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- Mission Statement
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Go to Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences
The Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech-Language Pathology provides an accredited path of study within the Jesuit tradition defined by challenging coursework and faculty mentors who assist students in acquiring the tools necessary to be discerning and knowledgeable speech-language pathologists who will lead and serve in a diverse and changing world. Through academic coursework, mentorship by dedicated faculty members, and clinical experiences across a variety of settings, students will master the professional skills they need to become effective and compassionate advocates for persons with communication disorders.
The primary purpose of this two-year (five semester), full-time master's program is the education and development of superior professionals for careers as speech-language pathologists. The curriculum challenges preprofessionals academically, clinically, and personally. The program consists of academic coursework integrated with clinical training in the assessment and treatment of infants, children, and adults who have communication disorders. Students are provided a myriad of opportunities to acquire and demonstrate knowledge of the nature of speech, language, hearing, and communication disorders and differences, as well as prevention, assessment, and intervention for people with communication and swallowing disorders across the life span. The program also allows students to acquire and demonstrate knowledge in standards of ethical conduct, research principles in evidence-based clinical practice, and contemporary professional issues.
Students are provided with supervised clinical experiences matched to their level of clinical expertise, and student progress is reviewed every semester. As students advance, they are placed in a variety of settings to provide a carefully controlled progression of difficulty. Throughout the program, students work directly with clinical faculty and externship supervisors who are state licensed and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
During the first year of study, students begin their clinical internship in one of the Loyola Clinical Centers under the supervision of expert faculty and practicing clinicians. The Loyola Clinical Centers consist of the Margaret A. McManus Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic located at Belvedere Square in Baltimore, Maryland and the Speech and Language Center located in Columbia, Maryland. Each center offers an array of speech-language and/or audiological services for individuals experiencing difficulty with their communication and/or hearing skills. The state-of-the-art clinics provide services in individual and group settings to clients of all ages, infant-toddler through adult, with varying diagnoses in communication disorders. The Loyola Clinical Centers also provide students with the opportunity to work and learn in an interdisciplinary setting, which includes speech-language pathology, audiology, psychology, pastoral counseling, and literacy. Students may also have additional internship experiences off-site with private and public community partners.
In the second year, students who have successfully completed the first-year internships are placed in an off-campus setting with an experienced, ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist. Students will experience at least two different settings or populations over the course of the year. The department's externship director provides the overall supervision of the experience, which includes monitoring student progress and final assessment of student performance. The goal of the externship program is to provide a variety of real world experiences where students integrate academic and clinical teaching and achieve mastery of clinical skills necessary for postgraduate work experience as a clinical fellow.
Requirements for the Major
The Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech-Language Pathology requires a minimum of 40 credits of academic coursework, supplemented by additional coursework in internship and externship experiences. Students are required to successfully complete the required coursework with a QPA of 3.000 and to acquire 400 documented clinical practicum hours. Students are required to successfully complete the comprehensive examination or to plan, write, and defend a thesis under the direction of a faculty committee. Students must also achieve a passing score on the Praxis II: Subject Assessments Test. In addition, students must have completed basic courses in biological sciences, physical sciences, statistics, and the social/behavioral sciences in compliance with ASHA's 2017 speech-language pathology certification standards (www.asha.org/certification). Students who have not completed these courses will be required to complete them outside of the graduate program prior to graduation. These courses do not count in the student's cumulative QPA.
Graduates of the M.S. program have completed the academic and clinical practicum requirements mandated by ASHA necessary to engage in a clinical fellowship year (CFY). For more information on the Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), visit the ASHA website (www.asha.org).
Master's Comprehensive Exam
All students who choose the nonthesis option are required to pass a comprehensive exam in order to graduate from the master's program. Students who fail the exam will be counseled by the graduate program director and given the opportunity to retake the exam. Students must pass the exam within three attempts; these attempts must occur within one year of the initial attempt. Students who fail the exam on the third attempt or who do not complete the exam within the designated time frame will be dismissed from the program and will not receive a master's degree, but rather, a master's equivalency.
A thesis is a scientific investigation of publishable quality in which the student demonstrates a strong knowledge base, research capacity, creativity, and analytic/ writing skills. The thesis is not required for all students, but is suggested for students who have maintained a QPA of at least 3.750, have strong research and writing skills, and are interested in pursuing doctoral-level study and/or clinical research activities. Students who elect the master's thesis option will not be responsible for taking the comprehensive exam.
A student interested in exploring the thesis option must meet with the faculty member whose expertise is in the area of investigation. The student will work with the faculty member to review the literature in the chosen area and develop the research proposal. All thesis track students must enroll in SP 657 in the fall and spring semesters of their second year. Research proposal guidelines are available by contacting the graduate program director and are also available on the department website. Each thesis track student is responsible to secure one major reader (typically the thesis advisor), as well as two faculty members who will serve as readers on the Thesis Committee. The final copies of the thesis, including signatures of the department chair and Dean of Loyola College, must be submitted before the end of the semester that a student expects to graduate.
Classes are held one day a week at the Columbia Campus. Clinical practica are scheduled throughout the week at various internship and externship sites.
A total of three (3) elective credits is required. Elective courses are subject to change in order to meet the needs of the students and the program. The following courses have been offered:
All students are required to successfully complete clinical coursework during the first and second year of the master's program. This requires a minimum of 375 practicum hours and 25 observation hours, with a requirement of one summer placement generally taken during the summer between the first and second year of graduate work.
Students are provided with supervised clinical experiences matched to their level of clinical expertise. Students begin their clinical practice experience in the Loyola Clinical Centers and are supervised by the clinical/ academic faculty. Student progress is reviewed each semester by the clinical faculty to assess readiness to advance to different types of clinical experiences. Students receive pass/fail grades during their clinical internship year as they rotate through different clinical sites. Clinical courses during the first year of the program include:
During the second year, students advance to placements in a typical job setting to further develop their clinical skills. Students are required to complete a minimum of two semesters of externship placements across two different settings. The externship director reviews placement applications each semester and advises students to register for one of the following clinical practicum courses: