Jun 15, 2024  
Mercy College 2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
Mercy College 2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication Disorders, M.S.

Ashley O’Rourke, M.S., CCC-SLP, Program Director


Speech-language pathologists provide habilitation and rehabilitation services to individuals across the life span who demonstrate disorders in communication. These disorders may include language, articulation, phonology, voice, motor, memory, fluency, swallowing, attention and/or hearing deficits. The profession is built upon basic and applied physical and social sciences, educational principles and clinical research. The curriculum of this Program offers students a variety of opportunities for academic, clinical, research and specialized area experience reflecting that foundation. The program prepares students to work in a variety of different health care settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient programs, schools, community centers and private practice. Graduates are eligible to begin their Clinical Fellowship (CF) in accordance with requirements of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and are eligible to apply for state licensure.


The Master of Science Program in Communication Disorders (CD) offers a comprehensive combination of academic and clinical education for students to become speech-language pathologists in accordance with ASHA certification guidelines and licensure requirements of New York State. The objective of the program is to instill in students the solid theoretical, clinical and research components of speech-language pathology. The program seeks to:

  • Develop academic and clinical excellence through commitment to teaching, research and service.
  • Promote a culture of scholarship and respect for individuals.
  • Provide a foundation of knowledge and skills that foster competent, autonomous, clinical practice for the professional lifetime.

Expectations of the Graduate

Graduates of the Mercy College Master of Science Program in Communication Disorders are expected to:

  1. Display understanding of anatomic, biologic, neurologic, physiologic and psychologic bases of speech, language and hearing.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the nature of communication disorders.
  3. Display knowledge of the professions of Speech/Language Pathology.
  4. Recognize the relevance of cultural and linguistic diversity in all aspects of the profession.
  5. Exhibit competency in academic and clinical skill areas.
  6. Produce and defend evidence-based research methods.
  7. Apply counseling strategies with clients and families.
  8. Describe and discuss hearing problems across the life span and in a variety of populations.
  9. Demonstrate knowledge of assessment techniques for identifying hearing loss.
  10. Screen hearing ability according to ASHA guidelines.
  11. Develop and execute appropriate aural rehabilitation programs within the scope of practice of speech-language pathology.

Undergraduate Prerequisites

Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanisms
Speech and Hearing Science
Introduction to Communication Disorders (Speech Pathology I)
Introduction to Audiology
Normal Speech and Language Development
Introduction to Linguistics

The seven courses above and the four listed below must have been completed during the last 10 years. Applicants may be in the process of completing the 7 prerequisite courses during the spring semester of the application process. The following courses must be completed during the application process or within the first year of Graduate School:

Aural Rehabilitation*
Physical Science**(Must be Physics or Chemistry)
Human Biological Science**
* Must be taken for undergraduate credit during the first year of graduate study.
** Required for ASHA Certification; must be completed by the end of the first year of graduate school.

Only grades of “C” or better in any of the above-noted 11 courses will be accepted.

Admission Requirements

Please refer to the general requirements for admission and matriculation in the Admissions  section.

Application Requirements:

Requirements for matriculation and admission into the Master of Science Program in Communication Disorders include:

  1. Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate programs attended.
  2. Minimum GPA of 3.2 in the undergraduate major. Applicants with a lower average may be considered for admission if their last two years of grades show steady improvement. The student may be required to complete a specified number of credits as a part-time student with an overall GPA of 3.0.
  3. Minimum GPA of 3.2 in the seven primary prerequisite courses.
  4. Completion of the GRE (to be submitted to Mercy College using ETS code 7110)
  5. Oral communication skills necessary to provide services to a wide range of clients.
  6. Adequate written communication skills.
  7. The “Written Statement” is in response to the question, “Other than technology and “apps”, what do you believe is a significant development in the field of speech/language pathology over the past 10 years? How will you incorporate this development into your future practice as a speech/language pathologist? The essay is to be double-spaced in a font of 12 and no more than two type-written pages in length.
  8. Completion of application through Communication Science Disorders Centralized Application Service (which includes completion of “Pre-Requisite Checklist”). https://csdcas.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login
  9. Résumé.
  10. Two letters of recommendation, at least one letter must be from Communication Disorders faculty member who has taught the applicant in class and can attest to the applicant’s capacity to successfully complete graduate study. The other letter must be from a Communication Disorders faculty member who has taught the applicant and/or an academic clinical supervisor (who has supervised the applicant planning for, implementing and documenting speech/language therapy).
  11. Submission of the entire application packet is due by January 15 (Applications are accepted for fall admission only).

The number of applicants accepted is limited by the training facilities available; therefore, applicants who otherwise meet minimum requirements for matriculation may not necessarily be admitted.

