Skip to Content

Major: Communication Disorders

Communication Disorders


Department of Linguistics
Faculty of Human Sciences

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Language: Its Structure and Use (3)
3cp from
Delusions and Disorders of the Mind and Brain (3)
Language, Culture and Communication (3)
Exploring English (3)
Language Myths and Realities (3)

200 level

Making Communication Accessible (3)
3cp from
Health, Bodies, Media (3)
Contemporary Health Issues (3)

300 level

Disability and Multimodal Communication (3)
9cp from
Health Promotion (3)
Culture and Language (3)
Developmental Speech and Language Disorders (3)
Acquired Speech and Language Disorders (3)
Human Services in the 21st Century: Care, Gender and Institutions (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Units marked with a P are PACE units.
Overview and Aims of the Program Services for people with a disability are coming to national prominence. Social reform, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), will alter the way people who are eligible for disability services choose and receive services. A reorientation of disability services will mean that the workforce must gain skills in order for service providers to accommodate the changes to the sector.

The Communication Disorders major will provide graduates with an opportunity to develop their understanding of the communication needs and diverse experiences of people with a disability. Graduates will receive a good working knowledge of disability theory and issues that are key in improving the quality of life of people with a disability and promoting opportunities for their social inclusion. It explores disability theory and covers a range of issues including (a) theoretical models of disability, (b) the social, philosophical, and economic impact of social inclusion, (c) the nature of lifelong disability and its impacts on communication across the lifespan, and (d) the provision of human services including disability services.

The major has an interdisciplinary focus, with the possibility of students completing units offered by the Departments of Linguistics, Education, Cognitive Science, Critical and Cultural Studies, Sociology, and the Institute of Early Childhood.

Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. Demonstrate theoretical and technical knowledge of the core areas of linguistics and be able to apply this knowledge to disorders of communication in higher levels of study or in the workplace. (K, P, I, L)
2. Apply an understanding of theoretical frameworks of disability to the communication needs of people with disordered communication and their participation in life domains. (K, T, I, J)
3. Discuss current social, philosophical, and economic issues concerning disability and communication disorders in light of disability theory and empirical study in communication disorders. (K, T, I, C, E, A, L)
4. Discuss the environmental, cultural, socioeconomic, and genetic determinants of disability, health, and ill health in Australia and other societies, and analyse the way in which these impact the implementation of health promotion projects. (K, T, I, C, E, A, L)
5. Integrate knowledge and perspectives on models of service delivery in community and health care settings (K, T, I, E, A)
6. Communicate knowledge, skills, and ideas about communication disorders and communication strategies to facilitate social inclusion, using a variety of modalities and technologies, to a variety of audiences including the wider community and professional environments. (K, C, E, J)
7. Appraise or analyse disordered communication and its impact on the individual, family, and society across the lifespan. (K, T, P, I, A, J, L)
8. Employ an ethical framework and the capacity to engage with a variety of groups in socially and environmentally responsible ways. (C, E, A, L)
9. Show understanding of research methodologies in communication disorders and critically appraise the research of others in similar fields. (K, T, P, E, J)

Learning and Teaching Methods Throughout the major in Communication Disorders, you will be encouraged to acquire fundamental theoretical knowledge of communication and communication disorders and more specialised theory and practice surrounding disability, speech and language disorders, and human services.

You will participate in a variety of independent and collaborative learning activities. Live and recorded lectures are supplemented with tutorials. The lecture format and tutorials will provide opportunities for students to interact with teaching staff and discuss readings and academic literature in large- and small-group forums. Online learning and teaching technologies will support all lectures and tutorials, which will enable web-based discussion, communication between teaching staff and students, and access to multimedia resources. You will also practice analysing and interpreting disordered language, and learn to consider communication approaches for people with communication disorders.

As part of this major, you will undertake work-based learning as part of the University’s Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) initiative. In this unit you will engage in an off-campus, work-integrated learning experience in the disability sector, in which you will be able to apply theory learnt throughout the major to real-world professional contexts.
Assessment Assessment in the Communication Disorders major incorporates formative and summative feedback to students. Formative feedback is feedback that is received while working on a task. This ongoing feedback is used to monitor student learning while progressing through the completion of a task. Summative feedback is feedback that is received once a task has been completed. This feedback is given at the end of a task and will include a grade and comments on your performance. Feedback will be provided in written form or in discussion with peers and teaching staff. Both forms are important, as they will provide you with information on your development and progress. All units within this major will provide summative assessment, however a number of units will also offer formative assessment. For example, at the 200 level, formative feedback is given by way of comment on the plan of the final essay in one of the units set within the option set. At the 300 level, formative feedback is given by way of comment on the analysis and interpretation of disordered language data from a person with a communication disorder.

Assessment will be made on the submission of individual and group coursework. The unit guides for each unit will set out standards and criteria for coursework, what will be assessed in each unit, and how assessment will take place.

Subject to the choices that students make within the option sets at 200 and 300 levels, assessment tasks will involve:

1. Essay writing
2. Critical reviews of research
3. Critical reviews of policy inquiries and innovations in human service delivery
4. Research reports
5. Analysis of typical and disordered language data
6. Case reports on people with a communication disorder
7. Tutorial and workshop participation and small group discussion
8. Group presentations
9. Creation, presentation, and a report on a health promotion project
10. Participation in research
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit.

Information can be found at:

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduates of this program will be in a good position to seek employment in disability services in a range of sectors, including government, non-government, and community-based organisations.

Graduates may take up roles in a range of areas, such as:
1. Policy making
2. Health promotion and health education
3. Disability service planning, administration, and management
4. Disability rights advocacy
5. Case management

Graduates will have completed a work placement in the disability service sector to assist them in becoming work-ready.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2019 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148