2022-2023 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    
    Dec 03, 2022  
2022-2023 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Speech-Language Pathology, M.S.


Speech-language pathology graduates of this program will be prepared to diagnose and treat people with disorders of language, phonology, articulation, voice, fluency, and neurologically-based disorders. Completion of the program prepares graduates for employment in settings such as hospitals and schools, and community, state, and federal agencies. Graduates find excellent employment opportunities nationally as well as locally. Employers highly regard Fontbonne graduates.

The program in speech-language pathology is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 2200 Research Boulevard, Rockville, Maryland 20850-3289.

Graduate Degree and Residency Requirements

  • A minimum of 55 graduate hours, including a minimum 40 credit hours in academic coursework and 15 credit hours in clinical practicum in addition to the undergraduate core in communication disorders or its equivalent.

  • A minimum of 400 clock hours of clinical practicum with at least 325 of these obtained at the graduate level, per ASHA requirements.
  • Successful defense of the academic and clinical portfolio or completion of a thesis project.

Program requirements are designed to meet the certification standards of the American-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA).

ASHA certification requirements include coursework in physical science, biological science, statistics and social science. Any student admitted to the graduate program not having courses in one or more of these areas on their undergraduate transcript will need to complete the deficiencies prior to completion of the graduate degree.

Please refer to Criteria for Acceptance, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Academic Probation During Graduate Study and Dismissal headings in this section for more detailed information on graduate degree, residency requirements, and admission policies and regulations.

Criteria for Application/Admission

Applicant’s must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited, degree-granting institution of higher education. (Students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree may apply after they have completed 108 undergraduate hours.)
  • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Successful completion of or enrollment in an undergraduate core curriculum (maintaining a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA) consisting of the courses listed below or courses judged equivalent by the graduate program director or by the department chairperson:
    • Survey of Communication Disorders
    • Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism
    • Phonetics
    • Linguistics
    • Audiology
    • Speech Science or Hearing Science
    • Speech and Language Development
    • Neurogenic Bases of Communication
    • Phonological and Articulation Disorders
    • Language Disorders

Essential Functions

Listed below are functions that someone who enters the professions of speech-language pathology must perform and therefore are required of graduate students in the department.

Physical Abilities

  • Participate in classroom or clinical activities for two to four hour blocks of time with one or two breaks
  • Ambulate to, from, and within the academic/clinical facilities
  • Provide for or direct one’s own personal hygiene
  • Manipulate screening/diagnostic/therapeutic/educational materials
  • Respond to emergency situations including fire, choking, and in the application of universal precautions
  • Visually monitor client responses and use of materials
  • Auditorily monitor and orally model correct speech and language production

Affective Abilities

  • Work effectively with people
  • Make appropriate decisions, including the ability to evaluate and generalize appropriately without immediate supervision
  • Maintain proper work place behavior, including punctuality and regular attendance
  • Maintain composure and emotional stability in demanding situations
  • Maintain emotional and mental health required for use of intellectual abilities, prompt completion of responsibilities, and appropriate relationships with clients/students and colleagues

Cognitive Abilities

  • Read and comprehend professional literature/ reports
  • Write university level papers and clinical/educational reports in Standard American English
  • Speak Standard American English intelligibly
  • Independently analyze, synthesize, interpret ideas and concepts in academic and clinical settings
  • Maintain attention and concentration for sufficient time to complete academic/clinical activities: typically two to four hours with one to two breaks
  • Comply with administrative, legal, and regulatory policies

Background Checks

Students are required to complete and pass the following in order to participate in clinical practicum: Missouri State Highway Patrol Criminal Background check, authorization to participate in Rapback through the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Family Care Safety Registry, CPR and First Aid, and annual TB testing. All students are required to annually obtain and verify proof of flu vaccination. Some facilities may have additional requirements such as drug testing.

Exemptions from immunization based on religious beliefs or matters of conscience may extend the length of the program to allow completion of required clinical hours. Background check results may impact your ability to progress through the program and obtain your license to practice.

