Academic Coursework

Summary and Course Descriptions

A program of study leading to the Masters of Science degree requires approximately 60 hours of graduate course work. The two-year graduate program includes a semester in the summer between the first and second year. Students take 10 core courses and choose from electives.

Each admitted student will enroll in 5 core courses, an elective and clinical practicum . This will ensure that each student is in the UNC system as a full time student. Students will meet with their advisor during orientation and adjustments will be made if necessary.

A Master's thesis is not required. However, each year several students elect to work closely with one or more faculty members on a thesis project.

Course Descriptions
Master of Science (Speech-Language Pathology)

These courses (or their equivalent) are prerequisites that should be completed before prior to beginning the Master of Science Program.

SPHS 530: Introduction to Phonetics. 3 semester hours. Fall semester. Basic concepts of clinical phonetics, descriptive information about the vowels and consonants of American English, diacritics, discrimination and transcription skills for clinical practice situations and applications to communication disorders.

SPHS 540: Speech Science. 3 semester hours. Spring semester. This course covers the basic principles of acoustics as applied to speech production and perception. The focus is on normal structure and function, though students also learn about application of methods and instrumentation relevant to speech disorders. Students gain hands-on experience with recording and analyzing speech through assignments and classroom exercises. This course fulfills the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s standard for acoustic bases of normal communication for pre-professional students (Standard IV-B).

SPHS 570: Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing Mechanisms. 3 semester hours. Spring semester. This course provides basic knowledge of the anatomical structures and physiologic functions that support the production of speech and the perception of hearing, and is a prerequisite to graduate study in speech language pathology or audiology.  This knowledge is critical to the understanding of normal and disordered speech and language, swallowing, and hearing.  The course is composed of five primary units: respiration, phonation, articulation, audition, and neurology. It should be taken the junior or senior year of undergraduate study or in the first fall semester of graduate school, for those with a degree from another discipline.

SPHS 582: Introduction to Audiology.  3 semester hours. Fall semester.  This course provides fundamental knowledge related to the characteristics of sound and vibration, basic anatomy and physiology of the auditory system, disorders of the ear and hearing, screening for hearing loss, and assessment of hearing.  It also provides an introduction to the management of hearing loss with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and related technologies.  This knowledge is critical for speech-language pathologists and other professionals who will be consumers of audiology services.  The course also provides an introduction to the profession for students considering a career in audiology.  It should be taken in the fall of the junior year or in the first fall semester of graduate school for those with a degree from another discipline.

In addition to the speech and hearing specific courses, an introductory statistics course and a normal language development course are also required. A grade of B- or better is required in the introduction to statistics course.

Required Courses in the Master of Science Program

SPHS 701: Introduction to Research. 3 semester hours. Spring semester. This course is an introductory, graduate level course aimed at providing students with a foundation in research methods. Students will learn how to read, understand, and evaluate research in speech-language pathology, so that they may be critical consumers of research in this area.

SPHS 740: Principles of Prevention, Assessment and Intervention. 3 semester hours. Fall semester.  Upon completion of this course, students will acquire knowledge and skills in principles and methods of prevention, assessment and intervention for clients and patients with communication disorders, including articulation, fluency, voice, receptive and expressive language, social communication, cognitive communication, communication modalities, swallowing, and hearing and the impact of hearing on speech and language.  Students will gain knowledge and skills needed to work with culturally and linguistically diverse populations across the lifespan.  

741 Neuroanatomy (3).  Communication Sciences, Communication Disorders, and Neuroscience are closely related disciplines. This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the central nervous system and the cortical representation of linguistic, cognitive, gestural, and mnemonic and motor faculties, some of which are thought to be unique to the human brain. Knowledge of the nervous system helps students to understand the functional organization of the brain and the genesis, nature, and scope of disorders, diseases, and trauma involved in the breakdown of communication. 

