The department offers graduate programs leading to the MS and PhD in communication sciences and disorders. An additional program in the department leads to the AuD 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 MS program has two tracks. The Speech-Language Pathology track1 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.

The Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing track1 is a non-clinical degree. Most students complete this degree as a first step toward a PhD.


These tracks are internal to the program and represent different pathways a student can follow to earn this degree. Track names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.


Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline January 15
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1241.
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

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.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the Graduate School’s admission requirements, as well as department-specific requirements.

The application minimum grade point average (GPA) is 3.0 (4.0 = A); however, the students we accept into the program typically have much higher GPAs.

Program Prerequisites

You must complete the following undergraduate courses before beginning graduate course work:

CS&D 201 Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Production3
CS&D 202 Hearing Science3
CS&D 240 Language Development in Children and Adolescents3
CS&D 315 Phonetics and Phonological Development3
CS&D 320 Introduction to Audiology3
CS&D 371 Pre-Clinical Observation of Children and Adults3
CS&D 425 Auditory Rehabilitation3
CS&D 440 Child Language Disorders, Assessment and Intervention3

In addition to the above courses, you will need a course in each of the following areas:

  • Biological sciences
  • Physical sciences (chemistry or physics)
  • Statistics
  • Social/behavioral sciences

The American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA) standards now specify that a course in each of these areas is required for American Speech–Language–Hearing Association certification. For additional details, visit ASHA’s website Standard IV-A.

If you choose to complete prerequisites at UW–Madison before applying for graduate study, you must apply to the Capstone Program. These courses typically can be completed within two semesters. Equivalent courses from another university or department will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Letters of Recommendation

These letters should address your potential for academic success in graduate school. At least two should come from instructors who have knowledge of your academic performance. The third may come from a clinical supervisor, employer, or other individual who has knowledge of your academic potential and likelihood for success in graduate school. Please submit no more than three letters of recommendation. 


Please answer the following prompts and upload as one document to the Statement section of the Graduate School application. 

Personal Statement Prompt (Required)

Your GPA alone does not convey who you are and why you’re here. The personal statement is an important part of the application that serves as both a writing sample and an opportunity for you to tell us about who you are, your motivators for pursuing a career in speech-language pathology, and how your experiences have influenced your career goals.

In 1000 words or less (12 pt. font, single-spaced), please address the following:

  • Identify three characteristics that make you well-suited for a career as a speech-language pathologist.
  • Describe the experiences that have shaped your interest in speech-language pathology (personal experiences, field-related experiences, coursework, etc.)
  • Describe your career goals in speech-language pathology.
Optional Prompt

If you have distinctive characteristics and/or life experiences, such as obstacles or hardships, that may have impacted your academic performance or other aspects of your application, please address them in a statement of 500 words or less (12 pt. font, single-spaced).

CV or Resume

To ensure that applicants include all relevant experiences and are evaluated equitably, we have created a resume template to use for your resume submission. Please download, fill out, and upload the completed resume template to the CV/Resume section of the Graduate School application. An example has been provided.


Upload a copy of your unofficial transcripts. These show grades earned at every college or university you have attended, including study abroad. If admitted, the Graduate School will request official transcripts.

Supplemental Application

Fill out the supplemental application that is found in the online graduate school application.

Notable Advice

  • Submit all materials one week prior to deadline. Late and incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • File your application early. Do not wait until you can gather all your materials. It is better to file early and send additional items as they become available.
  • Track your application status. After submission of your application, you will receive a link to a personal web page where you can track your application status. We update this page as we receive your materials, usually within two weeks of receipt.
  • For more information, review the UW–Madison Graduate School “Steps to Apply” and “Admissions FAQ”.


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

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 Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

Mode of Instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement Speech–Language Pathology pathway: 44 credits

Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing pathway: 33 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement Speech–Language Pathology pathway: 44 credits

Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing pathway: 33 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Speech–Language Pathology pathway: All but 4 credits of the minimum 44 credits for the degree must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244.

Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing pathway: All of the minimum number of credits (33) must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203.
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Speech–Language Pathology pathway: During the semester before you intend to finish your degree course work, take the Praxis II Exam (ASHA NESPA) and obtain a passing score (162 or better). Taking the Praxis is a graduation requirement (clinical MS students only).

Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing pathway: A thesis is required.
Language Requirements n/a

Required Courses

Speech–Language Pathology Pathway1

Year 1, Fall Semester
CS&D 503 Neural Mechanisms of Speech, Hearing and Language3
CS&D 703 Language and Learning Disorders of Children3
CS&D 706 Management and Assessment of Voice Disorders3
CS&D 790 Practicum in Communicative Disorders2
Year 1, Spring Semester
CS&D 704 Acquired Language and Cognitive-Communication Disorders in Adults3
CS&D 705 Motor Speech Disorders/Augmentative and Alternative Communication3
CS&D 707 Swallowing Disorders (taken for 3 credits)3
CS&D 709 Language Development and Disorders in School Age Populations: School Methods and Procedures3
CS&D 790 Practicum in Communicative Disorders2
Summer Semester
Sign Language I (optional elective)
CS&D 713 Introduction to Medical Speech Pathology1
CS&D 790 Practicum in Communicative Disorders2
Year 2, Fall Semester
Sign Language I (optional elective)
CS&D 708 Fluency and Phonological Disorders3
Practicum in Communicative Disorders (Advanced Practicum, optional)
CS&D 791 School Practicum in Communication Sciences & Disorders5
Year 2, Spring Semester
CS&D 752 Capstone in Communication Sciences and Disorders: Integration of Clinical and Research Methods3
Practicum in Communicative Disorders (Advanced Practicum, optional)
CS&D 791 School Practicum in Communication Sciences & Disorders5
Total Credits44

These pathways are internal to the program and represent different curricular paths a student can follow to earn this degree. Pathway names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.

Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing (non-clinical) Pathway1

A minimum of 33 credits and a thesis is required. While the curriculum is individually designed for the specific student, it includes many of the same academic courses as in the Speech-Language Pathology Pathway curriculum above. Students take CS&D 990 or CS&D 999 credits while completing the thesis.

Because an emphasis on Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing does not include clinical practice, CS&D 791, CS&D 790, and CS&D 713 are not part of the curriculum.


These pathways are internal to the program and represent different curricular paths a student can follow to earn this degree. Pathway names do not appear in the Graduate School admissions application, and they will not appear on the transcript.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions

No prior coursework from other institutions is allowed.

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW-Madison

On very rare occasions, up to 6 credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to transfer toward the degree. If the courses are numbered 500 and above, the credits may transfer toward the overall graduate credit requirement; if the courses are numbered 700 or above, they may transfer toward both the minimum graduate degree requirement and minimum graduate coursework (50%) requirement.

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a University Special Student at UW–Madison

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


A student whose clinical performance in one semester received a grade of BC or C will be placed on clinical probation for their clinical practicum in the following semester. See details in the Graduate Program Handbook (link in Contact Information).

Advisor / Committee

Every graduate student is required to have an academic advisor. The MS-SLP Director serves as the academic advisor.

Students in the Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing pathway are also required to have a thesis advisor.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits

Time Limits

Refer to the Graduate School: Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.



Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. (Foundations of Practice) Possess foundational knowledge about basic human communication and swallowing processes.
  2. (Foundations of Practice) Identify sources and assemble evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in communication sciences and disorders.
  3. (Foundations of Practice) Articulate and critique the theories, research methods, and approaches in speech-language pathology.
  4. (Foundations of Practice) Integrate research principles into evidence-based clinical practice.
  5. (Foundations of Practice) Apply research findings in the provision of patient care.
  6. (Foundations of Practice) Communicate complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.
  7. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Conduct screening and prevention procedures.
  8. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Perform chart review and collect case history from patient interviews and/or relevant others.
  9. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Select appropriate evaluation instruments/procedures.
  10. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Administer and score diagnostic tests correctly.
  11. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Adapt evaluation procedures to meet patient needs.
  12. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Possess knowledge of etiologies and characteristics for each communication and swallowing disorder.
  13. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Interpret and formulate diagnosis from test results, history, and other behavioral observations.
  14. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Make appropriate recommendations for intervention.
  15. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Complete administrative functions and documentation necessary to support evaluation.
  16. (Prevention, Identification and Assessment) Make appropriate recommendations for patient referrals.
  17. (Intervention) Develop appropriate treatment plans with measurable and achievable goals.
  18. (Intervention) Collaborate with clients/patients and relevant others in the planning process.
  19. (Intervention) Implement treatment plans.
  20. (Intervention) Select and use appropriate materials/instrumentation.
  21. (Intervention) Sequence tasks to meet objectives.
  22. (Intervention) Provide appropriate introduction/explanation of tasks.
  23. (Intervention) Measure and evaluate patients' performance and progress.
  24. (Intervention) Use appropriate models, prompts, or cues.
  25. (Intervention) Adapt treatment session to meet individual patient needs.
  26. (Intervention) Complete administrative functions and documentation necessary to support treatment.
  27. (Intervention) Identify and refer patients for services as appropriate.
  28. (Professional Conduct) Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct.
  29. (Professional Conduct) Apply skills for life-long learning.
  30. (Professional Conduct) Apply intercultural knowledge and competence in their practice.
  31. (Professional Conduct) Demonstrate teamwork and problem solving.
  32. (Professional Conduct) Possess knowledge of contemporary professional issues and advocacy.
  33. (Professional Conduct) Communicate effectively, recognizing the needs, values, preferred mode of communication, and cultural/linguistic background of the patient, family, caregiver, and relevant others.
  34. (Professional Conduct) Provide counseling and supportive guidance regarding communication and swallowing disorders to patients, family, caregivers, and relevant others.


Information about faculty and staff can be found on the program's website.


Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language-Pathology

Accreditation Status: Accredited. Next Accreditation Review: 2028.


American Speech–Language–Hearing Association

Praxis Pass Rate

Year of Exam UW-Madison Graduates: All Attempts National: All Attempts  
2022-2023 100% Not Available
2021-2022 100% Not Available
2020-2021 100% Not Available

Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)

The United States Department of Education (via 34 CFR Part 668) requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure. The expectation is that institutions will determine whether each applicable academic program meets state professional licensure requirements and provide a general disclosure of such on an official university website.

Professional licensure requirements vary from state-to-state and can change year-to-year; they are established in a variety of state statutes, regulations, rules, and policies; and they center on a range of educational requirements, including degree type, specialized accreditation, total credits, specific courses, and examinations.  

UW-Madison has taken reasonable efforts to determine whether this program satisfies the educational requirements for certification/licensure in states where prospective and enrolled students are located and is disclosing that information as follows.

Disclaimer: This information is based on the most recent annual review of state agency certification/licensure data and is subject to change. All students are strongly encouraged to consult with the individual/office listed in the Contact Information box on this page and with the applicable state agency for specific information.

The requirements of this program meet certification/licensure requirements in the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

The requirements of this program do not meet certification/licensure requirements in the following states:

Not applicable

Updated: 1 June 2024