The University of Washington and SPHSC Department's policies and procedures support a selective and holistic admissions process. Our goal is to attract students who demonstrate the strongest prospects for high quality academic and clinical work, as well as embody the personal qualities, attributes, and values that align with the mission of our Department and the field of speech-language pathology. We also seek students whose unique history, perspectives, and skills will collectively enhance our Master of Science program and the experiences of the clients we serve. The process of admission will be mindful of the need for diversity in the student body and for highly-trained individuals from all segments of the population, and will assure that the University's educational opportunities are open to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or veteran status.
ATTENTION: If you do not have an undergraduate background in Speech and Hearing Sciences or Communication Disorders, please follow this link to our Postbaccalaureate Bachelor of Science Program web page.
- We no longer require or accept GRE scores as part of our M.S. program admissions process. The GRE test score requirement has been permanently eliminated from our admissions application for all three program tracks.
- Due to the MLK Holiday Weekend, applications for Autumn Quarter 2023 admission will be due two days earlier on JANUARY 13, 2023.
Enrollment in the Master of Science program is limited to approximately 26 students for MedSLP, 26 students for EdSLP, and 4 students for CoreSLP each year, and the application process is competitive. Candidates must meet the following entrance requirements to apply and should also review the UW Graduate School Admissions Requirements before applying.
1. Essential Functions of Speech & Hearing Sciences Graduate Education
The University of Washington Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences and the Master of Science degree programs in speech-language pathology are responsible for ensuring that holders of the M.S. degree have been educated to competently implement a broad spectrum of speech-language pathology care across a variety of practice settings and clinical situations, to apply for licensure in the state of Washington, and to apply for certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
As an accredited speech and hearing sciences program, the University of Washington curriculum for the M.S. program adheres to the standards and guidelines of the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The education of speech-language pathologists requires the assimilation of knowledge, acquisition of skills, and development of critical thinking and judgment through patient/client care experiences in preparation for an entry-level, independent and semi-autonomous practice. The practice of speech-langauge pathology emphasizes collaboration with the patient/client, their families and caregivers, and other healthcare and educational professionals.
The curriculum leading to the M.S. in speech-language pathology requires students to engage in diverse, complex, and specific experiences essential to the acquisition and practice of essential speech-language pathology skills and functions. Students must possess certain skills and abilities to successfully complete both the academic and clinical components of the curriculum with or without reasonable accommodations for disabilities. Unique combinations of abilities in these five areas are required to satisfactorily perform these functions: 1) intellectual-cognitive, 2) communication, 3) motor, 4) sensory-observational, and 5) behavioral-social abilities. In addition to being essential to the successful completion of the M.S. requirements, these functions are necessary to ensure the health and safety of patients/families, fellow students, faculty, and other professions with whom we interact.
The five areas of essential functions necessary to acquire or demonstrate competence in a discipline as complex as speech-language pathology, and needed for successful admission and continuance by candidates for the M.S. at the University of Washington in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, in addition to the standards of behavior and academic conduct set forth in the UW Student Conduct Code, are outlined in the Department’s Essential Functions document.
The purpose of the Department’s Essential Functions document is to clearly outline for prospective candidates the technical standards and requirements for the M.S. degree program and profession of speech-language pathology. These technical standards exist in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against qualified candidates with a disability who can meet the essential requirements of a program with resonable modifications of policies, practices and services. Accepted students are required to acknowledge and sign the Department’s Essential Functions document prior to entering the program. Thus, all applicants should carefully review these essential abilities before completing the admissions materials. If there are questions, please reach out to our graduate advisors right away and/or the UW Disability Resources for Students Office.
2. Citizenship & Visa Status
The Graduate School and department accept applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), immigrants and international applicants. Graduate School admission requirements and application procedures are the same for all applicants regardless of residency, citizenship and visa status.
International students must have a visa status that allows academic study at the UW. This status includes temporary U.S. visas such as F-1 student visas, J-1 exchange visitors, H-1 temporary worker, dependent visas or any other non-immigrant classifications. Students who will study on an F-1 or J-1 visa will be required to complete additional steps after confirming their intention to enroll before the Graduate School can process their visa paperwork. Consult the Graduate School Admissions website to find out more about minimum eligibility requirements and required materials for international applicants.
