Information for students wishing to pursue graduate studies in speech-language pathology (SLP)

Are you a Linguistics major interested in pursuing a Master’s degree (clinical or research) in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)? This webpage is designed to help you better understand the process of applying.

Generally, Master’s programs in SLP require a Bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. However, applying to SLP programs with a Linguistics degree is both possible and beneficial for a future career in speech-language pathology. Studies have shown that children treated by speech and language therapists with an undergraduate degree in linguistics (before obtaining a Master’s in SLP) improved faster than children treated by therapists with only minimal linguistic training (Bernhardt 2004: 197).

There are different prerequisites for each SLP program, but many of the requirements are similar across schools. For students majoring in Linguistics at UCSD, the things to consider are (1) what are the non-coursework requirements to fulfill; (2) how to obtain clinical field experience; (3) what courses to take at UCSD that will satisfy some of the requirements for SLP programs; and (4) where to take additional courses that cannot be satisfied at UCSD (either online or through a post-baccalaureate equivalency program). Click on the links above to see more information about the steps required for admission to many SLP programs.

GPA REQUIREMENTS and ENTRY EXAMS

Many MA programs in SLP have GPA requirements. These vary by program, and can be found on the program webpages or by contacting the relevant school.

Besides GPA requirements, most programs require that you take a graduate school entry exam, such as the GRE or (for some California programs) the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). You can find more details about how to register and prepare for these tests on their respective webpages.

CLINICAL FIELD EXPERIENCE

Although it may not be required for admission to an SLP Master’s program, many schools prefer that applicants gain clinical experience. This is especially true for applicants who have not earned their undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology or Communication Sciences and Disorders. Showing that you have shadowed a speech-language pathologist reinforces the notion that you are aware of what SLPs do in their everyday work environment, and that you are sure that this career path is right for you.

There are many possibilities for gaining clinical field experience in the San Diego area. Reading STARS is one possible venue for doing so. (If you are aware of other internships or volunteer opportunities, please contact Marc Garellek.)

AMERICAN SPEECH-LANGUAGE-HEARING ASSOCIATION (ASHA) PREREQUISITES

ASHA is the association that governs clinical certification of students who have completed a clinical Master’s degree in SLP. ASHA requires that applicants have prerequisite skills and knowledge of life sciences, physical sciences, behavioral sciences, and math. Evidence of at least one course in each of the following four areas is required:

  1. Statistics
  2. Physical science
  3. Biological science
  4. Behavioral science

Master’s programs in SLP will require you to have completed these requirements before you apply. There are many courses you could take at UCSD that should satisfy these requirements. Clicking on the course names will open up sample syllabi from previous offerings:

  1. Statistics:

  2. Physical science: Any 4-unit CHEM or PHYSICS course should satisfy this requirement.

  3. Biological science: Any 4-unit BILD course should satisfy this requirement.

  4. Behavioral science: Any 4-unit course in anthropology, sociology, psychology, or cognitive science should satisfy this requirement.

TYPICAL REQUIRED COURSES FOR ADMISSION TO SLP PROGRAMS

Some of common undergraduate courses that you will be expected to have taken prior to admission to Master’s programs include:

  1. Speech Science
  2. Phonetics
  3. Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing Mechanism
  4. Development of Speech and Language
  5. Articulation Disorders and language disorders
  6. Basic Clinical Audiology
  7. Cognitive Neuroscience

However, each program has its own requirements, which you should consult carefully if you are considering applying. Other required courses may include:

  1. Fluency disorders
  2. Voice disorders
  3. Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  4. Aural Rehabilitation

Some of these courses are regularly offered at UCSD, whereas others are not. Therefore, without an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders, graduates from UCSD’s Linguistics program have to decide between (a) completing additional coursework required for most SLP Master’s programs online, or (b) completing the additional coursework after graduating from UCSD. We discuss online courses and post-graduate options in other sections.

There are courses offered at UCSD that should satisfy some of the common prerequisite undergraduate courses listed above, either in full or in combination with other courses. Note: every program sets its own criteria for which undergraduate courses satisfy its prerequisites. The following is meant as a guideline — be sure to check with each school you plan on applying to in order to ensure that the courses below satisfy a particular program’s requirements.

