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Chairperson: Professor Angela Barber, Office: Room 310, 700 University Boulevard East


The Department of Communicative Disorders offers a graduate program leading to the master of science degree in speech-language pathology. The program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


The program combines coursework, observation, and practicum to familiarize students with communicative disorders and to develop their skills in assessment and rehabilitation. Most students with undergraduate degrees in communicative disorders will complete the degree requirements in five semesters of full-time study. Students who complete the master's degree will also have met the academic and practicum requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and for a license from the State of Alabama. These credentials enable graduates to be employed in clinical settings as well as in the public schools of Alabama and many other states, depending upon the certification requirements of those states.


Practicum sites include UA's Speech and Hearing Center, public schools, DCH Regional Medical Center, University Medical Center, West Alabama Rehabilitation Center, Bryce Hospital, RISE Program, VA Medical Centers in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, and other sites in the Birmingham area. Certified and/or licensed professionals supervise at all sites.



Admission Requirements

Applicants must submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination general test or the Miller Analogies Test. After admission to a program, each student's effectiveness will be given a broad-based evaluation by faculty and supervisors. Decisions on clinical placement, completion of the program, or termination of the student from the program will be based on factors such as course grades, demonstrated clinical competence, and personality factors. See the Admission Criteria section of this catalog for more information.



Degree Requirements

The requirements for the master of science degree follow the general policies outlined in the  Degree Requirements section of this catalog.



Course Descriptions

Students may not receive credit at both the 400 and 500 levels for courses of equivalent content. Graduate students enrolled in 500-level courses that are also offered at the 400 level will be expected to perform extra work of an appropriate nature. Graduate credit will not be granted at the 400 level.


CD 501 Introduction to Research Methods. Three hours. Study of research methods for use in communicative disorders and related disciplines. Emphasis on evaluation of experimental design for clinical research and critical reading of published research.


CD 504 Transdisciplinary Teams in Speech and Hearing. One hour.
This course will include presentation and discussion of transdisciplinary assessment and intervention techniques with individuals with language and communication disabilities.


CD 505 Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC). Three hours.
A review of the basic aspects of the field of augmentative/alternative communication, including aided and unaided symbols, strategies, and techniques. An overview of augmentative/alternative communication assessment and intervention principles and procedures will be presented.


CD 506 Sociolinguistics in Speech-Language Pathology.  Three hours.

A framework for systematically analyzing cultural similarities and differences.  Examination of cultural differences, verbal and nonverbal, in the clinical setting.


CD 507 Technical Writing for Speech-Language Pathology. Two Hours.
This course will provide students with the necessary writing tools to develop efficient and professional technical writing skills pertinent to the field of speech–language pathology.


CD 509 Language Development. Three hours.
Advanced study of normal language and communication development. Presentation and discussion of theories, individual differences, and cultural differences in typically developing children.

CD 512 Language Disorders in Children. Three hours.
Presentation and discussion of theories, practices, and methods of differential diagnosis and language intervention for language-impaired children ages birth to 21 years of age.

CD 514 Autism Spectrum Disorders. Three Hours.
This course will include presentation and discussion of theories and methods of language
assessment and intervention of various language-impaired populations.

CD 515 Professional Issues. One hour.
Study of professional issues in the field of communicative sciences and disorders. Includes current issues, practice standards, certification, licensure, ethics, employment, and professional organizations.

CD 516 Multicultural Issues. Three hours.
Study of multicultural issues and how they affect speech and language. Presentation and discussion of American cultures and communicative differences.

CD 517 Advanced Clinical Practicum, Speech. Two to three hours.
Individual assignments in selected areas of speech and language therapy. Clinical practice and scholarly investigation, with regular staff consultation.


CD 518 Externship in Speech-Language Pathology. One to six hours.

Forty hours a week of clinical practice in setting. Application of theory, knowledge and skills in an intense external practicum site.

CD 520 Special Topics in Communicative Disorders. One to three hours.
Graduate students will enroll in special topics one or more times depending upon offerings and student program interests. Topics will vary annually to reflect students' needs for educational experiences within the profession appropriate at the time.

CD 529 Diagnostic Procedures, Speech. Three Hours.
Advanced study of theory and practice of differential diagnosis of persons with speech and language disorders.

CD 542 Public School Internship. Three to six hours.
Organization, management and implementation of public school speech, language, and hearing programs will be discussed. Students will receive supervised clinical practice in the public schools.

CD 551 Phonological Development, Assessment, and Intervention. Three hours.
Advanced study of normal phonological/articulation development. Presentation and discussion of theories, practices, differential diagnosis, and intervention of disorders of articulation/phonology.


CD 552 Neurology I. Three hours.

Basic neuroanatomy of the normal human cortex and what happens when impacted by disease or trauma.

CD 553 Neurology II. Three hours.
Advanced study of the nature, assessment, and treatment of language and cognitive disorders associated with acquired brain injury, such as stroke, TBI, and dementia.

CD 554 Fluency Disorders. Three hours.
The study of the nature, assessment, and treatment of stuttering. Emphasis on understanding the different onset and developmental theories and different approaches to treatment.

CD 555 Voice Disorders. Three hours.
Advanced study of the physiological, acoustical, and psychological factors underlying voice disorders, methods of rehabilitation, and problems in research.

CD 556 Acquired Motor Speech Disorders: Adults. Three hours.
Advanced study of the nature, assessment, and treatment of acquired speech disorders including dysarthria and apraxia. 

CD 557 Language Diagnosis and Intervention: Special Populations. Three hours.
Theories, practices, and methods of differential diagnosis and intervention for language and phonology in multicultural, behaviorally disordered, severely multi-handicapped, mentally retarded, and learning disabled populations.

CD 558 Dialect Reduction. One to three hours.

Study of diagnostic and therapeutic methods of reduction of dialect in persons where English is not their first language and where dialect interferes with intelligibility.


CD 559 Instrumentation for Speech and Voice Analysis. One to three hours.

Theory and practice of speech and voice analysis techniques which may include laryngeal imaging, acoustic analysis, aerodynamics analysis, and interpretation of spectrograms.

CD 575 Dysphagia in Children. One to three hours.
Advanced study of the nature, assessment, and treatment of swallowing disorders in children. Special populations (tracheostomized, ventilator) will be included.

CD 576 Dysphagia in Adults. Three hours.
Advanced study of the nature, assessment, and treatment of swallowing disorders in adults. Special populations (tracheostomized, ventilator-dependent) will be included.

CD 597 Case Studies in Speech-Language Pathology. One hour.
Multidimensional case studies are presented for discussion and case management. Strategies for successful completion of comprehensive and PRAXIS exams are discussed.

CD 598 Research Not Related to Thesis. One to six hours.
Planning, executing, and evaluating research. For students following Plan II.

CD 599 Thesis Research. One to six hours.
All aspects of the thesis, from selecting a problem to writing the results and conclusions.



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