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Communication Disorders

Master of Communication Disorders (M.C.D.)

College: College of Nursing and Health Professions

Department: Communication Disorders


The Graduate Program in Communication Disorders meets the rigorous requirements for accreditation for speech-language pathology from the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).  It has been designed to lead to state licensure and the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology issued by ASHA.  

The Master of Communication Disorders degree consists of 49 semester hours beyond the Bachelor's degree, including credit for clinical practice.  Clinical practice consists of direct clinical experience supervised by the Communication Disorders faculty and/or clinical instructor.  Each candidate and the advisor will plan and design a program of study to ensure that professional requirements will be met.  

The successful student is expected to have demonstrated expertise and in-depth knowledge of the normal communication processes, development, and disorders thereof; evaluation procedures to assess the bases of such disorders; and clinical techniques that have been shown to improve or eradicate them.  In addition, competency must be demonstrated in the related areas of human anatomy and physiology, psychological dynamics, and research.


Curriculum and degree requirements can be found in the most current Graduate Bulletin.

Visit the bulletins page >>

  • Prerequisites

    Undergraduate Degree

    The MCD is a professional degree, required for state licensure and the Certificate of Clinical Competence. Therefore, for students wishing to pursue the MCD, a pre-professional degree in communication disorders is strongly recommended.

    Students possessing the undergraduate degree qualify to apply, however, if admitted, deficiencies in undergraduate preparation may be assigned as corequisites. These deficiencies include (but are not limited to) Fluency Disorders, Articulation and Phonological Disorders, and Statistics.

    Non-Communication Disorders Undergraduates

    Students that do not possess the undergraduate degree in CD are not eligible to apply for the MCD until the leveling requirements are met. See "Non-Communication Disorders Leveling Requirements" below for more details.

    Competitive Admission

    Students should be aware that admission to the MCD program is competitive and based on space available. Meeting minimum admission requirements and/or completion of the non-Communication Disorders leveling requirements does not imply or guarantee admission to the MCD program. Note: the MCD program only admits in the summer term.

  • Non-Communication Disorders Leveling Requirements

    Non-Communication Disorders Graduates

    Applicants with undergraduate degrees in majors other than speech-language pathology may make application to the MCD program upon meeting the leveling requirements (listed below), which include 38 credit hours of core coursework.

    Prior to Program Screening

    The following courses must be completed prior to program screening and should be taken during the spring semester:

    Communication Disorders
    Sem hrs.
    CD 2653: Introduction to Communication Disorders 3
    CD 2203: Phonetics 3
    CD 2104: Anatomy & Physiology of Communication 4
    CD 3003: Speech and Hearing Science 3
    CD 3303: Normal Language Development 3

    Program Screening

    Upon completion of the above courses, post-degree students must complete Program Screening to qualify for continuation in the program.

    • 2.75 or better Overall GPA
    • A minimum of 30 hours of earned academic credit
    • "B" or better in the following class:
      • MATH 1023 College Algebra
    • "C" or better in the following classes:
      • ENG 1003 Composition I
      • ENG 1013 Composition II
    • 3.20 or better combined GPA for the following classes:
      • BIO 2203 / 2201: Human Anatomy & Physiology Lecture & Lab, if taken
         Note: BIO 2203/BIO 2201 are only calculated if taken.  If not taken, GPA will be calculated on remaining courses only.
      • PSY 2013: Introduction to Psychology
      • PHSC 1203: and 1201 Physical Science Lec and Lab
      • CD 2653: Introduction to Communication Disorders
      • CD 2104: Anatomy and Physiology of Communication
      • CD 2203: Phonetics
    • Ten (10) clock-hours of documented, prescribed observation
    • A speech & hearing screening (Free for CD Students)

    Remaining Coursework

    Upon successfully qualifying, the remaining coursework should be completed in the next fall/spring academic year.

    Applicants must identify the specific year for which they are applying, and will be considered for admission only after indicating in writing that they understand admission for the targeted year is contingent on their provision of evidence (in the form of an official transcript) of having successfully completed all of the screening and core specified leveling requirements. Such evidence must be received prior to the first day of classes for the targeted year, if admitted.

    In the event documentation is not provided by that time, the admission decision will be considered null and void. The applicant may re-apply for admission for a subsequent year, however, admission is not guaranteed.

    All equivalents/course substitutions must be approved by the CD Admissions and Credits Committee.

    Note: the MCD program only admits in the summer term.

  • Essential Functions of Candidates

    Essential Functions of Candidates for Admission & Continuance


    The accredited graduate program in Communication Disorders (MCD) at Arkansas State University (A-State) adheres to the standards set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Within ASHA standards, the MCD program has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for the following: the selection of students; the design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum; the evaluation of student progress in both classroom and clinical activities; the determination of whom should be awarded a degree; and the determination of whom should be recommended for ASHA certification and state licensure.

