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  • M.S. in Communication Disorders

    M.S. in Communication Disorders
    Gain the real-world experience you will need to pursue a career in the field of Communication Disorders.
    School of Health and Natural Sciences
    Dobbs Ferry

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Communication Disorders M.S. Curriculum

Required Coursework 44 Credits
Elective Coursework 6 Credits
Clinical Education 7 Credits
Total 57 Credits

Year 1

Fall Semester

  • CMDS 510 Neuroanatomy of Human Comm.
  • CMDS 515 Advanced Speech/Hearing Scienc
  • CMDS 520 Language Disorders in Children
  • CMDS 555 Diag Process Comm DIsorder

Spring Semester

  • CMDS 525 Disorders:Articul & Phonology
  • CMDS 530 Advanced Audiology
  • CMDS 540 Dysphagia/Aqird Motr Spch Dsor
  • CMDS 550 Communication Disorders Adults
  • CMDS 620 Clinical Practicum I
  • CMDS 621 Adv. In House Clinical Pract

Summer Semester

  • CMDS 505 Professional Issues
  • CMDS 640 Clncl Prctcm in Audiology

Year 2

Fall Semester

  • CMDS 535 Fluency Disorders
  • CMDS 587 Language, Learning & Literacy
  • CMDS 600 Research Method/Comm Disorders
  • CMDS 611 Research Colloquium I
  • CMDS 630* Clinical Practicum III

Spring Semester

  • CMDS 545 Voice Disorders
  • Elective
  • CMDS 612 Research Colloquium II

* CMDS 635 may replace CMDS 625 or 630 to fulfill student teaching experience.

Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disability (TSSLD) Certification

The program is registered with the New York State Education Department offer Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD) certification. Students who with to obtain the academic and clinical requisites for Initial TSSLD certification must complete the following requirements in addition to program requirements: 

  1. Twelve credits in Education, which include three credits in Foundations of Education, three credits in Special Education, and six credits in Literacy.
  2. Thirty-six credits in Speech/ Language Pathology and Audiology.
  3. Student Teaching: a minimum of 150 "direct contact" hours.
  4. Achievement of passing grades on New York State Teacher Certification exams:
    1. Educating All Students (EAS) test
    2. Academic Literacy Skill Test (ALST)
  5. Completion of Workshops:
    1. Child Abuse Identification
    2. School Violence Prevention
    3. Human Dignity (DASA)
  6. Fingerprint Clearance.

Prerequisite Program:

The mission of the pre-requisite program is to provide you with the foundation you need to enter a graduate level program in speech pathology.

This includes:

  • An introduction to a variety of academic, scientific and clinical methods in the evaluation, treatment and prevention of speech-language disorders

All students from all fields of study are welcome. Our faculty is comprised of doctoral and master's level speech language pathologists and audiologists with various specializations, providing Mercy students with first rate and well-rounded instruction.

Students who earn the 21 credits in the pre-requisite program are eligible to apply to the MS degree program. An MS degree is mandatory for entry level into the field. For more information about the prerequisite program in Communication Disorders please download and read


Upon acceptance into the Master of Science Program in Communication Disorders, students will be assigned a faculty member who will serve as their advisor. Students accepted into the program will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $250 at the time acceptance. This fee will be applied to the fall tuition payment. The advisor will meet with students to counsel them on Program and ASHA certification requirements, and to develop a plan of study and a future professional development plan.

Program Design

The Graduate Program in CD is designed for full-time and part-time students and can be completed in two years and two summers for full-time students. The program consists of academic and clinical components that are organized in a progressive sequence. Courses are primarily offered in the evening. Some courses may be offered in various scheduling formats. Clinical practicum schedules require days, evenings and/ or Saturdays. The College defines full-time as nine credits. For the purpose of completing the CD program in two years (including two summers), the student must follow the projected curriculum sequence established by the program. Part-time students must follow the required course projections. 

Students who graduate from the program may sit for the National Examination in Speech-Language Pathology (Specialty Area Test of the Praxis Series by the Educational Testing Service). Students then complete their Clinical Fellowship (CF). Upon successful completion of the degree, the examination, and the CF, the individual will be certified as a Speech-Language Pathologist by ASHA.

Successful completion of the educational and clinical requirements of the graduate program will prepare students for eligibility for the New York State License as a Speech-Language Pathologist.


