Master of Science Program

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD)

The mission of the Undergraduate and Master’s programs of CSD is the preparation of professionals qualified to provide independent professional diagnostic and therapy services to individuals with a wide range of communication and swallowing needs in a variety of settings. 

The Master of Science (M.S.) education program in speech-language pathology {residential} at the University of Central Arkansas is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.

Graduates from the program earn a Master of Science degree and meet academic and clinical practicum standards for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech-Language Pathology granted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Speech-Language Pathology license issued by the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.  Graduates also meet the requirements for the Speech-Language Pathology credential from the Arkansas State Department of Education.

The CSD M.S. program is a 6-semester (fall, spring, summer) program.


CSD Master’s Program in Speech-Language Pathology Information Sessions
Would you like to learn more about our program?  We will be hosting two information sessions, one virutal and one live, for potential applicants.  This two-hour session includes a tour of our new facilities, information regarding current faculty research and clinical offerings, as well as detailed information regarding our admissions process, program of study, and financial aid.  Please note that this session is aimed at providing information to interested applicants who did not attend UCA for their bachelor’s degree.
Space is limited and registration is required.  Please register for one of the sessions below by sending the following information to Patricia Puckett at at least one week prior to event.
1.  Your name
2.  Your current university
3.  Number of people attending
4.  Which information session you will be attending.  You will receive an email confirmation of your registration.



Eligibility and Admission to the Program

Admission to the M.S. Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders is competitive, selective, and limited.  Admission is granted without regard to gender, race or color, ethnicity, religion, spiritual beliefs, national origin, age, familial status, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, disability, political beliefs, intellectual perspective, genetic information, military status, or other factors irrelevant to participation in this program (Board Policy 502). Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication prior to admission to practicum courses.


Eligibility and Criteria considered for admission include but are not limited to:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree must be completed prior to enrolling but can be in related fields.  See CSD Leveling Requirements if you do not have a degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders or Speech/Language Pathology.
  • Students must have completed at least one undergraduate level course in each of the following areas with a grade of “C” or better.
    • Biological Science (Human or Animal)
    • Physical Science (Physics or Chemistry)
    • Statistics
    • Behavioral/Social Science


Additionally, students must have completed undergraduate courses in basic human communication processes and the nature of speech, language, swallowing and hearing disorders as well as courses in the following areas: phonetics, normal speech and language development, anatomy and physiology of the speech mechanism, speech and hearing science, clinical methods, audiology, research, cognition and cultural diversity.

  • The UCA Graduate School requires a 2.7 overall undergraduate grade point average for admission; however, higher GPAs are typical of students admitted to the CSD master’s program. (Priority is given to students demonstrating outstanding academic achievement.) The typically-admitted CSD student has an overall GPA of 3.4 or above.
  • Graduate grade point average:  Grade point average for graduate courses must be at least 3.0. Credit hours may be transferred from another master’s program, subject to the approval of the Graduate Advisor.  A maximum of 9 credit hours may be transferred from another master’s program, subject to the approval of the Graduate Advisor.


Centralized Application to the Graduate Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Applications to the M.S. Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders are administered through the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application Service for Clinical Education in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology.  This is a state-of-the-art, web-based application that offers applicants a convenient way to apply to any number of participating clinical education programs in either Audiology or Speech Language Pathology by completing a single application.  The online application was specifically designed to be easy and convenient.  With far less paperwork, streamlined processing, and ongoing communication with applicants, CSDCAS offers individuals the ability to apply to multiple programs across the country.  The Applicant Portal will open by August 15th of each year.  

Prior to beginning the CSDCAS application, please carefully read all Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Instructions to better understand how the process works and what to expect.  If you are reapplying, please review these again as this information is updated annually.

To apply for the master’s degree program in Communication Sciences and Disorders, prospective applicants should visit the following website:   This link will allow you to make application to the program and monitor your application.  As part of this process you will need to provide the following to CSDCAS:

  1. An official transcript from EACH college from which you have received course credit even if past course work appears on a later transcript.  Follow the guidelines on CSDCAS to determine the best way to send your transcripts.  You may send them electronically if your undergraduate institution has that capability, or you may mail them to CSDCAS directly.  DO NOT SEND TRANSCRIPT DIRECTLY TO UCA PRIOR TO ADMISSION. COMPLETE STEP 1 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE as a delay in verifying transcripts can affect your admissions status.
  2. Letters of recommendation:  minimum of three, maximum of four.  At least two of these recommendations should be from academic faculty members who know your work.
  3. A personal statement (details can be found in the application portal).
  4. Additional information required for the CSDCAS application (volunteer work, honors, employment, etc.).


Applicants are encouraged to e-submit their CSDCAS Application before January 15.   All documents should be received and verified by CSDCAS by February 15th. 

It is the applicant’s responsibility to meet the deadline requirements for the program.  Applications that are not verified by February15th, or applications that are incomplete will not be considered in the admissions process.

CSDCAS Customer Service is available Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST.  Phone: 617-612-2030 (FREE); Email: UCA is not able to answer questions for students who are experiencing difficulty using CSDCAS. Please contact CSDCAS for assistance.


Application to UCA Graduate School

Only students who are offered admission to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Master’s Program are required to apply to the UCA Graduate School. If you are accepted to the graduate program, you will be sent information regarding your online application to the UCA  Graduate School.  You will also be required to send official transcripts to the UCA Graduate School at this time.

If you are admitted to the program, please notify the admissions committee (Patricia Puckett, of your acceptance by April 15. Our department abides by the following resolution from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders which states in part that students have until that date to consider offers from other institutions; however, acceptances in force after that date are considered binding. A student may certainly withdraw an acceptance by writing a letter of resignation of the appointment to the institution anytime through April 15. An offer by an institution after that date is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. 


