The Speech-language curriculum at Misericordia University prepares students to be well rounded professionals by providing a curriculum, grounded in the liberal arts, that combines evidence based practice and research.
Click on the appropriate link below to view curriculum requirements and course descriptions for Speech-Language Pathology programs.
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:
- Provide prevention, screening, consultation, assessment and diagnosis, treatment, intervention, management, counseling, and follow-up services for disorders of:
- speech (i.e., articulation, fluency, resonance, and voice including aeromechanical components of respiration).
- 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.
- 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));
- cognitive aspects of communication (e.g., attention, memory, problem solving, executive functions).
- sensory awareness related to communication, swallowing, or other upper aerodigestive functions.
- Establish augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) techniques and strategies including developing, selecting, and prescribing of such systems and devices (e.g., speech generating devices).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Collaborate with and provide referrals and information to audiologists, educators, and other health professionals as individual needs dictate.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Be critical consumers of professional literature.
- 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.
As part of the undergraduate curriculum, the student will be expected to earn a minimum of 25 clock hours of supervised observation before they begin any clinical practicum. Undergraduate transfers, students possessing a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than communication sciences and disorders and students who have not completed their observation hours must complete their 25 clock hours of observation before beginning graduate clinical work. The Speech-Language Pathology program at Misericordia University is unique because students may complete one semester of undergraduate clinic before beginning the master's coursework. These students are given one or two clients to work with during the semester before they start their graduate coursework and clinic.
The clinical component of the Speech-Language Pathology program is integrally tied to the academic component. The Speech-Language Pathology program's philosophy is that students should have as much of the academic preparation completed as possible so that they can integrate and use that information effectively when conducting assessment or intervention with persons having speech and/or language disorders. All practicum experiences are intended to allow students to gain practical experience with children and adults exhibiting speech and/or language disorders in a variety of settings, including public schools, outpatient facilities, private practices, rehabilitation centers, acute care facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. The graduate clinical curriculum is sequenced in such a way that students work towards completion of most of their academic coursework within the first graduate year, as well as completing two in-house treatment clinics and one diagnostic clinic. Students will be able to earn between 50 to 75 clock hours of practicum over the course of these in-house clinics.
The second year of graduate study is primarily devoted to external clinical practicum placements. Most students will not need to enroll in SLP 630 Fieldwork III as their practicum experiences in SLP 610 Fieldwork I and SLP 620 Fieldwork II should be sufficient to allow them to complete all practicum requirements for ASHA certification. Those students who do not meet the Department's and ASHA's certification standards related to clinical practicum upon completion of SLP 620 will be required to enroll in SLP 630 to meet the appropriate standards.
Students who enter the master's program with clinical clock hours earned at the undergraduate level and students who transfer from a graduate program at another institution of higher education who have earned practicum clock hours will be allowed to transfer those clock hours as long as they were obtained at an accredited institution and were earned under ASHA's standards for clinical practicum. The academic semester or quarter hour credit for practicum, however, will not be transferred to count toward the academic standards.
By the time a student graduates with a master's degree from the program, he or she will have met all practicum requirements for professional certification. This includes a minimum of 400 clock hours of appropriate clinical experience, with a minimum of 25 clock hours of the 400 being obtained in clinical observation.
The practicum experiences will be varied both in terms of clinical settings to which students are assigned, and the diversity of communication disorders that the student will encounter. The net result of all clinical experiences will be a well-prepared, rounded, competent clinician who will be ready to take his or her place in the professional world.
(updated May 2014)