission in the Graduate Studies section of this catalog).
  1. The student must be admitted by the Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Education.
Program Criteria are:
  1. A minimum overall grade point average of 3.00.
  2. Excellent oral and written language ability.
  3. Strong personal commitment to advanced study and service in communication disorders.
  4. OPTIONAL: Strong performance on the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing components of the GRE. 
  1. No student is permitted to transfer graduate level coursework toward a degree in communication disorders in which a grade lower than a “B” was achieved.​ 
    Note: Applicants should submit three letters of recommendation and a personal statement with their online application via CSDCAS. GRE scores and all transcripts should be submitted to the Graduate Office, McClain Hall 203.
  2. Students who pursue their undergraduate degree in CMDS at Truman State University are eligible for early acceptance into the graduate program under the following guidelines:
    1. Successfully complete 22 hours of CMDS undergraduate classes with no grades lower than a B
    2. Successfully completing all 25 observation hours
    3. Achieving a CMDS major GPA of at least 3.40
    4. Receiving faculty approval based on demonstration of appropriate Essential Functions, (see document: https://wp-internal.truman.edu/comdis/files-for-cmds-students/)

Students should request consideration for early acceptance from faculty via a formal letter to the program chair that is submitted by April 15th of the Junior course sequence along with a completed Early Acceptance Checklist form. Individuals seeking early acceptance will be reviewed by the faculty to determine eligibility, including an essential functions review. Students will receive approval or denial for early acceptance by letter from the faculty by May 1st.

Once accepted, the student must maintain a CMDS major GPA of at least 3.40 or higher and receive no grade lower than a “B” in major courses. If the CMDS major GPA falls below 3.40, the student will no longer meet the criteria for early acceptance into the CMDS graduate program. Students who do not retain early acceptance status to the graduate program are encouraged to apply for Spring or Fall admission to the graduate program through the regular application process. Leaving Truman State University before completion of the bachelor’s degree in CMDS negates the early acceptance agreement.

Essential Functions for Clinical Practicum Truman State University Department of Communication Disorders School of Health Sciences and Education


The accredited program in speech-language pathology of the Department of Communication Disorders (CMDS) at Truman State University adheres to the standards set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Faculty in the CMDS Department have a responsibility for the welfare of any person tested, treated, or otherwise affected by students enrolled in the CMDS program. Thus it is important that persons admitted, retained, and graduated possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice speech-language pathology. However, completion of the program in CMDS does not guarantee that a student will receive a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) offered by ASHA.


Within ASHA standards, the CMDS program has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for: the selection of students; the design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum; the evaluation of student progress; and, the determination of who should be awarded a degree. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the Department has established academic standards and minimum essential requirements to successfully participate in the clinical program. When requested, the University will provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with properly documented disabilities who meet the minimum CMDS requirements. Any admission candidate who may require academic accommodations to fulfill the essential functions due to a disability are encouraged to contact the Student Access and Disability Services at (660)785-4478. Admission and retention decisions are based not only on satisfactory prior and ongoing academic achievement but also on non-academic factors that serve to insure that the candidate can meet the essential functions of the clinical program as well as practice in the field. Essential functions, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those cognitive, physical, and behavioral abilities that are necessary for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum, and the development of professional attributes required by the faculty of all students at graduation.

During Communication Disorders Graduate Student Orientation, students receive a complete copy of the Essential Function Policy document. It is available at any time upon request.

Adopted by CMDS Faculty October 8, 2009.


Before graduation, the student desiring an MA in Communication Disorders must complete the following:

  1. The 47 credit Communication Disorders curriculum.
  2. The academic and clinical practicum requirements for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP) and Missouri Licensure.
  3. The Department-generated Clinical Process Commentary (CPC) Activities.
  4. The nationally normed examination in speech-language pathology of the PRAXIS series.
  5. The specified requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies pertaining to grade point average, transfer credit, residence, course number, time limitations, repeat courses, and examinations. 

Truman CMDS Graduate Student Grades Below Average Policy

No CMDS student will receive a Master’s Degree who has attempted more than 6 graduate credit hours, in which a grade of “C” or below was earned. A CMDS graduate student may repeat one course (of 4 credits or less) in which a “D” or an “F” was received. When a course is repeated, both grades remain on the record and both grades are used by Truman State University and the CMDS program in determining the GPA.

