Medical Speech-Language Pathology FAQ
What makes the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Program unique?
- Specialized coursework in the area of Medical Speech-Language Pathology for students planning to practice in hospitals or rehabilitation settings, above and beyond the general graduate curriculum required of all ASHA-accredited programs.
- 545 Assessment & Treatment of Voice Disorders in Medical Settings
- 546 Advanced Neurological Language & Cognitive-Communication Disorders
- 543 Assessment & Treatment of Pediatric Dysphagia
- 507 Evidence-Based Practice
- 548 Traumatic Brain Injury Seminar
- 541 AAC: Medical Settings
- 549 Clinical Forum in Speech-Language Pathology
- 545 Assessment & Treatment of Voice Disorders in Medical Settings
- Advanced coursework emphasizing evidence-based practice and the evaluation and treatment of disorders within a medical management framework.
- Multiple community-based clinical practicum experiences across the continuum of care, including a culminating full-time internship.
- Support from faculty in preparing for the Clinical Fellowship professional experience, including the employment search, interview process and understanding state licensure requirements.
How are the Medical Speech-Language Pathology and Core Speech-Language Pathology programs different? How are they similar?
Program emphasis: The Medical Speech-Language Pathology program is designed for students whose primary interest is working in the field of medical speech-language pathology and provides focused coursework and community-based experiences in this area. The Core Speech-Language Pathology program is for students with an interest in working in schools or in exploring the practice of speech-language pathology across a variety of settings. The Core Speech-Language Pathology program is appropriate for students do not wish to specialize in medical speech-language pathology.
Program requirements: The Medical Speech-Language Pathology program has a predetermined curriculum structure in terms of coursework and practica. There are no elective coursework options in this graduate program. The only exception is the ability for students to register for independent study, Master’s theses or special Professional Seminars offered within the Department. In the Core Speech-Language Pathology program, however, students select a pediatric or adult “emphasis path” and choose didactic and practicum electives that match their selected path.
Coursework: During the first year of both graduate programs, students take a similar series of courses to gain the foundation of clinical knowledge that covers the full range of communication sciences and disorders. In the second year, however, Medical Speech-Language Pathology students take specialized courses significant to the practice of medical speech pathology while Core Speech-Language Pathology students complete elective coursework according to their interests.
Practica: There are different clinical practicum requirements for Medical Speech-Language Pathology and Core Speech-Language Pathology programs. However, regardless of the program, all students complete a full-time internship at the end of their second year. During the first year, the clinical practica for both programs are primarily completed in the UW Speech & Hearing Clinic and students learn to assess and treat a variety of communication disorders across the lifespan. The Medical Speech-Language Pathology practicum experiences during this year, however, reflect medical service delivery best practices by incorporating case-based learning experiences, weekly rounds and clinical mentoring. This clinical education model is designed to best prepare students for community-based clinical rotations in the second year.
In the second year of the Medical Speech-Language Pathology program, students complete a series of community-based practicum experiences to help prepare them to work with a wide range of clinical cases across various professional settings. These community-based practicum experiences primarily occur in medical facilities and clinics in Western Washington. Core Speech-Language Pathology students complete the majority of their practica in the UW Speech & Hearing Clinic during the second year, with the exception of their culminating internship experience.
Clinical Fellowship Support: While all speech-language pathology graduate students receive general information about ASHA’s Clinical Fellowship requirement, students in the Medical Speech-Language Pathology program also receive individualized counseling and assistance from faculty during their final year in the program. Students have access to information about professional Clinical Fellowship opportunities and contacts through a Medical Speech-Language Pathology job board. Students are also provided with assistance in applying for positions and state licensure, as applicable.
Do I really need to have an undergraduate degree or coursework in Speech and Hearing Sciences or Communication Disorders to apply?
