Speech-language Pathology Major

College of Health Sciences

Degree MS, Speech-language Pathology

Department Chair Glen Tellis, PhD


Lori Cimino, Assistant Professor, BS Marywood University, Pennsylvania; MS Bloomsburg University, Pennsylvania

Mckinley Hunter Manasco, Assistant Professor, MS University of Montevallo, Montevallo, Alabama; PhD, University of South Alabama, Alabama

Kathleen Scaler-Scott, Assistant Professor, BA Rutgers University, New Jersey; MS Emerson College, Boston, Massachusettes; PhD, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Lousiana

Glen Tellis, Professor, BS St. Xavier's College, Bombay, India; MA California State University, Fresno, California; PhD, The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania

Cari Tellis, Assistant Professor, BA The Pennsylvania State University; MS University of Pittsburgh; PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Ruixia Yan, Assistant Professor, BA and MA Shanxi University, China; PhD, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana


The speech-language pathology program is a five-year, professional master's degree program with admission in the first year. Students admitted as first year or undergraduate transfers who successfully complete all major and university requirements are awarded a BS degree in health sciences in addition to a MS degree in speech-language pathology. Students who have baccalaureate degrees—whether in communication disorders or another field—are conferred the MS degree in speech-language pathology upon completion of all requirements but do not receive the BS in health science.

For traditional five year and transfer students, the program's first two years of study provide a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences, appropriate breadth to develop the ability in students to think independently, weigh values, and understand fundamental theory. This further serves to develop skills of critical thinking and communication, inherent in baccalaureate education and essential to professional socialization. The speech-language pathology professional curriculum is initiated in the fourth year and continues through the fifth year.

The program is guided by the accreditation and certification standards put forth by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) as the accrediting agency for entry-level speech-language pathology programs. Graduates of programs accredited by ASHA are eligible to apply for national certification by ASHA and for state licensure as speech-language pathologists in the individual United States and territories in which licensure is mandated. The master's program in speech-language pathology at Misericordia University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


The speech-language pathology program is committed to providing an educational experience which produces competent speech-language pathologists who are critical thinkers and educated consumers of research, and which prepares its graduates for productive careers in speech-language pathology and as advocates for, and participants in, life-long learning. As an entry-level professional program, the speech-language pathology curriculum reflects a commitment to the complementary relationship between liberal arts and professional studies that enables graduates to adapt to constantly evolving societal and professional needs. The department of speech-language pathology is committed to the provision of affordable, quality professional education that expresses the founding Sisters' values and attitudes of hospitality, justice, mercy, and service. The overall goal is to develop a well-rounded empathetic competent professional who will provide the highest quality of care to individuals with communication disorders.


The speech-language pathology department is based on the belief that graduates of entry-level allied health professional programs should possess the clinical decision making and problem solving skills which enable them to function as peer colleagues in the contemporary, dynamic health care and educational systems. Speech-language pathologists need to be sensitive to the needs of a culturally diverse society as evident in their interactions with clients, families, and fellow health care and education professionals in the community in which they practice.

An educational program for speech-language pathologists should reflect the concepts of androgogy (adult education) to include problem solving, critical thinking and analysis, integration of theory and practice, clinical decision making, mentoring, and self-directed learning.

Speech-language pathologists should have the ability to articulate and exchange knowledge, and seek additional knowledge and skills. They should also have the ability and desire to remain open to input from and collaboration with other health care and education professionals. Speech-language pathologists value collaboration and communication in a spirit of mutual collegiality among health care and education providers as essential to meeting the health care needs of society.

A speech-language pathology professional education program prepares students to be practicing generalists but also provides graduates with the tools that enable them to develop specialty expertise through the application of critical thinking and problem solving skills and a wholistic approach to health care.

The academic and clinical faculty and the academic and clinical education environments must reflect and foster professional values and behaviors. The academic and clinical faculty and curriculum components must be inextricably linked for the provision of professional education programs preparing competent health care practitioners.

A diverse faculty whose members have responsibilities and activities consistent with their areas of teaching and scholarly expertise strengthens and enhances a professional education program in speech-language pathology.


The goals of the speech-language pathology department at Misericordia University are to prepare graduates who:

  1. Engage in contemporary, competent, legal, and ethical practice.
  2. Value the critical inquiry in the validation and advancement of the science of speech-language pathology and audiology.
  3. Describe the roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists as professionally autonomous practitioners within the health care and educational systems.
  4. Accept the responsibility for education of self, the community, the profession, clients, and colleagues in the health care and educational systems.
  5. Value and foster communication and interaction with colleagues for the benefit of optimal service to clients with communication disorders.
  6. Respect and respond to contemporary bio-psycho-social diversity in interactions with clients, families, colleagues, and the community.

It is the mission of the speech-language pathology program to educate and prepare students who will be ethical and competent clinicians in the provision of services to persons with speech-language-hearing disorders.