All graduate courses count toward the 6 credit total described in the above grade policy, including grades for clinical practicum courses. “Clinical Practicum” courses include:

Given that clinical practicum courses are not always taken for 3 or more credits, the following additional requirement applies. No student will receive a Master’s Degree who has earned a grade of “C” or below in more than one clinical practicum course (regardless of the # of credits earned.) Clinical clock hours obtained during courses in which a student earned a grade of “C” or below will not be counted toward the 400 clock hour requirement for graduation. A student who earns a grade of “C” or below for more than 1 semester of clinical assignments, or multiple clinical practicum courses, will not be permitted to re-enroll.

CMDS MA Withdrawal Policy 

A student may not withdraw from or drop any more than two courses (where a ‘W’ is recorded) within the CMDS MA program. A departmental appeal process is available for extenuating circumstances. For internship courses (CMDS 682G and CMDS 683G), no withdrawals/drops will be accepted unless the student documents need for a medical withdrawal. A student who has more than two ‘W’s recorded in coursework required in the CMDS MA program will not be permitted to enroll in subsequent semesters of the CMDS MA program unless an appeal is granted. 

Observation Hours Requirement

A student clinician must observe a minimum total of 25 clock hours of assessment and management. This observation must precede clinical assignment with specific types of communication disorders. The observation experience must be under the direct supervision of a clinical supervisor who holds the ASHA CCC.

Additional undergraduate courses may be needed to meet certification requirements, depending upon specific courses taken for an undergraduate degree from another institution.


Graduate Record Exam mean scaled scores for incoming communication disorders students, fiscal year 2021:
Analytical: 149
Quantitative: 148.25
Verbal: 3.95

Range of GPAs of incoming communication disorders students, fiscal year 2021: 3.0-4.0.


Students pursuing this degree in communication disorders must demonstrate clinically appropriate speech/language/hearing skills prior to enrollment in clinical practicum.

Practicum Component

  • Credit(s): 1 to 3 (must be taken at least 3 times)
  • Credit(s): 4
  • Credit(s): 4
  • Clinical Hours Requirement: Students are required to complete a minimum of 400 clinical contact hours of which 325 must be completed at the graduate level. The curriculum is designed to qualify master’s degree candidates for Missouri Licensure and the Certificate of Clinical Competence awarded by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. Typically, CMDS 681G is taken every semester the student is on campus.

Education Component

  • Credit(s): 3
  • This requirement must be met by all Communication Disorders Master’s graduates from Truman. Normally, this requirement is met by completing ED 621G Psychology of Reading. However, students who can demonstrate mastery of this material through coursework completed at another university may, with the consent of their advisor, substitute these credits with electives.

Clinical Process Commentaries

The Clinical Process Commentaries (CPC) consists of a sequence of major projects that:

  1. emphasize strong ties between the academic and clinical curricula,
  2. provide opportunity for formative and summative evaluation, and
  3. provide opportunity for students to demonstrate depth of knowledge and expertise through both oral and written presentation. 

The CPC is required at two (2) different times in the course of graduate study, usually the second semester (spring) and the last semester (fall) prior to internship. A total of 3 credits of CPC is required.

Research Component:

Thesis Option: 6 Credits

The thesis is optional in this degree program. Completion of a thesis requires enrollment in a total of 6 credits, typically spread over 2 to 3 semesters. For example, a student might enroll in 1 credit of thesis during the semester in which the thesis proposal is prepared, 4 credits during the semester that the data are collected and analyzed, and 1 credit during the semester in which the thesis defense is conducted with the thesis committee and the thesis is submitted to the Graduate Office. It is expected that the student enrolls for at least 1 credit during any semester in which substantive work is completed on the thesis with the help of a thesis advisor.

Undergraduate Requirements for Non-Majors

Students who wish to earn a master’s degree in communication disorders and have earned a bachelor’s degree in some other major or from another institution must meet the requirements or equivalents of one course of not less than 2 credits from each of the following areas: Phonetics, Audiology, Aural Rehabilitation, Introduction to Communication Disorders, Language Development, Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism, Professional Issues and Counseling as well as required support topics listed below. The following Truman courses are recommended to satisfy these requirements:

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