Apr 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Allied Health


Our program excels in developing highly-skilled and professional graduates who are ready to impact their local and global communities by improving the lives of those they serve. Christian faculty and staff are invested in providing an unparalleled experience utilizing a comprehensive curriculum, contemporary technology, and state-of-the-art facilities to engage students in reaching their full potential, both educationally and spiritually. As a result, our students exemplify ethical leadership, critical thinking, and interprofessional collaboration to support top of the license practice.


The Master of Science (M.S.) education program in speech-language pathology (residential) at Harding University 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.

Undergraduate Program

The undergraduate communication sciences and disorders majors are preprofessional in nature and are strongly recommended for students planning to pursue a master’s degree and certification by the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and American Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 2200 Research Blvd. #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.

Students receive their clinical experience under the supervision of ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists and audiologists. All students participating in clinical activities must exhibit the core functions necessary to become a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. The program supports the ASHA position that the graduate degree should be the minimum requirement for professional certification. Administrative offices for this program of study are located in the Swaid Center for Health Sciences.

Validation Credit

Validation credit for previous language study may be obtained upon written request as follows: Students with three or more years of high school American Sign Language (ASL) study or the equivalent, upon completion of the Harding University intermediate course (ASL 2770 /ASL II) with a grade of A or B the first time enrolled, may receive 3 hours of credit for the elementary course (ASL 2750 /ASL I). 

Graduate Program

The Speech-Language Pathology Program is part of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Allied Health and offers a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (M.S.) degree. The curriculum is an intensive five-semester program of coursework comprising 60 semester hours.

Essential functions, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to the cognitive, physical, and behavioral abilities that are necessary for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum, as well as the development of professional attributes required of all students by the faculty at graduation. The essential skills required by the curriculum are in the following areas: motor, sensory, communication, intellectual/cognitive (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities for problem solving and diagnosis), and behavioral/emotional aspects of professional practice for speech-language pathologists.

Upon completion of this program, a student will be eligible to apply for membership in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, apply for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology, and sit for the national certifying exam (PRAXIS II) administered by the Educational Testing Service.

Administrative offices, clinical facilities, and classes for these programs are located in the Swaid Center for Health Sciences on Park Street. For more information call 501-279-4648 or email csd@harding.edu.

The CSD Student Handbook contains a comprehensive description of all policies and procedures that apply to students.

Admission Requirements (CSDCAS)

The minimal admission requirements for the Master of Science program in speech-language pathology are:

  • Completed CSDCAS application form (see CSDCAS in July)
  • Academic transcript indicating an earned bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (see CSDCAS in July)
  • Evidence of successful completion of academic coursework in normal language development, phonetics, anatomy and physiology of communication, speech science, phonological and articulation disorders, audiology, aural rehabilitation, statistics, biological science, physical science (physics or chemistry), and social/behavioral science (as documented through CSDCAS)
  • Competitive GPA on undergraduate academic courses
  • Competitive GRE score
  • Three letters of evaluation (see CSDCAS in July)

Prerequisite Coursework

Students entering this graduate program who do not have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders must successfully complete the following leveling courses or their equivalents before they can enter into the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program:

Courses Semester Hours HU Course Numbers
Speech/Language Development 3 CSD 1150   
Phonetics 3 CSD 2900   
Audiology 3 CSD 3020   
Aural Rehabilitation 3 CSD 3040   
Phonological & Articulation Disorders 3 CSD 3250   
Anatomy & Physiology of Speech/Language 3 CSD 4000   
Speech and Hearing Science 3 CSD 4010   

In addition to the above prerequisites mentioned, the Council for Clinical Certification requires that all students have transcript credit for statistics, biology, physical science (physics or chemistry), and social science. The student must take leveling courses from Harding University or any accredited program that offers equivalent content. Completion of leveling courses at Harding University does not guarantee automatic acceptance into the speech-language pathology master’s program. The departmental chair/program director may determine equivalency of the leveling courses.

Application Procedure

The Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate program partners with the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS). Applications to this program are sent to and processed by CSDCAS. Our absolute deadline for applications is February 15 of the spring semester prior to fall enrollment.

To be considered and eligible for review, a CSDCAS application must be complete and verified by the February 15 application deadline.

