Essential Functions


The Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree is recognized as a broad degree requiring the acquisition of general knowledge and basic skills in all applicable domains. The core curriculum is designed to support student attainment of the academic and clinical competencies needed for graduation, optional certification, and licensure. The education of speech-language pathologists and audiologists requires assimilation of knowledge, acquisition of skills, and development of judgment through client care experiences in preparation for independent and appropriate decisions required in practice. The current practices of audiology emphasize patient-centered care and collaboration among audiologists, speech-language pathologists, other health care and education professionals, the client, and the client’s family.


The accredited graduate program in audiology of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology (ASP) adhere to the standards set by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). Within CAA standards, the AuD program has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for: the selection of students; the design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum; the evaluation of student progress; and, the determination of who should be awarded a degree.

The AUD faculty has a responsibility for the welfare of clients tested, treated, or otherwise affected by students enrolled in the programs. The department has the responsibility to the public to assure that its graduates can become fully competent audiologists capable of delivering quality care in a timely manner and preserving the well-being of the clients they serve. Thus, it is important that persons admitted, retained, and graduated possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and the physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice audiology.

The Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, as part of the UAMS College of Health Professions, is committed to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and equal opportunity. The University, College, and the Department do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or creed, sex, gender, gender identity/expression, pregnancy, national or ethnic origin, non-disqualifying disability, age, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, or political beliefs or affiliations. When requested, the University, College, and the Department will provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with properly certified disabilities. The AuD faculty has responsibility for the welfare of students in the department. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the department has established academic standards and minimum essential requirements that must be met, with or without reasonable accommodations, in order to participate in the program and graduate.

Essential Functions


A student must possess adequate communication skills to:

  • Use speech, hearing, vision, and the English language to communicate effectively with clients, faculty, staff, peers, and other health care professionals in both oral and written form.
  • Communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms including classroom projects, presentations, research, and clinical reports.
  • Modify their communication style to meet diverse communicative needs.
  • Communicate in a succinct, yet comprehensive manner and in settings where time limits may be imposed.
  • Assess and effectively communicate all relevant information including the significance of non-verbal responses.
  • Assess incoming information to allow for appropriate, well-focused follow-up inquiries.
  • Listen responsively and empathetically to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences.
  • Express their ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback.

Motor/Physical Health/Transportation

A student must possess adequate motor skills and physical health to:

  • Execute movements reasonably required to move from area to area, maneuver in small places, use equipment, materials and technology as needed to provide clients with appropriate care.
  • Access transportation to clinical and academic placements.
  • Provide for and practice personal hygiene.
  • Possess the physical health and stamina needed to carry out the speech-language pathology and audiology programs.
  • Have sufficient use of gross and fine motor skills to carry out all necessary clinical procedures, both those involved in learning the fundamental sciences and those required in the clinical environment.


A student must possess adequate intellectual and cognitive skills to:

  • Participate in clinical settings and achieve the levels of competence required by the academic and clinical faculty and off-campus preceptors.
  • Solve problems critical to the practice of speech-language pathology and audiology.
  • Self-evaluate, identify, and communicate limits of one’s own knowledge and skills.
  • Identify and use resources to increase knowledge and skills.
  • Use detailed written and verbal instruction to make unique and independent decisions.
  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, and create as needed in the academic and clinical arenas.
  • Demonstrate the mental capacity to learn and assimilate professional information including the ability to read and comprehend professional literature and reports.
  • Solve clinical problems through critical analysis.
  • Seek relevant case information, synthesize, and apply concepts and information from various sources and disciplines.
  • Maintain attention and concentration for sufficient time to complete clinical activities.
  • Write discipline-specific papers and clinical reports in English. These must be professional and grammatically correct.
  • Schedule and prioritize activities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to master information presented in course work in the form of lectures, written materials, projected images, and lab activities.
  • Acquire the information presented through demonstrations and experiences in the clinical training portion of the program
  • Observe clients accurately and interpret non-verbal communication when performing clinical assessments and treatment activities.


A student must possess adequate senses of vision and hearing to:

  • Accurately observe clients and interpret and analyze their behaviors.
  • Treat clients and use equipment appropriately.
  • Visually monitor client responses and materials.
  • Make accurate judgments about speech and/or acoustic signals.


A student must possess adequate behavioral, ethical, emotional, and social attributes to:

  • Display mature, empathetic, and effective relationships by exhibiting compassion, integrity, and concern for others.
  • Recognize and show respect for individuals of different ages, gender identities/expressions, races, religions, sexual orientations, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and abilities.
  • Recognize and make adjustments when a client’s family does or does not understand the clinician’s written and/or verbal communication.
  • Maintain generally good emotional and mental health to fully use their intellectual abilities and exercise good judgment including prompt completion of all academic and clinical responsibilities. Seek assistance when needed.
  • Display good judgment and behave in a professional, reliable, mature, and responsible manner.
  • Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability to function in new and stressful environments.
  • Evaluate their own performance and be forthright about errors, accept constructive criticism, and look for ways to improve academic and clinical performance.
  • Exhibit professional appearance and demeanor by conforming to appropriate standards of dress, appearance, language, and public behavior, including social media.
  • Uphold the Code of Ethics of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and/or the American Academy of Audiology, the Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act, as well as the departmental Honor Code.

Candidates for the Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders (MS) or the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) who have been accepted for admission will be required to verify that they understand and meet these essential functions. Admission decisions are made on the assumption that each candidate can meet the essential functions and fulfill essential functions without consideration of disability.

The UAMS ADA/Disability Services office will review a student’s request for accommodation and confirm that the stated condition qualifies as a disability under applicable laws.

If an applicant states they can meet the essential functions with accommodation, the department, working with the ADA officer and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will determine  the most appropriate accommodation(s)  so that the student can meet the essential functions.  This determination includes a review of whether the accommodation would jeopardize client safety or the educational process of the student or the institution, including all coursework and internships/practicum placements deemed essential to graduation. At any time in the course of a student’s enrollment in the department, should their needs change, the student can request accommodation through the UAMS ADA/Disability Services office. The student will also update the Essential Functions document on file with the department.

Reference:  Adapted from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (2007)

Rev. 8-01-21