James Madison University

Mission & History


The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders engages students, faculty and members of the community to advance the state of knowledge through basic and applied research, innovative professional and pre-professional education, and enhanced clinical practices to better serve those with communication disorders.


The Communication Sciences and Disorders Department was established at Madison College in 1964 as a minor in speech correction. At the time one faculty member taught courses in speech disorders, carried additional responsibilities in speech and drama, and established a speech clinic as a training site for students minoring in speech correction. In 1969 an undergraduate Speech Pathology major was offered, and by 1974 Master's Degree programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (Hearing Disorders) were initiated with six full-time faculty appointments. Initial accreditation of these programs by the Educational Standards Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association occurred in 1980.

The Speech Correction minor was originally part of the English Department in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1967, it was moved to the College of Education; and in 1976, the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology achieved departmental status, still within the College of Education. In 1988 the department was reassigned to a newly organized College of Health and Human Services. In 1994, that college became part of a newly created College of Integrated Science and Technology. In 1995, the department's name was changed to its current one: Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Since 1998, the department's faculty included 12 to 14 full-time faculty and four part-time faculty. Three new doctoral programs were approved for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology in 2001. JMU's first Ph.D. degrees were granted in the area of audiology in May of 2003.