Please note, in order for students to be considered state residents for tuition purposes, they first must be able to prove that they are U.S. citizens, have U.S. permanent resident cards, or have a qualifying visa (A, E, G, H1, I, K or L). For questions concerning how to establish residency in Washington State, please contact the Residence Classification Office at 206-543-5932, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the UW Residency Office Website.
3. Bachelor's Degree
All applicants MUST have one of the following undergraduate degrees:
1) Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a major in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Communication Disorders, Communication Sciences & Disorders or a similarly named major
2) An undergraduate degree in another major (from a regionally accredited institution), with sufficient undergraduate coursework in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Communication Disorders, Communication Sciences and Disorders or a similarly named program.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We cannot accept applications from individuals with undergraduate or graduate degrees outside the field of Speech and Hearing Sciences (e.g., Linguistics, Education, Psychology) who do not have the prerequisite speech and hearing sciences coursework listed below. Applicants must review the specific details about acceptable prerequisite coursework very carefully. At the time of application, a perfunctory review of the prerequisites courses listed is only to verify the basic courses listed. If determined, after acceptance, a course listed does not meet the prerequisite based on course content, students must complete another course that meets the prerequisite requirement.
4. Prerequisite Coursework
As an accredited graduate program, the Master of Science curriculum adheres to the standards and guidelines set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Please review the ASHA web site for complete information about the 2020 standards, taking special note of the undergraduate science and statistics coursework requirements.
The following ASHA-required undergraduate coursework is a prerequisite to graduate study and clinical certification. All applicants should take the time to identify courses that meet these requirements in advance of applying to graduate school. To meet the prerequisite coursework requirements, credits may be used from college-level coursework taken any time in the past. Courses may be taken at any accredited institution of higher education, including community colleges, colleges, or universities.
We strongly recommend that all competitive applicants complete this coursework prior to entry into the program. Due to the rigorous graduate curriculum, students cannot complete these undergraduate coursework requirements during the graduate program and still finish within two years.
1) Speech and Hearing Sciences Coursework
Individuals applying to the graduate program will be asked to summarize their undergraduate coursework in speech and hearing sciences. Because course titles are not uniform across universities, knowledge acquired from speech and hearing coursework will be reported to the graduate admissions committee by the applicant in the following ASHA-defined areas:
- Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
- Speech & Language Development
- Speech & Language Disorders
- Audiology & Hearing Disorders
- Acoustics / Hearing Science
- Treatment of Communication Disorders
- Swallowing Mechanisms
- Social-Cultural Aspects of Communication
2) Basic Science and Statistics Coursework
Applicants must have completed a minimum of 1 course in each of the following areas:
- Biological science. Acceptable courses emphasize content in human or animal sciences and include the areas of biology, anatomy & physiology, neuroanatomy & neurophysiology, human genetics, or veterinary science. A lab component is not required. We will not accept any non-human or non-animal biological coursework in botany, ecology, environmental science, or microbiology.
- Social/Behavioral science. Acceptable courses are in the areas of psychology, educational psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health. We will not accept coursework in other social or behavioral areas such as education, special education, social work, history, political science, or economics.
- Physical science. Acceptable courses are either in physics or chemistry. A lab component is not required. Acceptable physics courses are taken in a physics department and cover the nature, properties, and interactions of matter and energy, including areas such as the principles of relativity, motion, force, sound, light, mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism. We will not accept coursework in astronomy or geology unless they are courses specifically in astrophysics or geophysics. Acceptable chemistry courses are taken in a chemistry department and cover the composition, structure, and properties of substances that comprise matter and the transformations that occur when substances change and react with other substances.
- Statistics. Acceptable courses include any college-level, stand alone statistics course that is computational.We will not accept remedial, historical, or methodological statistics courses, or other math courses such as logic, algebra, geometry, or calculus.
