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    Northern Illinois University
  Jan 22, 2018
2007-2008 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Arts in Communicative Disorders

Specialization in Audiology
Specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling
Specialization in Speech-Language Pathology


To be assured consideration for admission to the master’s degree program in communicative disorders, prospective students must submit completed application materials (application forms, official transcripts, GRE General Test Scores, and letters of recommendation) to the Graduate School no later than February 1 for the summer and fall sessions, and September 1 for the spring session. Only complete applications containing all required data are considered.

Admission to the master’s degree program is typically for full-time study. An applicant for admission to a departmental program is generally expected to meet or exceed the following requirements.

    A minimum 3.00 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) in all undergraduate work.

    Competitive scores on the GRE General Test.

    Two letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or supervisors providing supportive evidence of an applicant’s professional qualifications.

    A typewritten statement describing the applicant’s qualifications, goals, and career aspirations as they relate to the Department of Communicative Disorders at NIU.

Prospective students who fail to meet the GPA requirement for admission may request special consideration of their applications. Such requests must be in writing, must include compensatory evidence related to the deficiency, and should accompany the application for admission to the Graduate School. Final decisions regarding admissions are made by the program’s admissions committee on the basis of a total profile of an applicant’s qualifications.

It is necessary to limit graduate student admission in accordance with student/faculty ratio and the availability of practicum experience opportunities. Admissions to the specializations in audiology and rehabilitation counseling are typically limited to the summer and fall terms; however, spring admission will be considered on an individual basis.

A maximum of 12 semester hours of student-at-large credit may be applied to degree requirements. In addition, the maximum combined total of student-at-large hours plus transfer credit may not exceed 12 semester hours.


The student must choose a specialization in audiology, rehabilitation counseling, or speech-language pathology. With the advice and consent of the adviser, a student elects to earn a degree with or without a thesis. Student participation in practicum and internship courses requires both good academic standing and consent of the department.

Common Requirements

Other Requirements

To be engaged in any clinical practicum experience, evidence of professional liability insurance, child and adult CPR certification, completion of the Hepatitis B immunization series, absence of active tuberculosis, completion of two MMR immunizations, and a negative criminal background check are required. Graduate students must be in compliance with all of the above requirements prior to initiating clinical assignments.  Students will be responsible for the costs involved in the aforementioned requirements and will also be responsible for providing their own transportation for clinical course assignments.

Completion of the minimum academic and clinical requirements for the appropriate professional certification issued by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification prior to graduation

Fulfillment of an experience assignment during each semester of full-time registration. Such assignments will be of a research, clinical, or teaching nature, depending on the needs of the student and the availability of the assignment.

One of the following specializations

Specialization in Audiology and Specialization in Speech-Language Pathology

The master’s degree requires a minimum of 36 semester hours, at least 30 of which must be earned in nonpracticum courses. Additional semester hours are normally earned in clinical practicum to fulfill the requirements of the appropriate clinical certification.

Thesis Option

The student must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate credit. A thesis must be submitted and approved. A maximum of 6 semester hours may be allotted to thesis research and writing.

The student is normally required to pass a comprehensive oral examination which assesses knowledge and ability in the specialization in graduate study, but this may be waived at the discretion of the thesis committee.

Non-Thesis Option

The student must earn a minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate credit and pass an examination which will assess knowledge and ability in the specialization of graduate study. The examination typically consists of both written and oral components; however, the oral component may be waived at the discretion of the written-examination committee.

Specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling

Because this program is fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education, a student who successfully completes the required curriculum, including a 600-hour internship under the supervision of a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, is eligible to sit for the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification Examination. Students who wish to add a focus on deafness to augment the rehabilitation counseling specialization may complete COMD 430, American Sign Language I, COMD 431, American Sign Language II, and a basic course in audiometric methods.

If the student in this specialization has already completed COMD 492 with a grade of B or better as an undergraduate at NIU, that course will not be required in the student’s M.A. program.

Students are required to complete a total of 200 approved professional development hours, including direct involvement supervised counseling, professional meetings, and disability community involvement.

Thesis Option

A thesis must be submitted and approved. Students selecting this option must also pass a comprehensive examination which includes a defense of the thesis.

Non-Thesis Option

Students selecting this option must pass an oral and written examination which will assess knowledge and ability in the specialization.

Grading Policies for Clinical Courses

Students must make satisfactory progress in clinical practicum and internship courses. Students who earn two grades of C in clinical practicum courses (i.e., COMD 585, COMD 586, COMD 587, COMD 590, or COMD 594) will be dismissed from the graduate program.