Master's Degree Program
The COMD master's degree program has been continuously accredited for 30 plus years by the Council of Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and has two versions of the Master’s degree: Master of Science (residential/on-campus; full-time) and Master of Science (distance education). The degree is designed to prepare students for the clinical practice of speech-language pathology. Graduates are eligible for national certification, state licensure, and South Carolina teacher certification.
Master of Science (residential/on-campus; full-time)
The residential, full-time MS degree is offered via the traditional, on-campus modality. Students admitted to the residential program must be continuously enrolled on a full-time basis for two calendar years. While a student's undergraduate major, and post baccalaureate courses, are not a consideration for admission, the point of entry into the MS (residential/on-campus) program [pdf] is dependent upon previous coursework, clinical observation, and practica completed. Students begin the program during fall semester, provided they have completed a minimum of 25 clock hours of supervised observation plus three semester hours of coursework with a grade of B or higher in each of the following:
- anatomy & physiology of the speech & hearing mechanism
- language development
- articulation disorders
All other students enter the program in the summer to complete the above courses.
A limited number of graduate assistantships and/or stipends are available on a competitive basis. These may provide out-of-state students with lower in-state tuition rates.
In addition to a broad-based training in communication sciences and disorders (infants through adults), the Department offers opportunities for students to pursue additional course work and practicum in several areas. These include, but are not limited to: 1) long-term rehabilitation of neurogenic speech-language disorders (with particular emphasis on traumatic brain injury) and 2) habilitation of individuals with cochlear implants. Applicants should indicate their specific interests in either of these areas in their applications.
Master of Science (distance education; part-time)
The Master of Science (distance education) degree is offered only as a part-time three- or four-year curriculum (depending on undergraduate background) through distance learning. This particularly modality is an alternative to the residential/on-campus modality and is intended for individuals who, due to geographic and/or financial circumstances, are unable to attend the full-time program in Columbia, SC. Courses are taken on a part-time basis (generally two courses each fall and spring semester) with summers being reserved for clinical practicum experiences. As is the case with the residential/on-campus modality, the exact point of entry into the distance education modality is dependent on a student’s previous coursework and clinical practicum (see course sequence). For applicants with undergraduate majors in speech-language pathology (that include a minimum of 25 hours of clinical observation and 50 hours of supervised practicum), the course sequence begins in the summer and continues for three calendar years plus a summer internship. Students with undergraduate majors in other disciplines take background coursework during fall and spring semesters prior to entry into the regular MS (distance education) curriculum that begins in the summer. Financial assistance is available for students who agree to work in the South Carolina public schools for a specified period of time upon completion of the degree program.
Please note: Courses offered through distance education are not self-paced. Instead, they follow the university’s academic calendar and semester schedule. Course content is provided through streaming video as well as with internet support (e.g., interactive online chat, discussion boards, and Blackboard). Students considering the Master of Science (distance education; part-time) program will want to be aware of the licensing requirements in their particular state. Further information about licensing can be found here.
Before You Apply
Learn more about the prerequisites required to be admitted to our degree programs and how we maintain our accreditation.
Ready to Apply?
Apply to one of our master's degree programs.
The Ph.D. degree prepares professionals for academic careers, and therefore its emphasis is on research and the scholarly study of the science of human communication and its disorders. Doctoral students, under the director of a mentor, regularly participate in laboratory activities and pursue a program of scholarly research leading to publication in scientific journals.
Academic coursework consists of 12 credit hours of statistics and experimental design, 9 hours in speech and hearing science, and 24 hours in a concentration area, followed by written and oral comprehensive examinations. The degree culminates in the successful defense of a dissertation (12 credit hours).
Students may enter the doctoral program following the bachelor or master degree, depending on their professional goals and interest in clinical certification. Applications are invited from students with majors in a variety of disciplines, including (but not limited to), audiology, engineering, linguistics, psychology, physics, physiology, and speech-language pathology. Research assistantships are available for qualified applicants.
Apply to the Ph.D. program.