Yes! As an accredited graduate program, the Medical Speech-Language Pathology curriculum adheres to the standards and guidelines set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. ASHA has specific undergraduate coursework requirements that are a prerequisite to graduate study and clinical certification. In order to be eligible for graduate study, all applicants must have one of the following:
1) Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a major in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Communication Disorders, Communication Sciences and Disorders or a similarly named major
2) An undergraduate degree in another major from a regionally accredited institution, with sufficient undergraduate coursework in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Communication Disorders, Communication Sciences and Disorders or a similarly named program that encompasses the following areas of knowledge:
- Phonetics / Language Science
- Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
- Speech & Language Acquisition / Development
- Speech & Language Disorders
- Hearing Science / Nature of Sound
- The Hearing Mechanism
- Hearing Disorders
- Aural Rehabilitation / Management of Hearing Loss
- Social-Cultural Aspects of Communication
- Principles of Assessment
- Principles of Treatment
We cannot accept applications from individuals with undergraduate or graduate degrees outside the field of Speech and Hearing Science (e.g., Linguistics, Education, Psychology) who do not have the prerequisite speech and hearing sciences coursework.
Can I apply to both the Core Speech-Language Pathology and the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Master’s programs?
Yes, students may apply to both programs within the same application. However, applicants must state a preference for either the Medical Speech-Language Pathology or Core Speech-Language Pathology program on their application. In addition, individuals are required to write a personal statement that specifically reflects their interests in the preferred program.
Do you accept transfer students from other Master’s programs?
We do not accept transfer students into either of our Master of Sciences programs, Medical Speech-Language Pathology or Core Speech-Language Pathology.
Can I transfer between the Core Speech-Language Pathology program and the Medical Speech-Language Pathology once admitted?
No. Students are accepted into only one program. The curriculum and practica are uniquely designed to support each program and cannot accommodate student transfers.
If admitted, may I defer entrance to the program?
No. Planning for your program begins immediately upon your admission. On-campus and off-site clinical experiences are arranged annually. If you are admitted, then choose not to enter the program, the strength of your re-application in subsequent years is considered within the pool of applicants at that time.
How many students are typically admitted to the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Program?
20-25 students are admitted each year.
Are there minimum GPA and/or GRE scores required for admission to the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Program?
A minimum GPA of 3.0 during the last 90 quarter credit hours of study (60 semester hours) is required. There are no GRE score requirements. We consider all applicant credentials and information during the application process. High GPA and GRE scores are desirable, but are not the controlling factors in admission. Please review our “Profile of the Entering Class” on our Entrance Requirements page for details about average GPA and GRE scores for our admitted students.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The Medical Speech-Language Pathology program takes 2 years or 8 quarters to complete if students adhere to the program plan as designed.
Can I complete my graduate program in less than 8 quarters?
No. A minimum of 8 quarters is necessary to complete the didactic and clinical requirements of the program.
What are the academic performance expectations for the graduate program?
Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater while in the program. Students are also required to obtain at least a 2.7 in all their courses. If a student receives a grade below 2.7 he/she must retake the course. Students should be aware that retaking a course can delay subsequent coursework or planned practica, extending the time in the program.
When are classes offered?
Typically courses are offered between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Many classes are scheduled between 8:30-10:30 and 12:00-2:30 during the week. The faculty provides students with didactic and clinical schedules on a quarterly basis, and the official curriculum is available quarterly on the UW Time Schedule. Ultimately, though, all classes are scheduled around the needs of clinical practicum and placements. Prospective students should be aware, however, that some required courses may be offered during evening hours (e.g., 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.). In addition, classes may occasionally meet on Saturdays. The graduate program is also in session every quarter, including Summer quarter, and students will have required Summer classes.
Are Summer quarter classes required?
Absolutely. The Medical Speech-Language Pathology program is in session every quarter, including Summer quarter. Breaks in your program greatly complicate your plan of study and counters the careful planning that has gone into matching your classroom experiences with your clinical training.