Other Program Requirements

Technical Standards

In addition to the academic requirements for admission, applicants for the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology degree must possess and be able to demonstrate the skills, attributes, and qualities set forth below, without unreasonable dependence on technology or intermediaries. The following essential skills are consistent with the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association clinical skill performance guidelines. All essential functions are introduced and coached within CSD/SLP coursework and practicum. If you are uncertain about your abilities to meet these technical standards, please consult the CSD chair to discuss your individual situation.

Physical Health: The student must:

  1. Possess the physical health and stamina needed to carry out the SLP Program.
  2. Be able to continuously sit/stand for several hours.
  3. Participate in professional responsibilities/activities for up to four-hour blocks of time with one or two breaks.
  4. Move independently to, from, and in the work setting.
  5. Provide for one’s own personal hygiene.
  6. Manipulate screening/diagnostic materials, including completion of screening/evaluation protocols.
  7. Effectively implement necessary treatment plan appropriate for client, including fire, chocking, etc., and in application of universal precautions.
  8. Visually monitor client responses and materials.
  9. Make accurate judgments about speech and/or acoustic signals.

Intellectual skills: The student must:

  1. Demonstrate the mental capacity to learn and assimilate professional information, including the ability to read and comprehend professional literature and reports.
  2. Solve clinical problems through critical analysis.
  3. Seek relevant case information, synthesize, and apply concepts and information from various sources and disciplines.
  4. Write discipline-specific papers and clinical reports in English.
  5. Speak standard American English intelligibly, including the ability to model English phonemes.
  6. Analyze, synthesize, and interpret ideas and concepts in academic and diagnostic/treatment settings.
  7. Maintain attention and concentration for sufficient time to complete clinical activities for up to four-hour blocks of time with one or two breaks.
  8. Schedule and prioritize activities and provide documentation in a timely manner.
  9. Comply with administrative, legal, and regulatory policies.

Motor skills: The student must:

  1. Have sufficient use of motor skills to carry out all necessary clinical procedures, both those involved in learning the fundamental sciences and those required in the clinical environment.
  2. Participate in relevant educational exercises and to extract information from written sources.
  3. Provide therapeutic services to patients of all ages and both genders in all clinical situations.
  4. Use a computer keyboard to operate clinical and laboratory equipment.
  5. Transport themselves to all clinical and academic placements.


  1. Have sufficient use of speech, hearing and vision, and the English language to communicate effectively with patients, faculty, staff, peers, and other health care professionals in both oral and written form., e.g., therapy plans, progress notes, diagnostic reports, telecommunications.
  2. Communicate in a succinct yet comprehensive manner and in settings which time available may be limited.
  3. Assess and effectively communicate all relevant information including the significance of non-verbal responses.
  4. Assess incoming information to allow for appropriate, well-focused follow-up inquiry.
  5. Listen responsively and sympathetically to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences.
  6. Express his or her ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback.

Sensory abilities: The student must:

  1. Have the ability to master information presented in course work in the form of lectures, written materials, and projected images.
  2. Acquire the information presented through demonstrations and experiences in the clinical training portion of the program.
  3. Observe a patient accurately, at a distance and close at hand, and observe and appreciate non-verbal communication and manual signs when performing clinical assessments and treatment activities.
  4. Take a case history and perform a visual examination of various oral and cranio-facial structures (i.e., ear, throat, oral cavity, skull, etc.).
  5. Perform all required examination and treatment protocols using instruments and tools necessary for accurate, efficient, and timely completion of such activities.

Behavior qualities: The student must:

  1. Possess emotional health sufficient to carry out the tasks above, must have good judgment, and must behave in a professional, reliable, mature, and responsible manner.
  2. Manage the use of time and be able to systematize actions in order to complete professional and technical tasks with realistic constraints.
  3. Adapt, possessing sufficient flexibility to function in new and stressful environments.
  4. Evaluate her/his own performance, be forthright about errors, accept constructive criticism, and look for ways to improve academic and clinical performance.
  5. Show respect for individuals of different age, ethnic background, religion, and/or sexual orientation.
  6. Exhibit professional behavior by conforming to appropriate standards of dress, appearance, language, and public behavior.
  7. Uphold the Code of Ethics of the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Code of Academic Conduct at Harding University.