  1. Documents will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee of the CD Program.
  2. Applications will be reviewed and ranked according to GPA, GREs, essay, résumé, and letters of recommendation.
  3. Representatives of the CD Admissions Committee will interview highest ranked applicants before final acceptance decisions are made. Interview requirement may be waived for students in the undergraduate or prerequisite CD programs.
  4. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 600.
  5. Request for acceptance of up to six transfer credits must be submitted at the time of application. A transcript of these courses must be included with course outlines and will be evaluated after acceptance to the program.
  6. Students accepted into the program will be required to pay a nonrefundable $500 deposit at the time of acceptance. This fee will be applied to the fall tuition payment.
  7. Students accepted into the program will be required to take a “pre-clinic” workshop for a specified fee. 


Upon acceptance into the Master of Science Program in Communication Disorders, students will be assigned a faculty member who will serve as their advisor. Students accepted into the program will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $500 at the time of acceptance. This fee will be applied to the fall tuition payment. The advisor will meet with students to counsel them on Program and ASHA certification requirements, and to develop a plan of study and a future professional development plan.

Program Design

The Graduate Program in CD is designed for full-time and part-time students and can be completed in two years and one summer for full-time students and three years for part-time students. The program consists of academic and clinical components that are organized in a progressive sequence. Courses are primarily offered in the evening. Some courses may be offered in various scheduling formats. Clinical practicum schedules require days, evenings and/or Saturdays. The College defines full-time as nine credits. For the purpose of completing the CD program in two years (including one summer), the student must follow the projected curriculum sequence established by the program. Part-time students must follow their required course projections.

Students who graduate from the program may sit for the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology (Specialty Area Test of the Praxis Series by the Educational Testing Service). Students then complete their Clinical Fellowship (CF). Upon successful completion of the degree, the examination, and the CF, the individual can be certified as a Speech-Language Pathologist by ASHA.

Successful completion of the educational and clinical requirements of the graduate program will prepare students for eligibility for the New York State License as a Speech-Language Pathologist.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Communication Disorders include:

Required Coursework 46 credits
Elective Coursework 6 credits
Clinical Education 8 credits
Total Credits 60 credits

In order to qualify for graduation, students must demonstrate competency by:

  1. Completing program requirements.
  2. Passing a summative assessment, which can be waived with a passing score on the PRAXIS examination. Otherwise, students must take a comprehensive exam.

Each candidate for a degree or certificate must have completed all coursework and program requirements. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all courses applicable to the degree is required for both good academic standing and degree conferral. The words “With Distinction” will appear on the diploma and transcript of any student who completes their degree with a GPA of at least 3.75. Once the degree is conferred, the academic record is finalized and cannot be changed.


* Clinical course sequence may vary

Additional Program Information

Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disability (TSSLD) Certification

The program is registered with the New York State Education Department to offer Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD) certification. Students who wish to obtain the academic and clinical requisites for Initial TSSLD certification must complete the following requirements in addition to program requirements:

  1. Twelve credits in Education, which include three credits in Foundations of Education, three credits in Special Education, and six credits in Literacy.
  2. Thirty-six credits in Speech/Language Pathology and Audiology.
  3. Student Teaching: a minimum of 150 “direct contact” hours.
  4. Achievement of passing grades on New York State Teacher Certification exams:
    1. Educating All Students (EAS) test
  5. Completion of Workshops:
    1. Child Abuse Identification
    2. School Violence Prevention
    3. Human Dignity (DASA)
  6. Fingerprint Clearance.


Attendance and punctuality in all classes and clinical education assignments is required, unless the student is excused for extenuating and extraordinary life circumstances. A maximum of three undocumented absences from class will result in failure in the course and may jeopardize the student’s standing in the program. Absence from a clinical assignment is subject to the policies and procedures of the Graduate Handbook and Clinic Manual.

Student Classification

A student will be classified as a matriculant when admitted to the CD Program. Students may attend the program on a full-time or part-time basis. However, all students must fulfill a full-time residency requirement of one semester that may be fulfilled during the summer. Students must complete all degree requirements within five years from the time of acceptance. A maximum of six transfer graduate credits comparable to graduate courses offered at Mercy College will be accepted. Request for transfer credit must be made at the time of application. Once matriculated, all graduate courses and clinical hours must be completed at Mercy College.

Maintenance of Good Academic Standing

A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all courses applicable to the degree is required for both good academic standing and degree conferral. A student admitted as a Special Matriculant is required to achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 after completion of six credits. Please note, certain graduate programs may have more stringent program policies. Please check the specific program regulations. Grades are subject to review by the faculty advisor and program director at the end of each term. If the academic average falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation and may be subject to dismissal from the CD program.