Courses used to fulfill these requirements must have the following attributes:
- They must be taken outside the Speech and Hearing Sciences department
- They must appear by name/number on your official college transcript with a final grade
- They can consist of any number of credits
- They can be taken for a grade, credit/no credit, pass/fail, or satisfactory/unsatisfactory, but students must achieve a “credit”, “pass”, “satisfactory” or numeric grade of at least 0.7
In lieu of specific courses, these requirements may also be satisfied by Advanced Placement credit or International Baccalaureate credit. However, students must have transcript record of these credits. CLEP or DSST examinations for credit are NOT accepted for these requirements.
Applicants presenting prerequisite speech and hearing sciences coursework completed more than ten years prior to application to our graduate program may be asked to provide evidence of currency in various subject areas. Phone or in-person interviews may be required.
5. National Criminal Background Check
All graduate students in the department are required to complete and successfully pass a national criminal background check as a condition of admission. Instructions are provided to new students and the background check must be completed within 30 days of accepting the department’s offer of admission. The background check fee is paid directly to the department’s vendor, Verified Credentials. In addition, students in the program are required to complete a repeat background check during their second year in the program prior to starting their community internship(s).
It is important that students in our programs receive certification that there is no evidence of a Child and Adult Abuse Law (CAAL) conviction or criminal history. If there is a conviction that would prevent the student from completing the required clinical experiences in our programs, and thus prevent him/her from fulfilling the program requirements, he/she will be denied admission. A non-CAAL conviction/criminal history record, however, does not necessarily disqualify an individual for admission. When considering individuals for admission, conviction/criminal history records are reviewed as they relate to the content and nature of the curriculum and the safety and security of clients and the public.Should the background check provide evidence of a positive criminal history or raise any areas of concern related to a student’s participation in a graduate program, he/she will be contacted by a representative of the Speech & Hearing Sciences Department.
6. English Language Proficiency
All applicants to the Master of Science (M.S.) program whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. No waivers of this requirement can be granted. This prerequisite knowledge is necessary for providing ethical and effective services to individuals with communication impairments and is necessary for successful implementation of clinical services with clients and exchange of information with other professionals (see Essential Functions).
The Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences follows the UW Graduate School policies and guidelines for admission of individuals who are nonnative speakers of English. Applicants should review the UW Graduate School's Understanding the Application Process, which outlines each of the three required minimum admission requirements for Degree, GPA, and English Proficiency.
To be admitted into the department’s M.S. program, all nonnative English speakers are required to demonstrate English language proficiency as outlined in UW Graduate School Memo 8. Please be aware that the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences requires higher test score minimums than outlined in UW Graduate School Memo 8. This is to ensure that any accepted student demonstrates advanced levels of English proficiency and the ability to manage high language demands, which are required in our M.S. program. The department will not admit applicants with scores below our required score minimums, nor will we give approval to provisionally admit students with scores below this score requirement. The score requirements are as follows:
- TOEFL iBT® total test scores of 105 or higher AND minimum scores of 26 on both the Speaking and Listening subtests.
- IELTS total test scores of 7.5 or higher AND minimum scores of 7.5 on both the Speaking and Listening segments.
Please note that the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences also deviates from UW Graduate School Memo 8 in that we will not accept the following scores as evidence of English language proficiency for the M.S. program:
- TOEFL iBT® Superscores, also known as MyBest™ Scores
- TOEFL ITP Plus China® scores
- Duolingo English scores
Applicants should review UW Graduate School Memo 15 and note that English proficiency requirements for students who work as teaching assistants (TAs) are more extensive than those for admission.
7. Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)
To be considered for admission, applicants are required to have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) during the last 90 quarter or 60 semester credit hours of study.
In addition, to remain competitive applicants should have a GPA of at least 3.0 (B) in the prerequisite undergraduate Speech and Hearing coursework with no single course graded less than 2.0 (C). It is highly recommended that all prerequisite coursework grades be at 2.5 or above.
8. Identified Mentor (CoreSLP Applicants ONLY)
Applicants MUST have an identified professorial faculty mentor at the University of Washington with whom they will study in order to apply to the M.S. - CoreSLP program. This mentor must have research holdings in the areas of speech, language, cognitive-communication, or swallowing. Before applying, applicants must contact this proposed mentor(s) directly to discuss their research interests and secure the mentor’s support for their application. Any application submitted without the official support of a faculty mentor will not be reviewed.
