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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 46 Credits
Elective Coursework 6 Credits
Clinical Education 7 Credits
Total 59 Credits

Year 1

Fall Semester

  • CMDS 510 Neuroanatomy of Human Comm.
  • CMDS 520 Language Disorders in Children
  • CMDS 525 Speech Sound Disorders
  • CMDS 555 Diag Process Comm DIsorder
  • CMDS 620 Introduction to Clinical Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology*

Spring Semester

  • CMDS 530 Advanced Audiology
  • CMDS 561 Acquired Motor Speech Disorders
  • CMDS 550 Communication Disorders Adults
  • CMDS 562 Dysphadia
  • CMDS 621 Adv. In House Clinical Pract

Summer Semester

  • CMDS 505 Professional Issues
  • CMDS 535 Fluency Disorders
  • CMDS 590 Elective
  • CMDS 640 Clncl Prctcm in Audiology

Year 2

Fall Semester

  • CMDS 515 Advanced Speech and Hearing Science and Instrumentation
  • CMDS 587 Language, Learning & Literacy
  • CMDS 600 Research Method/Comm Disorders
  • CMDS 611 Research Colloquium I
  • CMDS 635 Schl-Based Clncl Prctcm

Spring Semester

  • CMDS 545 Voice Disorders
  • CMDS 590 Elective
  • CMDS 612 Research Colloquium II
  • CMDS 630* Clinical Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology III

* Clinical course sequence may vary

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 the New York State Teacher Certification exams:
    1. Educating All Students (EAS) test
  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 Master's Degree program in Communication Disorders 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 2018-2023

Please note: The Master's Degree program in Communication Disorders 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 Master's Degree 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. 

Academic Program Sequence Map

How To Apply to the Communication Disorders M.S.

Applicants for the Master's Degree program in Communication Disorders must apply through Communication Science and Disorders Centralized Application service (CSDAS) at

Application deadline is January 15, prior to the fall for which the student would begin the program.

Application Requirements:

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

  1. A Bachelor’s degree (conferred by the end of spring term of the application process) with a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.2. Applicants with a lower average may be considered for admission if their last two years of grades show steady improvement and meet the minimum GPA requirement.
  2. Completion of all prerequisite courses by May of the year in which the applicant is applying
  3. A minimum GPA of 3.2 within the required seven prerequisite courses. Only grades of "C" or better in the prerequisite courses will be accepted.
  4. Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate programs attended
    1. Students who have studied at institutions of higher education in other countries must present original transcripts and official translations as part of the admissions submission. Mercy College's Office of Admissions will make the final official evaluation of international transcripts; however, all students are required, at their own expense, to obtain an evaluation of their transcripts by a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) certified evaluation agency (e.g., WES, SpanTran, ECE). Such evaluations should be sent by the agency directly to the Student Services Support Center at Mercy College. A complete list of NACES members can be found at The criteria for accepting international degrees and credits are the same as that for degrees and credits from U.S. Colleges and universities.
  5. Two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s capacity to successfully complete graduate study are required. Both letters of recommendation can be from professors in the Department of Communication Disorders, or one letter can be from a professor in the Department of Communications Disorders and one can be from an undergraduate clinical supervisor who has supervised the applicant planning, implementing and documenting speech/language therapy.
  6. A two-page typewritten essay. The “Written Statement” is in response to the question, "Other than technology and "apps", what do you believe is a significant development in the field of speech/language pathology over the past 10 years? How will you incorporate this development into your future practice as a speech/language pathologist?" The statement is to be double-spaced in a font of 12 and no more than two type-written pages in length. 
  7. Oral Communication skills necessary to provide services to a wide range of clients
  8. Adequate written communication skills
  9. Completion of the GRE (ETS Reporting Code - 7110)
  10. A current resume
  11. Completion of online "Prerequisite Checklist"
  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 are required to send a supplemental fee of $40 directly to: Mercy College Student Services Support Center 2651 Strang Blvd. Yorktown Heights, NY 10598. A check or money order should be made payable to "Mercy College."

Please note: if applicants are taking courses during the fall and spring semesters of the application process, it is very important that updated transcripts are submitted when final grades are available.


Any student interested in the Communications Disorder program must have at least four of the following seven prerequisite courses completed for their application to be evaluated. All remaining prerequisite course-work must be completed by the end of the spring term prior to fall admission to enroll in the graduate program:

  • Anatomy & Physiology of Speech & Hearing Mechanism (CMDS 256 – 4crs.)
  • Phonetics (CMDS 240 – 3crs.)
  • Speech & Hearing Science (CMDS 270 – 3crs.)
  • Introduction to Communication Disorders or Speech Pathology I (CMDS 258 – 3crs.)
  • Introduction to Audiology (CMDS 257 – 3crs.)
  • Normal Speech & Language Development (CMDS 264 – 3crs.)
  • Linguistics (CMDS 355 – 3crs.)


