Speech and Hearing Science Major
The Master of Science Program in Speech and Hearing Science has academic and clinical requirements to which students must adhere. The curriculum consists of forty-seven (47) semester hours of required courses, plus a comprehensive examination and/or thesis. The program also requires students to complete a minimum of six (6) credit hours of clinical practicum during which the student must obtain a minimum of 400 clock hours of clinical practicum experiences under the supervision of certified clinicians (CCC-SLP or CCC-A) in nine (9) areas of speech-language assessment and intervention across the lifespan.
Guided observation and on-site/in-person hours are necessary to help students to meet the 400 clinical clock hour requirement. Students are not required to obtain hours through telepractice and clinical simulations.
At a minimum, students must acquire:
- 25 guided observation hours
- 250 hours attained on-site and in person at the graduate level
At a maximum, students can attain:
- 125 hours through telepractice
- 75 hours via clinical simulations
Students entering the program are required to have (1) an undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology or (2) the required prerequisite courses. Students plan their curriculum in consultation with an advisor.
The curriculum emphasizes communication and swallowing disorders, giving special attention to techniques for diagnosis, remediation, and management. Supervised clinical observation and practicum experiences in speech-language pathology and audiology are an integral part of the curriculum. To apply for graduation and to meet the requirements for ASHA certification, students must possess a minimum of 400 clinical clock hours.
Practicum experiences, applicable toward ASHA certification, are provided on-campus at the TSU Speech and Language Clinic where diagnostic and clinical services are offered to children and adults in the Middle Tennessee area. Students are also assigned to off-campus practicum sites to obtain diverse experiences through the Department’s affiliations with school systems, child-care centers, habilitation and rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and healthcare facilities.
The Master of Science Program in Speech and Hearing Science is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The 2020 Standards and Implementation Procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology are currently in place. Students are required to take additional prerequisite coursework to provide evidence of knowledge and skills required for certification.
The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology has created a list of Essential Functions which are task-and attribute-based criteria needed to successfully achieve professional entry-level competencies. The Essential Functions of Speech-Language Pathologists establish the expectations and requisite abilities considered necessary in the field of speech-language pathology.
Below are the essential functions that individuals must possess either independently or with reasonable accommodations.
- Critical thinking skills sufficient for clinical judgment;
- Interpersonal skills sufficient for effective interaction with individuals and families from a variety of cultural backgrounds;
- Communication skills with proficiency in English and/or other languages of service delivery sufficient for effective written and spoken interaction with others;
- The ability to comprehend and read professional literature/reports and write university-level papers and clinical reports in English;
- Physical mobility sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces;
- The ability to participate in classroom or clinical activities for2-4 hour blocks of time with one or two breaks;
- The ability to move independently to, from, and in academic/clinical facilities;
- Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient for manipulation of evaluation and treatment instruments and materials;
- The ability to respond quickly enough to provide a safe environment for clients in emergency situations, including fire, choking, etc., and in the application of universal precautions (standardized approach for infection control);
- Visual acuity, hearing sensitivity, and auditory discrimination sufficient for client evaluation and treatment;
- The ability to implement speech, language diagnostic and hearing screening procedures; administer and score instruments, interpret results and make appropriate recommendations and decisions, including the ability to evaluate and generalize appropriately without immediate supervision;
- The ability to select, develop and implement comprehensive intervention strategies for the treatment of communication and related disorders;
- The ability to maintain attention and concentration for a sufficient amount of time to complete academic/clinical activities, typically 2-4 hours with 1-2 breaks.
- The ability to maintain appropriate workplace behavior, including understanding and respect for supervisory authority, punctuality, and regular attendance.
Criminal Background Check
A criminal background check and/or a drug screening are required at most affiliated clinical training sites. Based on the results of these checks, an affiliated clinical site may decide not to allow students at their facility. Such a decision could impede a student’s ability to successfully complete the requirements of this program. Additionally, a criminal background may preclude licensure or employment. If criminal background checks or drug screenings are required, students are expected to cooperate fully with the process and pay all associated costs. Tennessee State University and the Speech Pathology and Audiology Department are not liable if the results of a criminal background check or a drug screening indicate that a student is unable to complete the requirements of the program or if such results preclude one from obtaining licensure or employment. [Note: All applicants for initial speech-language pathology licensure in Tennessee must obtain a criminal background check.]
Formal admission to the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology is made through the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS).
A completed CSDCAS application is required for admission review.
Admission applications are due by February 1st prior to the fall semester in which the student wishes to enroll in the traditional program. Students are admitted to the distance education program every other year. The admission deadline for the distance education format is June 1st of every even year. Acceptance into the program is highly competitive.
Applicants are Required to Submit:
- An application fee
- Official college transcript(s)
- Results from the Graduate Record Examination Score (GRE) OR the Millers Analogy Test Score (MAT)
- A Letter of Intent
- Three Letters of Recommendation (addressing school, leadership, volunteer, and life experiences)
For admission with unconditional classification, the student must have a:
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) of 146 minimum (verbal) and 140 minimum (quantitative) OR a minimum score on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) of 380.
- Bachelor’s degree and completion of the required prerequisite courses* in speech-language pathology.
For admission with conditional classification, the student may possess a GPA between 2.75 and 3.4 with an acceptable GRE or MAT score. The student with an acceptable GPA and a 138 minimum (verbal) and 136 minimum (quantitative) on the GRE or a minimum score on the MAT of 370 may also be considered for conditional admission. The student’s classification is changed to unconditional if a 3.00 or better GPA is attained in the first 9 credit hours of graduate coursework. Any exception to these standards must be approved by the Graduate Selection Committee of the Department, Department Chair, College Dean, and Graduate Dean.
Applicants with clinical clock hours and observation hours in the areas of speech-language pathology and audiology must have proper documentation, including the appropriate signatures and certification status (CCC/SLP or CCC/A) for the clinical supervisors who supervised their clinical practicum experiences.
Upon acceptance into the graduate program, students may apply for available graduate assistantships or other financial aid. Students requesting graduate assistantships are required to fill out the graduate assistantship application located on the Graduate School’s website. This form is submitted with the other application materials. Students requiring financial aid must fill out a financial aid form and contact the university’s financial aid office.