The best times to contact faculty about M.S. - CoreSLP applications and mentorship are Autumn quarter (September – November) and Spring quarter (March – early June) quarters. Most faculty are not available during Summer quarter (mid June – August). Faculty research interests and contact information can be found on our faculty directory page.
The Master of Science program conducts a yearly admissions process with entrance in Autumn quarter only. Applications submitted before or after the deadlines listed below will not be considered.
- We only accept applications initiated and completed between September 15th and the closest business day to January 13th of each year.
- Please DO NOT BEGIN your application before September 15th. The application may not be finalized by the department before that date. If you began an application prior to September 15th, you will need to begin a new application. Any applications submitted before September 15th will not be considered.
- All applicants (domestic and international) must submit their application no later than the deadline of the year for which they are applying.
- Please note that we do not review applications on an “as received” or rolling basis. All applications are reviewed subsequent to the deadline.
- We DO NOT allow admissions deferrals for any of our clinical graduate programs due to competitive nature of the programs.
As the deadline approaches, the high volume of applications can cause system slowdowns. We strongly encourage you to submit your application early to avoid delays.
International Applicants: The deadline for international applicants all applicants in 2023 is January 13th. Once an international applicant has submitted the online UW Graduate School Application and paid the application fee, a detailed checklist of requirements is provided. Visit the Graduate School’s International Student FAQs for more information.
Repeat Applicants: Applicants who previously applied to the program should be aware that applications are held for only one year. Denied applicants from the previous autumn application period must submit all new materials.
Visiting Student Applicants: We do accept visiting student applications to our Master of Science programs. Please review our Non-Degree Enrollment webpage for further details and instructions.
Transfer Students: We DO NOT accept transfer applications into either Master of Science program from another graduate program.
Non-clinical Degree Applicants: We DO NOT offer a non-clinical Master of Science degree. Applicants interested in a nonclinical graduate degree program should review our PhD program eligibility and admissions requirements.
Graduate Nonmatriculated (GNM) Applicants: We DO NOT accept graduate nonmatriculated applications to our Master of Science programs.
Applying to Multiple Programs
Students may apply to the Educational Speech-Language Pathology Master's program, the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Master's program, the Core Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program or any combination. Students applying to multiple programs will pay multiple $85 application fees. Once admitted into a Master’s program, students may not request a transfer between programs.
Applicants interested in applying to a Master of Science Speech-Language Pathology program and the Doctor of Philosophy program will also need to complete two separate UW Graduate School Applications and pay two $85 application fees.
Applicants to the Master’s program must submit an ONLINE application for admission using the UW Graduate School Application. This online application allows you to jointly submit the required information to both the UW Graduate School (primary application) and the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences (supplemental application). All information and materials should be submitted through the online process. Please do not mail paper applications to the Department or Graduate School.
To apply, complete the online UW Graduate School Application (submitting all required documentation online as well), including the required $85 application fee. Application sections are as follows:
- Select the Graduate Program for which you are applying. (NOTE: If you’ll be applying to both M.S. programs, you will fill out completely separate applications).
- Review the application requirements and deadlines.
- Report all prior schools attended.
- Submit UNOFFICIAL transcripts.
- Submit a personal statement. (Note: the 4500 character limit does not include spaces but brevity is appreciated.)
- Designate 3 recommenders to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. Recommendation letters must be submitted online.
- Complete the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences Supplemental Application (time intensive). Steps include:
- Report coursework and grade point average for the last 90 quarter credit hours.
- Report the Speech and Hearing courses completed.
- Report the Speech and Hearing courses planned and in process.
- Report prerequisite Speech and Hearing coursework within these areas:
- Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
- Speech & Language Development
- Speech & Language Disorders
- Audiology & Hearing Disorders
- Acoustics / Hearing Science
- Treatment of Communication Disorders
- Swallowing Mechanisms
- Social-Cultural Aspects of Communication
- Designate the program(s) for which you are applying.