Graduate Degree Requirements

Each fall a new group of students begin the UCA graduate program. Completion of the Master’s degree requires six consecutive semesters of full time enrollment. Students must complete a minimum of 54 semester-credit-hours of academic and clinical courses including 40 semester-credit-hours of academic study and 14 semester-credit-hours of clinical practicum.  For an example, click on the link to the CSD Master’s Program Course Sequence.   This is a full-time program.  Students should be advised that having a job requiring more than 10 hours a week will make degree completion considerably harder.  Faculty strongly recommend not working if possible.

After successful completion of the Master’s degree students will be eligible for the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), a nationally recognized professional credential that represents a level of excellence in the field of Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), as well as the Speech-Language Pathology license issued by the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and the Arkansas Department of Education.

Those who have achieved the CCC—ASHA certification—have voluntarily met rigorous academic and professional standards, typically going beyond the minimum requirements for state licensure. They have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to provide high quality clinical services, and they actively engage in ongoing professional development to keep their certification current.

The standards for certification speech-language pathology  are established by members of ASHA’s Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC).

A maximum of 9 credit hours may be transferred from another CAA approved Master of Science program, subject to the approval of the Graduate Advisor.  Verification of any transfer work (official transcript) must be submitted by the student and is placed in the academic advising file.


M.S. Thesis Option

Students who choose to complete a thesis enroll in 6 hours of thesis credit (6V36 Thesis). The thesis option does not require the student to take more than the 54 required credit hours. If you are interested in completing a thesis, you should make an appointment with the CSD Graduate advisor BEFORE completion of the first semester of study. Selection of a thesis topic is the responsibility of the student. All members of the thesis committee must be approved and appointed by the department chair. The thesis committee shall be composed of a minimum of three members who hold graduate faculty status: the major professor, a second faculty member in the department, and a third member from outside the department.

The Thesis and Dissertation Preparation Guide is published by the Graduate School. After the thesis has been read and approved and before the student is recommended to the Graduate Dean for graduation, the thesis committee meets with the student for an oral examination. The oral exam focuses on a defense of the thesis but may include other questions. A majority of the student’s committee must approve the thesis and its defense. If approval is denied, the student will not be recommended for graduation. However, the student may be re-examined at a later period no sooner than three months after the initial examination.


Clinical Practicum (14 credit hours)

Students enroll in Clinical Practicum each semester.  This supervised practicum will include experiences with patient/client populations across the life span and from culturally/linguistically diverse backgrounds. A total of 400 clinical practicum hours must be accrued with a minimum of 325 at the graduate level. Practicum experiences will be completed at the UCA Speech-Language-Hearing Center and off-campus sites. The UCA SLHC serves approximately 60-70 clients per semester. Additionally, students enjoy a variety of clinical experiences in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, public schools, and early intervention programs throughout the state and sometimes in other states.


Complaint Process

Students may file complaints according to the policies and procedures outlined in the UCA Student Handbook. These include policies for academic complaints, sexual harassment, and standards of student conduct. Processes for complaints/appeals vary depending on the category. Students may consult with the department chair regarding appropriate procedures as outlined in the UCA Student Handbook.

Complaints related to the accreditation standards for graduate education should be submitted to the Chair of the Council on Academic Accreditation. Procedures for submitting complaints  can be found at the following website:



Once admitted, a student’s progress in the Communication Sciences and Disorders  program is reviewed each semester. To remain in good standing:

  1. The student must maintain a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0. A student whose cumulative GPA is less than 3.0 is on academic probation. In the next semester of attendance, the student must achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0. If the cumulative 3.0 is not met, the student is ineligible to continue graduate studies at UCA. A GPA of 3.0 or above is required for graduation. Up to 6 hours beyond the degree requirements can be used to meet this GPA, but these hours must be approved by the student’s advisor.
  2. The student is expected to have acquired the knowledge and skills delineated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that are necessary for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC).
  3. The student is expected to exhibit specific professional behaviors.   For a specific list see the posted Professional Dispositions and Essential Functions by following this link (CSD Essential Functions).
  4. Students are evaluated with both formative and summative assessments to ensure they are achieving the skills required for certification and licensure.


Assessment of students’ compliance with non-academic requirements involves the professional judgment of faculty and administrators who have the responsibility for ensuring that appropriate speech and language services are provided to the public. It is the University’s responsibility to protect both students and the clients they serve. To ensure student compliance, faculty review student progress on a regular basis. Potential problems are raised as soon as possible with the student and when appropriate, intervention procedures are suggested. Students are given time to respond and a fair opportunity to succeed. However, on rare occasions, it is necessary to counsel students out of the program for non-academic reasons.


Regarding Applicants who do not hold an Undergraduate Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders or  Speech-Language Pathology

Applicants who hold a degree in a field other than Communication Sciences and Disorders may apply for admission to the master’s program in CSD; however, they must complete the sequence of CSD Leveling Requirements, as well as all other departmental, Graduate School, and University requirements before being admitted.  CSD Leveling Requirements

Student Support Services

CSD students are fully supported in their program through departmental advising, assistance from support staff, and direct connection with instructors. CSD students are also supported through various campus offices and resources. Please see the links below for available campus resources.

Student Support Services

The office of Student Success provides programs and services designed to help students succeed at UCA. Student Success faculty and staff are available to help students attain their academic goals.


Course Documents and Links:

CSD Master’s Program Course Sequence

Complaint Procedures

CSD Essential Functions (student document)

CSD Essential Functions (departmental policy)

CSD Leveling Requirements

CSD Applications-CSD Frequently Asked Questions

Student Support Services


Interested in the Master’s Program at UCA?


  • Dr. Brent Gregg
  • Chair of Admissions
  • Email:
  • email preferred