Each student must continue to meet all of the technical standards set forth above. A student may be denied permission to continue in the CSD/SLP program at Harding should the student fail at any time to demonstrate all of the required technical standards.

SLP Professional Standards Statement

In addition to Knowledge and Skills Acquisition (KASA) Standards required by ASHA for application of the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Harding University requires graduate students in Speech-Language Pathology to adhere to the SLP Professional Standards Statement. KASA standards and the HU Speech Clinic Professional Standards reflect competencies needed by entry-level professionals and, therefore, demonstration of compliance is necessary throughout the program of study. In addition, compliance is necessary to achieve success in the workplace, to meet the expectations of employers, and to competently practice the profession. Accordingly, the standards require that students comply with the policies and procedures outlined in the Harding University graduate student catalog and the CSD/SLP student handbook.

Ethical Standards

The overall objective of the graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology is to prepare professionals to be knowledgeable, clinically skillful, and capable of applying that knowledge and those skills to diverse clinical settings and situations in a cooperative, compassionate, and ethical manner as described in the ASHA Code of Ethics which is outlined in the CSD/SLP student handbook.

Health Requirements

All students are required to complete a medical certificate form to be turned in with proof of required immunizations prior to enrollment. Incomplete or inaccurate information may result in student registration being delayed or blocked.

Off-campus placement sites may have additional medical requirements (such as the Hepatitis B series). It is the student’s responsibility to complete such requirements before beginning practicum.

Computer Requirements

Graduate students are required to have their own laptop computer upon entry into the program. The minimum requirements include word processing and email access, ability to manage and manipulate graphics from the internet, and standard font packages including IPA. Specific hardware and software requirements are communicated upon acceptance to the graduate program. 

Liability Requirements 

Professional liability insurance is required of all students enrolled in speech-language pathology clinical practicum sites. The insurance policy must cover the duration of the placement, beginning on or before the first day of the placement and extending through the final day of the placement. Professional liability insurance is provided through Harding University, and the cost of professional liability insurance is included in the tuition.

Travel Requirements

Clinical practicum experiences throughout the training are offered at off-campus sites. Students must provide their own transportation to practicum sites and classroom activities. It is therefore required that all CSD/SLP students have a means of transportation. This includes a valid driver’s license and current auto liability insurance if transportation is to be provided through a personal vehicle.

Background Check Requirements

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders does not require a background check or drug screening as part of the application process. Admission into the CSD/SLP program does not guarantee eligibility for licensure as a speech-language pathologist in any state as state regulations may require a criminal record search to verify suitability for licensure. Licensure is not required to work as a speech-language pathology student clinician because the supervising professional will be licensed and certified and any patients are the patients of the clinical supervisor. Most clinical practicum sites will require a criminal background check and drug screening procedure for participation in the provision of clinical services. As a part of the initial student clinical meeting of the CSD department, information about fingerprinting, background checks as well as basic TB tests will be conducted. The chair of the communication sciences and disorders program or the externship director will notify students of any additional requirements well in advance of the beginning of the clinical practicum experience. Any required drug screening must be performed at the student’s expense and the results reported directly to the clinical site and not to Harding University faculty or staff. Determination of student fitness for participation at a clinical site requiring such checks will be at the sole discretion of the clinical site.

Off-Campus Clinical Practicum Requirements

Students are required to complete a total of 400 supervised clinical practicum hours for completion of the graduate degree requirements. Specific requirements are specified in CFCC Standard IV-C as outlined in the CSD/SLP student handbook. During enrollment in CSD 4210 , CSD 6390 , CSD 6490 , and CSD 6590 , the student will be assigned a practicum location that may be some distance from the main Harding campus. These assignments are made by the externship director and will be determined by the student’s need to acquire practicum in a wide variety of settings with clients, which cover the entire lifespan. The student is responsible for transportation to and from the practicum site.