SPHS 743:  Pediatric Speech Sound Disorders. 3 semester hours. Spring semester. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to describe the normal sequence of speech sound development, you will be proficient in current evaluation procedures for the identification and differential diagnosis of delayed and disordered speech sound development, and will understand how to set appropriate treatment goals for clients with speech sound disorders. Students will be able to distinguish between articulatory and phonological disorders, distinguish phonetic from phonemic therapy, and understand the relationship between speech sound disorders and written language difficulties.  Students will learn to use professional terminology in a variety of report formats. Students will be confident in their ability to select a treatment approach that will result in perceptual and sound production accuracy, system-wide restructuring, and overall speech intelligibility. 

SPHS 744: Motor Speech Disorders. 3 semester hours. Fall semester. This course focuses on neurological disorders of speech motor control, including the dysarthrias and apraxia of speech. Emphasis is on 1) the neural substrates and physiology underlying normal and impaired motor control of speech, 2) differential diagnosis of the dysarthrias and apraxia of speech, and 3) principles of treatment. This course is required for the Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology. 

SPHS 776-779:  Contemporary Professional Issues. Variable credit. All semesters. Upon completion of the course sequence, students will acquire knowledge of professional issues that affect speech-language pathology practice, including trends in professional practice, academic program accreditation standards, ASHA practice policies and guidelines, reimbursement procedures, entry level and advanced certifications, licensure, and other relevant professional credentials, as well as local, state, and national regulations and policies relevant to professional practice.

SPHS 748: Voice Disorders. 2 semester hours. Spring semester. This graduate level MS/SLP required course covers methods of assessment and intervention for voice disorders, from newborns to geriatric populations.  The course includes anatomical and physiological/biomechanical function of the larynx, instrumental and non-instrumental evaluation tools, therapeutic and management strategies, and medical/surgical treatment of voice and upper airway disorders.  Students gain perspective on a variety of voice related conditions that arise from congenital abnormalities, use related injuries, and medical or surgical etiologies.  The course is designed with a focus on clinical application, and case reports are utilized to integrate theoretical knowledge.

SPHS 754: Dysphagia. 3 semester hours. Spring Semester. This course concentrates upon learning normal and disordered swallowing including an in-depth and comprehensive review of anatomy and physiology as well as the neurological basis of the swallowing mechanism. Research data and clinical analysis in swallowing disorders is examined as it relates to both the exploration of the normal swallow and diagnosis and management of swallowing disorders in the adult population.

SPHS 760: Adult Communication Disorders. 3 semester hours. Spring semester.  This MS level course provides an introduction to acquired neurologic communication disorders in adult populations, including principles for intervention.  It is intended to prepare students for their first clinical encounters with adults who have impairments that affect linguistic, cognitive, and/or motor functions. Both theoretical and psychosocial foundations are discussed.

SPHS 765: Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 3 Semester Hours Spring

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems for individuals with complex communication impairments.  The course illustrates the role that AAC systems play in overcoming barriers to successful communication, education, and participation.  Course content covers assessment and intervention issues specific to individuals with complex communication needs of all ages and abilities.  The course highlights the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and fosters enthusiasm for life-long learning in the ever-changing field of AAC. Rather than focusing on the technical skills of programming AAC devices, the course focuses on the processes involved in selecting, representing, and organizing vocabulary, as well as strategies to support the development of communicative competence in AAC.

SPHS 771-775: Supervised Clinical Experience. Variable credit. All semesters.  Upon completion of the course sequence, students will gain a sufficient variety of supervised clinical experiences in different work settings and with different populations so that students can demonstrate skills across the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology.  Supervised clinical experience is defined as clinical services (i.e., assessment/diagnosis/evaluation, screening, treatment, report writing, family/client consultation, and/or counseling) related to the management of populations that fit within the ASHA Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology.

