Graduate Programs

Communication Disorders (MS)

We help people communicate.

Ranked among the top graduate programs of its kind nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, our renowned on-campus Communication Disorders (MS) program will provide you with the career-ready skills and hands-on experience you need to make an immediate impact on the lives of people living with communication and speech disorders.

Designed for students interested in pursuing certification and licensure in speech-language pathology, this program gives you the chance to apply developmental, cognitive, psychosocial, behavioral, and medical models to the assessment and treatment of a broad range of communication disorders and differences. 

Program highlights:

  • Exceptional clinical opportunities through more than 120 external placements and our on-campus facility, the Robbins Center
  • Participation in faculty research investigating a range of communication disorders across the lifespan in our state-of-the-art CSD Research Suite
  • Live in the dynamic city of Boston, home to world-renowned medical centers, research institutions, and biotech companies
  • A close-knit community of faculty and students collaborating in a small college environment
  • Top scholars, clinicians, and educators in your field who will challenge and support you as you approach graduation and beyond
  • No GRE requirements
  • Classes offered day & night to fit your schedule

Attain the clinical expertise that will give you an unmatched career in speech-language pathology.

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Program Summary

Accreditation and Licensure

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top graduate programs of its kind nationwide, the program is fully accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Certification: Upon completion of the program and passing the national Praxis exam, students are qualified to begin a Clinical Fellowship, which leads to obtaining a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA.

The following information is provided in good faith to applicants as of August 24, 2020.

Massachusetts License in Speech-language Pathology: The residential Speech Language Pathology program leads to a Master of Science in Communication Disorders. The designed outcome is to lead applicants to begin their clinical fellowship, the first step to eligibility as a Licensed Speech Language Pathologist within Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Educator License: Applicants who wish to practice in a school setting must coordinate their licensure and approval efforts with the state or local department of education, should requirements differ.

The list below provides information about comparable clinical licenses, including a determination of eligibility for licensure by State. This information provided is designed as a baseline determination of whether the program meets individual state specific requirements. Other licenses, including those for working in a school system may be more applicable and/or require additional standards. Licensure requirements and appropriate pathways are subject to change and may differ based on individual student backgrounds, including coursework taken outside the scope of the program. Students should do their own due diligence and determine the appropriate pathway and license type for themselves.

The Emerson residential Communication Sciences and Disorders program meets the educational requirements for licensure to practice in all states except:

  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee

All graduate students are encouraged to obtain the Massachusetts educator license, which is honored reciprocally in many states, often without requiring additional coursework. To qualify for the initial license, students must have a school practicum placement; must pass the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), Communication and Literacy Skills Test section; and apply for the license.

Clinical practicum

Through the program you will acquire in-depth knowledge of typical and disordered communication, theories of language development, impairment, and rehabilitation and the ability to apply this knowledge to a wide range of clinical disorders including autism, aphasia, language and literacy, fluency, phonology, articulation, cognition, voice, feeding, and swallowing.

During clinical practica, Emerson students have opportunities to participate in multiple clinical settings, such as early intervention programs, public and private schools, private practices, acute care and rehabilitation hospitals, and others. You will learn professional collaboration, counseling skills, and how to best evaluate and treat a wide range of individuals, including a culturally and linguistically diverse population.

Your first clinical placement will be on-campus in the Robbins Center where you will participate in one of the specialty programs devoted to children and adults with communication disorders, such as aphasia and developmental speech, language and learning disorders and stuttering. Before the end of your second year, students take a written comprehensive examination in communication disorders (administered twice per year) or complete a thesis.

Throughout your time in the program, you’ll be compiling a portfolio reflecting the integration of your academic and clinical work.

Typical Semester:

  • 3 academic courses (3 credits each)
  • 1 clinical methods course (1 credit each)
  • 1 clinical practicum (1 credit each)

The Robbins Center and the CSD Research Suite

The program takes advantage of Emerson’s technologically enhanced classrooms and laboratories, the on-campus Robbins Speech Language and Hearing Center, as well as a wide variety of off-campus community clinical sites.

The Robbins Center is an active outpatient community program. The facilities include individual and group treatment rooms for children and adults, each outfitted for digital recording for remote recording/viewing, a student clinician preparation room, an augmentative and alternative communication laboratory, voice analysis lab, and an audiological testing booth. On-campus clinical experiences are enhanced by access to iPads, clinical applications and a wide array of the most current testing and treatment materials.

The CSD Research Suite offers Communication Disorders students the opportunity to partner with the department’s faculty to gain research experience in our cutting-edge lab facilities. Such partnerships are enabled through volunteer activities, work-study obligations, or through co-curricular credit.

Careers & Connections

Emerson’s program provides the academic and clinical excellence of a large research university within a small college environment. In Emerson’s small community you will build strong relationships with your peers and with the faculty. As you learn from some of the top researchers, clinicians, and educators in the field, you will be challenged and supported in a welcoming yet rigorous academic environment. Our highly accessible and supportive instructors bring significant professional experience to the classroom, having contributed seminal research, textbooks, and clinical work to the discipline.

Emerson is located in the heart of Boston, a city known for its many important medical centers and research facilities. Attending Emerson for graduate work connects you to one of the most dynamic educational and healthcare environments in the country.

After your initial on-campus clinical placement, your clinical education will continue through off-campus placements within the city and surrounding suburbs. Our affiliation with more than 120 external sites allows you to develop your skills in a wide range of settings and form relationships with future potential employers.

Emerson’s program enables students to develop skills in a wide range of settings and make valuable professional connections. The program’s alumni find employment across the entire spectrum of clinical settings working with a variety of clinical populations locally, nationally and globally.

A Renowned Program. A Supportive Community.

Hear current students, faculty, and alumni describe the unique benefits of Emerson's graduate program in Communication Disorders.