The MS in communication disorders is a full time, 20-month residential program that prepares students to become certified speech-language pathologists. The master's degree program trains students to evaluate and treat clients in nine disorder classification areas. The first three semesters focus on developing knowledge and skills across the lifespan. The final two semesters allow students to focus their interests in specialty areas and acquire clinical skills in external clinical placements. 

Program Requirements

  • 52 credit hours and a written comprehensive exam, or 
    52 credit hours, a thesis and a written comprehensive exam** 
  • Required core classes (32 credits) 
  • Electives (6 thesis credits or 6 course credits without a thesis)
  • Research (1)* 
  • Clinical practicum (6) 
  • Internship (8) 
  • Culminating experience: a non-thesis option of a written comprehensive exam OR a thesis for 6 credit hours with oral defense and a written comprehensive exam 
  • Students in the thesis option take 6 credit hours of thesis coursework. Students in the non-thesis option take 6 credit hours of elective coursework. 

*One credit hour of SHS 500 Research Methods is required. 

**Both the thesis and non-thesis options require the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Praxis national exam in Speech-Language Pathology. This is the comprehensive exam for the thesis option. For the non-thesis option, a department-administered comprehensive examination in speech-language pathology is required along with the national exam to fulfill the requirements of the comprehensive exam.

Required Courses

The program has a sequence of required classes to ensure that all students receive classwork related to knowledge and skills required for clinical certification.  The first year is comprised of required core courses and all the students take the same scope and sequence of courses. Student may not wave any of the core courses in year one because these courses are designed to develop new learning skills, problem-solving skills, integration skills and clinical skills that are paired with the background course. Additional required classes during the second year are currently being approved by the graduate college.

First Year Core Classes

  • SHS 567: Neural Bases of Communication Disorders 
    Neuroscience and its application to matters of normal and disordered communication.
  • SHS 572: Language Assessment and Intervention in Infants and Toddlers 
    Focuses on the birth to 3-year-old population who are at risk for or who have communication and language disabilities.
  • SHS 585: Articulation and Phonology: Assessment and Intervention 
    Assessment and treatment of developmental articulation and phonological disorders.
  • SHS 587: Language Assessment and Intervention with Preschool Populations 
    Focuses on preschool language disorders and assessment and intervention strategies for preschool children.
  • SHS 500: Research Methods 
    Course on research methods in a specific discipline.
  • SHS 538: Clinical Methods in Speech-Language Pathology 
    Provides the knowledge and skills in clinical methods for treatment and diagnosis in speech-language pathology. Topics cover essential information to participate in screening and prevention opportunities, to structure and implement therapy goals and strategies, to apply for internships, and to administer and interpret informal and formal diagnostic tests.
  • SHS 582: Differential Diagnosis of Communication Disorders 
    Procedures for assessing speech/language disorders in children and adults.
  • SHS 573: Language Assessment and Intervention with School-Age Populations 
    Focuses on later language development, linguistic demands of academic settings, assessment and intervention strategies for older children and adolescents.
  • SHS 575: Aphasia and Related Neurogenic Language Disorders 
    Assessment and treatment of acquired neurolinguistic impairment.
  • SHS 574: Management of Voice and Swallowing Disorders 
    Focuses on assessment and intervention of people with voice, swallowing, and craniofacial disorders.
  • SHS 580: Clinical Practicum 
    Structured practical experience in a professional program, supervised by a practitioner and/or faculty member with whom the student works closely.

Second Year Required Courses

  • SHS 571: Augmentative Communication and Language Programming 
    Focuses on individuals across the age span who are unable or who are at risk for being unable to communicate with spoken language.
  • SHS 539: Professional Issues in Speech-Language Pathology 
    Covers professional issues in speech-language pathology to ensure that students meet the professional knowledge requirements set forth in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certification standards. The topics cover essential information that the student needs to have in order to meet graduation requirements, comply with ASHA's ethical requirements, complete ASHA certification requirements, comply with Arizona state licensure requirements, prepare for a Clinical Fellowship Year and be involved in education and advocacy for the profession of Speech-Language Pathology.
  • SHS 584: Clinical Internship 
    Structured practical experience following a contract or plan, supervised by faculty and practitioners.

Second-year classes in the process of being required

  • SHS 577: Communication Disorders in Autism
    Addresses communication disorders in children and adults with autism, as well as evaluation and intervention across a variety of settings and theoretical frameworks.
  • SHS 578: Fluency Disorders
    Provides the master’s level student in speech-language pathology understanding of the nature and treatment of stuttering and other fluency disorders.
  • SHS 581: Right Hemisphere Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Dementia
    Studies the nature, characteristics, and clinical management of cognitive and communicative impairments accompanying right hemisphere damage, TBI, and dementia.


Year two is designed for the student to take electives that align with their interest while obtaining more depth beyond the core courses. Therefore, the students have different choices to specialize or maintain a more general focus.

  • SHS 505: Survival Sign Language 
    Facilitates effective manual and alternative methods of communication with deaf individuals in clinical settings.
  • SHS 524: Counseling in Communication Disorders 
    Theories of counseling emphasizing the psychological and emotional impact and management of individuals with communication disorders and their families.
  • SHS 512: Topics in Management of Medical Aspects of Speech-Language Pathology 
    Focuses on varying topics in the management of medically based speech and language disorders.
  • SHS 598: Special Topics 
    Topical courses not offered in regular course rotation--e.g., new courses not in the catalog, courses by visiting faculty, courses on timely topics, highly specialized courses responding to unique student demand.
  • SHS 570: Communication Disorders and Multicultural Populations 
    Studies racial and ethnic biases and communication behaviors and disorders in various cultural groups.
  • SHS 586: Language Essentials for Teaching Reading
    Focuses on the fundamentals of literacy instruction and assessment in children enrolled in preschool through high school..
  • SHS 588: Spanish Language Acquisition 
    Examines Spanish language acquisition in children and adults in the context of monolingual and bilingual language acquisition.
  • SHS 597: Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology 
    Reviews speech and language assessment and intervention practices with bilingual populations from infants to adults.
  • SHS 576: Neuromotor Speech Disorders 
    Evaluation and treatment of the dysarthrias and apraxia of speech. Emphasizes acquired adult disorders.


The Master of Science in Communication Disorders education program in speech-language pathology at Arizona State University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.