    When requested, the University, College, and the Department will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with properly certified disabilities. However, the MCD faculty holds responsibility for the welfare of students in the Department and the clients we serve. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the Department has established academic standards and minimum essential requirements that must be met with or without reasonable accommodations in order to participate in the program and graduate.

    Essential Functions

    In order to acquire the knowledge and skills requisite to the practice of speech-language pathology, to function in a broad variety of clinical situations, and to render a wide spectrum of patient care services, individuals must have essential skills and attributes in five areas: communication, motor, intellectual-cognitive, sensory-observational, and behavioral-social.

    These skills enable a student to meet graduate and professional requirements as measured by state and national credentialing agencies. Many of these skills can be learned and developed during the course of the graduate program through coursework and clinical experience. Failure to meet or maintain Essential Functions may result in action against the student, including, but not limited to dismissal from the program.


    A student must possess adequate communication skills to:

    • Communicate proficiently using both oral and written English language.
    • Possess reading and writing skills sufficient to meet curricular and clinical demands.
    • Perceive and demonstrate appropriate non-verbal communication for culture and context.
    • Modify communication style to meet the communicative needs of clients, caregivers, and other persons served.
    • Convey information accurately with relevance and cultural sensitivity. 

    A student must possess adequate motor skills to:

    • Sustain necessary physical activity level in required classroom and clinical activities
    • Respond quickly to provide a safe environment for clients in emergency situations including fire, choking, etc.
    • Access transportation to clinical and academic placements
    • Participate in classroom and clinical activities for the defined workday
    • Efficiently manipulate testing and treatment environment and materials
    Intellectual / Cognitive

    A student must possess adequate intellectual and cognitive skills to:

    • Comprehend, retain, integrate, synthesize, infer, evaluate and apply written and verbal information sufficient to meet curricular and clinical demands.
    • Identify significant findings from history, evaluation, and data to formulate a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
    • Solve problems, reason, and make sound clinical judgments in patient assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic plan and implementation.
    • Self evaluate, identify, and communicate limits of one’s own knowledge and skills and be able to identify and utilize resources in order to increase knowledge and skills.
    • Utilize detailed written and verbal instruction in order to make unique and independent decisions.
    Sensory / Observational

    A student must possess adequate sensory skills to:

    • Visually and auditorily identify and discriminate normal and disordered communication.
    • Identify the need for alternative modalities of communication.
    • Visualize and identify anatomic structures.
    • Visualize and discriminate imaging findings.
    • Recognize when a client’s family does or does not understand the clinician’s written and/or verbal communication.
    Behavioral / Social

    A student must possess adequate behavioral and social attributes to:

    • Display mature, empathetic, and effective professional relationships by exhibiting compassion, integrity, and concern for others.
    • Conduct oneself in an ethical and legal manner, upholding the ASHA Code of Ethics and university and federal privacy policies.
    • Maintain general good physical and mental health to prevent jeopardizing the health and safety of self and others in the academic and clinical setting.
    • Adapt to changing and demanding environments which includes maintaining both professional demeanor and emotional health.
    • Manage the use of time effectively to complete professional and technical tasks within realistic time constraints.
    • Accept appropriate suggestions and constructive criticism and respond by modification of behaviors.
    • Dress appropriately and professionally. 
    Reference:  Adapted from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (2007)
  • Admission Process

    Applying To The MCD Program

    Arkansas State University's MCD program subscribes to the Centralized Application Service for Communication Science & Disorders Programs (CSDCAS). Applicants for admission to the A-State MCD program MUST apply online using the CSDCAS application. In addition, students who are accepted must also apply online to the A-State Graduate School. Transcripts must be sent to both CSDCAS and A-State's Graduate School (see links below).

    The deadline for submitting applications to CSDCAS March 1st.

    Applying to CSDCAS

    To learn more about the CSDCAS application process and to get started, please go to CSDCAS. If you encounter difficulty with CSDCAS, please contact their Customer Service at 617-612-2030 or send an email to csdcasinfo@csdcas.org.

    Once a student applies through CSDCAS, the transcript information is verified by CSDCAS. This process takes time and depends both on the efficiency of CSDCAS and the speed with which your schools respond to the inquiries from CSDCAS. A-State will accept completed, verified applications from CSDCAS until March 1st.

    If CSDCAS has not completed the verification process by March 1st, the application will not be considered, even if it was submitted by the March 1st deadline. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications well before the deadline to ensure that the verification process will be completed by the deadline. All prerequisites must be completed at the time of graduation.