Program Objectives

To ensure that graduates of the speech-language pathology program will be prepared for their professional roles and responsibilities, the following are the program's curriculum objectives. Upon successful completion of the speech-language pathology program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Provide prevention, screening, consultation, assessment and diagnosis, treatment, intervetion, management, counseling, and follow-up services for disorders of:
    1. speech (i.e., articulation, fluency, resonance, and voice including aeromechanical components of respiration).
    2. language (i.e., phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatic/social aspects of communication) including comprehension and expression in oral, written, graphic, and manual modalities; language processing; preliteracy and language-based literacy skills, including phonological awareness.
    3. swallowing or other upper aerodigestive functions such as infant feeding and aeromechanical events (evaluation of esophageal function is for the purpose of referral to medical professionals).
    4. cognitive aspects of communication (e.g., attention, memory, problem solving, executive functions).
    5. sensory awareness related to communication, swallowing, or other upper aerodigestive functions.
  2. Establish augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) techniques and strategies including developing, selecting, and prescribing of such systems and devices (e.g., speech generating devices).
  3. Provide services to individuals with hearing loss and their families/caregivers (e.g., auditory training; speech reading; speech and language intervention secondary to hearing loss).
  4. Screen hearing of individuals who can participate in conventional pure-tone air conduction methods, as well as screening for middle ear pathology through screening tympanometry for the purpose of referral of individuals for further evaluation and management.
  5. Use instrumentation (e.g., videofluoroscopy, EMG, nasendoscopy, stroboscopy, computer technology) to observe, collect data, and measure parameters of communication and swallowing, or other upper aerodigestive functions in accordance with the principles of evidence-based practice.
  6. Select, fit, and establish effective use of prosthetic/adaptive devices for communication, swallowing, or other upper aerodigestive functions (e.g., tracheoesophageal prostheses, speaking valves, electrolarynges). This does not include sensory devices used by individuals with hearing loss or other auditory perceptual deficits.
  7. Collaborate in the assessment of central auditory processing disorders and providing intervention where there is evidence of speech, language, and/or other cognitive-communication disorders.
  8. Educate and counsel individuals, families, co-workers, educators, and other persons in the community regarding acceptance, adaptation, and decision making about communication, swallowing, or other upper aerodigestive concerns.
  9. Advocate for individuals through community awareness, education, and training programs to promote and facilitate access to full participation in communication, including the elimination of societal barriers.
  10. Collaborate with and provide referrals and information to audiologists, educators, and other health professionals as individual needs dictate.
  11. Address behaviors (e.g., perseverative or disruptive actions) and environments (e.g., seating, positioning for swallowing safety or attention, communication opportunities) that affect communication, swallowing, or other upper aerodigestive functions.
  12. Provide services to modify or enhance communication performance (e.g., accent modification, transgendered voice, care and improvement of the professional voice, personal/professional communication effectiveness).
  13. Recognize the need to provide and appropriately accommodate diagnostic and treatment services to individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds and adjust treatment and assessment services accordingly.
  14. Be critical consumers of professional literature.
  15. Accept responsibility for service to one's fellow human beings.

The academic curriculum, practicum experiences, research requirement, and service activity requirements that students must complete in this program have been designed and will be implemented in a way that will ensure that graduates meet or exceed these objectives. The net result of the student's educational experience in this program will be a well-prepared, service-oriented, competent professional who is fully prepared and eligible for ASHA certification as a speech-language pathologist.

Undergraduate Program in Speech-language Pathology

Students may enter the undergraduate speech-language pathology program in one of two ways: (1) as traditional five-year students who have graduated from high school but have not yet entered college, or (2) as students who have entered college and have taken speech-language pathology courses at other colleges or universities and wish to transfer, or have either chosen a different major or have not selected a major but wish to transfer into the speech-language pathology program.

Admission of Traditional Five-Year Students

Students must have graduated from high school but have not yet entered college. For these students, the speech-language pathology curriculum is a 5 year program leading simultaneously to the baccalaureate and master's degrees. Prospective undergraduate applicants must meet both Misericordia University's and the speech-language pathology department's admissions criteria. For more information, please see applying to the speech-language pathology program section of this catalog.

Admission of Transfer Students

Students may seek admission into the program as a transfer, either from another department at Misericordia University or another institution of higher learning. Applications for admission of transfer students will be considered on a competitive, space-available basis. All students accepted into the program as undergraduate transfers must meet Misericordia University's requirements for a baccalaureate degree by taking the necessary coursework to ensure compliance with the requirements.

Advancement to the Undergraduate Speech-language Pathology Program

For both traditional five-year students and transfer students, advancement to the undergraduate program (traditionally the junior year) is continuous. Students who are admitted to the program take Speech-language Pathology undergraduate courses in their freshmen, sophomore, and junior years.

Advancement to Graduate Study in Speech-language Pathology

To advance to the graduate portion of the speech-language pathology program (typically the senior and fifth years of study), students must:

  1. Have an overall GPA of at least 3.3 at the end of the junior year. This GPA must be maintained until completion of the spring semester of the junior year and throughout the graduate program.
  2. Receive a grade of "C-" or better in the undergraduate speech-language pathology courses.
  3. Successfully master all course objectives for all speech-language pathology courses taken prior to the senior year (first year graduate school).

Advancement within the Graduate Portion of the Speech-language Pathology Program

To advance from the first year (traditionally the senior year) to the second year (traditionally the fifth year) of study, students must

  1. Have an overall GPA of at least 3.3 at the end of the junior year. This GPA must be maintained until completion of the spring semester of the junior year and throughout the graduate program.
  2. Receive a grade of "B-" or better in all graduate level professional courses (courses at the 500 and 600 levels). Any student who receives a C+ or lower in any graduate level course (excluding clinic) has one opportunity to retake that course and receive a B- or better. Failure to achieve a grade of B- or better in any graduate level professional course will result in dismissal from the program. Students must receive a B or better in all graduate level clinical courses (500 and 600 level courses). Any student who receives a B- or lower in any graduate level clinical course has one opportunity to retake that clinic and receive a B or better. Failure to achieve a grade of B or better in clinical courses will result in dismissal from the program.
  3. Successfully master all course objectives for all speech-language pathology courses taken during the senior year and 5th year.