Attendance and punctuality in all classes and clinical education assignments is required, unless the student is excused for extenuating and extraordinary life circumstances. A maximum of three undocumented absences from class will result in failure in the course and may jeopardize the student's standing in the program. Absence from a clinical assignment is subject to the rules and regulations of the institution.

Student Classification

A student will be classified as a matriculant when admitted to the CD Program. Students may attend the program on a full-time or part-time basis. However, all students must fulfill a full-time residency requirement of one semester that may be fulfilled during the summer. Students must complete all degree requirements within five years from the time acceptance. A maximum of six transfer graduate credits comparable to graduate courses offered at Mercy College will be accepted. Request for transfer credit must be made at the time of application. Once matriculated, all graduate courses and clinical hours must be completed at Mercy College.

Career Opportunities

Students who complete the Master of Science in Communication Disorders aspire to be speech-language pathologists and NYS Education Department Teacher of Students with Speech-Language Disabilities (TSSLD). (Note: This certification requires 12 additional credits in education coursework, workshop attendance in education and completion of a student teaching experience).

Essential Functions

The program has adopted a list of Essential Functions that outlines the necessary communication, motor, intellectual/cognitive, and behavioral/social attributes deemed necessary for program completion and clinical practice within the field. Students are expected to review this list and sign a form stating that they are or are not capable of performing the skills and abilities listed.

Communication Disorders Strategic Plan for 2014-17

Please note: The Communication Disorders Graduate Program strategic plan is based on analysis of the internal and external environments and may need to be revised as the College modifies its strategic plan and institutional goals.

Program Accreditation

The graduate program in Communication Disorders is accredited in Speech-Language Pathology by the Council for Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.

Transfer Credits

Graduate courses taken at other institutions prior to admission at Mercy College may, if pertinent to the plan of study, be credited to the graduate degree. Transfer credit is limited to six credits taken within the last five years in which the student has received a grade of B or above.

Transfer courses taken prior to admission will not be computed in the quality point average. 

How To Apply to the Communication Disorders M.S.

Applications for the Mercy College Communication Disorders graduate program must apply through Communication Science and Disorders Centralized Application service (CSDAS) at

Application Requirements:

Requirements for admission into the Master of Science Program in Communication Disorders include:

