Speech-Language Pathology, MS

Department of Special Education, College of Education

Vision Statement

The mission of the Department Special Education and Communication Disorders is to prepare dedicated practitioners, reflective scholars, and responsible citizens who are unique in their ability to facilitate, design, implement, and evaluate programs for individuals with disabilities. This is accomplished by creating opportunities for the acquisition and maintenance of knowledge, skills, and dispositions as prescribed by the Council for Exceptional Children, the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, and state and federal regulations.

The master's degree education program in speech-language pathology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha 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. The next CAA re-accreditation review will be in 2020. The program also is accredited by the Nebraska Department of Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Program Contact Information

Elizabeth Leader-Janssen, PhD, Graduate Program Chair (GPC)
512 Roskens Hall (RH) 
402.554.3448
eleaderjanssen@unomaha.edu

Program Website

Admissions

Application Deadlines (Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020)

  • Fall: January 15 for all application materials
  • A bachelor's degree in speech-language pathology or communication disorders or if bachelor's degree in another field, must have completed the following undergraduate courses or an equivalent of these courses in communication disorders.
  • Applicants are required to have a command of oral and written English.  Those who do not hold a baccalaureate or other advanced degree from the United States, OR a baccalaureate or other advanced degree from a predetermined country on the waiver list, must meet the minimum language proficiency score requirement in order to be considered for admission. 
    • A minimum score of 550 for the paper-based TOEFL, 80 for the internet-based TOEFL, 6.5 for the IELTS 53 for the PTE.  If scores are more than two years old you may be required to retake the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE exam.

Program-Specific Requirements

  • Personal Fitness Statement (form is online with graduate application materials)

  • official GRE scores taken within the last 5 years; 
  • two letters of recommendation; 
  • statement of purpose (covering your long range goals in the profession, a summary paragraph of a research-based article in your area of interest, a brief description of what distinguishes you from other highly qualified applicants, and your experience with individual(s) with special needs)
  • The program may conduct applicant interviews.

Degree Requirements

  • In order to acquire the knowledge and skills requisite to the practice of speech-language pathology to function in a broad variety of clinical situations, and to render a wide spectrum of patient care, individuals must have skills and attributes in five areas: communication, motor, intellectual-cognitive, sensory-observational, and behavioral-social. These skills enable a student to meet graduate and professional requirements as measured by state licensure and national certification. (Council of Academic Programs in Communication and Sciences and Disorders, 2007).
  • Candidates must complete a speech-language-hearing screen within the first 30 days of enrollment.
  • Academic integrity is expected for all interactions and requirements. This includes, but is not limited to: original work on exams, accountability and completion of requirements, maintenance of confidentiality for individuals and class discussions when appropriate, and accurate citation for original work. Plagiarism will result in an automatic failing grade for the assignment. Please refer to the UNO Academic Integrity Policy for more specific descriptions of academic integrity violations.
    • The Praxis I - CORE Academic Skills for Educators test must be successfully passed per NDE requirements within the first 30 days of enrollment or the student will be prohibited from registering for classes. Scores must be sent to UNO directly from ETS, using code RA0174. If there is no Praxis I score, the student will be on a provisional admission for one semester until they successfully complete the Praxis I.
  • A background check and Nebraska Adult and Child Abuse & Neglect Registry Release must be successfully completed prior to enrollment and prior to each externship.
  • Each candidate must take the Praxis II - Subject Assessment test. Scores must be submitted prior to applying for graduation. Scores must be sent to UNO directly from ETS, using code RA0174.
Required Courses
CDIS 8240LANGUAGE DISORDERS IN SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN3
CDIS 8410MOTOR SPEECH DISORDERS3
CDIS 8420VOICE DISORDERS3
CDIS 8430FLUENCY DISORDERS3
CDIS 8440APHASIA & RELATED LANGUAGE DISORDERS3
CDIS 8500BASIC CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY2
CDIS 8510EDUCATIONAL EXTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION DISORDERS4
CDIS 8520MEDICAL EXTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION DISORDERS4
CDIS 8540AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS2
CDIS 8560AUGMENTATIVE & ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION2
CDIS 8570DYSPHAGIA3
CDIS 8590LANGUAGE DISORDERS: BIRTH TO FIVE3
Electives
Student, in consultation with an advisor, will select an elective. The 3 hours of elective credit will be waived if the thesis option is chosen. The following list is a sampling of recommended electives:0-3
TEACHING STUDENTS WITH EXCEPTIONALITIES
HIGH INCIDENCE DISABILITIES
PROFESSIONAL COLLABORATION
SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS FROM DIVERSE COMMUNITIES
INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
CHARACTERISTICS OF EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS
MENTAL HEALTH AND AGING
LEGAL ASPECTS OF AGING
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY
WORKING WITH MINORITY ELDERLY
READING AND WRITING INSTRUCTION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW

Exit Requirements

Non-Thesis Option
CDIS 8510EDUCATIONAL EXTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION DISORDERS4
CDIS 8520MEDICAL EXTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION DISORDERS4
Thesis Option
CDIS 8510EDUCATIONAL EXTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION DISORDERS4
CDIS 8520MEDICAL EXTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION DISORDERS4
SPED 8990THESIS1-6

CDIS 8510 and CDIS 8520 each will be taken once for four (4) credit hours each. Students must earn a grade of "B" or better in each of these courses, as students may not retake either course. Failure to achieve a grade of "B" or better in either course will result in automatic dismissal from the program. Withdrawal from 8510 or 8520 is contingent upon written permission of the advisor and current grade of B or better at the time of requested withdrawal. These varied practica are designed to provide the candidate with a wide range of clinical experiences with individuals across the age span, cultural backgrounds, cognitive levels, and disability categories.

