Student Outcome Data

We are proud to share some statistics regarding our on-campus master's students.

Review the data

Program Summary

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders offers an on-campus graduate degree program that provides students with career-ready skills and the hands-on experience needed to make an immediate impact on people’s lives.

Students receive classroom and hands-on preparation in applying family-focused, developmental, cognitive, psychosocial, behavioral, and medical models to the assessment and treatment of a broad range of communication disorders and differences. We welcome students applying from a wide variety of undergraduate degree programs. Our diverse pool of applicants includes those who have not completed their undergraduate studies in communication disorders.

Students interested in the Online Communication Disorders (MS) program should visit the Speech@Emerson website.

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The 72-credit curriculum is designed to prepare you to work with the full array of communication disorders across the lifespan. It is a combination of 18 credits of foundational coursework, 42 credits of academic coursework, 4 credits of clinical methods, 5 credits of clinical practicum and 3 credits of intersession courses.

Academic Requirements (42 credits):

Number Term Course Credits
CD 680 Fall 1st year Neurologic Bases of Communication 3
CD 686 Fall 1st year Preschool Language Disorders 3
CD 609 Fall 1st year Research Methods and Measurements 3
CD 645 Spring 1st year Language and Literacy Disabilities 3
CD 635 Spring OR Summer 1st year Speech Sound Disorders 3
CD 642 Spring 1st year Autism: Social Communication 3
CD 690 Spring OR Summer 1st year Aphasia 3
CD 641 Summer 1st year OR Fall 2nd year Dysphagia 3
CD 689 Summer 1st year OR Fall 2nd year Aural Rehabilitation for the Speech-Language Pathologist 3
CD 623 Fall OR Spring 2nd year Fluency Disorders 3
CD 650 Fall OR Spring 2nd year Motor Speech Disorders 3
CD 677 Fall OR Spring 2nd year Voice Disorders 3
CD 684 Fall OR Spring 2nd year Augmentative and Alternative Communication 3
CD 692 Fall OR Spring 2nd year Cognitive Communicative Disorders 3

Clinical Methods Requirements (4 credits)

Number Term Course Credits
CD 600 Fall Intro to Clinical Methods* 1 (non-tuition course)
CD 601 Fall OR Spring 1st year Clinical Methods I 1
CD 602 Spring 1st year OR Fall 2nd year Clinical Methods II 1
CD 603 Fall OR Spring 2nd Year Clinical Methods III 1
CD 604 Spring 2nd Year Clinical Methods IV 1

*CD 600 is only required if you begin the program without 25 hours of clinical observation.

Clinical Practicum Requirements (5 credits)

Number Term Course Credits
CD 611 Fall or Spring 1st year Clinical Practicum 1
CD 612 Spring 1st year or Summer Clinical Practicum 1
CD 613 Summer of Fall 2nd Year Clinical Practicum 1
CD 614 Fall 2nd Year or Spring 2nd Year Clinical Practicum 1
CD 615 Spring 2nd Year or Summer 2nd Year (for August Graduates) Clinical Practicum 1

Students must satisfy both (1) the Emerson College requirements that they enroll in at least 5 semesters of Clinical Practica (CD 601-615) while in the program and (2) the ASHA requirements to accumulate at least 400 hours. These are both minimums and they are independent requirements. To complete the 400 clock hours required by ASHA, 25 hours must be spent in clinical observation and 375 hours must be spent in direct client/patient contact. Of the 375 contact hours, at least 325 must be obtained within the graduate program.

Intersession Course Requirements (3 credits):

Three 1-credit seminars are taken during winter and spring intersessions. Students choose three from the available courses offered.

Sample courses:

  • Craniofacial Anomalies
  • Counseling and Family Systems
  • Early Intervention
  • Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Populations
  • Progressive Neurodegenerative Disorders
  • Practical Approaches to Fluency Therapy
  • Practicing Speech-Language Pathology in a Medical Setting 

Program Foundations

All students must complete foundational courses in six topic areas before they start their clinical coursework in the fall.

Please note that students that have taken these courses and either received a B or below, or have taken these courses over five years ago, will need to retake foundational coursework in order to satisfy this requirement.

Foundational Courses

Number Course Title Description
CD 625 Structures and Functions for Speech, Hearing, and Swallowing (3 credits) Covers anatomy and physiology of the speech, language, swallowing, and hearing mechanisms
CD 626 Language Development (3 credits) Covers language development from birth to adulthood
CD 627 Survey of Communication Disorders Across the Lifespan (3 credits) Introduces students to the broad range of speech, language, hearing disorders across the lifespan
CD 629 Speech Sounds: Phonetics and Acoustics (3 credits) Combines phonetics and speech science
CD 630 Foundations of Audiology (3 credits) An introductory course in audiological assessment and disorders of hearing

In order to take Communication Disorders foundational coursework at Emerson, students must be admitted into the program and have confirmed their enrollment. Once admitted into the program, you will be notified of the foundational coursework you’ll need to fulfill. Emerson will be offering these courses over the Summer Term, and we highly recommend completing your foundational courses with us.

The Graduate Program Director will need to approve foundational coursework that will be taken at Emerson or at an alternative institution. If you intend on taking foundational courses with Emerson, your Graduate Program Director will be registering you for these courses. Please notify patti_nelson [at] (Patti Nelson) to confirm your foundational plan of study.

Frequently Asked Questions

Curriculum FAQs

Does Emerson specialize in any disorder or population?

Our goal is to prepare generalist clinicians who can successfully work with the entire range of disorders and differences across the lifespan. The coursework and clinical practica in our program provide rich opportunities for students to acquire strong clinical skills with children and adults having communication disorders and differences. Some students choose to develop a more specialized expertise through a combination of elective seminars, work with particular client populations, and/or participating in research projects.

Can I transfer graduate credits from another institution to Emerson’s program?

Credit for up to two graduate courses may be transferred if they were completed at an ASHA-accredited graduate program before you entered Emerson, earned a grade of B or better, and are approved by the Emerson Graduate Program Director. Transfer credit is only approved following review of a course syllabus. Transfer credits cannot have been counted toward any other completed degree.

How can I qualify for the license from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education?

Students need to complete a school practicum placement, pass the Communication and Literacy Skills Test section of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), and apply for the license. We strongly encourage all graduate students to become qualified for this credential even if they plan to be licensed in another state. Massachusetts educator license is honored reciprocally in many states. For details, contact the Director of Clinical Placements for educator preparation and licensure.


Format FAQs

Can I complete this program online?  

Emerson offers an online, fully-accredited version of this program called Speech@Emerson. Our online program features that same curriculum and faculty as our on-campus program. Please note there is a separate application process for applying to Speech@Emerson.

May I start the program in January or during the summer?

Graduate students for the on-campus graduate program are only admitted for a September start. Our online Speech@Emerson program has three cohort starts throughout the year, in January, May and September. 

Is it possible to complete the program part-time?

Emerson’s program is designed for full-time study. Full-time is typically three academic courses, a clinical methods course, and clinical assignments (practicum). Please refer to Speech@Emerson if you are interested in a part-time more flexible course of study.

How long will it take to complete the on-campus degree?

Those entering with an undergraduate major in Communication Disorders who have completed their 25 hours of observation as part of a course or program complete the coursework and clinical requirements for the degree in two academic years and the intervening summer. Others need an additional summer to complete all degree requirements.

How long will it take to complete the online degree?

Our online program can be completed on a full-time basis in as few as 20 months or on a part-time basis in 36 months. You can apply and be admitted to the online program without taking all of the undergraduate-level Communication Disorders courses prior to applying.

If you need to complete undergraduate-level Communication Disorders foundational courses as part of your plan of study, the program will take longer to complete.

When do I start clinical work?

We require at least 25 observation hours be completed prior to beginning clinical work.

Students entering the program with completed observation hours may begin clinical work during their first semester. These observation hours must be documented with signed verification from faculty within a college- or university-based course in Communication Disorders. Students who enter the program without 25 verified observation hours will acquire these hours during their first semester and will begin clinical work during their second semester.

Can I obtain the required observation hours on my own?

No. We accept observation hours that were acquired through an undergraduate course of study, associated with a particular course and verified by the course instructor. If you enter our program without completing the observation hours, you will obtain them during your first semester through coursework in the graduate program.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders to be admitted to the on-campus master’s program?

No! The only requirement is that you have completed our required foundational coursework. Approximately half of each entering graduate class have undergraduate degrees, and often careers, in other areas.

Who do I contact if I have concerns or complaints about the program?

Formal internal grievance procedures are outlined in the Emerson College Graduate Catalogue. All grievances should be initiated at the departmental level. Those that involve program policies and procedures, degree requirements, requirements for professional credentialing and ethical practice may be forwarded to the Council on Academic Accreditation after appropriate internal channels have been addressed without arriving at a satisfactory resolution. The CAA address is American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Council on Academic Accreditation, 2200 Research Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20850-3289; phone: (301) 296-5700, extension 3358. This information is also posted in the Grad Room. For more information, those with grievances should refer to the Council on Academic Accreditation.

Licensure & Employment FAQs

Is the program accredited?

Emerson’s program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (, and has been since 1980.

The program is also a Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education–approved program for the preparation of Teachers of Students with Speech, Language and Hearing Disorders (all levels, pre-K through 12).

What undergraduate coursework is required for ASHA certification purposes?

You must have had one college-level course in each of the following areas:

  • Biological Science
  • Physics or Chemistry
  • Statistics
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences

If you have not completed these courses before entering the graduate program, they should be completed by the end of the first year in the program.

High school Advanced Placement (AP) courses can fulfill these requirements if the courses were accepted for undergraduate credit and are listed on an undergraduate transcript with the course titles and grades.

Foundational Courses FAQs

When do CD Foundational Courses Occur through S@E?

All courses happen both online and through weekly 90-minute live class meetings via Zoom. As the week progresses, students participate in asynchronous course content and activities through a learning website (called 2EC). At the end of the week, students meet with the instructor and other students in the class via Zoom for a 90-minute live class.

  • CD 625, CD 626, and CD 627 occur in the first half of the summer term (from May 11th through June 28th).
  • CD 629 and CD 630 occur in the latter half of the summer term (from June 29th through August 23rd).

What is the cost for Foundational Courses?

Tuition for the courses for incoming on-campus students is officially $1251/credit. Any foundational courses we require from you will be rolled into your total degree program, so you will be able to apply any applicable federal financial aid to these courses. However, please note that in order to be eligible for financial aid, you must be enrolled in at minimum six credits this summer.

What Foundational Coursework do I need?

You are able to view which courses are required of you based on our review of your records directly in your Communication Disorders Foundational Coursework Evaluation portal.

If you would like to appeal your Communication Disorders Foundational Coursework Evaluation you can do so right in your application portal. Please note that if a course has an “Incomplete Document” status, we will require further documentation to make a final evaluation.

What should I do next?

Please confirm by Friday April 17th whether you plan to take these courses with us at Emerson. You will have the option to do so once you submit your deposit in your application portal.
If you have any questions about our foundational course requirements or the curriculum in general, please feel free to reach out to me (patti_nelson [at] or your liaison Colleen O’Brien.


Council on Academic Accreditation Logo

The master’s of science education program in speech-language pathology at Emerson College 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.

Any concerns specific to the program's accreditation status should first be addressed to the program and Emerson College and then to the CAA.

MS in Communication Disorders