The third semester practicum (CSD 6390 ) may be completed as a part of the HIZ-Path program or at a location of the student’s choosing. If the student chooses to go to a location/facility, which is not typically used in the University clinical assignments, it is the student’s responsibility to secure the contact information so the externship director may make the necessary arrangements and secure a contractual agreement with the parties responsible. The externship director has the right to deny any placement, which does not meet the student’s acquisition of clinical knowledge and skills. The student must consult the CSD program’s clinical manual for the deadlines and procedures for making these decisions.


Students may have the opportunity to spend the summer semester in Zambia through the HIZ-Path program. Students who want to participate must apply by the end of the fall semester. Students approved to participate with HIZ-Path will be charged a non-refundable $1,000 application fee in the spring semester prior to the trip. In the summer semester, students at HIZ-Path will be charged a $4,000 course fee associated with CSD 6390 . All fees will help cover the cost of lodging, food, and travel.

Transfer, International and Non-Degree Seeking Applicants

Graduate Transfer Students: A transfer student is any person who has ever been enrolled in a CSD/SLP graduate program at another college or university. The number of transfer students accepted into the Harding program is extremely limited. An individual who wishes to transfer into the CSD/SLP degree program from a Council for Academic Accreditation (CAA) accredited graduate program must comply with the normal application procedures. In addition, the department chair must receive a letter from the department chair at the other school granting approval of the transfer to Harding and stating that the student is in good standing and eligible to continue or return.

Transfer students must satisfy Harding’s prerequisite course requirements and meet current admission standards. When the required materials are received, the department chair will evaluate the individual’s application to transfer. If qualified by current admission standards, the applicant must meet personally with the department chair. After the interview, the chair will make a recommendation regarding admission to the provost for final action. The number of graduate transfer students accepted will depend upon space availability. The chair will handle all correspondence.

Due to differences in curricula of various graduate programs, some or all credit may not transfer at the same academic level. Equivalency will be determined on a case-by-case basis. No more than 6 hours of graduate credit may be accepted for degree requirement fulfillment. Only grades of B or higher may transfer.

International Students: A graduate applicant who is not a citizen of the United States must follow the normal admissions procedure, which includes completing all prerequisite course requirements. If course work has been earned in a foreign country, several steps to proceed are required. In order to determine whether the courses taken in a foreign country can be transferred for credit, foreign transcripts must be submitted to a degree evaluations service such as World Education Services (WES). The degree evaluation report must be reviewed/evaluated by both the Harding University Registrar’s Office and the CSD program director. All fees for the international academic credential review are the responsibility of the applicant. Transfer credit must be identified as courses equivalent to those required for advancement. In order to receive a transcript including the evaluation of transfer credit, the international student must be enrolled at an undergraduate American institution. This may be accomplished if the international student applies to an undergraduate program for completion of prerequisite course work. Until this procedure has been accomplished, an application for admission into the Speech-Language Pathology program cannot be accepted.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to most Harding students in the form of scholarships, loans, work-study programs, veterans’ programs and vocational rehabilitation programs. The Office of Student Financial Services administers these funds wholly or in part. Requests for information and assistance should be directed to Harding University, Box 12282, Searcy, AR 72149-001; telephone 501-279-4257 or 800-477-3243; or email finaid@harding.edu.

The Speech-Language Pathology program offers three graduate scholarships/assistantships to incoming graduate students who qualify. The qualifications for the assistantships require maintenance of a 3.0 GPA as well as a 20-hour work week commitment within the department. The assistantships are awarded for five semesters to incoming students based on undergraduate academic achievement.


Chair: Melanie Meeker, Ph.D., CCC-SLP*

Associate Professors:

Jennifer Fisher, Ed.D., CCC-SLP*
Melanie Meeker, Ph.D., CCC-SLP*
Jan Traughber, Ed.D., CCC-SLP*

Assistant Professors:

Tim Chance, M.S., CCC-SLP*
Joni Day, M.C.D., CCC-SLP*
Laura Mulvany, M.A., CCC-SLP*
April Watson, M.A., CCC-SLP*


Amy Baker, M.S., CCC-SLP*
Norma Dominguez, M.A., CCC-SLP*
Jamie Walker, M.S., CCC-SLP*

*Designates professional licensure by the state of Arkansas.


    Bachelor of ArtsAccelerated ProgramsMaster of ScienceCertificateNon-Degree

    Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Allied Health