Jul 16, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 

Master of Arts in Communicative Disorders

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Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.


The student must choose a specialization in audiology 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 school.

Specialization in Audiology


The M.A. in Communicative Disorders with a specialization in audiology is available to Doctor of Audiology students in good standing who require a master’s degree prior to their fourth year external placement. After a student has successfully completed 60 semester hours in the Au.D. program, he or she may apply for admission to the master’s program. An applicant for admission to the program must meet or exceed the following requirements:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.20 in Au.D. course work taken at NIU
  • Academic adviser recommendation
  • A typed statement describing the need for the master’s degree

Program faculty will review the student’s transcript, adviser recommendation, and student’s justification of need for degree. Once accepted to the master’s program, a degree will be conferred allowing the student to continue to their fourth year placement.

Specialization in Speech-Language Pathology


Admission to the specialization in speech-language pathology is limited to the summer term with an application deadline of January 15. To be assured consideration for admission, prospective students must submit all completed application materials (application forms, official transcripts, GRE general test scores, and letters of recommendation) to the Graduate School by the stated application deadline.

Admission to the master’s degree program is typically for full-time study. An applicant for admission to the 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 communicative disorders program at NIU.

Final decisions regarding admissions are made by the program’s admission committee on the basis of a total profile of an applicant’s qualifications.

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


The master’s degree requires a minimum of 58 semester hours, at least 39 of which must be earned in nonpracticum courses. Additional semester hours may be required in course work and/or clinical practicum to fulfill the requirements of the appropriate clinical or educator licensures.

After the first semester in the program, students are required to enroll in 2 semester hours of COMD 687 for four consecutive terms.

Other courses can be used to fulfill elective course requirements with consent of academic adviser.

Students are required to take the following:

Students are required to complete the following practicum courses:

Special Clinical/Practicum Requirements

To be engaged in any clinical practicum experience, evidence of professional liability insurance, child and adult CPR certification, completion of the Varicella, Hepatitis B, and MMR titers, absence of active tuberculosis, an influenza vaccination, and absence of a prior criminal record verified by a criminal background check are required. Drug screen testing may be required. Graduate students must demonstrate compliance with all of the above requirements prior to initiating each clinical assignment. 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 prior to graduation.

Special clinical/practicum requirements are available in the Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Student Handbook.

Grading Policies

Students must make satisfactory progress in communicative disorders graduate courses and meet Professional Dispositions and Essential Functions necessary for clinical practice. Students who earn two grades of C or lower in communicative disorders courses or fail to meet the Professional Dispositions and Essential Functions specified in the Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Student Handbook will be dismissed from the communicative disorders graduate program.

Thesis Option

The student must earn a minimum of 58 semester hours of graduate credit at least 39 of which must be earned in nonpracticum courses. A thesis must be submitted and approved. A maximum of 3 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 58 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.

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