About Us

Master of Science in
Speech and Language Pathology

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders trains students to help meet the basic human need of communication for individuals with communication or speech disorders. More than 40 million people in the United States experience some form of communication disorder, and you will learn the science of how to therapeutically address the disorders and gain a creative approach that is transformational to the patients and families you serve.

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders trains students to help meet the basic human need of communication for individuals with communication or speech disorders. More than 40 million people in the United States experience some form of communication disorder, and you will learn the science of how to therapeutically address the disorders and gain a creative approach that is transformational to the patients and families you serve.

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ACU Communication and Speech Disorders program

ACU’s Master of Science in Speech and Language Pathology (MSSLP) program, with more than 20 years of accreditation, is home to more than 100 graduate students preparing for professional practice. Our master’s program offers you:

  • Small cohort sizes, with a ratio of <10 graduate students per faculty member.
  • One-on-one mentorship and clinical supervision.
  • An engaging, collaborative and faith-based learning atmosphere.
  • Well-equipped facilities designed for immersive skill development.
  • International clinical placement opportunities.

You have the option to pursue the MSSLP at our Abilene or Dallas campus. No matter which location you choose, we ensure you meet the academic and clinical requirements for certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Both sites provide seasoned clinical directors and coordinators dedicated to providing and connecting you with high-quality clinical practice in a variety of settings. Learn more about what makes each campus unique by clicking the location name!

The Abilene campus offers you a university experience within a growing city where you’ll find opportunities for service projects, events and a one-of-a-kind community. Abilene’s MSSLP program is facilitated in ACU’s Center for Speech, Language and Learning, also known as the Duncum Center. For our graduate students, the Duncum Center becomes your academic home, serving as a classroom and study space. For the local community, it’s a fully functioning clinic offering treatment services for a variety of communication disorders. Here, you earn a portion of your clinical practice hours working alongside clinical educators and supervisors.

Additionally, ACU’s Maker Lab provides our students the innovative tools and support needed to create switches for augmentative communication devices used in therapy sessions.

Connect with Abilene Team

In the suburb of Addison, the Dallas campus offers all the benefits of a major city at your disposal. Located on the eighth floor, take in breathtaking views of the skyline from the classroom, community areas and work spaces. Students enjoy a breadth of options for clinical practice opportunities, including major medical facilities, schools, and private or specialty SLP practices. A team of dedicated clinical coordinators oversees these placements to ensure your successful experience.

ACU Communication and Speech Disorders program

Connect with Dallas Team

ACU Speech and Language student helps a boy use a communication chart - ACU Communication and Speech Disorders program

International Placement

Hope Speaks Uganda

The ACU Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is honored to partner with Hope Speaks Uganda, a speech-language pathology mission founded by directors Kari David (MSSLP) and husband Ben David. For their final 6-7 week clinical rotation, graduate students in Abilene and Dallas may elect to serve at Hope Speaks, where they will work in the capital city of Kampala alongside Ugandan professionals to provide children and adults with much needed swallowing and communication intervention. Students will also enjoy opportunities to experience the culture and sights of Uganda on safari.

 

Professional Development – ACU Abilene

Hospital Orientation Program (HOP)

HOP is a five-week program for all first-year graduate students in the Abilene cohort. Students are divided into small learning teams of 8-10, with instruction and mentoring provided by a local acute-care SLP specialist. During the program, you’ll become familiar with the terminology, tasks and expectations of hospital practice before placement in a hospital externship. Hands-on learning activities include work in a hospital simulation lab to practice skills such as reading vital signs, positioning patients for treatment and managing hospital equipment. Experience significantly increased confidence in your ability to successfully work with patients in hospitals after participating in the program.

