Communication Sciences and Disorders: Early Childhood Communication Disorders (M.S.)

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This option prepares students for professional practice in the diagnosis and treatment of early childhood communication disorders in young children. Students learn theory and practice for a variety of speech­-language-­communication­-swallowing disorders typically seen in babies through early elementary age children. An essential component of this option is supporting families of young children with communication disorders. Practicum experiences in educational and pediatric rehabilitative settings, early intervention centers, and private practice are available to enhance applied learning. Upon completion of coursework and clinical training, students are prepared to diagnose and treat a wide array of early childhood speech­-language-­communication­-feeding disorders and collaborate with their professional colleagues in educational and rehabilitative teams.

Regardless of the option selected, students will complete a combination of core, required, and elective courses to earn a minimum of 61 credits. See course descriptions for a list of all CSD graduate courses.

Required Core Courses for All Options
COMM 876Ethical and Professional Issues in Communication Sciences and Disorders I1
COMM 880Diagnosis of Speech and Language Disorders3
COMM 890Advanced Audiology for Speech-Language Pathologists3
COMM 903Therapy Process2
COMM 910Clinical Practicum (1 credit each semester years one and two)4
COMM 911Externship (4 cr. fall of year two, 4 cr. spring of year two)8
COMM 914Augmentative and Alternative Communication3-4
COMM 917Research Mthds Comm Sci Dis3
COMM 915Counseling Clients and Families with Communication Disorders2
Total Credits29-30

In addition to the academic and clinical requirements, the UNH Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders implemented an Essential Functions Policy on June 7, 2010. This policy identifies basic communication, motor, cognitive, sensory, and behavioral­-social abilities that are necessary for completion of our master's program and professional practice. Some of these abilities should be in place when students begin the program, while others will be developed throughout the program.

Early each fall, the Essential Functions Policy will be reviewed with new students beginning our program. Students are expected to sign that they have reviewed and understand the policy and will follow the stated guidelines. For additional information about the graduate program, see the Handbook for Graduate Students and Practicum Manual.

Early Childhood Communication Disorders Required Courses
COMM 900Articulatory and Phonological Disorders in Children3
COMM 901Dysphagia3
COMM 902Stuttering3
COMM 905Motor Speech Disorders3
COMM 906Voice Disorders2
COMM 908Disorders of Language and Literacy I3
COMM 912Language Disorders Birth to Five3
COMM 916Autism Spectrum Disorders3
EDUC 856Supporting Families of Individuals with Exceptionalities4
Elective Courses
Select two of the following:6-11
Advanced Language Acquisition
Aphasia in Adults
Advanced Seminar in Aural Rehabilitation
Disorders of Language and Literacy II
Cognitive Communication Disorders
Graduate Seminar
Diversity and Child Development
Special Topics
Other approved courses outside the department.
Total Credits33-38

Clinical Practicum

All students are required to complete four practicum rotations and two externships during their graduate studies. Practicum assignments take place at the UNH Speech-­Language­-Hearing Center (SLHC) and University-­supervised satellite programs. Externships are available at a broad range of department-­approved settings, including public and private schools, language­-based preschool programs, early intervention programs, health care settings, and private practices. UNH requires students to have 15 documented observation hours prior to the start of clinical work.

During fall and spring semesters of year 1, students complete clinical work that directly and simultaneously corresponds to coursework. Clinical assignments are completed at the UNH SLHC as well as University-­supervised satellite programs. During year 2, students complete two semesters of diagnostic clinic at the UNH SLHC along with two externships at two different settings. Students shall participate in at least one externship that corresponds to their selected option in order to develop clinical skills in their area of interest. Since the UNH CSD Graduate Program is a full-­time program, we expect students to be available for clinical assignments when not in class.

Students are responsible for transportation to satellite programs, externships, and other community learning experiences. Practicum sites may require a physical, including a tuberculin test; proof of immunizations such as poliomyelitis, rubella and hepatitis; health insurance; and drug/urine testing. In addition, students are responsible for meeting the criminal record clearances established by the practicum site. Failure to pass required medical and other clearance checks could render a student ineligible for a practicum assignment and thus unable to complete program requirements.

To learn more about the available externships please contact the CSD office.

Capstone Experience

The capstone experience is divided into two phases:

Phase I: Year­-One Comprehensive Exam

Phase I is a comprehensive exam scheduled at the end of the first year of graduate study. For the year­-one comprehensive exam, all students will write for three hours, answering three out of four integrated questions addressing content specific to the first year.

Phase II: Year­-Two Comprehensive Exam or Thesis

Year­-Two Comprehensive Exam (non-­thesis)

All students except those writing a thesis must pass a year-­two comprehensive exam designed to assess their mastery of the full two ­year curriculum. Students will write for six hours, answering six out of eight integrated questions. Students who have selected either the Early Childhood Communication Disorders, Language/Literacy Disorders, or the Adult Neurogenic Communication Disorders options are required to respond to one question specific to their course of study during the year­-two comprehensive exam.


Students may choose to write a thesis in lieu of the year­-two comprehensive exam. Upon completion of an original research project, students must defend the thesis in an oral examination and must gain approval of the thesis committee. In addition to required coursework, students must register for 6 credits of COMM 899 Master's Thesis.