  1. Speech Science / Phonetics:

  2. Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing Mechanism:

  3. Development of Speech and Language:

  4. Articulation Disorders and language disorders

  5. Cognitive Neuroscience:
    • COGS 107C – Cognitive neuroscience
      • 4-unit course
      • Offered in Spring quarter and Summer

  6. Fluency disorders

  7. Voice disorders:

  8. Aural rehabilitation:

Below1 is a list of which UCSD courses could satisfy the prerequisites for students without an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders for admission to SDSU’s SLP program (see also link to SDSU’s program for more details).

PREREQUISITES RECOMMENDED UCSD COURSES THAT SATISFY REQUIREMENT
Title / Description Course # Title
(provide description or syllabi in separate documentation)
Units Full or Partial satisfaction of requirement? Course Offerings at UCSD. FA-fall, WI-winter, SP-spring, SU-summer
BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Acceptable courses in biological sciences should emphasize a content area related to human or animal sciences (e.g., biology, human anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, human genetics, veterinary science).
BILD Any BILD course will satisfy this requirement 4 FULL
PHYSICAL SCIENCES
Acceptable courses in physical sciences should include physics or chemistry.
CHEM/PHYSICS Any CHEM or PHYSICS course will satisfy this requirement 4 FULL
SOCIAL/BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
Acceptable courses in social/behavioral sciences should include psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health.
ANY 1 COURSE FROM 1 OF THE DEPARTMENTS
ANTH CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE 4 FULL
PSYCH THE HUMAN CONDITION 4 FULL
SOCI INTRO TO COGNITIVE SCIENCE 4 FULL
STATISTICS
Research methodology courses in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) may not be used to satisfy the statistics requirement.
BIEB 100 BIOSTATISTICS 4 FULL FA
COGS 14B INTRO TO STATISTICAL ANALYSIS 4 FULL FA, SP
MATH 11 ELEMENTARY PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS 4 FULL SP
PSYCH 60 INTRO TO STATISTICS 4 FULL FA, WI, SP
INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION DISORDERS AND LANGUAGE SCIENCE (AND/OR INTRODUCTORY LINGUISTICS) COGS 101C LANGUAGE 4 FULL SP, SU
LIGN 101 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF LANGUAGE 4 FULL FA, WI, SU
LIGN 170 PSYCHOLINGUISTICS 4 FULL WI Not offered every year
LIGN 4 LANGUAGE AS A COGNITIVE SYSTEM 4 FULL WI
INTRODUCTION TO PHONETICS LIGN 110 PHONETICS 4 FULL FA
LIGN 111 PHONOLOGY I 4 PARTIAL WI
ANATOMY OF SPEECH AND HEARING AND NEUROANATOMY AUD 255 ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF THE AUDITORY AND VESTIBULAR SYSTEMS 4 HEARING ONLY Not offered
BIPN 144 DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROBIOLOGY 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY SP
COGS 107A NEUROANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY FA, SU
COGS 107B SYSTEMS NEUROSCIENCE 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY WI, SU
COGS 107C COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY SP, SU
COGS 11 COGNITIVE SCIENCE: MINDS AND BRAINS 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY FA, WI, SP
COGS 115 NEUROLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND COGNITIVE CHANGE 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY SP
Canceled this year
COGS 17 NEUROBIOLOGY OF COGNITION 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY FA, WI, SP
LIGN 110 PHONETICS 4 SPEECH ONLY FA
LIGN 180 LANGUAGE REPRESENTATION IN THE BRAIN 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY SP
Not offered every year
LIGN 181 LANGUAGE PROCESSING IN THE BRAIN 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY SP
Not offered every year