    Applying to the A-State Graduate School

    To apply to the A-State Graduate School, simply complete the online application on their website. You will be prompted for the program in which you wish to apply for on the application.

    Go to the A-State graduate school application >>


    Official transcripts MUST be sent to both CSDCAS and A-State Graduate School. Please do not send transcripts to the A-State Communication Disorders Department unless specifically requested to. Transcripts and immunization records for A-State Graduate School should be sent to:

    The Graduate School @ A-State
    PO Box 60
    State University, AR 72467-0060

    A-State Graduate School can be contacted at 870-972-3029 or gradadmissions@astate.edu.

    The application fee of $50 can be paid online (through your applicant account) or by phone to the Cashier’s Window at 870-972-3847.

    A-State Transcripts

    Students who have attended one or more of the A-State campuses (i.e. Newport, Beebe, etc.) must still request transcripts from them separately to be sent to A-State in Jonesboro. A-State campuses are independent of each other in regards to transcripts and can only be verified by the campus where the courses were actually taken.

    Background Checks

    Based on Arkansas law, students will be required to complete a background check AFTER they receive conditional admission into the program.

    Arkansas State University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions works with Verified Credentials, Inc. to establish an acceptable screening procedure. The cost of the background check is between $50 and $100.

    Background Checks for Students Newly Admitted into the MCD Program

    Once you are accepted and have decided to attend graduate school at Arkansas State University, information will be shared with you so you can complete the background check.

    Rankings and Acceptance

    After the deadline of March 1, the CD Admissions and Credits Committee reviews all applications for minimum requirements and GPA's. Applicants that do not provide evidence of meeting the minimum requirements are not reviewed further.

    Qualifying applicants are then ranked and awarded points (based on ranking) from a pre-determined scale and are ranked individually by GPA-overall and GPA-in the major. Points for affective applicant items (resume, video submission, intent letter, and recommendation letters) are totaled and result in a folder score and subsequent ranking. Total applicant points are then ranked and the class is selected based on the number of students the program can accept.

    Formal letters are emailed to all qualified applicants notifying them of acceptance status. Invited applicants must respond at their earliest convenience but no later than April 15th. In the event attrition is high, the committee selects replacements from the remaining qualifying applicant pool, and additional invitations are extended.

    Notice: Admitted MCD students begin the program in the first summer term following admission. Upon successful completion of coursework, practicum, and comprehensive examinations or thesis, matriculation is completed 19 months later, graduating in December.

  • Additional Costs

    Additional Expenses

    In addition to tuition costs, Communication Disorders students will incur the following expenses:

    Clinical Rotations

    Every student will participate in clinical rotations prior to graduation. At the graduate level, the clinical experience will occur on-campus at the A-State Speech and Hearing Center as well as clinical affiliate sites off-campus. When the clinical rotation is scheduled at an off-campus clinical site, it is the responsibility of the student to arrange for transportation to and from clinical sites and any expense related to it.

    CPR & TB Skin Test

    CPR certification and a TB skin test are also required prior to clinical practicum enrollment. Students are notified of free or low-cost certification opportunities regularly (cost varies depending on provider).

    Malpractice Insurance

    All students in the College of Nursing and Health Professions must purchase malpractice insurance prior to rotating through clinical practicum sites. The annual cost of this insurance is approximately $40.00.

    Information regarding purchase of malpractice insurance is distributed prior to the first clinical practicum rotation during preparatory courses.

    Background Check

    Additionally, if the clinical site requires it, a background check may be required at a cost between $50.00 and $100.00.

  • Careers
  • Student Outcome Data

    Praxis Pass Rates

    # taking exam
    # passed exam
    Praxis Pass Rate
    2022-2023 27 23 85%
    2021-2022 29 29 100%
    2020-2021 30 30 100%
    Three-Year Average 95%

    Program Completion Rates

    Completed within expected time-frame
    Completed later than expected time-frame
    Not Completing
    % Completing within expected time-frame
    2022-2023 26 0 0 100%
    2021-2022 29 0 1 97%
    2020-2021 30 0 0 100%
    Three-Year Average 28 0 .33 99%
  • Post Graduation

    Graduates of the MCD program are required to maintain contact information with the department for a minimum of five (5) years for surveys related to accreditation.  Surveys are distributed at one year, three years, and five years post-graduation.  

    MCD students are required to take the PRAXIS II proficiency exam and supply score to the department prior to graduation.

    A clinical fellowship is required after graduation in order to receive the Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association LogoThe Master of Communication Disorders (MCD) education program in speech-language pathology (residential) at Arkansas State University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Blvd. #310, Rockville, Maryland, 20850.  
(800) 498-2071 or (301) 296-5700