**All student clinicians need to earn a B or higher in order to pass externships. Externships may not be retaken.

For the thesis option, candidates must complete 6 credit hours of SPED 8990.

All students will achieve a passing score on a final capstone/comprehensive exam. For students completing a thesis, the thesis defense will constitute the capstone experience.

All students must complete the exit survey prior to graduation.

Intervention Policy for Content and Clinicals

Every course assignment and all practica skills in the speech-language pathology program are connected to the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) standards and reflect specific competencies. Intervention is required for any grade below a 'B' on any class or clinic requirement. Students will be required to meet with the instructor/supervisor to remediate any problem area. Please refer to a more detailed Intervention Policy in course syllabi.

In addition to the Quality of Work Standards set forth by the Graduate College, MS students in the speech-language pathology program may repeat only once a required course in which they receive any grade, including “W” or “I”. Withdrawal from courses or clinical experiences is contingent upon written permission of the advisor and current status of earning a grade of B or better at the time of requested withdrawal. Students may only withdraw from a total of three required courses (including the SPED 8500 clinical sequence) over the course of their program. If there are extenuating circumstances that require more than three withdrawals, this will require an appeal to the program director.

CDIS 8240  LANGUAGE DISORDERS IN SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN (3 credits)

This course focuses on the relationship between spoken and written language and its role in language-based learning disabilities in school-age students. It addresses the characteristics of language and reading impairments; the subtypes of these disorders; and the different diagnostic strategies, assessment tools, and intervention approaches used with them. Various models of language and reading as they relate to development and disorders will be reviewed.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing in Speech-Language Pathology and a course in later (school age) language development. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8396  HEARING SCIENCE (3 credits)

This course is designed for undergraduate majors in speech-language pathology and audiology and for graduate candidates in education of the deaf/hard of hearing. The course will include basic terminology, anatomy and physiology of the hearing mechanism, acoustics and physics of sound, the processes of human hearing, elements of basic hearing measurements, psychophysics. This course will prepare speech-language pathology candidates as dedicated practitioners, reflective scholars, and responsible citizens who can meet the challenges of their profession in a changing world. (Cross-listed with CDIS 4390).

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Admission to Graduate College

CDIS 8410  MOTOR SPEECH DISORDERS (3 credits)

This course is designed to integrate background information from neurophysiology related to motor speech disorders (MSDs). The term motor speech disorders refers to speech deficits and differences resulting from injury to the human nervous system. This course will focus on acquired and developmental movement-based disorders of speech production that impact one or more of the following subsystems of speech: respiration, phonation, resonation, and/or articulation, including the dysarthrias and apraxia of speech. This course will entail clinical description and characteristics of the impairments as well as the psychosocial changes in life activities and participation of individuals who live with MSDs.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): SPED 4470/CDIS 4470 or SPED 8470/CDIS 8470 or equivalent; graduate standing in Speech-Language Pathology. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8420  VOICE DISORDERS (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to provide candidates the opportunity to study the disorders of voice in depth so that they are able to effectively orchestrate caseloads including this disorder type. Voice disorders of both organic and functional etiology will be studied. Candidates will have opportunities to conduct instrumetal voice evaluation techniques. The disorders will be discussed to cover the range of topics including etiology, symptomology, assessment and diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, both medical and non-medical. Phonatory and resonatory aspects will be included.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing in Speech-Language Pathology. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8430  FLUENCY DISORDERS (3 credits)

This course examines the types and causes of rate, rhythm, and stress pattern differences as they relate to child, adolescent, and adult fluency disorders.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing in Speech-Language Pathology. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8440  APHASIA & RELATED LANGUAGE DISORDERS (3 credits)

This course is designed to integrate background information from neurophysiology to aphasia and related disorders such as right hemisphere syndrome, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and dementia. The term aphasia refers to linguistic deficits resulting from injury to the human nervous system. This course will focus on acquired cognitive and linguistic-based disorders of the human communication system and will entail clinical description and characteristics of the impairments as well as on the psychosocial changes in life activities and participation of individuals who live with aphasia and/or related disorders.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): SPED 4470/SPED 8470, CDIS 4470/CDIS 8470 or equiv; grad standing in SLP. Grad SLPs without SPED 4470/CDIS 4470 can concurrently enroll in SPED 4470/SPED 8470 or CDIS 4470/CDIS 8470 with advisor permission. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8470  NEUROPHYSIOLOGY OF SPEECH AND LANGUAGE (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to provide speech-language pathology graduate candidates an introduction to human neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the speech, language and hearing mechanisms, across the lifespan. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of the neurophysiological underpinnings of human communication and its disorders. Ultimately, the course will prepare speech-language pathology graduate candidates as dedicated practitioners, reflective scholars, and responsible citizens who can meet the challenges of their profession in a changing world.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate Standing Speech-Language Pathology Majors Only. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8486  RESEARCH METHODS IN COMMUNICATION DISORDERS (3 credits)

