The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) offers a Master of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech, Language, Hearing Association (ASHA). Graduates of the master’s degree program meet the academic standards for speech-language pathology as determined by ASHA.
Admission to the graduate program is limited to 30-40 new students each fall. Students learn in a supportive and challenging environment with easy access to faculty and supervisors and experience a well-balanced educational and training program. The faculty consists of 9 full time academic and clinical professors and five adjunct professors with specialized interest in voice disorders, motor speech disorders, right hemisphere cognitive-communication disorders, adult language disorders, swallowing, child language, literacy, bilingualism, multiculturalism and fluency.
For the past 5 years, all of the graduates from our program have passed the national examination on their first attempt and 100% of those seeking employment are employed within 4 months of graduation. The 3-year average program completion rate is 89% (please see more detailed information in the table below).
|Academic Year||Praxis Pass Rate: First Attempt||Program completion rate**||Employment rate*|
|2011-2012||100% (40/40)||100% (36/36)||95% (38/40)|
|2012-2013||100% (35/35)||92% (35/38)||100% (35/35)|
|2013-2014||100% (36/36)||91% (36/40)||97% (39/40)|
|3 year average||100%||94%||97%|
* Employed within 1 year of graduation
** Completion within the standard time frame: 5 semesters for full-time students and 7 semesters with part-time continuous enrollment.
Academic courses cover etiology, characteristics, diagnosis, and treatment of communication disorders (including speech, language, cognition, hearing, and swallowing) across the age span.
Students must complete 49 academic credits for the master’s degree (31 credits in required content coursework, 3 credits of elective coursework, 15 credits in clinic assignments).
Full-time students typically complete the program in two years (5-6 semesters). Part-time students typically complete their program in three years (7 semesters). Part-time student take a reduced course load and clinic load during their first two years. Full-time attendance is required their second summer and final two semesters to complete externship placements. Click here to see sample programs of study for full and part time programs.
A minimum of five semesters of clinical practica are required. These are completed both at the University of Houston Speech, Language & Hearing Clinic: A United Way Facility and at a wide variety of clinics, schools, and hospitals in the Houston area.
Students in the graduate program have the option to complete one of three Specialty Tracks. Two are clinical specialty tracks and the third is a research track. Specialty Tracks do not take the place of the core graduate curriculum, but rather provide focused learning through the electives and additional benchmarks that enhance the student’s understanding and skills in an area of specialty:
(1) Medical Speech-Language Pathology
(2) Pediatrics (previously public school practice)
The clinical specialty track credentials must be earned through coursework, clinic assignments, and benchmark activities. Products of these activities will be compiled into a portfolio. Specialty track status is maintained through performance in relevant classes, clinic assignments, and completion of the benchmarks.
Part-Time Graduate Program
Students who have been accepted into the graduate program may opt into the part-time program. In the part-time program, course-work and clinic experiences are spread over 7 semesters. Students graduate at the end of their 3rd spring semester. Please click here for more information on the part-time graduate curriculum. During the last 2 semesters, students will be assigned to externships. The externships require a 30-40 hour per week commitment.
Due to the sequencing and availability of classes and clinic placements, students who begin part-time cannot accelerate their program to graduate earlier than the end of their 7th semester.
Part-time students must be available to be on-campus for clinic assignments and courses. Although the majority of graduate courses are taught in the evenings, some are offered only during the day. Clinic experiences are scheduled during the work-day.
Admissions criteria and procedures are the same for all students, regardless of whether applicants intend to be full-time or part-time students. Please click here for more information on the graduate admission procedure.
All graduate students complete at least two (2) formative Evidence Based Practice case studies as part of their clinical training.
The Evidence Based Practice (EBP) Reports project at the University of Houston Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is a formative assessment of your development into critically thinking independent practitioners of speech-language pathology in a variety of settings. You must satisfactorily complete at least two (2) EBP Reports. A third EBP Report may be required of students who do not achieve a "pass" on their first two EBP Reports.
All graduate students who do not complete a Master’s Thesis must take a comprehensive exam in their last semester which serves as a summative assessment. The exam consists of complex clinical scenarios with multiple-choice questions regarding the scenarios. Questions probe etiology, characteristics, assessment, and treatment of a variety of communication disorders, as well as research and ethical issues.
Graduate students have the option of completing a Master’s Thesis under the direction of one member of the faculty. Students may draw upon the ComD faculties’ wide range of research interests. Students who are considering a Master’s Thesis must earn an “A” in the Research Methods course (COMD 6261) and obtain consent from a faculty member who is willing to act as the thesis committee chair. Students who opt to complete a thesis must register for 6 thesis credits, and must be registered for thesis credits in the semester the thesis is completed. The 6 thesis credits take the place of the 3 elective credits, although the students may attend the elective course. Students who complete a thesis are exempt from the 2nd EBPR and also are exempt from taking the comprehensive examination.
Graduate students who have complaints should follow the University of Houston guidelines and those of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Complaints about the program related to the Standards of Accreditation should be made in writing to the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.
Procedures for filing a complaint with the CAA can be found at: http://www.asha.org/academic/accreditation/accredmanual/section8.htm#complaint1