PSYCH 108 INTRO TO COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE 4 NEUROANATOMY ONLY WI
AUDIOLOGY AND AUDIOMETRY AUD 255 ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF THE AUDITORY AND VESTIBULAR SYSTEMS 4 PARTIAL Not offered
AUD 256 PATHOPHYSIOLOGY OF THE AUDITORY AND VESTIBULAR SYSTEMS 4 PARTIAL Not offered
BIEB 166 ANIMAL BEHAVIOR AND COMMUNICATION 4 PARTIAL WI
BIEB 167 ANIMAL COMMUNICATION LAB 4 PARTIAL WI
Not offered every year
MUS 175 MUSICAL PSYCHOACOUSTICS 4 PARTIAL SP, SU
PSYCH 138 SOUND AND MUSIC PERCEPTION 4 PARTIAL FA
Not offered ever year
CHILDREN’S LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT COGS 156 LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT 4 FULL FA, SP
Varies
HDP 120 LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT 4 FULL WI, SP
Only once a year
LIGN 119 FIRST AND SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING: FROM CHILDHOOD THROUGH ADOLESCENCE 4 FULL WI
LIGN 171 CHILD LANGUAGE ACQUISITION 4 FULL SP
Not offered every year
LIGN 179 SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION RESEARCH 4 FULL Varies,
typically SP
CHILDREN’S LANGUAGE DISORDERS COGS 154 COMMUNICATION DISORDERS IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS 4 PARTIAL SU
LIGN 120 MORPHOLOGY 4 PARTIAL SP
LIGN 121 SYNTAX I 4 PARTIAL WI
LIGN 130 SEMANTICS 4 PARTIAL SP
SPEECH SOUND DISORDERS (ARTICULATION/PHONOLOGICAL DISORDERS) COGS 154 COMMUNICATION DISORDERS IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS 4 PARTIAL SU
LIGN 110 PHONETICS 4 FULL FA
LIGN 111 PHONOLOGY I 4 PARTIAL WI
HDP 120 LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT 4 PARTIAL WI, SP
Only once a year
LIGN 119 FIRST AND SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING: FROM CHILDHOOD THROUGH ADOLESCENCE 4 PARTIAL WI
LIGN 171 CHILD LANGUAGE ACQUISITION 4 PARTIAL SP
Not offered every year
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED COURSEWORK
AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE AND/OR SIGN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE EDS 342ABC ASL-ENGLISH BILINGUAL EDUCATION PRACTICS 2-4 FULL
LIGN 7 SIGN LANGUAGE AND ITS CULTURE 4 FULL FA
LIGN 146 SOCIOLINGUISTICS IN DEAF COMMUNITIES 4 FULL Varies
LIGN 148 PSYCHOLINGUISTICS OF SIGN LANGUAGE 4 FULL Varies
CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY COMM 168 BILINGUAL COMMUNICATION 4 FULL
LIGN 141 LANGUAGE STRUCTURES 4 FULL Not found
LIGN 143 THE STRUCTURE OF SPANISH 4 FULL Not found
LIGN 175 SOCIOLINGUISTICS 4 FULL Varies
LIGN 177 MULTILINGUALISM 4 FULL Varies
LIGN 8 LANGUAGE AND CULTURES OF AMERICA 4 FULL SP
SOC 117 LANGUAGE CULTURE AND EDUCATION 4 FULL


1. We are grateful to Jessica Barlow (SDSU Professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) for her assistance in completing this list.

ONLINE COURSES AND POST-BAC PROGRAMS

To satisfy requirements for courses not offered at UCSD, you can choose to take online courses from an accredited school or to enroll in an on-campus, accredited, post-baccalaureate equivalency program. Below are two examples of online post-bac programs that have proved useful to our students (note that you can take these courses while still enrolled at UCSD):

  1. University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
    Tuition- 375$ per credit (2014)
  2. Utah State
    Tuition- 290$ per credit (2014)

Cal State Northridge has a comprehensive list of online post-bac programs, and another list (with both online and on-campus post-bac programs) can be found here. Note that there are many schools in the Southern California area that offer on-campus, one-year post-baccalaureate programs:

  1. CSU Fullerton
  2. CSU Los Angeles
  3. CSU Long Beach
  4. CSU Northridge

Be sure to check with a particular SLP Master’s program first to ensure that the online courses you wish to take (or post-bac program you wish to attend) will be accepted for admission.