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. (Here’s a useful link from UCLA’s Linguistics Department, which includes many SLP programs in the U.S., which includes their GPA and other requirements.)

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. Another possibility includes looking though the San Diego Unified School District’s list of schools, clicking on their websites to locate who are the SLPs working there, and emailing or calling them to see if they are looking for volunteers. These SLPs know how important it is to accept volunteers and for you to gain experience – they once had to do the same! – so don’t be shy.  (If you are aware of other internships or volunteer opportunities, please contact Marc Garellek so that he can add them to the list.)

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

You can take these courses for Pass/No Pass, and AP courses will also count so long as they have transferred over to UCSD and appear on your transcript. 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:
  1.  Physical science: Any 4-unit CHEM or PHYSICS course should satisfy this requirement.
  2.  Biological science: Any 4-unit BILD course should satisfy this requirement.
  3.  Behavioral science: Any 4-unit course in anthropology, sociology, psychology, or cognitive science should satisfy this requirement. LIGN 146 or 148 will also 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. Syllabi for some courses can be found at syllabus.ucsd.edu. 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. Once admitted to a Master’s program, also be sure to confirm with your advisor that you have satisfied those prerequisites; there have been cases of students being admitted to a Master’s program only to find out later that they need to take additional coursework to catch up!

1. Speech Science / Phonetics:

  • LIGN 110 – Phonetics
    • 4-unit course
    • Typically offered in Fall quarter
  • LIGN 112 – Speech sounds and speech disorders
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Winter quarter
2. Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing Mechanism:
  • LIGN 110 – Phonetics
    • 4-unit course
    • Typically offered in Fall quarter
    • N.B. This course will only cover anatomy and physiology of speech
  • LIGN 112 – Speech sounds and speech disorders
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Winter quarter
    • N.B. This course covers anatomy and physiology of both speech and hearing
3. Development of Speech and Language:
  • LIGN 119 – First and second language learning: from childhood through adolescence
    • 4-unit course
    • Typically offered in Winter quarter
  • LIGN 171 – Child language acquisition
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered either in Spring quarter of this year
    • Not offered every year
  • COGS 156 – Language development
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered either in Fall or Spring quarter
  • HDP 120 – Language development
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered once a year, either in Winter or Spring quarter
  • LIGN 179 – Second language acquisition research
    • 4-unit course
    • Typically offered in Spring quarter
  • LIGN 180 – Language representation in the brain
    • 4-unit course
    • Typically offered in Spring quarter
  • LIGN 181 – Language processing in the brain
    • 4-unit course
    • Typically offered in Spring quarter

4. Articulation Disorders and language disorders

  • LIGN 110 – Phonetics
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Fall quarter
  • LIGN 111 – Phonology I
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Winter quarter
  • LIGN 112 – Speech sounds and speech disorders
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Winter quarter
  • LIGN 119 – First and second language learning: from childhood through adolescence
    • 4-unit course
    • Typically offered in Winter quarter
  • LIGN 171 – Child language acquisition
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered either in Spring quarter of this year
    • Not offered every year
  • HDP 120 – Language development
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered once a year, either in Winter or Spring quarter
  • COGS 154 – Communication disorders in children and adults
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Summer session
5. Cognitive Neuroscience:
  • COGS 107C – Cognitive neuroscience
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Spring quarter and Summer
6. Fluency disorders
  • LIGN 112 – Speech sounds and speech disorders
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Winter quarter
  • COGS 154 – Communication disorders in children and adults
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Summer session
7. Voice disorders:
  • LIGN 112 – Speech sounds and speech disorders
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Winter quarter
  • COGS 154 – Communication disorders in children and adults
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Summer session
8. Aural rehabilitation:
  • COGS 154 – Communication disorders in children and adults
    • 4-unit course
    • Offered in Summer session

As of Spring 2017, the Linguistics department offers a major and minor in Speech and Language Sciences, which are designed specifically for students considering careers in speech-language pathology. A student majoring in Speech and Language Sciences is required to take many of the courses listed above, helping to potentially satisfy prerequisites for postgraduate SLP programs.

Therefore, we highly encourage students who might be interested in an SLP career to enroll in the major or minor. However, please note that this major is not equivalent to a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Even with the Linguistics major concentration in Speech and Language Sciences, or having taken the above courses, you are likely to still be missing a course on speech anatomy and physiology (i.e., an anatomy/physiology course focusing on the structures ranging from the diaphragm up to the brain), a course on audiology, and a course of child language development (if M.A. programs require that clinical assessment methods in child language disorders are taught). Therefore, if you choose to take three online courses, these should be the ones you focus on!

Courses to Satisfy SDSU's M.A. Prerequisites

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?