SPHS 849: Fluency Disorders. 2 semester hours.  Fall semester.  This is a graduate level MS/SLP required course. Through lecture, discussion, and in-class as well as out-of-class projects, students who complete this course will be able to: describe the difference between fluency, disfluency, and stuttering; identify the core and secondary behaviors associated with developmental stuttering in children and adults, and describe the major etiological theories of stuttering. Students will learn how to contrast stuttering vs. cluttering and identify the characteristics of developmental stuttering (i.e., affective, behavioral, and cognitive) as manifested by adults. They will know the essential features of stuttering assessment protocols for adults and children and be able to identify intervention protocols commonly used to treat adults and children who stutter in order to differentially diagnose developmental stuttering from stuttering associated with acquired neurologic conditions.

SPHS 870: Research Experience. 2 Semester hours. Spring semester. Students may fulfill the required research experience in one of two ways; participation in a research experience or completion of a research paper. The research experience will entail taking part in the ongoing research of a faculty member. A variety of project options is available to students each semester, Students who are interested in conducting more independent research on topics of their own choosing should consider a Master’s thesis or completing a research paper. Students who select to complete a research paper will choose a topic area of particular interest to them; identify a theme, problem, or question within this topic area; thoroughly review the pertinent literature; analyze and synthesize this literature; and write a concise and critical literature review.

SPHS 950: Research Resources and Tools.  1 Semester hour.  

Fall semester. This course is available to first year students in the M.S. and Au.D. programs. It is composed of modules of instruction designed to prepare graduate students to be able to both participate in and be educated consumers of research. Modules include: scientific writing, evidence based practice, how to use Ref Works, computer security, resources of the Health Sciences Library, ethical conduct, human subjects training and how to construct a professional poster.



SPHS: 742 Aphasia. 3 semester hours. Fall semester. This MS level course covers the etiology and nature of acquired language disorders in spoken and written modalities. It includes neurologic foundations, evaluation methods, principles for differential diagnosis, psychosocial consequences, and recovery processes.  Intervention approaches are discussed in detail and in reference to the level of empirical evidence, the theoretical foundation, and the role of the person with aphasia.

SPHS 749: Evaluation and Clinical Management of Persons with Oral-Facial Anomalies. 3 semester hours. Fall semester. This course covers the multidisciplinary aspects of craniofacial speech anomalies relative to diagnosis, treatment, and research. Focus of the seminar is on a) individuals with repaired cleft lip and palate, and b) diagnostic skills – perceptual and instrumental – relative to oral and velopharyngeal structures that impact speech production and intelligibility.

SPHS 751: Communication Disorders: Global Service Learning. 2 semester hours. Fall semester. This community-based learning course provides students the opportunity to practice and refine language skills for working with culturally and linguistically diverse individuals with communication disorders.  Students will deepen their understanding of the culture and current conditions of the community served, and practice skills needed for working collaboratively in a cross-cultural regional and global context.

SPHS 752: Medical Speech-Language Pathology. 3 semester hours. Spring semester. This course provides a foundation for evidence-based SLP-care provision in acute and post-acute medical settings.   Aspects of assessment modification, treatment planning and counseling variability along the continuum of care is addressed.  Complex case study reviews will be used to illustrate aspects of care in multiple medical environments.  This seminar will focus on a) acquired communication/cognitive disorders associated with neurogenic, traumatic and degenerative causes, b) interpretation of relevant information from multiple subspecialties, c) functional techniques for treatment in

SPHS 762: School-Age Language Learning Disorders. 3 semester hours.  Spring semester alternate years. This course provides a foundation regarding language and learning disorders experienced by school-age children, and how such disorders affect literacy learning, and access to the curriculum across the school day. In the course, students expand their knowledge and understanding of language and learning disorders, including the characteristics, psychological, developmental, linguistic, and cultural correlates. Students also learn innovative assessment and intervention methods to addresses expressive and receptive language (including reading, writing, speaking, and listening) and cognitive aspects of communication (attention, memory, sequencing, problem-solving, & executive functioning). The course emphasizes collaboration with students, families, and other professionals to provide the most appropriate services to school-aged children with language and learning disorders.