The following four courses are also recommended, but are not required in order to apply to the CD graduate program. Only grades of "C" or better in these courses will be accepted:

  • Statistics (BHSC 370 or MATH 122 – 3crs.)*
  • Aural Rehabilitation (CMDS 340 – 3crs.)*
  • Physical Science** (Chemistry or Physics only)
  • Biological Science** (Human Biology)


*Must be taken for undergraduate credit prior to or during first year of graduate study

**Required for ASHA Certification; must be completed by the end of the first year of graduate school


For more information, please contact the Admissions Office at 1-877-MERCY-GO or the Communication Disorders department at 914-674-7739. We also invite you to visit our website at

Do you admit students to the graduate program in the spring?
No. Fall only.
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.
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 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.
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 clinical component of the Master's 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, swallowing and feeding, 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.
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 do I have to do to apply to the Communication Disorders (CD) Master's 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.
Who can I contact if I have questions regarding the Master's degree program in Communication Disorders?
The Graduate Admissions Coordinator, Professor Denise DiCristofaro via email at or call (914) 674-7739.
Is the GRE required for admission to the Master's in CD program?
Yes. The GRE is required for admission to the Master's in CD program.
What is the CD program's non-discrimination policy? s
The Master's Degree in Communication Disorders 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 Master's 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 Master's in CD program and take the required undergraduate prerequisite courses once I am accepted to the Master's in CD program?
Students must have completed the required undergraduate prerequisite courses by the end of the spring term prior to fall admission to the Master's in CD program.
Helen Buhler Professor, Program Director, Communication Disorders
Eileen Hoffman Lecturer, Communications Disorders
Ashley O'Rourke Communication Disorders Program Clinic Director
Christine Kosky Associate Professor, Communication Disorders
Shari Berkowitz Associate Professor, Communication Disorders
Kaitlin Brooks Assistant Professor, Communication Disorders Program
Denise Dicristofaro 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 Master's Degree in Communication Disorders is a premier program in the metropolitan New York area. The 59-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 Program
Meet Helen Buhler, Program Director, Communication Disorders

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

Communication Disorders FAQS

Who can I contact if I have questions regarding the Master's degree program in Communication Disorders?
The Graduate Admissions Coordinator, Professor Denise DiCristofaro via email at or call (914) 674-7739.
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.
Communication Disorders traveled to Santa Marta, Colombia

Communication Disorders Professors Dr. Helen Buhler and Dr. Shari Berkowitz traveled to Santa Marta, Colombia with graduate students Bruna Carbelim and Jeanette Torres. The speech team traveled with Healing the Children, Northeast, a group that provides surgery to children with orofacial clefts around the world. Previously the professors have provided services around the globe in Thailand, Peru and India.

Take a look at Jeanette's YouTube video about the Medical Mission, Santa Marta, Colombia.

The School of Health and Natural Sciences Clinical Simulation Labs prepare students for their future as health care professionals. The 12,000 square-foot space consists of several specialized labs designed to simulate different disciplines within a health care facility. The Labs also include control rooms, debriefing space and several large classrooms. Each are filled with state-of-the-art technology that give students real-world experience before they even begin their clinical experiences. The Labs provide opportunities to bring together students from various health professions for interdisciplinary hands-on learning experiences in settings that reflect in-patient, clinic and home settings. The students can work as a team while practicing patient assessment, critical thinking, communication and interventions based on specific patient scenarios.

Simulation and lab hours are scheduled in alignment with courses. Students are informed at the start of each semester of these hours.

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

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, feeding, 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.


Master of Science in Communication Disorders at Mercy College Named One of the Best for 2018!SLP Badge

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Admission Requirements

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

Student Outcome Data


Employment Rate in Profession # of Graduates Percent of Graduates
2017 - 2018 45/45 100%
2016 - 2017 45/45 100%
2015 - 2016 44/44 100%
3 Year Average:   100%


Program Completion Rate # Completed Program Percentage Completing
2018 - 2019 45/46 98%
2017 - 2018 45/47 96%
2016 - 2017 44/46 96%
3 Year Average:   97%


Praxis Examination Pass Rate # Passed Percentage Completing
2018 - 2019 45/45 100%
2017 - 2018 45/45 100%
2016 - 2017 44/44 100%
3 Year Average:   100%


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