Communication Sciences Disorders
Jean Neils-Strunjas, Chair
The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders offers graduate training leading to the master’s and doctoral degrees. The master’s program is a professional degree program intended to prepare students for the clinical practice of speech-language pathology. The program has been continuously accredited for more than 30 years by the Council for Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Graduates of the master’s program are eligible for their state license to practice speech-language pathology, a teaching certificate from the South Carolina State Department of Education, and board certification from ASHA (the Certification for Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology). The Department provides two paths to the master’s degree in speech-language pathology. The Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech-Language Pathology degree in the residential modality (MS-Res) is the traditional, on-campus program in which students are continuously enrolled on a full-time basis for two calendar years. The Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech-Language Pathology degree in the distance-education modality (MS-DE) is a part-time degree program, offered through distance education, requiring three to four years of study, depending on a student’s prior academic training.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders is designed to prepare individuals for careers in research and the scholarly study of the science of human communication and its disorders. Doctoral students, under the director of a mentor, regularly participate in laboratory activities and pursue a program of scholarly research leading to publication in scientific journals and grant writing. The Ph.D. is an academic degree and focuses on providing students with the skills necessary to be successful university professors at research-1 institutions.
Academic Requirements for Progression
Students pursuing a graduate degree in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders may not receive more than 11 semester hours of grades below B. Upon receipt of the twelfth semester hour of C+ or below, the student becomes academically ineligible to continue in the program. It should be noted that this academic requirement is more stringent than that of The Graduate School, which requires only that students maintain an overall graduate grade point average of 3.0.
Montgomery Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic
The Montgomery Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic is one of more than 600 practicum sites where students pursuing their master’s degree in speech-language pathology receive supervised clinical experience. Clinical services include speech, language, and hearing evaluations and treatment for persons of all ages, including University students and faculty members. The Clinic is located at 1705 College Street, Suite 220, Columbia, SC 29208 and employs three audiologists, nine speech-language pathologists, and four staff members.
Department Admissions Requirements
Due to the large number of applications received each year, admission to the master’s degree programs in speech-language pathology is highly competitive. The mean four-year undergraduate GPA for those admitted during the previous year was 3.75 (on a 4.0-point scale), while the average Verbal and Quantitative scores on the Graduate Record Exam were 154 and 15, respectively. Admission is holistic, and for 2021, submission of GRE scores is not required, but optional.
All applicants to the graduate programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders must have completed college-level coursework in the following four areas before entering our program:
- a biological science,
- a social/behavioral science,
- statistics, and
- chemistry or physics.
Under no circumstances will a student be permitted to begin our master’s degree program unless all four of these prerequisite courses have been completed. Previous coursework in speech-language pathology is not a requirement for admission to the master’s degree program and only affects the point of entry into the program.
While students’ undergraduate major and post baccalaureate courses are not a consideration for admission, they do affect when students begin their master’s program. Students in the MS-Res program begin course work during the fall semester while students in the MS-DE program begin in the summer, provided they have completed a minimum of 25 clock hours of supervised observation plus three semester hours of coursework in each of the following:
- anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanism
- language development
- articulation disorders.
MS-Res students who have not met these requirements enter the program in the summer; MS-DE students who have not met these requirements enter the program in the fall.
Since the purpose of the Ph.D. program is to prepare communication scientists to fill faculty positions at Research I institutions, applicants should demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in scholarly teaching and research. Completion of a masters thesis, research presentations at professional meetings, published abstracts and peer review articles are examples of items on an applicant’s resume that show evidence of a research interest.
Applicants to the Ph.D. program should specify, in the personal statement accompanying their application, their area of research interest. The department currently has laboratories supporting research in neuroimaging, adult neurogenics, voice disorders and instrumentation, and child language. For information on this research and these laboratories, go to the department’s research web sites: http://www.sph.sc.edu/comd/research.htm.
Human communication disorders with an overview of prevention and treatment programs.
An intensive study of the anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanisms.
Study of language theory and international phonetics alphabet transcription.
Diagnostic and therapeutic programs for the communicatively handicapped will be observed in the public school and various rehabilitative settings. Discussion and study of basic therapeutic theories and procedures utilized in speech therapy. Introduction to phonetics or equivalent or permission of instructor.
Presentation of current experimental or innovative programs in diagnosis and treatment of the communicatively impaired. Course is designed to update the practicing clinician in specific areas of expertise. May be repeated for credit. Individual topics to be announced by title. Permission of instructor.
Introduction to the clinical process through observation of various diagnostic reports and intervention programs included.
Study of advanced alternative procedures for the evaluation and management of individuals with significant phonological disturbances.
An introduction to the problem of stuttering; its possible causes; the management and training of clients.
Nature, diagnosis and treatment of cleft palate and craniofacial anomalies.
Genetic factors that contribute to disorders of speech, language, and hearing.
The diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders in children and adults. The neurological, physiological, and psychological bases of voice disorders will be considered.
Neuropathological bases for language disorders in adults; includes differential diagnosis and remediation techniques.