Clinical Probation and Continuation

Students who earn a grade of below B in CMDS 620  or CMDS 621  will be placed on Clinical Probation and will have to repeat CMDS 620  or CMDS 621  the following semester. Continuation in the program is contingent upon obtaining a grade of B or above in CMDS 620  and CMDS 621 . Furthermore, students who fail CMDS 620  or CMDS 621  in the fall or spring semester will only be allowed to register for two prescribed courses on the part-time student schedule and to repeat either CMDS 620  or CMDS 621 . The student may also opt to just repeat the clinic course. If a student fails CMDS 620 /CMDS 621  in the spring semester, (s) he cannot retake clinic in the summer, because of the abbreviated session.

Academic Probation

A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all courses applicable to the degree is required for both good academic standing and degree conferral. All students who have a cumulative GPA below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. If a student will not be able to achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 within a reasonable time, the student may be subject to dismissal from the academic program of study. If a student receives a grade of F or FW in any course, the student will be subject to dismissal from the program. For all students on probation, future registrations must be reviewed and approved by the Academic Unit Head of the student’s program or graduate Associate Dean.

In all subsequent terms in which the student is on probation, the student is required to achieve a term GPA of 3.0 or higher. If the 3.0 or higher is not achieved the student will be dismissed. Students who receive a grade of less than B may be required to repeat the course. Students will be allowed to repeat a course only once.

Program Dismissal Review

In cases in which a student has been dismissed from the Communication Disorders Program, the student may request a dismissal review when he/she believes that extenuating circumstances affected his/her academic performance in the program. The student must follow the SHNS Program Dismissal Review Policy detailed at the beginning of the School of Health and Natural Sciences  section.

Essential Functions

The program has adopted a list of Essential Functions that outlines the necessary communication, motor, intellectual/cognitive, and behavioral/social attributes deemed necessary for program completion and clinical practice within the field. Students are expected to review this list and sign a form stating that they are or are not capable of performing the skills and abilities listed.

Professional Licensure

If you are interested in obtaining professional licensure, please check with the appropriate licensing body in the state where you intend to practice. For additional information and detailed requirements, please refer to the specific program of interest on the “School Resources” section of the Mercy College NC-Sara webpage.

Program Accreditation

The Master’s Degree program in Communication Disorders is accredited in Speech-Language Pathology by the Council for Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.

Course Load

The Master of Science Degree Program in Communication Disorders is offered as both a full-time and a part-time program that takes approximately two years, one summer to complete for full-time students and three to five years for part-time students (five years is the maximum length of time for program completion). Full-time students are required to take 13-14 credits per fall and spring semesters and 8-9 credits in the summer. Part-time candidates must take 6 credits per semester. Students who are accepted as part-time students and wish to change to full-time status may make a request after their first-year summer grades are completed and with the permission of their departmental advisor and the Program Director. Courses are offered during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Maintenance of Matriculation

It is expected that students will fulfill the requirements for their graduate degree by registering over successive sessions. For cohort programs, registration is required during summer session(s). For non-cohort programs, summer registration is not required. Registration is accomplished by either enrolling in classes or maintaining matriculation. The Maintenance of Matriculation fee is processed as a registration.

Students who have not maintained matriculation and wish to return to their program within one year after their last course will be charged the Maintenance of Matriculation fee for each missed session. Maintenance of matriculation without attending classes is limited to one year. Activated U.S. Military Reservists are not required to pay the Maintenance of Matriculation fee.

Transfer Credits

Graduate courses taken at other institutions prior to admission at Mercy College may, if pertinent to the plan of study, be credited to the graduate degree. Transfer credit is limited to six credits taken within the last five years in which the student has received a grade of B or above. Transfer courses taken prior to admission will not be computed in the quality point average.

Time Limit

Requirements for the degree must be completed within five years from the candidate’s date of matriculation (exclusive of time spent in the Armed Forces). An exception may be made by the director of the program if the student’s request demonstrates circumstances beyond his or her control that temporarily interfere with the ability to complete the program on time.

Complaints That Fall Outside the Realm of Due Process

The Communication Disorders Program is committed to meeting its mission as it relates to serving our students, potential students, staff, faculty, adjunct faculty, clinical faculty and the public consumer of communication disorders services. To that end, we are committed to ensuring that exceptional complaints for which there is no established College, School or program policy or procedure are considered and resolved in a timely, fair, consistent and equitable manner.

Procedure: Complaint to the Program: Complaints should be addressed to the Program Director through the online form located here 
If the program director is the subject of the complaint, the complaint should be addressed to the Dean, School of Health and Natural Science