CSD History, Mission and Vision


The Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University began as the Department of Speech and Drama in 1937. At the time, the department consisted of a single faculty member with interests in speech correction.

Additional faculty took up the interest area over the ensuing years and the curriculum and course offerings expanded to include voice science, phonetics, normal and abnormal speech development, lip reading and other offerings dispersed among the broader speech and drama curriculum, as well as courses focused on public speaking, oral argumentation and teaching of speech.

In 1967, the program became the Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences in the (then) recently established College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Over the course of the next decades, it grew in enrollment, course offerings and faculty. It developed a separate undergraduate major, with ensuing separate master's and doctoral degrees in speech(-language) pathology, audiology and speech and hearing sciences.

The department gained national accreditation from the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association for its graduate professional degrees in speech-language pathology and audiology. By 1970, a master's degree was looked upon nationally as the entry-level professional degree for the profession. Further major programmatic shifts occurred in the 21st Century, with the department changing its name to Communicative Sciences and Disorders in 2006, and transitioning to a speech-language pathology graduate-only program in 2010.


The mission of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) is to advance understanding of speech, language, voice, swallowing and hearing, and to translate scientific discovery to improve diagnostic and treatment approaches for people with communicative and swallowing disorders. We strive to cultivate knowledge through research and transform lives of people with communicative disorders by preparing future leaders for successful careers in a diverse society. 

The department offers a master's degree and a doctoral degree. In addition, we offer several undergraduate preparatory classes for students wanting to pursue careers in SLP, Audiology or related disciplines. The master's degree program is designed to provide academic and clinical knowledge and skill for those preparing to become professionally certified speech-language pathologists. The doctoral degree program is designed to provide broad and detailed academic and research experiences, knowledge and skill for the preparation of teacher scholars in human communication sciences and disorders.

  • Provide the highest quality academic, practicum and research education and experiences in the discipline of human communication sciences and disorders for the areas of speech-language pathology and speech and hearing sciences for all students.
  • Provide a high-quality nationally accredited academic speech-language pathology program by meeting the accreditation standards of the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
  • Encourage discovery, translation and application of knowledge of the underlying bases, nature, assessment and treatment of communication disorders.

Strategic Plan for 2020-2024


The Department of CSD is undergoing significant growth and restructuring. The strategic vision for CSD incorporate these changes and places the department at the forefront of speech-sciences research and excellence.

The department and university vision for CSD includes:

  • Advancing knowledge through research.
  • Translating this knowledge to practical/clinical breakthroughs.
  • Achieving the highest standards of excellence in teaching programs and faculty/student body composition.
  • Increasing support to enhance the activities at CSD.