What undergraduate degree for speech pathology?

I’m interested in speech-language pathology, which I know is a masters degree, but I’m in the process of searching for college and undergrad major. It looks like you don’t need a specific undergrad degree to get a masters in speech pathology, but what are the prerequisites?
I’m also sort of interested in Cognitive Science. Would I be able to use that major?
If you know of any schools that would be good for me to get an undergraduate degree for this, could you please list a few? Preferably in the Northeast US (incl. Virginia)

If you are looking for an undergraduate major to get a masters in speech pathology, may I suggest communication sciences and disorders.

1 Like

James Madison in VA. I think a couple of others in VA offer it also.

Here are two undergraduate programs:
U of Arizona: http://slhs.arizona.edu/students/undergraduate-experience
U Wisconsin: http://csd.wisc.edu/undergraduate/


I am a speech pathologist. As it happened, my undergrad degree was in speech and hearing sciences… but that was back in the day when one could actually get a job without a masters…or license.

I would strongly suggest you go to the American Speech Language Hearing Association website and look in the information for the public. There is a ton of information about this profession and what it takes to become a speech pathologist.

ETA…the field is very competitive…and some undergrad communications programs don’t admit you until your sophomore year…if you meet the GPA bar. In addition, the grad programs are competitive for admission.

If you look at the grad programs, you will see the requirements they expect you to meet for admission.

1 Like

Thank you. this was really helpful @thumper1

My D recently completed a Master’s in Speech pathology program so hopefully I can help a bit.

If you know now that you want to become a speech pathologist, I’d suggest that going that route as an undergrad is your best and most direct pathway into the field and will cut about two semesters off of your total education.

My D went in without an undergraduate degree in the field. She got into one of the very few masters programs we found that take students without a background in the field and admission is 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. 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 was 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 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).

From what we saw, the majority of programs only accept students who have completed a set of prerequisite background coursework in speech pathology (the required classes vary from school to school). You can get this background by: 1) majoring in speech pathology as an undergraduate or 2) taking a number of prerequisite courses (requirements seem to vary a bit program-to-program but are often around 6-8 classes). Some student do a post-bac program to get this done.

Again, if you know you want speech pathology I’d strongly consider starting in the field as an undergrad major.

I would also strongly suggest that you shadow an SLP in each setting so that you know what the profession involves. (Hospital, SNF clinics, schools, private practice, etc.)
I am often amazed that people are surprised that it isn’t just speech production. It involves so much more and covers a gamut of services that you need to be ready to provide.

Do you mind sharing which schools will allow non communication disorder majors into their master’s program?

I don’t have a complete list (and she started Fall 2016 so some things may have changed since then) and we looked in a limited geographic area – but if it helps my D applied to Columbia - Teachers College (which now has prerequisites but I think they can be done the summer before entering the program), NYU, NY Medical College, BU, Emerson and Mass General Hospital - Institute of Health Professionals.

For some programs people without undergrad majors started the summer before the program officially began and for other programs they began in the fall and went for additional semesters.

If you take the requisite courses for admission, most grad programs will admit you…if you have a great undergrad GPA, good LORs, and GRE scores. Some programs have interviews.

Agree with @thumper1 However the frustrating thing was that different programs had somewhat different lists of prerequisite courses. I do agree about the interviews – my D interviewed at 3 of the 6 programs she applied to.

@happy1 that’s why I suggested the student look at grad programs of interest and see what those grad programs require for prerequisite courses.

Also…not all undergrad communication sciences and disorders programs are the same. Some are way more robust than others.

I went to a very robust undergrad and actually did my grad work as a fellowship student. BUT I applied to a couple of programs where I needed to take some required prerequisites. I just didn’t matriculate at one of those!

In my opinion, the speech path undergrad programs in the Midwest…Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, are the best and most robust. It’s the heart of speech pathology programs…my opinion.

Communications Disorder. Look for a program that combines undergrad and masters to save you time and money. College of St. Rose in Albany, NY is off the beaten path but they have an outstanding CD program. If you are a strong student you will also get excellent merit money.

There are not very many direct entry bachelors to masters programs on this field.

When I was in grad school most of the research…most of the big stuff that was happening in the field…came out of the U of Iowa!

There are not many direct entry programs. The “easiest” path to being a SLP is to complete your undergrad in this field. This, of course, means that students need to know early on that they want to be a SLP…that doesn’t always happen.

And as I mentioned earlier, there are some undergrad communications programs that will not allow you to declare speech path as an undergrad major unless you meet a pretty high GPA bar as a freshman.

Hello there I’m an SLP. Speech Language Pathology is a diverse scientifically based communication field. You can work in the medical setting as well as the education setting and you learn about anatomy, physiology, etc.

Your undergraduate degree is your choice. When you apply to graduate programs, their requirements vary by the school. You can also check the American Speech Language and Hearing Association website -asha.org for feedback on prerequisites.

You are perfectly fine to major in Cognitive Science or Neuroscience and then apply for your Masters degree in CSD. So you are perfectly fine to check out some schools throughout the Northeast region.

Check out SUny-Buffalo State, Columbia University, Misericordia, Emerson College, James Madison University, and if you are open to the southern region at all there are some amazing programs there as well such as the very STEM-focused institution Xavier University of Louisiana.

I’m at the end of my college acceptances and trying to figure out where I should go. I applied to a variety of schools all over.

My mom thinks the best one is Ohio State speech and hearing and Spanish double major. I would spend my Junior year in Seville Spain and the goal would be to get dual certification. This program is specifically designed to ensure you have everything for get into a masters program. They have sign language classes

Was also accepted to Penn State CSD, applied to Emerson CSD (hoping to get in), NYU CSD (probably get rejected). Emerson looks amazing, but they have little to no world languages so all my years of Spanish would be lost, but Emerson has a more robust sign language program.

Other schools for speech and hearing I got in to Arizona State, U of Arizona, San Diego State University. I can minor on Spanish at all these schools, but I don’t think double major to where I would get enough to really end up being fluent in Spanish

UC Riverside for Neuroscience

Can anyone speak to any of these colleges? I am really confused and with Covid schools are mostly closed so I’ve not seen a single school in person. Plus I don’t know if I want the Spanish it looks really hard…

Speak to the colleges in what sense? Their academic programs, their environment, their social scenes, something else?

The Ohio State program sounds great, and it sounds like it offers you exactly what you want. Is there a reason that you don’t want to go there?

Most things worth doing are hard, so I wouldn’t shy away from Spanish for that reason. Plus, being bilingual as an SLP is a HUGE boon.