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.

The Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences has the responsibility to ensure that its graduates can become fully competent and caring speech-language pathologists who function in a broad variety of clinical situations and render a wide spectrum of patient care. It is important that persons admitted possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice in the profession.

Admission to either of the Master of Science degree programs is based not only on academic achievement, but also on nonacademic factors that ensure that candidates can complete the essential functions of the academic program as required for graduation. The Department’s “Essential Functions” document outlines the five areas of essential skills and attributes candidates are expected to posses. All applicants should carefully review these essential abilities before completing the admission materials.

Enrollment in the Medical Speech-Language Pathology program is limited to approximately 25 students 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. 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, or visit the UW Residency Office Website.

2. 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.

3. 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. ASHA has released new certification standards for speech-language pathology that are effective September 2014 and replace the expiring 2005 standards. All students accepted into a graduate speech-language pathology program as of fall 2013, will complete their program and apply for clinical certification under the new 2014 standards. Please review the ASHA web site for complete information about the 2014 standards, taking special note of the revised 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 of knowledge”:

  • Linguistics
  • Phonetics / Language Science
  • Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
  • Speech & Language Acquisition / Development
  • Speech & Language Disorders
  • Hearing Science / Nature of Sound
  • The Hearing Mechanism
  • Hearing Disorders
  • Audiometry
  • Aural Rehabilitation / Management of Hearing Loss
  • Social-Cultural Aspects of Communication
  • Principles of Assessment
  • Principles of Treatment

2) Basic Science and Statistics Coursework

Applicants for academic year 2013 and beyond must have completed a minimum of 1 course in each of the following areas:

  • Biological science. Acceptable courses emphasize content related to 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.
  • Social/Behavioral science. Acceptable courses are in the areas of psychology, educational psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health.
  • Physical science. Acceptable courses are either in physics or chemistry. A lab component is not required.
  • Statistics. Acceptable courses include any college-level, stand alone statistics course that is computational versus remedial, historical, or methodological in nature.

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 .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.

4. 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.

5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Applicants are required to submit scores earned within the last five years from the General Test portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The General Test of the GRE measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and writing skills. The test is available year round in a computer-based format. Advance registration is required and students should plan ahead in order for scores to be reported in a timely manner. We recommend that applicants take the test no later than November 1st to ensure scores are reported by the application deadline.

There is no minimum score required. If you take the GRE more than once, you may report the scores of your “best” exam, but you can’t pick-and-choose scores across exams. Applicants are asked to self-report scores on their application and must also submit an official GRE score report to the University of Washington (score report code 4854). Those who have taken the test in the past or on multiple occasions should inquire early to be sure scores are reported properly and in a timely manner.

Effective August 1, 2011, ETS has changed the GRE test. The department and University will continue to accept GRE scores from the "old" format (taken prior to 8/1/11) as long as the scores are earned within the last 5 years. Anyone taking the GRE on or after August 1, 2011 will submit GRE scores from the new test format.

To obtain score reports, contact Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000, telephone 1-800-537-3160 or by email at The GRE website is at

6. English Language Proficiency

All applicants to the 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).

Admissions into the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences will follow the University of Washington policies and guidelines for individuals who are nonnative speakers of English. Applicants will be reviewed by the Department's Graduate Admissions Committee and evaluated on a variety of criteria without regard to language proficiency. 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 to the program unconditionally, all nonnative English speakers are required demonstrate English language proficiency as outlined in UW Graduate School Memo 8. In conjunction with UW Graduate School policy, any applicant who submits English proficiency test scores below the minimum scores required, may only be admitted to the program provisionally and only with department approval. In such cases, the provisionally admitted student will also be required to take and complete designated English language courses through UW Academic English Language Program starting the first quarter they enter the program. Applicants should also 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.