- Report completion of ASHA basic science and statistic coursework and observation hour requirements.
- Submit Résumé or Vitae
- Submit a Personal History & Perspective Statement
- Pay the $85 Graduate Application fee and submit your application.
PLEASE NOTE: Applicants do not have to submit official transcripts to the Department of Speech and Hearing Science or the UW Graduate School unless they accept a formal offer of admission to the graduate program. Visit the UW Graduate School Admissions FAQ for instructions on where to send official transcripts if you are accepted.
Personal Statement Prompt:
The University of Washington (UW) is committed to enhancing the intellectual and social enrichment of the University community and to preparing graduate students to become leaders, innovators, critical thinkers, collaborators, and responsible community, state, and global citizens. The UW actively seeks and welcomes students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
The personal statement is an important opportunity to convey who you are to members of the Selection Committee. Your statement should describe your abilities, interests, and motivations, and address why you believe you will be successful as a graduate student at the UW and in the field of speech-language pathology. The content and format of this essay are at your discretion, but at a minimum please address the following:
• Why do you want to attend UW for your graduate education?
• What has motivated you to pursue a career in speech-language pathology?
• Why did you select the particular graduate program track you did (EdSLP, MedSLP, or CoreSLP) and why is that particular master’s program track a good fit for you?
• What personal characteristics, abilities, or strengths do you possess that make you well suited for graduate study and for clinical practice in the field of speech-language pathology?
• Share an example of a time when you effectively demonstrated initiative, perseverance, self-awareness, creativity and/or teamwork in your problem solving to achieve your goals or to benefit others.
Your uploaded document should not exceed 4,500 characters, not including spaces, and also cannot exceed 500KB.
Personal History & Perspective Statement Prompt:
How do your experiences, personal history, and/or perspectives align with our program’s vision of responsively serving the heterogeneous needs of individuals with communication disorders? As context, we aspire to enrich and expand clinical service delivery and outreach to the diverse communities in which we live, and an important component of the UW master’s program mission includes advocating for and serving underrepresented and underserved populations. These populations are diverse in terms of linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds, as well as their abilities/disabilities, educational experiences, economic resources, and healthcare access. The admissions committee is seeking insights about your preparedness to support this mission. Please do not duplicate (copy and paste) portions of your personal statement; however, it is understood that some individuals might express overlapping ideas in the personal statement and personal history & perspective statement.
Your uploaded document should not exceed 1,500 characters, not including spaces, and also cannot exceed 500KB.
Other Important Information
Accessing & Updating Your Application: Anyone submitting a new application will be asked to establish an email address login and password. Once an online application is initiated applicants can save their work and return to the application as many times as needed using their email and password log on. Incomplete applications (those not completed with application fee payment) will not be deleted from the application system until 30 days after the start of the indicated academic quarter of admission.
We STRONGLY recommend that applicants keep their email address login and password somewhere secure. You will need this information to update your application if you do not complete it in one sitting, check on the status of your application, and access our final admission decision in March.
Letters of Recommendation: Do not designate your recommendations online until you are ready to have the recommender contacted by the UW. When you designate a recommendation, the person you have designated is immediately sent an email to submit a recommendation on your behalf. You can designate recommendations before and after you have submitted your online application, up until the program deadline. If, after designating a recommendation, you learn that the recommender will not submit a recommendation, you may remove the recommendation by selecting the "withdraw" link in the action column of the table below. You cannot withdraw a recommendation once the recommender has submitted it.
Incomplete Applications: It is each applicant’s responsibility to verify that all required materials have been submitted and received in a timely manner by both the Graduate School and the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences.
Incomplete applications will not be considered. Once an online application has been submitted students can check the status by logging in to their application status page. Every year applications are not considered due to missing letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc. so please follow-up on missing items.
Selection Criteria: We consider all information submitted with your application. Our goal is to select an intellectually capable, diverse group of students. High GPA is desirable, but not the determining factors in our holistic admissions process. Please review the admissions information posted on our Student Outcome Data web page for profiles of our entering student cohorts.