  1. Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate programs attended
  2. Minimum GPA of 3.2 for the Bachelor's degree. Applicants with a lower average may be considered for admission if their last two years of grades meet the minimum GPA requirement.
  3. Minimum GPA of 3.2 in the seven primary prerequisite courses. Only grades of "C" or better in the prerequisite course will be accepted.
  4. Completion of online "Prerequisite Checklist"
  5. Oral Communication skills necessary to provide services to a wide range of clients
  6. Adequate written communication skills
  7. "Personal Statement" in response to the question, "Why do you want to be a speech/language pathologist?" Any or all of the following information may be included: life experiences affecting career choice, future career goals and/or where the applicant sees her/himself in ten years in the field. The statement is to be double-spaced in a font of 12 and no more than two type-written pages in length.
  8. Completion of application
  9. Resume
  10. Two letters of recommendation, at least one letter must be from a Communication Disorders faculty member who has taught the applicant in class and can attest to the applicant's capacity to successfully complete graduate study. The other letter must be from a Communication Disorders faculty member who has taught the applicant and/or an academic clinical supervisor (who has supervised the applicant planning for, implementing and documenting speech/language therapy). 
  11. Submission of entire application packets is due by February 1 (Applications are accepted for fall admission only).
  12. Documents will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee of the CD Program
  13. Applications will be reviewed and ranked according to GPA, essay, resume and letters of recommendation
  14. Representatives of the CD Admissions Committee will interview highest ranked applicants before final acceptance decisions are made. Interview requirement may be waived for students in the undergraduate prerequisite CD programs.
  15. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 600.
How does Mercy stand out from other graduate CD programs?
Mercy's model of graduate education includes that all faculty supervise in the on-site speech and hearing center. All students engage in a group capstone research project which is mentored by the full time faculty.
What career options are available in communication disorders?
Schools, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, private practice, health care agencies, and college/university settings. Our students have a 100% success rate in finding employment upon graduation. A free brochure entitled Careers in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology containing additional information about the profession is available from ASHA.
What is the clinical component of the graduate program?
It includes both in-house and externship practicum experiences in over 150 metropolitan area facilities. Students evaluate and treat people of varying ages and cultural/linguistic backgrounds who display a variety of communication disorders including articulation, phonology, oral motor, voice, fluency, hearing, and language disorders. A total of 375 direct contact hours is required by ASHA for certification (a maximum of 50 hours can be accrued on the undergraduate level). The first, in-house practicum takes place in the Mercy College Speech and Hearing Center, where students are supervised by faculty and supervisory staff who are NYS licensed and ASHA certified speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Clinical externships are completed in a college-affiliated site in the New York metropolitan area, including New York City, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The age and disorder of the population that is served varies from site to site.
How do I apply to the Communication Disorders (CD) Graduate program?
Apply online. Please see directions in How to Apply link in purple on the left.
Is the graduate program in Communication Disorders at Mercy College a fully accredited program?
Yes, the Master of Science program in Communication Disorders at Mercy College is accredited by the Council on American Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.
Do you admit students to the graduate program in the spring?
No. Fall only.
Can I pursue a career/graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology as a change of career?
Yes. If you have a bachelor's degree, you may qualify for entrance into the Communication Disorders graduate program. Seven prerequisite courses must have been completed in the last ten years or are in the process of being completed during the spring semester of the application process: Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanisms, Phonetics, Speech and Hearing Science, Introduction to Communication Disorders (Speech Pathology I), Introduction to Audiology, Normal Speech and Language Development, Language Science (Intro to Linguistics), Statistics*, Aural Rehabilitation*, Biology* and Physical Science*. (*These four additional courses may be taken for undergraduate credit prior to or during the first year of graduate study. Only grades of "C" or better in the prerequisite courses will be accepted. The prerequisite courses can be completed in one year as a full-time daytime student. No entrance exams are required)
Where can I find information about the New York City teacher scholarship program?
Go to, click on the link for "scholarship program", and then click "speech language pathology".
What is the CD program's non-discrimination policy? s
The CD Program adheres to the Mercy College Non-Discrimination Policy The policy of Mercy College, both historically and currently, is that discrimination against any individual for reasons of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or handicap and status as a parent is specifically prohibited. Accordingly, equal access to educational programs, employment opportunities, and all other college activities is extended to all persons, and the College promotes equal opportunity. Information concerning non-discrimination policies, including complaint procedures, may be obtained from the following individuals. • For Students: Deputy Director of PACT. • For Faculty, Administration, and Staff: Director of Human Resources. • For Accessibility Services: Director of ACCESSibility
What are the requirements for the professions of speech-language pathology?
A graduate degree in speech-language pathology, communication disorders, communication science and disorders or speech and hearing sciences. The degree includes academic coursework and clinical practicum, and culminates in eligibility for certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA.) Most states, including New York, require licensure as well to practice as a speech-language pathologist.
Can I apply to the graduate program and take the required undergraduate prerequisite courses once I am accepted to the graduate program?
Students must have completed the required undergraduate prerequisite courses by the end of the spring term prior to fall admission to the graduate program.
Who can I contact if I have questions regarding the Communication Disorders Graduate program?
The Graduate Admissions Coordinator, Professor Denise DiCristofaro via email at or call (914) 674-7739.
Is the GRE required for admission to the graduate program?
No. The GRE is not required for admission to the graduate program.
What do I have to do to apply to the Communication Disorders (CD) Graduate program?
Students must excel at the undergraduate level overall with a GPA of 3.2 or a 3.2 in the last two years; and in the seven pre-requisite courses with a minimum of a 3.20 GPA. To ensure currency/relevancy, all CD major or prerequisite coursework must have been completed within 10 years of application.
Denise Dicristofaro Visiting Instructor, Communication Disorders
Nancy Vidal Visiting Assistant Professor, Communication Disorders
Gloria Schlisselberg Professor, Communication Disorders
Helen Buhler Professor, Communication Disorders
Christine Kosky Associate Professor, Communication Disorders
Shari Berkowitz Assistant Professor, Communication Disorders

Communication Disorders Overview

There's a growing need for speech and language services. With more young children and seniors in need of services, the demand for speech-language pathologists is great. Mercy College's Graduate Communication Disorders (CD) program is a premier Master of Science program in the metropolitan New York area. The 57-credit program fosters ethical, competent, autonomous practice.

