CD Graduate Admission FAQs

  1. May I enter the graduate program if I don’t have an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders?
  2. What background courses does Emerson require if I don’t have an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders?
  3. Do I have to take the undergraduate background preparatory courses at Emerson?
  4. Is there any other coursework that I will need besides the designated preparatory courses and the graduate curriculum?
  5. Can I take graduate courses before matriculating and transfer them toward my master’s degree requirements?
  6. When do I start clinical work?
  7. What are the GRE and GPA requirements for admission?
  8. How do I assemble the strongest possible application file?
  9. Can I visit the program or schedule an interview?
  10. How do I apply?
  11. Is priority given to applicants with an undergraduate major in Communication Disorders?
  12. How is merit-based financial aid determined? Do I have to apply?
  13. What percentage of students receive merit-based financial aid?
  14. Are there opportunities to work with the departmental faculty?

May I enter the graduate program if I don’t have an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders?

Certainly. Approximately half of our entering graduate students in the past several years have had undergraduate degrees (and careers) in other areas. However, Emerson requires that all entering graduate students have completed at least five undergraduate preparatory courses prior to matriculating.

The courses do not have to be completed prior to applying for admission; however, they must be completed prior to beginning the program. To facilitate this, the department offers these courses during the fall and spring semesters as well as in a concentrated format during the summer.

What background courses does Emerson require if I don’t have an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders?

The titles of the courses will vary from institution to institution, but in terms of course content, we require courses that cover the following: anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanisms, acoustic and articulatory phonetics (or separate courses in phonetics and speech science), audiology, a course in language development, and an introductory survey course of communication disorders.

The program where these are taken does not have to be accredited as they are undergraduate courses and only master’s degree programs are accredited. You may take these at one or more institutions, depending on what best suits your circumstances.

Do I have to take the undergraduate background preparatory courses at Emerson?

No. These may be completed through any Communication Disorders program or programs.

Is there any other coursework that I will need besides the designated preparatory courses and the graduate curriculum?

For ASHA certification purposes, you must have had at least one college-level biological science, at least one course in college-level physical science, at least one course in college-level mathematics, and at least one college-level course in the social/behavioral sciences. These must be completed prior to finishing the graduate curriculum.

Can I take graduate courses before matriculating and transfer them toward my master’s degree requirements?

You may request to transfer credit for two graduate courses taken at an ASHA-accredited program, pending a review of the course content and grade. Any transfer credits cannot have been counted toward any other degree.

When do I start clinical work?

That depends. We believe that clinical observations are a crucial foundation for developing clinical skills. As a result, we require at least 23 observation hours be completed prior to beginning clinical work. These observation hours must be completed as part of a college- or university-based curriculum in Communication Disorders. We accept only observation hours that have signed verification from the program. Otherwise, students will acquire the necessary observation hours during their first semester while also participating in community speech, language, and hearing screenings.

This experience is completed as part of CD 600, Introduction to Clinical Methods, a tuition-free course. To reiterate, only those students who have completed at least 23 hours of supervised observation as part of a university-based curriculum in Communication Disorders will begin their individual and group clinical work during their first semester of graduate study.

What are the GRE and GPA requirements for admission?

All aspects of the application are evaluated carefully: the quality of the personal essay, the strength of the three letters of recommendation, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and the grade point average (GPA). The average GPA of the most recently accepted class was 3.61, and the average percentile for the GRE was: 67, Verbal; 64, Math; and 64, Writing. With respect to the GPA, we assess what the undergraduate major is/was, the distribution of stronger and weaker grades, and grades in the major versus other grades.

How do I assemble the strongest possible application file?

  • Be certain that you include transcripts from every institution of higher education you have attended. It doesn’t matter if you have taken one course or several or what area they were in. We also need to see these even if the courses show up as transfer credits on another institution’s transcript.
  • Do well on the GRE. If you think you can do better, take it again. Our admission committee will consider only the highest score you attain for each section.
  • Your personal essay is an important part of your application because it allows us to learn more about you. We look at both your writing ability and what you have to say. Tell us things that are not apparent from the rest of your application. Make it interesting.
  • Letters of recommendation are also important. The point of these is to provide the admission committee with others’ opinions of the likelihood that applicants can succeed academically and clinically in a very rigorous program. Thus, we expect academic and professional work-related recommendations.

Can I visit the program or schedule an interview?

The best opportunity to visit the program is at the twice yearly graduate open houses. Generally, these are held on a Saturday in the fall and in the spring. Contact the Office of Graduate Admission (617-824-8610 or gradapp@emerson.edu) for information about the open houses and to receive an invitation. At the open house, you will be able to meet and talk with faculty members and current graduate students, have your questions answered, and tour our facilities. A wealth of information is also available on Emerson’s Graduate Admission website.

Highly qualified candidates will be invited to the campus for an interview during the last two weeks of February. Candidates will meet individually with two members of the faculty. On campus interviews are highly encouraged, but Skype interviews are available for those applicants who are unable to travel to campus.

How do I apply?

Detailed information about the application process is available on the Graduate Admission website. Individuals may submit their application through either the direct route on the Emerson website or by using the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application Service. For application deadlines, consult the Graduate Admission website.

Is priority given to applicants with an undergraduate major in Communication Disorders?

No. All academic backgrounds are accorded equal consideration when the admission committee reviews application files.

How is merit-based financial aid determined? Do I have to apply?

We assume that all applicants are interested in merit-based (i.e., non-loan) financial aid and for that reason no separate application is required. To determine who is offered merit aid, we rank the accepted applicants. This ranking is based on GPA and verbal and quantitative GRE scores.

What percentage of students receive merit-based financial aid?

More than a third of each entering class is typically awarded some form of merit-based financial aid. The majority of our fellowships and scholarships are for four semesters as long as the individual maintains a 3.2 GPA. A smaller amount of merit aid is available to continuing students who did not receive aid when they entered the program.

Are there opportunities to work with the departmental faculty?

There are many opportunities to work with faculty in the department and across the College through Emerson Employment and work-study. Each of the department faculty has the opportunity to hire a graduate student to work with them. Graduate students also volunteer to participate in faculty research for the experience or as part of a master’s thesis. Some faculty have research grants and hire students to help them on specific projects. Look at the e-Campus website for job listings or contact the department administrator for more information (617-824-8303).

Robbins Center

A student helps a child at the Robbins Center

Tour the Robbins Center

Take a tour of the Robbins Speech, Language and Hearing Center, which provides a supportive environment where clients and their families learn to overcome a variety of communication disorders and differences.