Direct Admission

Fontbonne Undergraduate speech-language pathology (SLP) students who meet the following criteria may apply for direct admission into the graduate program in SLP after they have received Program Approval (see Admission Policies  section of this catalog):

  1. Cumulative Fontbonne GPA of 3.75 or higher
  2. Grades no lower than a B in any course required for the SLP undergraduate degree including required courses outside the discipline whether taken at Fontbonne or transferred into the program.

Applications will be reviewed by CDDE department faculty who will take into consideration the student GPA and sustainability to the degree as outlined in the Essential Functions for an SLP.

Once admitted, the student must maintain a GPA of 3.75 or higher and receive no grade lower than a B in required courses. The student will be notified in writing by the chairperson of the department that they are at risk for losing the direct admittance into the graduate SLP program if the GPA falls below 3.75. The student will be given on semester to return the GPA back to the minimum GPA of 3.75. If the student does not meet this requirement, they will be notified in writing that they no longer qualify for the direct admission program, but that they still have Program Approval and can continue in the SLP program to complete the B.S. in Speech-Language Pathology. Students who do not retain their direct admission to the graduate program are eligible to apply for admission to the graduate program through the regular application process.

Leaving Fontbonne University before completion of the bachelor’s degree in SLP negates this direct admission agreement. A student who is accepted into the Direct Admission program is not obligated to attend the graduate program in SLP at Fontbonne University.

Graduate Curriculum


Clinical Practicum


  1. Practicum assignments are to be arranged through the clinical director.
  2. All practicum must be taken for academic credit, with a total of 15 credit hours counting toward the degree.
  3. ASHA certification requires 400 clock hours, 325 of which must be earned at the graduate level.
  4. Register consecutively for:

Professional Seminars


There will be mandatory seminars scheduled across the summer and final spring semesters of the graduate program. Topics covered will include: portfolio development, creation of a poster/technical session, ethics of the profession, writing a professional resume, job interview skills, and other professional issues.

Portfolio or Thesis


All students will compile a professional portfolio during the final two semesters of their graduate program. The content of the portfolio will include:

  1. Knowledge and skill artifacts selected by the student
  2. A copy of the students’ professional resume
  3. Verification of registration for or completion of the PRAXIS exam
  4. Verification of completion of clinical hours and competencies
  5. Verification of having submitted a proposal for a poster or technical session to the annual convention of the Missouri State Speech-Language-Hearing Association (or other professional conference) or a poster session to the Fontbonne University Scholarship Event.

A graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology may request permission to write a master’s thesis in lieu of compiling a portfolio to be completed during their second year in the program. A student who elects to write a thesis must take the following steps:

  • Write a letter or email to the Director of Graduate Studies indicating interest in writing a master’s thesis no later than October 31 of the first Fall semester of enrollment in the program. The faculty will consider all requests at the next departmental meeting. A committee of three faculty members will be selected.
  • If the student is approved to write a thesis, the student then determines the topic of the thesis in consultation with the faculty research advisor who has agreed to supervise the thesis. The faculty research advisor will work with the student to secure IRB approval for the collection of data.
  • The student will enroll in CDS 560 - Clinical Research in Communication Disorders  for 1 credit hour for each of the next three semesters (Spring, Fall, and Spring). The student will generally conduct the literature review and submit the IRB proposal in the Spring, data collection in the Fall, and analysis and final writing in the Spring.
  • The thesis must be submitted electronically to the three members of the thesis committee no later than April 1 of the Spring semester in which the degree is to be awarded.
  • The student will meet with the thesis committee for an oral defense at a time to be determined.
  • The student will submit the final revised thesis no later than two days before the graduation date. The final thesis should be submitted electronically to the Director of the Graduate Program.
  • Note: A graduate student approved to write a master’s thesis in lieu of compiling a portfolio will still be required to complete a professional resume, provide verification of registration for or completion of the PRAXIS exam, provide verification of completion of clinical hours and competencies, and submit a proposal for a poster presentation or technical session.