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 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: The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. In the early 2000s, JMU received approval from State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to offer the Clinical Doctorate in Audiology (Au.D.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Communication Sciences and Disorders. To this day, JMU is the only Au.D. granting institution in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Presently, the department is organized within the College of Health and Behavioral Studies and housed within the state-of-the-art Health and Behavioral Studies Building (HBS). HBS occupancy occurred in the summer of 2016 and affords the faculty, staff, and students a space that supports teaching, research, interprofessional initiatives, and clinical training. The JMU Audiology Clinic and the Speech-Language Clinic are open to the members of our community seeking speech, language and hearing services.