Speech Pathology Graduate Programs

Top Speech Pathology Programs: Entrance Requirements

Speech Pathology Graduate Program Requirement

In 2012, U.S. News and World Report released their speech pathology rankings, which listed the following schools as having the five best speech pathology programs:

  • University of Iowa
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of Washington
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Northwestern University

Entrance requirements for each school somewhat vary, but there is also a great deal of commonality in the application requirements for each one of these top speech pathology programs. For example, all of the speech pathology colleges require a bachelor’s degree, usually with a minimum GPA of 3.0, and GRE test scores. Additionally, there are typically certain prerequisites required for those interested in becoming a speech pathologist.


University of Iowa

The University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Washington cite specific coursework that must be taken prior to admission or before enrolling in advanced courses. The following lists of requirements at each institution demonstrate the breadth and depth of knowledge expected at the beginning of a graduate education for future speech therapists, which suggests the expectations upon completion of the program will be even more extensive and more detailed, in line with those of the ASHA. Entrance requirements for these top speech pathology programs demonstrate the extent to which ASHA accreditation standards influence graduate education in the field.

  • Phonetics: Theory & Applications
  • Basic Acoustics for Speech and Hearing
  • Introductory Statistics
  • Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Production
  • Introduction to Hearing Science
  • Basic Neuroscience for Speech and Hearing
  • Psychology of Language OR Psycholinguistics
  • Language Acquisition
  • Hearing Loss & Audiometry

For a list of current program requirements at The University of Iowa, please click here.

University of Wisconsin – Madison

  • Speech Science
  • Normal Aspects of Hearing
  • Language Development
  • Speech Pathology I: Phonetics/phonological development and disorders
  • Speech Pathology II: Voice disorders, orofacial anomalies, and fluency disorders
  • Introduction to Audiology
  • Preclinical Observation Methods
  • Auditory Rehabilitation
  • Child Language Disorders

For a list of current program requirements at the University of Wisconsin, please click here.

University of Washington

  • Linguistics
  • 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
  • Audiometry
  • Aural Rehabilitation / Management of Hearing Loss
  • Social-Cultural Aspects of Communication
  • Principles of Assessment
  • Principles of Treatment

For a list of current program requirements at the University of Washington, please click here.

Notably, the University of Washington requires students to have taken at least one undergraduate course in each of the following: a biological science, a social or behavioral science, a physical science, and statistics. The need for knowledge in these areas is also emphasized by Vanderbilt University, which not only lists these same requirements but also explains the reason: these are foundational areas of study needed for ASHA certification. For a list of current program requirements at Vanderbilt University, please click here.

Taken collectively, this information shows speech pathology graduate programs are paying close attention to how closely their requirements coordinate with the certification requirements of the ASHA. They want to ensure their graduates are well-qualified, knowledgeable speech therapists who can apply for and earn ASHA credentials with relative ease. To do so, they generally try to admit candidates who already demonstrate a level of understanding and show potential for enhancing their career.

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