The Master of Science program in Communication Disorders at Mercy College is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700. The Center has served the community for more than 25 years with comprehensive diagnostic evaluations and therapy for preschoolers, school-aged children, adolescents and adults.

Communication Disorders FAQS

Is the graduate program in Communication Disorders at Mercy College a fully accredited program?
Yes, the Master of Science program in Communication Disorders at Mercy College is accredited by the Council on American Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.
Do you admit students to the graduate program in the spring?
No. Fall only.
Communication Disorders Program

Communication Disorders Fast Facts

  • Full-time students complete program in 2 years and 1 summer
  • Individual faculty advisor for each student
  • Teacher of Students with Speech and Language (TSSLD) Certification option
  • Pass rates on licensing/certification exam well above national average
  • 100% employment rate
  • Externship opportunities available at over 150 facilities in the tri-state metropolitan area
  • All faculty supervise in clinic
Meet Helen Buhler, Program Director, Communication Disorders

Learn about her story and explore Communication Disorders at Mercy College.

Career Opportunities

Students who complete the Master of Science in Communication Disorders aspire to be speech-language pathologists and NYS Education Department Teacher of Students with Speech-Language Disabilities (TSSLD). (Note: This certification requires 12 additional credits in education coursework, workshop attendance in education, and completion of a student teaching experience.)


Speech-language pathologists provide habitation and rehabilitation services to individuals across the life span who demonstrate disorders in communication. These disorders may include language, articulation, phonology, voice, motor, memory, fluency, swallowing, attention and/or hearing deficits. The profession is built upon basic and applied physical and social sciences, educational principles and clinical research. The curriculum of this Program offers students a variety of opportunities for academic, clinical, research and specialized area experience reflecting that foundation. The program prepares students to work in a variety of different health care settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient programs, schools, community centers and private practice. Graduates are eligible to begin their Clinical Fellowship (CF) in accordance with requirements of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and are eligible to apply for state licensure.

Admission Requirements

Please refer to the general requirements for admission and matriculation in the Graduate Admissions section of the course catalog.

Communication Disorders Program Statistics 3-year average and annual rates 2012-2015

Employment Rate

Academic Year Employment Rate in Profession Employment Rate in Profession
  Number of Graduates (#) Percent of Graduates (%)
2013/2014 45 100
2012/2013 42 95
2011/2012 44 96
3 Year Average:   97


Praxis/Certification Exam Pass Rate:

Method for reporting praxis examination pass rate data: √ ETS Data / Institutional Data

Academic Year Number of Students taking Exam Number of students passed Pass rate (%)
2014/2015 44 44 100
2013/2014 45 45 100
2012/2013 39 39 100
3 Year Average:     100


Program Completion Rate


Communication Disorders Objectives

The Master of Science Program in Communication Disorders (CD) offers a comprehensive combination of academic and clinical education for students to become speech-language pathologists in accordance with ASHA certification guidelines and licensure requirements of New York State. The objective of the program is to instill in students the solid theoretical, clinical and research component of speech-language pathology.

The program seeks to:

  • Develop academic and clinical excellence through commitment to teaching, research and service.
  • Promote a culture of scholarship and respect of individuals.
  • Provide a foundation of knowledge and skills that foster competent, autonomous, clinical practice for the professional lifetime.

Program Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to: 

  • Synthesize and apply knowledge from biological, neurological,physiological, social, and behavioral bases of speech, language, swallowing and hearing
  • Apply the principles and methods of prevention, assessment, intervention, and counseling for people with communication and swallowing disorders across the lifespan
  • Behave in a manner that reflects the standards of professionalism, ethical conduct and self assessment in the field of Speech/Language Pathology and Audiology
  • Select and administer appropriate evaluation procedures in order to interpret, integrate, and synthesize information to develop an appropriate diagnosis
  • Plan and implement best practice in treatment that considers the client’s diagnosis, age, disorder, interests, cultural/linguistic background, and relevant others and that reflects assessment results, current theoretical models, and scope of practice
  • Communicate effectively using oral and written modalities, recognizing the needs, values, preferred mode of communication, and cultural/linguistic background of the client, family, caregivers, and relevant others
  • Critically read, synthesize, and evaluate evidence based research with respect to quality and efficacy in prevention, evaluation, and treatment of communication disorders
  • Conduct a preliminary or pilot research study in a topic of interest within communication disorders across the lifespan
  • Participate effectively in collaborative professional, academic and clinical relationships