SPHS 792: Pediatric Dysphagia. 2 semester hours. Fall Semester. This course is available to second year students with an interest in children. This course that will explore the specialty area of pediatric feeding and dysphagia intervention. The course will cover normal development of feeding skills, explore underlying etiologies of feeding disorders, and current methods and philosophies of providing evaluation and intervention. Prerequisite: Dysphagia Class (Spring1)

SPHS 803: Pediatric Aural Habilitation. 3 semester hours. Fall semester. This course is composed of four interrelated components. The first is an overview of the forces that have shifted the experiences of children with hearing loss in North America including universal newborn hearing screening and evolving technologies. A second component is the current state of knowledge regarding auditory, speech, and language development in young children to provide a basis for understanding the effects of hearing loss on speech perception and language development. comprehensive management. Hearing aids, assistive devices, and cochlear implants, as well as the issues involved in successfully fitting these devices are included in this area. The fourth and largest component is the implementation of a structured, hierarchical auditory/oral approach to intervention and the development of language and speech through audition.

SPHS 804: Audiologic Rehabilitation for Adults. 3 semester hours. Fall semester. This course covers aspects of audiologic rehabilitation including counseling, visual speech perception, auditory training, special needs of adults and psychosocial aspects of hearing loss will be addressed. A review of technology to enhance communication for adults with hearing loss is also included.

SPHS 806: Communication Assessment and Intervention for Children Birth to Five. 3 semester hours.  Fall semester.  This graduate level MS/SLP elective course covers methods of assessment and intervention for preschool children (birth to five) with special needs and their families.  The course includes current formal and informal assessment tools and techniques, as well as current intervention techniques.  Students gain a broad perspective of the domains related to communication skills in young children such as play, cognitive, engagement, motor, and social-emotional skills, as well as knowledge in working with families of infants and preschool children with special needs.  Strategies for teaming, consultation, and collaboration with families, educators, and other providers of supports and services are also discussed.

SPHS 830: Independent Study in Bilingual Issues. Variable credit. Fall or Spring semester. Students may select a specific topic related to communication disorders in culturally and linguistically diverse populations.  The first credit requires selection of a primary text and written reflections on each chapter that include a specific personal or clinical example from the student’s experience, which the student relates to the information in the chapter. The second credit requires 6 additional readings (preferably journal articles) and preparation of a presentation and supporting visual materials (e.g., powerpoint slides) that integrate the supplemental articles selected. The third credit requires a paper using 5-10 resources in addition to those reviewed for the above course requirements. The paper should integrate all the readings for the semester.

SPHS 834: Counseling and Communication Disorders. 3 semester hours. Spring semester. This course provides a broad overview of contemporary counseling issues in communication disorders and how interviewing and counseling appropriate to age, life-course, and cultural background can facilitate the adjustment of individuals and families.

SPHS 840: Aging and Communication Disorders. 3 semester hours. Fall semester. This course focuses on medical, psychological, and social theories and aspects of aging as they relate to communication processes and disorders. 

SPHS 864: Speech and Language Impairments in Children. 3 semester hours. Spring semester. This seminar course explores some of the categorical classifications of young children and the impact of these categories on assessment and intervention. Common topics include autism, visual impairments, fragile X syndrome, and Down syndrome. 

SPHS 880: Autism Seminar. 3 semester hours. Spring semester.  This graduate level MS/SLP elective course is an introduction to issues related to autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and is intended to prepare future clinicians to understand and serve this unique population. Critical issues related to serving ASD populations will be covered, including diagnostic criteria, intervention options, multicultural considerations, collaboration with family and other professionals, and evidence-based practice. Specific strategies and guidelines will be discussed and illustrated using problem-based learning strategies (e.g., case studies). A significant component of this course will be class discussion and ongoing assessment of teaching and learning.