Speech@Emerson Courses

Emerson College’s online Master of Sciences in Communication Disorders (M.S.) program focuses on the prevention, assessment, and treatment of speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing disorders.

The Speech@Emerson curriculum is grounded in the complexities of human communication and its disorders, taking into account their biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. The program requires 54 applied graduate credits and up to 18 foundational credits depending on whether you have a background in speech-language pathology.

All foundational coursework must be completed within five years of beginning the Speech@Emerson program and must be completed with a grade of “B” or better. Acceptable foundational coursework will be waived upon review of your application to the program.

Foundational Courses

The following undergraduate courses are offered to graduate students without a background in speech-language pathology or to those who are not able to waive these courses.

CD 625 Structures and Functions for Speech, Hearing, and Swallowing (3 credits)

Students will study the critical structures and functions of the biological systems that underlie speech, hearing, and swallowing, with an emphasis on the processes of respiration, phonation, resonance, and articulation, as well as the neural bases for these processes. Clinical disorders are used to elucidate dysfunction of these normal processes as substrates for human communication.

CD 626 Language Development (3 credits)

This course explores the theoretical and practical aspects of the language learning process and its relation to other aspects of cognitive and social development. We will discuss the development of speech and language skills throughout the lifespan, from birth to adulthood.

CD 627 Survey of Communication Disorders Across the Lifespan (3 credits)

This course is designed to introduce students to communication disorders encountered by speech-language pathologists across a variety of work settings in which they are employed. Students will learn about the etiologies, symptoms, and treatment of speech and language disorders seen in children and adults. The course will introduce students to clinical services performed by these professionals.

CD 628 Clinical Observations and Foundations (3 credits)

This course is designed to support students in acquiring the requisite number of observation hours needed to begin clinical placements. Through observation of clinical work; class discussion; and introduction to speech, language, and hearing screenings, students begin to understand the dynamic interactions between clients and their clinicians.

CD 629 Speech Sounds: Phonetics and Acoustics (3 credits)

This course covers fundamental concepts in articulatory and acoustic phonetics/speech acoustics. Articulatory phonetics content includes (broad) phonetic transcription and articulatory criteria to describe and classify vowels and consonants. Acoustic phonetics includes core concepts pertaining to the physics of sound, acoustic features of phonation and resonance, and inferences of acoustic properties of voicing and resonance from spectrograms of speech sounds.

CD 630 Foundations of Audiology (3 credits)

This course provides students with an introduction to the field of audiology and how the hearing system functions. Basic assessment and intervention approaches are discussed. In addition, the course covers the foundations of what speech-language pathologists should know to work with individuals with hearing loss and deafness.

Applied Courses

The applied coursework for Speech@Emerson is 54 credits, including 51 credits of academic and clinical courses as well as three 1-credit seminars taken during two immersions. In addition, students must successfully complete a comprehensive exam.

CD 601 Clinical Methods I (1 credit)

Following the completion of foundational coursework and observation hours, students will learn about assessment procedures and treatment strategies and develop clinical writing skills. Students must pass this course to enroll in Clinical Methods II.

CD 602 Clinical Methods II (1 credit)

This course focuses on assessment, intervention, documentation, and legislation related to working with school-aged children. Students must pass this course to enroll in Clinical Methods III.

CD 603 Clinical Methods III (1 credit)

Students will examine the role of the speech-language pathologist in clinical work with adults and how to conduct effective assessment and treatment sessions with various communication disorders in this population. Additional topics of this course include healthcare reimbursement and regulation, health literacy, and the roles of team members in adult settings. Students must pass this course to enroll in Clinical Methods IV.

CD 604 Clinical Methods IV (1 credit)

This course focuses on professional issues and the transition into professional practice. In addition, this course will offer students opportunities to prepare for comprehensive examinations.

CD 611 Virtual Practicum

This is a virtual clinical placement in a class format, with a facilitator serving as a clinical instructor. Students will work through Simucase to complete clinical simulations. Topics covered include effective chart reviewing, assessment planning and result interpretation, client goal and objective setting, development and implementation of a treatment plan, providing cueing and feedback, data collecting and reporting, interacting with clients’ families, and development of self-reflection skills. Accompanying clinical writing skills for documentation, including treatment plans, SOAP notes, and summary reports, will also be target skills.

CD 612, CD 613, CD 614, CD 615 Clinical Practicum (four semesters) (1 credit each)

As students progress through the program, they will complete clinical placements at partner sites approved by Emerson College faculty. Each course number below corresponds to a semester of clinical placement: 

  • CD 612 Clinical Practicum 2
  • CD 613 Clinical Practicum 3
  • CD 614 Clinical Practicum 4
  • CD 615 Clinical Practicum 5

CD 609 Research Methods and Measurements (3 credits)

In this course, students will learn how to use various pieces of research to guide evidence-based clinical practice. They will learn how to formulate relevant clinical research questions, determine which research will provide appropriate answers, and find and interpret relevant literature. In turn, students become proficient in identifying applications and limitations of that literature for clinical decision making. The course places emphasis on critical thinking, synthesis of information, and clear written and oral expression.