This course will provide candidates with an introductory set of skills to interpret and evaluate research in communication disorders and closely related fields. In addition, this course will provide candidates with basic knowledge regarding research designs and analyses commonly used in communication disorders and related fields. The content addressed in this course will prepare candidates to judiciously evaluate evidence-based practice and apply the scientific method to clinical decision-making. It offers an opportunity to cultivate critical thinking skills imperative to becoming dedicated practitioners, reflective scholars, and responsible citizens who can adeptly meet the ever-evolving challenges of their profession. (Cross-listed with CDIS 4480).

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): This course is designed for graduate and undergraduate students majoring in speech-language pathology and is a required course for speech-language pathology candidates.

CDIS 8500  BASIC CLINICAL PRACTICUM IN SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY (2 credits)

These courses are designed to provide the speech-language pathology candidate with experiences of a clinical nature prior to intensive participation in practica in the educational, medical, clinical, and/or other rehabilitation settings.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing in Speech-Language Pathology, 3.0 GPA overall. Permission from program faculty. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8510  EDUCATIONAL EXTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION DISORDERS (4 credits)

This course is designed to provide the speech-language pathology candidate with experiences of a clinical nature in educational settings. The purpose of the course is to advance the candidate's skills in the evaluation and management of communication and swallowing disorders.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Three semesters of SPED 8500/CDIS 8500 unless otherwise indicated plus permission. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8520  MEDICAL EXTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION DISORDERS (4 credits)

This course is designed to provide the speech-language candidate with experiences of a clinical nature in medical settings. The purpose is to advance the candidates' skills in the evaluation and management of communication and swallowing disorders.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Three semesters of SPED 8500/CDIS 8500 unless otherwise indicated plus permission. Not open to non-degree students.

CDIS 8530  SEMINAR IN SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide intensive discussion of research or problems of current professional interest based on current literature in speech-language pathology. This course will prepare candidates as dedicated practitioners, reflective scholars, and responsible citizens who can meet the challenges of their profession in a changing world.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing

CDIS 8540  AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (2 credits)

This course is designed to familiarize candidates with the features of and interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The course will emphasize current research into various methodologies for social and communication skills.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Co-requisite: SPED 8560/CDIS 8560. Admission to the Graduate College. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8556  SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS FROM DIVERSE COMMUNITIES (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to study the impact of cultural and linguistic diversity on communication, learning, and behavior. The contrast between what is considered 'normal' language / learning development and in the presence of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) P-12 students will receive special emphasis. (Cross-listed with CDIS 4550).

CDIS 8560  AUGMENTATIVE & ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION (2 credits)

This course is designed to introduce the candidate to the nature and process of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), current theories and models of AAC, basic elements of AAC systems, and contemporary AAC clinical practices and principles. Topics will be examined from educational and rehabilitational perspectives as they relate to assessment, prescription, implementation and evaluation. The course will emphasize practical solutions in AAC for children and adults using both high technology and other less-complex communication strategies. This content is intended to prepare candidates as dedicated practitioners, reflective scholars, and responsible citizens who can meet the challenges of their profession in a changing world.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing in Speech-Language Pathology program; co-requisite: SPED 8540/CDIS 8540.

CDIS 8570  DYSPHAGIA (3 credits)

This course is designed to integrate background information from neurophysiology to dysphagia. The term dysphagia refers to swallowing disorders resulting from congenital birth anomalies (i.e., cleft palate, cerebral palsy, etc.) as well as acquired injury to the central nervous system (i.e., stroke, head injury, etc.). This course will introduce candidates to bedside, radiographic, and endoscopic assessment procedures as well as direct, indirect, and medical management techniques of dysphagia. Additionally, this course will provide clinical description and characteristics of swallowing impairments as well as on the psychosocial changes in life activities and participation of individuals who live with dysphagia.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): SPED 4470/CDIS 4470 or equivalent, graduate standing in speech-language pathology. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

CDIS 8590  LANGUAGE DISORDERS: BIRTH TO FIVE (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide candidates with knowledge about communicative disorders in young children within a multicultural and global framework. It will cover assumptions underlying current approaches to the evaluation and treatment of language disorders in the developing child. Major emphasis will be upon the theoretical foundations of the study and treatment of communication disorders in children from birth to age five.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): SPED 4420/CDIS 4420 or equivalent. Admission to Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology. Not open to non-degree graduate students.