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

COGS 14B

INTRO TO STATISTICAL ANALYSIS

4

FULL

MATH 11

ELEMENTARY PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS

4

FULL

PSYCH 60

INTRO TO STATISTICS

4

FULL

INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION DISORDERS AND LANGUAGE SCIENCE (AND/OR INTRODUCTORY LINGUISTICS)

COGS 101C

LANGUAGE

4

FULL

LIGN 101

INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF LANGUAGE

4

FULL

LIGN 170

PSYCHOLINGUISTICS

4

FULL

LIGN 4

LANGUAGE AS A COGNITIVE SYSTEM

4

FULL

INTRODUCTION TO PHONETICS

LIGN 110

PHONETICS

4

FULL

LIGN 111

PHONOLOGY I

4

PARTIAL

ANATOMY OF SPEECH AND HEARING AND NEUROANATOMY

AUD 255

ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF THE AUDITORY AND VESTIBULAR SYSTEMS

4

HEARING ONLY

BIPN 144

DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROBIOLOGY

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

COGS 107A

NEUROANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

COGS 107B

SYSTEMS NEUROSCIENCE

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

COGS 107C

COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

COGS 11

COGNITIVE SCIENCE: MINDS AND BRAINS

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

COGS 115

NEUROLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT AND COGNITIVE CHANGE

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

COGS 17

NEUROBIOLOGY OF COGNITION

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

LIGN 110

PHONETICS

4

SPEECH ONLY

LIGN 180

LANGUAGE REPRESENTATION IN THE BRAIN

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

LIGN 181

LANGUAGE PROCESSING IN THE BRAIN

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

PSYCH 108

INTRO TO COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE

4

NEUROANATOMY ONLY

AUDIOLOGY AND AUDIOMETRY

AUD 255

ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF THE AUDITORY AND VESTIBULAR SYSTEMS

4

PARTIAL

AUD 256

PATHOPHYSIOLOGY OF THE AUDITORY AND VESTIBULAR SYSTEMS

4

PARTIAL

BIEB 166

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR AND COMMUNICATION

4

PARTIAL

BIEB 167

ANIMAL COMMUNICATION LAB

4

PARTIAL

MUS 175

MUSICAL PSYCHOACOUSTICS

4

PARTIAL

PSYCH 138

SOUND AND MUSIC PERCEPTION

4

PARTIAL

CHILDREN’S LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

COGS 156

LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

4

FULL

HDP 120

LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

4

FULL

LIGN 119

FIRST AND SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING: FROM CHILDHOOD THROUGH ADOLESCENCE

4

FULL

LIGN 171

CHILD LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

4

FULL

LIGN 179

SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION RESEARCH

4

FULL

CHILDREN’S LANGUAGE DISORDERS

COGS 154

COMMUNICATION DISORDERS IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS

4

PARTIAL

LIGN 120

MORPHOLOGY

4

PARTIAL

LIGN 121

SYNTAX I

4

PARTIAL

LIGN 130

SEMANTICS

4

PARTIAL

SPEECH SOUND DISORDERS (ARTICULATION/PHONOLOGICAL DISORDERS)

COGS 154

COMMUNICATION DISORDERS IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS

4

PARTIAL

LIGN 110

PHONETICS

4

FULL

LIGN 111

PHONOLOGY I

4

PARTIAL

LIGN 112

SPEECH SOUNDS AND SPEECH DISORDERS

4

FULL

HDP 120

LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

4

PARTIAL

LIGN 119

FIRST AND SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING: FROM CHILDHOOD THROUGH ADOLESCENCE

4

PARTIAL

LIGN 171

CHILD LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

4

PARTIAL

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

 

LIGN 146

SOCIOLINGUISTICS IN DEAF COMMUNITIES

4

FULL

 

LIGN 148

PSYCHOLINGUISTICS OF SIGN LANGUAGE

4

FULL

CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY

COMM 168

BILINGUAL COMMUNICATION

4

FULL

LIGN 141

LANGUAGE STRUCTURES

4

FULL

 

LIGN 143

THE STRUCTURE OF SPANISH

4

FULL

 

LIGN 175

SOCIOLINGUISTICS

4

FULL

LIGN 177

MULTILINGUALISM

4

FULL

 

LIGN 8

LANGUAGE AND CULTURES OF AMERICA

4

FULL

SOC 117

LANGUAGE CULTURE AND EDUCATION

4

FULL

1. We are grateful to Jessica Barlow (SDSU Professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) and Ignatius Nip (SDSU Associate Professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) for their 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 three 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. San Diego State University
    • SDSU recommends that Linguistics students from UCSD take SLHS 305, 321, 340, and 514.
  2. University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
  3. Utah State

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 Los Angeles
  2. CSU Long Beach
  3. 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.

Links and Additional Resources

  1. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  2. San Diego State University’s clinical program in Speech-Language Pathology
  3. Master of Science in Communication Disorders and Sciences: Speech-Language Pathology at Cal State Northridge
  4. UCLA Linguistics’ list of SLP post-bac and Master’s programs (currently a Google Doc, courtesy of Alejandra Garcia. If you notice any empty links in this document, please contact Alejandra Garcia to let her know.)
  5. Tips for what to do if you are not admitted to an SLP program
  6. Speech-Language Pathology Fact Sheet prepared by UCSD Linguistics alumna Arlene Aguilar
  7. Many west coast states offer in-state tuition for postgraduate programs like SLP Master’s programs, so if you consider applying out of state, you may want to look into programs in certain states. Find out more about the Western Regional Graduate Program here. Here’s a link to their FAQs.

Resources

Inquiries about language classes should be directed to the Language Program advisors .

Inquiries about the Linguistics Undergraduate Program (specific questions about classes, plans of study, graduate school options, and EAP/OAP class approval) should be directed to the Undergraduate Advisors.