Communicative Disorders - Deaf Education Option, M.A.


Department of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies

Steven Skelton, Ph.D., Chair
5310 N. Campus Drive M/S PH 80
559-278-2423 (V)
559-278-5187 (Fax)

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Communicative Disorders - Audiology Option, B.A.
BA in Communicative Disorders - Speech Pathology Option, B.A.
BA in Communicative Disorders - Interpreting Option, B.A.
BA in Communicative Disorders - Deaf Education Option, B.A.
BA in Communicative Disorders - Deaf Studies Option, B.A.
CRED in Special Education Mod/Sev Disab Internship
CRED in Education Specialist Deaf & Hard of Hearing - Clear Credential
CRED in Education Specialist Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Preliminary Credential
CRED in Speech-Language Pathology Services - Preliminary, Credential
MA in Communicative Disorders - Deaf Education Option, M.A.
MA in Speech-Language Pathology, M.A.
MN in Communicative Disorders, Minor

Courses Offered

The Field of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies

Audiology, speech-language pathology, deaf education and interpreting are concerned with many issues related to speech, hearing, and language. Professionals in these fields are devoted to providing diagnostic, rehabilitative, and educational services to children and adults with communicative challenges.

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Communicative Disorders provides the students with a liberal arts foundation integrated with courses designed to provide a basic understanding of speech, language, and hearing development and communicative problems. Students pursuing deaf studies have two options: deaf education and interpreting. Students majoring in deaf education and speech-language pathology can continue their options in our graduate program.

Master of Arts

Education beyond the bachelor's degree is necessary for completion of the academic, credential, and licensure requirements leading to professional employment. Two professional option areas are available to the student:

  • Deaf Education. Our deaf education program gives you a broad background in bilingual-bicultural education, total communication, and cued speech philosophies along with speech, language, auditory training, deaf culture, and American Sign Language. This program includes all of the essential elements of a good education for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. The program is nationally accredited by the Council of Education of the Deaf (CED).
  • Speech-Language Pathology. Our speech and language pathology program provides you with a broad professional background in normal speech and language development, language disorders, swallowing disorders, voice disorders, articulation disorders, and fluency disorders. The program is nationally accredited by the Council for Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA).

The undergraduate curriculum plus a master's degree in communicative disorders prepares you for one or more of the following: state licensure as a speech-language pathologist, national certification in speech-language pathology by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, provisional certification in deaf education by the Council on Education of the Deaf, Levels I and II Education Specialist Credential: Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Speech-Language Pathology Services Credential.

Certificate in Conversational American Sign Language

A program of study leading to a Certificate in Conversational American Sign Language has become popular to many students pursuing professional fields and other majors on campus. The demand for health and human services professionals who can communicate effectively with deaf and hard-of-hearing children, youth, and adults has made sign language skills necessary.

Communicative Disorders Minor

A Minor in Communicative Disorders is also available for students in various education and health professions (nursing, health science, physical therapy, counseling, elementary and secondary education, special education, child development, linguistics, criminology, etc.) who are interested in expanding their understanding of children and adults with communicative disorders.


As a student, you are given the opportunity to work in a well-equipped speech and hearing clinic. You can also gain practical experience in a variety of school, private practice, and hospital settings. Library facilities contain specialized collections including student access to local medical libraries. In the Anna Michelson Memorial Instructional Media Center, you have access to a wide range of therapy production materials such as films, video, clinical equipment, and professional journals.

University Speech and Hearing Clinic

The department operates an ongoing clinic that provides diagnostic, therapeutic, and counseling services to clients of all ages with a variety of different communication problems or disorders.

The clinic provides supervised clinical practice for students who are preparing to be professional speech-language pathologists and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. As a valuable community resource, the clinic serves thousands of clients each year from the Fresno metropolitan area.


Communicative Sciences Graduate Program Requirements

The master's degree is considered essential for the professional training needed for effective practice in deaf education or speech-language pathology. The master's degree generally involves about two years of full-time study.

Admission Requirements

The graduate program is open to students with communicative disorders or related bachelor's degrees who have demonstrated the ability to excel at an advanced level as well as indicated great potential for success in academic work and clinical work. In order to be considered for admission to the graduate program, the applicant needs to submit the following: (1) a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 units of any coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in CSDS coursework; (2) three letters of recommendation; (3) a letter of intent; and (4) Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Consideration for admission may include but will not be limited to the following: (1) students with outstanding clinical potential, (2) deaf and hard of hearing students, (3) students with disabilities, and (4) students with multicultural or bilingual experience.

Applicants who have specific deficiencies or need coursework may be accepted with conditionally classified status. Students must apply to the department for fully classified graduate standing as soon as any conditions of acceptance have been met. No more than 10 units of graduate work taken under conditional classification can be used to meet the requirements of the master's degree.

Admission Procedures

To apply for graduate study in the Department of CSDS, you need to apply to the university and to the department by completing the following two (2) steps. Our deadlines for application may differ from those published by the University; contact the department office at 559.278.2423 for the current application deadlines.

Step 1. Apply to the University
a. Submit your application online via CSU Mentor.
b. Submit one copy of official transcript to the university. Information about submitting your transcripts to the university can be found on the Transcripts Requirement page.
c. Submit one copy of GRE scores to Fresno State Graduate Admissions. The school code is 4312. (These scores will go directly to the university and not the Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies Department.) For more information about the GRE, go to for their home page. For more information about applying to a graduate program at the university, please visit the Graduate Admissions page. There is a list of helpful links that may answer questions you may have.

Step 2. Apply to the Department
After applying to the university you will be directed to the department application forms. Send a single envelope with a completed packet that includes the following:
a. Department application
b. Three letters of recommendation addressed to the department (each in a sealed envelope signed by the person writing the recommendation over the seal)
c. Letter of intent addressed to the department Please mail your packet to:
Graduate Coordinator
Dept. of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies
California State University, Fresno
5310 N. Campus Drive, MS PH80
Fresno, California 93740-8019


Advancement to Candidacy

Each student in a master's degree program must file for advancement to candidacy. See Admissions and Master's Degree Programs, Division of Research and Graduate Studies.

Graduate-Level Writing Competence

California State University, Fresno requires that students have graduate-level writing abilities before being advanced to candidacy for the master's degree. Students can demonstrate these abilities by passing the writing component of CSDS 200 and obtaining written clearance from the instructor. If GWR clearance is denied, students may appeal to the course instructor. Please see the CSDS Graduate Handbook for more information.


Any 3-unit, one semester statistics course (lower division, upper division, or graduate level) is required to complete the Master of Arts in Communicative Disorders. Students are encouraged to take the course during their senior year. Exceptions may be made with the consent of their faculty advisor.

Grade Requirements

To be eligible to receive the master's degree, a student must have maintained a B average with no more than two C grades on the approved Program of Study. Once a student has received three Cs at any point in the graduate program, he or she will automatically be disqualified from the graduate program.

Master of Arts Degree Requirements
Communicative Disorders Major

Deaf Education Option

CSDS 201, 203, 206, 255, 262, 263, 264, either 3 units in electives* and CSDS 268 or 9 units in electives* (30 units)

Culminating Experience (6 units)
Thesis or project (6 units)

Comprehensive Examination (6 units)
CI 225 and LEE 173 or LEE 177

Total (36 units)

* Approved electives are as follows: CSDS 290; CI 230; LEE 172, 214; LING 244; SPED 179, 219, 233; CI 240, 241, 260.

Other coursework is developed with the advisor to reflect such factors as students' preferences regarding thesis or project, individual needs and preferences for training, meeting certain state or national requirements, etc.

Student Teaching and Internship

Students are required to take their final student teaching and internship (e.g. CSDS 257, 258, 267, 268) during the last two semesters of their approved Program of Study and within the last 12 units of graduate coursework. Earlier final student teaching and internships are not permitted in the Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies Department.

Clinical Training

All students are involved in supervised clinical practicum experience during their graduate training. At least 400 clinical hours are required prior to receiving the M.A. A minimum of 300 of these hours must be at the graduate level. These hours are gained at the University Speech and Hearing Clinic and in at least two other settings (internship, student teaching, residency program, etc.)

Culminating Experience

A culminating experience is required of all California State University, Fresno students earning master's degrees. This requirement is accomplished by completing a thesis, project, or comprehensive written exam. Only a limited number of students may be permitted to undertake a thesis or project, depending on the availability of faculty or committee members. Selection of students for a thesis or project is determined by their consistent demonstration of academic superiority in coursework and evidence of outstanding writing skills and research papers. Up to 6 units of credit can be earned for a thesis or project. These units may be applied toward the unit requirements of the degree. (See Criteria for Thesis and Project.) Students considering a thesis or project need to consult the faculty very early in their graduate program, so as to assure completion of the assignment prior to graduation. Selecting a thesis or project option is recommended for students who may at some point consider working toward a doctoral degree. Students who do not participate in a thesis or project must complete a comprehensive written examination. For this examination, students write detailed responses to questions about specific topics within the field. Further information about these options is available from an advisor.

Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology

Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology. Completion of the master's degree fulfills all the academic and clinical practicum requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech Pathology. A Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) of paid, professional supervised experience is required along with passing the PRAXIS Exam in Speech-Language Pathology before the certificate is granted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. A Certificate of Clinical Competence is required for employment in nearly all work settings except the public schools. All students are encouraged to acquire national certification regardless of the work setting they may choose.

California License as a Speech Pathologist

The master's degree fulfills all academic and clinical practicum requirements for the State License. A year of paid Required Professional Experience (RPE) is necessary along with passing the PRAXIS Exam in Speech-Language Pathology before the license is issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs. The license is required for employment in almost all settings except the public schools.

The CFY and RPE can be completed concurrently when graduates accept their first professional position.

Certification by Council on Education of the Deaf

For students specializing in deaf education, completion of the master's degree fulfills all the academic and clinical practicum requirements for Provisional Certification by the Council on Education of the Deaf, the national organization responsible for certifying teachers of the deaf. Professional level certification is available following three years of successful teaching under the supervision of a professionally certified educator of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. All students are encouraged to acquire national certification.


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