Speech and Hearing Science Major
The program consists of academic and clinical requirements. The curriculum consists of forty-one (41) semester hours of required courses, six (6) semester hours of focus courses (which are required for students desiring an Education Endorsement and/or for students lacking the requisite knowledge and coursework in Speech and Hearing Science), plus a comprehensive examination and/or thesis. The program also requires a minimum of six (6) additional credit hours of clinical practicum during which the student must obtain 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. 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. For employment in the school system, graduate students may complete requirements for licensure by the State Department of Education. These requirements are in addition to those required for the degree. The curriculum emphasizes both classroom and clinical experiences necessary for a comprehensive understanding of normal communicative processes, including reception, integration, and expression.
The curriculum also emphasizes in-depth analyses of communicative 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 meet requirements for graduation, students must obtain the minimum number of required clinical clock hours for ASHA certification.
Twenty-five hours of observation and 50 clinical hours completed at the undergraduate level can be applied toward ASHA certification requirements. All observation and clinical clock hours amassed at the undergraduate level must be obtained under the supervision of an ASHA certified member.
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 experience through the Department’s affiliations with school systems, child-care centers, habilitation and rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and health-care facilities.
The Master of Science Program in Speech and Hearing Science is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Speech-Language Pathology of the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA implemented new Standards for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology effective 2014. Students may be required to take additional prerequisite coursework in order 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 establishes 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 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 to not 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 July 1 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.