The department offers graduate programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. in communication sciences and disorders. An additional program in the department leads to the Au.D. in audiology. The graduate program provides the opportunity for study in the areas of audiology, speech–language pathology, hearing science, language science, and speech science. The purpose of the graduate program is to prepare clinicians, researchers, and teachers who possess a solid foundation in both the theoretical and applied aspects of the discipline of communication sciences and disorders.

The M.S. program is a two-year professional program designed to prepare students for clinical work. It is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association. At the master's level, supervised diagnostic and therapy experiences with children and adults are provided in a variety of on- and off-campus clinical settings. This program meets the academic and clinical-practicum requirements for clinical certification set by the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA). Opportunities are also available for pursing a nonclinical program at the master's level.

Financial assistance, sometimes available to graduate students in communication sciences and disorders, consists of scholarships, fellowships, traineeships, and project and research assistant positions. Financial assistance is very limited and varies from year to year. Students who are considering applying for financial aid should contact the department for further information.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees

M.S., with available tracks in speech–language pathology, and normal aspects of speech, language and hearing

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

M.S.–speech language pathology track: 36 credits

M.S.–normal aspects of speech, language and hearing: 30 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

M.S.–speech language pathology track: 36 credits

M.S.–normal aspects of speech, language and hearing: 30 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

M.S.–speech language pathology track: All but 3 credits of the minimum 36 credits for the degree must be taken in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

M.S.–normal aspects of speech, language and hearing: All of the minimum number of credits (30) must be taken in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the University's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

No prior coursework from other institutions is allowed.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

Up to 6 credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree. If the courses are numbered 500 and above, the credits may be counted toward the overall graduate credit requirement; if the courses are numbered 700 or above, they may count toward both the minimum graduate degree requirement and minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

No prior coursework from UW–Madison University Special career is allowed.

Credits per Term Allowed

14 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

Contact the program for information on any additional required courses.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00

Other Grade Requirements

The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

Probation Policy

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

Advisor / Committee

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

Assessment and Examinations

Contact the program for information on required assessments and examinations.

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Language Requirements

Contact the program for information on any language requirements.

The program is open to individuals who have completed an undergraduate degree and who meet the minimum admission requirements of the Graduate School and the department. Entering students who do not have undergraduate majors in communicative disorders will typically be required to take prerequisite course work, which may lengthen the time require to earn a graduate degree.

Knowledge and Skills

Foundations of Practice

  • Students will possess foundational knowledge about basic human communication and swallowing processes.
  • Students will identify sources and assemble evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in communication sciences and disorders.
  • Students will articulate and critique the theories, research methods, and approaches in speech-language pathology.
  • Students will integrate research principles into evidence-based clinical practice.
  • Students will apply research findings in the provision of patient care.
  • Students will communicate complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.

Prevention, Identification and Assessment

  • Students will conduct screening and prevention procedures.
  • Students will perform chart review and collect case history from patient interviews and/or relevant others.
  • Students will select appropriate evaluation instruments/procedures.
  • Students will administer and score diagnostic tests correctly.
  • Students will adapt evaluation procedures to meet patient needs.
  • Students will possess knowledge of etiologies and characteristics for each communication and swallowing disorder.
  • Students will interpret and formulate diagnosis from test results, history, and other behavioral observations
  • Students will make appropriate recommendations for intervention.
  • Students will complete administrative functions and documentation necessary to support evaluation.
  • Students will make appropriate recommendations for patient referrals. 

Intervention

  • Students will develop appropriate treatment plans with measurable and achievable goals.
  • Students will collaborate with clients/patients and relevant others in the planning process.
  • Students will implement treatment plans.
  • Students will select and use appropriate materials/instrumentation.
  • Students will sequence tasks to meet objectives.
  • Students will provide appropriate introduction/explanation of tasks.
  • Students will measure and evaluate patients' performance and progress.
  • Students will use appropriate models, prompts, or cues.
  • Students will adapt treatment session to meet individual patient needs.
  • Students will complete administrative functions and documentation necessary to support treatment.
  • Students will identify and refer patients for services as appropriate.

Professional Conduct

  • Students will recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct.
  • Students will apply skills for life-long learning.
  • Students will apply intercultural knowledge and competence in their practice.
  • Students will demonstrate teamwork and problem solving.
  • Students will possess knowledge of contemporary professional issues and advocacy.
  • Students will communicate effectively, recognizing the needs, values, preferred mode of communication, and cultural/linguistic background of the patient, family, caregiver, and relevant others.
  • Students will provide counseling and supportive guidance regarding communication and swallowing disorders to patients, family, caregivers, and relevant others.

Faculty: Professors Weismer (chair), Connors, Edwards, Ellis-Weismer, Fourakis, Fowler, Hustad,  Litovsky, Lutfi, Turkstra; Associate Professors Kaushanskaya; Assistant Professors Ciucci, Sterling