Do I get to choose where I complete my off-site practicum placements?
No. Off-site practicum placements are assigned by the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Fieldwork Coordinators, and every student will be assigned to a variety of clinical experiences and facilities to meet ASHA and program requirements. Due to the large number of placements, individual preferences and requests cannot be accommodated. However, student skills, performance and interests are certainly considered when making assignments.
Do I get to choose my summer internship site?
No, but student interests and input are integrated into the decision-making process. Designated faculty members work to match student interests with the best available community site and clinical supervisor. Assignments are ultimately made by the internship/Fieldwork Coordinator and are guided by the interest area chosen by the student. In addition, depending on the number of students—from our graduate programs and others—interested in a particular site, students may be required to interview for an internship.
What types of facilities/settings are available for internships?
Internships can be completed in inpatient and outpatient hospital settings, skilled nursing/assisted living facilities, outpatient clinics and private practices. We do not offer school-based internships to Medical Speech-Language Pathology graduate students. Students in the Medical Speech-Language Pathology program receive priority for scheduling acute care and inpatient rehab internships.
Do I need to provide my own transportation to off-site practicum placements?
Yes. Students are required to provide their own transportation to and from community sites starting in their second year of the program. Many, but not all, facilities are served by public transportation. For those students without cars, the UW offers a Zipcar option with discounts to UPASS holders.
Will I have to work on weekends during my off-site practicum placements?
Possibly. Many of our affiliated sites provide speech–language pathology services seven days a week. Subsequently, students may be placed at facilities that will require weekend attendance due to supervisor or site availability.
Are there research opportunities for Medical Speech-Language Pathology students (e.g., completing a Master’s thesis)?
Yes. All interested graduate students can interview with faculty for the opportunity to complete a Master’s thesis. In addition, students interested in smaller scale research can complete Independent Study with faculty in lieu of a thesis or obtain positions working or volunteering in faculty research labs.
Is there a different tuition rate for out-of-state students?
No. The tuition, or instructional fee, for the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Program is the same for all students regardless of residency status.
Is financial aid available for students in the Medical Speech-Language Pathology program?
The department usually does not have financial assistance for Master’s students; therefore no special application for aid is necessary. If teaching assistantships (TA) or research assistantships (RA) become available, we notify all graduate students, and interested students may apply.
Prospective students should carefully read the information on the University of Washington Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) website. To apply for a Federal Stafford Direct Loan, fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on line at www.fafsa.ed.gov or on paper and submit it to the address included on the application. If you are offered admission to the graduate program and your FAFSA is approved, the University of Washington will send you a financial aid eligibility letter and a promissory note asking how much you wish to borrow. You will need the University of Washington’s federal financial aid code for the FAFSA: 003798.
If a student qualifies for UW Work Study, the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences makes every effort to employ the student within the Department including its laboratories. Work-study positions are readily available throughout the UW campus, as well. Student should review all Work Study Program information on the OSFA website.
If I accept an offer of admission what happens next?
All new students receive a welcome letter from the Department with instructions on how to prepare for the graduate program. Please review our Medical Speech-Language Pathology New Student Requirements document which summarizes the various documentation and activities that new students need to address by the first day of the program.
When is the Master’s degree conferred?
The degree is conferred (a) after the successful completion of all didactic and practicum requirements (minimum 8 quarters), and (b) upon successful completion of the Master’s thesis requirements where applicable.
Is the Clinical Fellowship process included in the Medical Speech-Language Pathology program?
No. As with other two-year graduate programs, students find their own Clinical Fellowship upon completion of their Master’s degree.
Will I be able to get a job when I graduate?
Although no one can predict economic conditions, many demographic factors indicate that employment opportunities for Speech-Language Pathologists will continue to be plentiful. Please review our M.S. Program Statistics page for data about our students' specific post-graduation employment. For more detailed information about SLP employment, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010–11 Edition, Speech-Language Pathologists.
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