Components of communication, oral language, and speech in preschool children with diverse problems across all aspects of language learning, including factors that serve as precursors to literacy skills as well as evidence-based approaches to language assessment and intervention.
Assigned readings and reports combined with clinical practice in the evaluation of cases in areas such as aphasia, cerebral palsy, voice disorders, articulation problems, stuttering, or cleft palate.
Directed readings and/or research in speech pathology. May be repeated for credit.
Pre- and postoperative clinical management of the laryngeal patient with emphasis on communication and related problems.
Individually assigned directed readings in speech pathology. May be repeated for credit when the topics covered or subject matter is different.
An in-depth study of selected issues. May be repeated for credit when the topics covered or subject matter is different.
A study of management systems in funding, scheduling, and case load.
Clinical management of the neurogenic speech disorders. Major emphasis on neuroanatomy and pathophysiology; sign and symptoms, etiology, and the diagnosis and treatment of the major disorders.
Aging, communicative processes and problems associated with aging, and specific communicative disorders associated with aging. Methods of assessment and rehabilitation will be considered.
A study of historical perspectives, current issues, assessment, intervention techniques, and training strategies in augmentative communication.
Public health issues and historical context related to speech, language, and hearing from local, national and global perspectives.
The relationship between oral and written language and factors that impact reading and writing (phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary). Reading (word-level, comprehension, fluency) and writing (composition, spelling) development, assessment, intervention and issues related to delivery of literacy services in the schools.
Traumatic brain injury and implications for speech and language function including diagnostic evaluation and remediation.
Normal function and pathologic changes of the swallowing mechanism, including evaluation and therapeutic techniques.
Diagnosis and treatment of communication problems in adolescent children, including educational psychosocial sequelae.
Practical application skills for speech-language pathology in the medical setting.
Anatomical and physiological orientation to oral-pharyngeal swallowing disorders in young children.
Issues in traumatic brain injury and implications for speech and language function.
Theories of reading development with regard to their implications for assessment and intervention. Connections between oral and written language skills, including vocabulary as a link between word level and text-level skills. Overall framework for thinking about literacy as a multi-component language skill.
The use of counseling skills by speech-language pathologists regarding the impact of communication disorders on the family system, the importance of interpersonal communication in counseling, and the principles and processes of counseling in facilitating behavior change.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are key team members in the assessment and treatment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), with 90% of school-based SLPs serving children with ASD. This course is intended to prepare students for the assessment and interventions targeting language and communication skills for children with ASD.
Neurocognitive bases for speech and language in the central nervous system including anatomy and physiology and theoretical constructs of language.
Communication options and dysphagia management for speech-language pathologists working with tracheostomized patients.
Basic anatomy and psycho-physics of hearing, pathologies of hearing loss, introduction to identification procedures including hearing screening and pure-tone audiometry, impact of hearing loss on preschool and school-aged children, and educational, psychological, and medical aspects of auditory habilitation.
Effects of hearing loss on a child's development and also on adult function and quality of life (linguistic, intellectual, social, and educational). Communication assessment and case management, including parent and patient training, education, and counseling.
Comprehensive rehabilitation of hearing-impaired adults with emphasis upon amplification, auditory training, and speech reading in developing communication skills.
Anatomy and physiology of the normal cochlea and the eighth cranial nerve. Evoked otoacoustic emissions as a diagnostic medium. Cochlear pathology with emphasis on candidacy for cochlear implantation.
Clinical techniques for the communication assessment and habilitation of the child post cochlear implantation.
Basic sign vocabulary for speech-language pathologists’ professional use with hearing-impaired clients. Focus on the nature and components of manual language systems.
Supervised clinical practice in screening, diagnosis, and therapy.
Supervised internship in diagnosis and treatment of children and adults with communicative disorders in clinical and public school settings in field situations.
An introduction to research methods applicable to and utilized in speech pathology and audiology. An analysis of basic and applied research.
Preparation of research designs, procedures of sampling and use of statistical measures.
An in depth exploration of problems, theories, and research in a specific area of speech pathology. May be repeated for credit when the topic(s) covered is different. Individual topics to be announced with title.
A series of lectures, presentations, and discussion sessions in a selected area of speech pathology. May be repeated for credit when the topic(s) covered is different. Individual topics to be announced with title.
Issues of local, state, and national import related to the prevention or solution of problems in speech pathology.
Introduction to nonlinear phonological theory (e.g., autosegmental, metrical) and its application for assessment and intervention of children with phonological disorders.
Theories of language processing, language development, and the effects of neural pathology on the normal language process.
Advanced study of the physical and related psychological attributes of sound and measurement of acoustic variables of sound and speech. Review of current research in speech science.
The normal auditory system; middle ear and cochlear physiology as determiners of auditory psychophysics.
Processes underlying speech production, including neural control, respiration, phonation, and articulation; theories explaining the processes; measurements of physical properties of speech.
Advanced study of the effects of pathology on the normal language processes. Theories of language processing and development over the life span. Effects of focal and diffuse neutral pathologies on language processes.