Speech Language Pathology: Undergrad Majors

Hi,

Since FIU doesn’t have a speech or communications disorder undergrad degree, they recommend getting Bachelor’s in " Psychology, Linguistics, Education, Special Education or Health Services Administration. "

Does anyone have any experience going from undergrad to grad school for SLP with any of these undergrad as their major. Have they been helpful in advising how to make the transition? Is there a clear path? Does it require more work or classes than if attending a communication disorders undergrad program somewhere else? TIA!

I am a speech language pathologist. I would suggest you look at the American Speech Language Hearing Association website…there is information there for the public. There is info on grad programs.

You really can major in anything for undergrad, but you absolutely still need to take the prerequisite courses require for admission to a graduate program.

I think any of them would work. With education, you will be required to do student teaching so you will have some experience working with kids in a real setting.

But really, any of those majors would be fine.

Look at some of the websites for masters programs and see what they require for admission.

I’ve known a few folks who entered a masters in speech pathology and did spend at least a term or even an additional year doing the required courses….as part of their masters program.

You can also reach out to someone at FIU and ask them how they help students who want to enter this field.

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I am also an SLP. You can be any major and get into grad school, but you will have to take the prerequisites. The student I know who went this route took 2 years off before attending to complete her courses. Others do it as part of the masters program. Thumper gave you good advice.

My D completed a Master’s in Speech pathology program a few years ago. From what I saw there are three ways to go about entering this profession.

  1. Undergraduate degree is speech pathology – IMO if you know now that you want to become a speech pathologist, I’d consider going this route as an undergrad is the most direct pathway into the field. You will still need to get a Masters degree but this route will cut about two semesters off of your total education.

  2. Direct entry Masters Programs - My D graduated from a LAC as she did not decide on this path until her junior year of college. She was fortunate to get into one of the few (that we found) masters programs that take students without a background in the field. Admission was competitive. The programs that take students with different majors will run an extra two semesters typically as students take a number of foundation classes (that speech majors took as undergrads) during the first year. Students in my D’s program who came in without a background in the field were from a wide range of colleges, backgrounds, majors and experiences. As an undergrad, my D was a psychology major, theater minor, and took a lot of science courses. In her grad school cohort of people who came in without undergrad majors in speech pathology, psychology was a popular major as were linguistics and neuroscience. Some people in her program came to speech pathology as a second career and previously worked in business, education etc. So bottom line if you go this route is I think a number of majors would be fine. Pick something that interests you and that you can do well in (a strong GPA is important for grad school admissions).

  3. Take prerequisite courses after undergrad then apply to Masters Programs - From what we saw, the majority of Masters programs in the field only accept students who have completed a set of prerequisite background coursework in speech pathology (to complicate matters required prerequisite classes varied from school to school but are often around 6-8 classes). Some student do a post-bac program to get the prerequisites done.

IMO if you are certain that you want a career in speech pathology I’d consider starting in the field as an undergrad major.

I do agree with @thumper1 about reaching out to the school for advice.

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I am also an SLP and agree with the previous info provided.

We had Psychology grads and many of my colleagues minored in psych because they had enough units to qualify.

The grads with linguistics majors, however, did really well.
They had a slight advantage in that area of study.

I asked my D. She felt the linguistics majors had an “advantage” in certain classes while she (with a strong science/psych/neuro background) and others had an “advantage” in other classes. Overall she felt things evened out pretty nicely – and fortunately her cohort was very supportive of one another.

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Thank you everyone. I will make sure to do more research and to discuss this with my daughter. It’s tough because we are in Florida and few schools offer the undergrad route, at least schools that would be within her academic or financial reach. It’s frustrating that a school would have this program for graduate school but not a clear undergrad bridge.

The degree one needs to practice and be licensed as a speech pathologist is a masters degree. Many colleges don’t have an undergrad program in communication disorders but do have graduate programs. This isn’t that unusual. Some states have only one public option that offers an undergrad communications degree.

Also many undergrad programs don’t do direct admit. Students need to apply to the undergrad major usually at the end of their freshman year…and the bar is pretty high.

The masters programs are there! And plenty of folks apply from other majors. Good luck to her!

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Graduate programs have become increasingly more competitive. Any of the previously mentioned majors would be excellent, and having a background in psychology, linguistics, the sciences, and even statistics would be helpful. Having an undergrad major in the field is very helpful, but not necessary.

Whatever her major, she needs to focus on her gpa, gre scores, letters of recommendation etc. Volunteering in the field and demonstrating that she understands the profession is also beneficial (maybe interviewing SLPs etc). She may also look for student organizations to join. Good luck!

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It is frustrating that there is no defined path. My D was particularly frustrated when she saw different grad programs had somewhat different prerequisites. That is one reason she focused on direct entry masters programs.

Some things my D did to demonstrate interest in
the field while she was an undergrad included shadowing a few.speech therapists and taking an introductory class in speech pathology at a local college. My D also did a great deal of research as an undergrad which she thought was helpful in the grad school admissions process.