Professional Development – ACU Dallas

MEDICAL SIMULATION LAB 

The medical simulation lab, located in Wildcat Cove, immerses the Dallas cohort in experiential learning opportunities that foster a solid foundation of medical knowledge before entering into clinical placements. Throughout your training, students are immersed in a mock hospital room setting. In the second semester, you’ll utilize a patient mannequin during a dysphasia lab to demonstrate basic patient care skills and practice evaluation processes, such as the clinical bedside swallowing evaluation. During your second year, advance to practicing tracheostomy and ventilator care via speaking valve placement and suctioning skills.

Bilingual Emphasis Program – ACU Abilene

The Bilingual Emphasis Program provides special training and clinical experiences for multilingual students accepted to the program. Students participate in targeted coursework and projects in their other treatment language, and engage in clinical practice with bilingual supervisors in that language also (as available). Participants exit the program with a certificate of qualifications. This program is led by a faculty member who is a bilingual speech-language pathologist with more than 20 years of experience.  A limited amount of scholarships are available for participating students.

Student-Led Research – ACU Dallas

Our graduate students thrive with the opportunity to conduct and develop an original research project alongside faculty mentors. Research projects are completed by individuals or teams and then presented at state and national conferences upon completion. Previous student research presentations include: Qualitative Interviews of Autistic Women in the Workplace; A Survey of Vocal Fatigue in Bilingual Speakers; Parent Knowledge of Pre-Feeding Skills; Pragmatic Abilities in Incarcerated Youth; and District Policies Determining Eligibility for SLP Services in Schools.

Monica Garcia - faculty with ACU Communication and Speech Disorders program

Monica Garcia, MS-CCC, SLP

Director of Clinical Education, Instructor, Supervisor
ACU Abilene

Monica Garcia works one-on-one with our first and second year graduate students to coordinate their five clinical rotations during their master’s program. Keeping personal interests and previous experiences in mind, she ensures each student is exposed to a variety of clinical settings and clientele within the local Abilene community and beyond. Whether you’re placed within ACU’s umbrella of clinical partners or with an external location of your choosing, Garcia is dedicated to connecting you with only top-notch ASHA-licensed supervision.

“What we do as speech-language pathologists is so vast and diverse, and I want our students to have a little snippet of the work they will be immersed in – whether it’s working with babies in the NICU or end-of-life care.”

 

Connect with Monica

Student Spotlight

Kaleigh Tom - ACU Communication and Speech Disorders program

Kaleigh Tom

First-Year MSSLP Student
ACU-Abilene

Within one semester enrolled in her master’s program at ACU, Kaleigh Tom gained an entirely new perspective on school, herself and the field of speech-language pathology as a whole. For Kaleigh, the hands-on mentorship from CSD faculty has been impactful for her learning experiences. 

“My perspective on school has changed a lot during my first semester. Our department values our work as a mission even though we’re not working in a church setting. I’ve learned that what I’m gaining here is not for my own benefit but to be able to show the love of God through the services we provide for others. My professors are doing a great job at reinforcing our confidence in this as we become better clinicians.”

Alumni Spotlight

Ricardo Flores - ACU Communication and Speech Disorders program

Ricardo Flores, MS-CCC, SLP

ACU MSSLP Bilingual Emphasis, 2017
Director of Outpatient Therapy Clinics –
South Texas Health System

Within five years of graduating, Ricardo Flores is advocating for speech pathology services under a Fortune 500-owned company. With extensive clinical rotations and bilingual therapy training from his master’s program, he quickly climbed the ranks to his current position overseeing outpatient therapy for six South Texas Health System Clinics in the Rio Grande Valley area. Flores commends ACU for providing the hours of clinical exposure that assisted his transition to real-world practice.

“Experience in the field is not guaranteed in other programs like it is at ACU. I felt like I gained years’ worth of it and an entire system for addressing communication and neurological disorders for my bilingual clients before I graduated. I’ve been in the field since 2017 and have never had a single moment where I didn’t feel prepared for what work was in front of me as an SLP.”


Accreditation

The Master in Science (MS) education program in speech-language pathology {Abilene and Dallas} at Abilene Christian 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.

ACU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACU.