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College of Health Sciences > Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences > Communication Disorders and Sciences
Overview and Student Outcome Data
About Rush University

The Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences (CDS) offers the Master of Science in speech-language pathology (SLP) and the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degrees.

Our programs are ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report

  • AuD ranked #10 in the nation
  • SLP ranked #29 in the nation

Mission Statement

The Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at Rush University Medical Center has the dual mission of providing outstanding patient care and superior graduate education in audiology and speech-language pathology. Excellence in these endeavors is enhanced by research and service activities.

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Vision Statement

The Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences will be recognized as the clinical center and graduate education program of choice in the state of Illinois and among the very best in the United States.

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  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Excellence

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Program Goals

The programs in audiology and speech-language pathology are based on the philosophy that professional education is optimized by drawing upon the patients, staff and other resources of an academic medical center. The resources at Rush University enrich and enhance faculty and student research and scholarship, and they provide unique opportunities for multidisciplinary collaborations. The clinical skills of Rush students are fostered and developed through didactic courses, clinical observation and instruction, and supervision by practitioner-teachers. The department faculty is supplemented by the expertise of physicians, scientists and other health care practitioners within the medical center.

The goals of the academic programs in audiology and speech-language pathology are to generate and disseminate new knowledge in the communication disorders and sciences and to prepare graduates who:

  • Synthesize contemporary knowledge of speech and hearing science and apply it in the assessment and management of broad spectrum communication disorders
  • Implement evidence-based protocols for the evaluation and treatment of individuals with communication disorders
  • Utilize and contribute to new knowledge in the profession and discipline
  • Function as professional level speech-language pathologists or audiologists in health care and other settings
  • Are eligible for clinical certification from the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Are eligible for state licensure within the profession

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Summary of Strategic Plan

Rush University Medical Center
SUMMARY of Strategic Plan for 2014-2016

The 2014 through 2016 Strategic Plan for CDS will focus on two main areas:   

Quality and Satisfaction Related to Both Our Clinical and Academic Programs
  • Re-develop, implement, and monitor our clinical protocols for both audiology and speech-language pathology; further improve their evidence-base; meet expectations of patients, professionals and regulators.  ( in keeping with health care changes)
  • Consider (complete?) publication of the above protocols as models for other programs across the country.
  • Identify the best methods of modified (innovative) service delivery for audiology and speech-language pathology, based on collaboration between CDS clinicians and academics.
  • Incorporate at least one new major method of service delivery in both audiology and slp clinical service (e.g.,  SLP assistants, family/communication partner education, telehealth, web-based treatment, etc).
  • Provide training to staff and faculty in the area of contemporary service delivery that meets the new expectations of health care service.
  • Ensure that updated methods of service delivery for audiology and SLP are included in didactic courses.
  • Develop several research projects (collaborations between academic and clinical faculty) for the purpose of advancing evidence-based protocols with dissemination beyond RUMC (e.g., exploration of a dosage variable or comparison of outcomes for two approaches to a clinical problem).
Program Growth and Excellence
  • Assess the value and feasibility of developing a clinical doctorate in SLP, with recommendations.  (based on success of our AuD program)
  • Target and implement strategic venues for presentations and publications, committees and boards.  Purpose is to increase national recognition (maintain audiology in US News top 10 and move SLP to the top 20).
  • Develop and implement effective marketing approaches for clinical and academic programs, including such means as  web, mailings, ads,  focus groups, etc.
  • Increase our nominations of Rush CDS colleagues for awards and diligently highlight their awards, fellowships, honors ( to both internal and external groups).
  • Promote recognition of our services to diverse communities  (Rush community work; our global community work)
Technical Standards

Graduates of speech-language pathology and audiology programs must possess the essential knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care safely and effectively. Rush University has specified the following nonacademic criteria ("technical standards") that applicants and enrolled students must meet to participate in the education program and the practice of speech-language pathology and audiology.

1. Observation

  • The student must participate actively in all demonstrations and laboratory exercises in the academic and clinical curricula. The student must assess and comprehend the condition of all patients assigned to him or her for examination, diagnosis and treatment.
  •  Such observation and information acquisition usually requires the functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation.

2. Communication

  • The student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and assess non-verbal communications.
  • The student must be able to effectively and efficiently transmit information to patients, fellow students, faculty, staff, family and other professionals.
  • Required communication skills include speaking, reading and writing, as well as the observation skills described above.

3. Motor

  • The student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients.
  • Students must be capable of performing basic diagnostic tests, possess all skills necessary to carry out diagnostic procedures and execute the movements reasonably required to provide care to patients.

4. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

  • The student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize and apply the critical thinking skills required of a health care professional.
  • The student must have the capacity to problem-solve in a timely fashion.

5. Behavioral and Social Attributes

  • The student must be able to fully utilize his/her intellectual abilities and exercise good judgment. Prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients is required.
  • Students must be capable of developing mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and others.
  • Students must also be able to tolerate taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
  • Compassion, integrity, concern for others, commitment and motivation are personal qualities which each student should possess.
  • The student must show respect for individuals with disabilities and for persons with different age, ethnic background, race, religion and/or sexual orientation.

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Reference: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2002


The master's (MS) education program in speech-language pathology and the doctoral (AuD) education program in audiology at Rush University are 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.

CAA accreditation has been extended to 2022 for both AuD and SLP programs at Rush University.

Careers in Communication Disorders

The Department of Communication Disorders at Rush University provides students with the building blocks to a successful future in the field of communication disorders., a career website, recently ranked 200 jobs for 2015. The five criteria, from best to worst, are based on: physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook. To compile its list, the firm primarily used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies.
#2 Audiologist

#11 Speech Pathologist

A clinical audiologist is involved in the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and management of hearing impairment. Audiologists administer and interpret various tests of auditory and vestibular function, fit hearing aids and other special devices, provide rehabilitative services to hearing-impaired individuals and may develop and manage programs of hearing conservation.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the employment outlook is very favorable for audiologists and is projected to grow 34 percent through 2012 - 2022.

Our AuD graduates have great success finding the jobs that they want both in the Chicagoland area and across the country, some of these places include:

•ENT practice - Philadelphia
•University of Miami
•Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
•Ear Institute of Chicago
•Lake Forest Hospital
•Providence Speech & Hearing Center (Calif.)

Speech Language Pathologist

A speech-language pathologist is involved in the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis and management of communication disorders associated with speech, voice, language, cognitive and swallowing impairments. Speech-language pathologists work with both children and adults and often function as part of a rehabilitation team. Graduates of the Rush programs qualify for positions in acute care hospitals, rehabilitation centers, educational settings, university clinics and private practice.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the employment outlook is excellent for speech-language pathologists, and is expected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Our SLP graduates have great success finding the jobs that they want, both in the Chicagoland area and across the country. Some of these places include:

•Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
•The Pediatric Place
•Barrington Middle School
•Sertoma Speech & Hearing Center
•Swedish American Hospital
•Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital
•Community Consolidated School District 54

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How To Apply

Click here to view the Application Process (pdf).

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