CD 623 Fluency Disorders (3 credits)

This course explores stuttering from theoretical and empirical perspectives. Cluttering and neurogenic and psychogenic stuttering are also examined. Procedures for evaluating, treating, and managing stuttering among children and adults are emphasized.

CD 635 Speech Sound Disorders (3 credits)

This course presents normative and theoretical perspectives on speech sound development, as well as assessment and treatment of articulation and phonology disorders. General treatment strategies and specific treatment programs are emphasized. The course also highlights research in evidence-based practice.

CD 641 Dysphagia (3 credits)

This course addresses feeding and swallowing mechanisms and processes from infancy through adulthood, as well as current assessment procedures and management options.

CD 642 Autism: Social Communication Development and Disorder (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the development of social communication skills in children and the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. The course covers theories of social communication development and the timing of related milestones in childhood and adolescence. Students will also discuss the impact of social communication deficits on language, cognition, and peer relationships across the lifespan. Finally, the course reviews empirically supported treatments for autism and related disorders.

CD 645 Language and Literacy Disabilities (3 credits)

This course focuses on the relationship between spoken and written language and its role in language-based learning disabilities in school-aged students. It addresses the characteristics of language, reading, and spelling impairments; the subtypes of these disorders; and the different intervention approaches used with them. Various models of language and reading development and their disorders are also reviewed.

CD 650 Motor Speech Disorders (3 credits)

Students will learn the etiology, assessment, diagnosis, and principles of rehabilitation of speech production disorders in individuals with acquired neuropathologies. Information is presented in the context of speech production theory and, where appropriate, the neurological disease of which the speech disorder is a symptom.

CD 677 Voice Disorders (3 credits)

This course addresses the characteristics, etiology, evaluation, and clinical management of voice disorders and associated pathological conditions in both children and adults.

CD 680 Neurological Bases of Communication (3 credits)

This course outlines the anatomy and functional neurophysiology of human communication and provides an overview of neurodevelopmental processes and disorders. The course presents the organization of the human nervous system but emphasizes the relationship of this organization to the various communicative, cognitive, linguistic, sensory, and motor processes central to human communication and to the treatment of its disorders.

CD 684 Augmentative and Alternative Communication (3 credits)

This course provides an overview of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems and the process of selecting and implementing these systems for children and adults. The first section of this course covers the basic processes of AAC: messages, symbols, alternative access, assessment, and intervention planning. The second section examines issues related to people with developmental disabilities who require AAC services. The third section focuses on AAC for people with acquired communication disabilities.

CD 686 Preschool Language Disorders (3 credits)

This course examines current perspectives in defining, assessing, and intervening with children with language disturbances from infancy through the preschool years. Additionally, issues pertaining to older individuals with language functioning in the preschool developmental age range are described. The course gives particular attention to assessment and intervention techniques for children and individuals at pre-linguistic, emerging language, and conversational language levels. Additional considerations include multicultural issues, working with caregivers and peers, non-speech communication alternatives, and the diverse roles of speech-language pathologists.

CD 689 Aural Rehabilitation for The Speech-Language Pathologist (3 credits)

This course provides students with audiological information relevant to the scope of practice for speech-language pathologists. Basic testing and screening techniques, interpretation of audiometric results, and habilitative and rehabilitative methods are discussed with reference to current literature.

CD 690 Aphasia (3 credits)

This course presents the pathophysiology, epidemiology, and prevention of aphasia, as well as its nature, assessment, diagnostic procedures, and approaches to intervention. Issues of recovery, prognosis, and treatment efficacy are also included. Course material is presented with reference to the current literature in the field and to its clinical application.

CD 692 Cognitive Communicative Disorders (3 credits)

This course covers communication disorders consequent to dementing processes, closed head injury, and damage to the right cerebral hemisphere. Pathology, assessment, differential diagnosis, and treatment are addressed with reference to current literature.


Students are also required to take three 1-credit seminar courses that will occur during two on-campus immersions.

CD 652 Craniofacial Anomalies (1 credit)

This seminar reviews failures in craniofacial growth and development and the subsequent associated speech and language disorders. Communication and speech issues related to cleft lip and palate, dental malocclusions, and neuromuscular dysfunctions of the head and face are included. The role of speech-language pathologists in diagnosis and treatment within interdisciplinary models of case management is emphasized.

CD 659 Immersion I: Activities – Clinical and Academic Explorations (1 credit)

This course prepares you for your first community placement. It includes summative experiences for academic courses, application of clinical learning, and preparation for community placement. You will receive clinical instruction from immersion facilitators and engage in reflective practice.

CD 675 Person-Centered Care: Perspectives Across the Lifespan (1 credit)

This course integrates previous coursework and clinical experiences to facilitate students’ understanding of the philosophy and implementation of person-centered care across multiple settings and age ranges. Specifically, this course includes three modules focused on using routines for embedded intervention, using patient-provider communication to facilitate person-centered care, and ethics and end-of-life care. Students will take this seminar once at the end of their final semester in the Speech@Emerson program.