What is the Postbaccalaureate Program?

The Postbaccalaureate (Postbac) Program is a Bachelor degree program designed for students with undergraduate degrees in fields other than Speech & Hearing Sciences (SPHSC). Students with bachelor degrees in other fields are required to complete undergraduate coursework in speech and hearing sciences (also known as communication sciences and disorders) in order to be eligible to apply to Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology graduate programs.

How long is the Postbac program?

The Postbac program offers both a 3 quarter intensive and 6 quarter schedule that is designed to prepare students for graduate study. Either schedule starts in Autumn Quarter. See the Postbac Curriculum page for additional program information.

What degree will I earn when I complete the Postbac program?

Upon successful completion of the program, you will be awarded a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences (SPHSC).

Is there a GPA requirement to graduate with a B.S. degree in SPHSC?

Yes. In accordance with UW and College of Arts and Sciences policy, students must maintain a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA for all coursework done in residence at the UW, and achieve a 2.0 minimum GPA in the Postbac program at the time of graduation. However, it is important to note that the minimum GPA does not merit a competitive application to graduate programs. Graduate programs like to see applicants with GPAs 3.5 or above.

Are there any other Postbac degree programs in Seattle?

No. The University of Washington’s Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences has the only Postbaccalaureate degree program in the greater Seattle area. Within the state of Washington, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, and Washington State University all offer non-degree Postbac programs.

What is the difference between the department’s Postbac program and undergraduate program?

The Postbac program is designed for students who have already completed at least one Bachelor’s degree. The intensive 3 quarter program is not available to undergraduates. Postbacs are not required to complete certain general education coursework unlike undergraduates. The undergraduate program/major is six quarters in length and designed for students working on their first Bachelor’s degree. Both programs award a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences.

Is there a set schedule for the Postbac curriculum?

Yes. Please review the Postbac Curriculum page for scheduling details. The individual dates and times of classes each quarter will vary according to instructor and room availability. For an indication of what course schedules have been in the past, visit the UW Time Schedule archives.

Does the department offer any SPHSC classes at UW Tacoma or UW Bothell?

No. All courses are held on the Seattle campus.

Does the department offer any online or evening courses?

No. This is a day-time program and all courses are classroom-based. Students are expected to attend classes during normal business hours each week; 8am-5pm.

How much does the program cost?

Visit our Postbac Tuition & Fees page for specific fee information. Annual tuition rates for the Postbac program are typically posted by June/July of each year.

Are there financial aid opportunities for Postbacs?

The department does not have financial aid opportunities for Postbac students. Students are encouraged to contact the UW Office of Financial Aid for information on applying for aid.

Am I able to work during the Postbac Program?

The Postbac Intensive program is a daytime program designed to prepare students for graduate study. Students often find it challenging to obtain competitive grades while working, but some do work outside of classes. Please keep in mind that the Postbac program is full-time. While the Postbac Program may allow for outside work hours, the Department does not schedule coursework around student work schedules for either option.

What are the prerequisites to apply to the Postbac program?

Eligible applicants must: 1) have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, 2) meet the UW requirements for English language proficiency, 3) have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and 4) complete the 5 coursework prerequisites in statistics, basic science and linguistics.

What can I do to prepare for the Postbac program?

The selection committee will consider your academic and work/volunteer experiences as well as character attributes. Demonstrating your qualifications across all areas is important.

  • Coursework: It is important to have solid grades (3.0 and above). Additionally, review the Postbac Prerequisites page to learn about the five prerequisites you should complete prior to application.
  • Relevant Experience: Work or volunteer experiences in hospitals, clinics, schools, or related areas will speak to your potential in a clinical setting. If you haven’t already, consider such a position. Your experience doesn’t need to be specific to Speech and Hearing.
What if I have a weak academic record?

If your grades are weak, consider re-taking courses as a non-degree seeking (non-matriculated) student. Learn more about taking courses as a non-matriculated student at the UW by visiting our Non-Degree Enrollment web page. Alternatively, you can take courses at another accredited college or university.

What is the application deadline for the Postbac program?

The deadline is February 15th every year for a Autumn quarter (late September) start. All materials must be submitted by this date to be considered for selection. Carefully review application instructions on the Postbac Apply page.

How do I apply to the Postbac program?

The application process requires two steps. Carefully review the Postbac Apply web page to learn more about the application process.

Step 1: Students apply to the University of Washington Office of Admissions

Step 2: Students apply to the SPHSC Department.

How many applications does the department receive and how many applicants are accepted into the program each year?

Each year, the department receives around approximately applications and accepts approximately 20-30 students.

What is the average GPA of accepted Postbac applicants?

Based on past successful applicants, the average GPA is approximately 3.5.

I’m currently a senior in another major. Am I allowed to apply for the Postbac program even though I haven’t finished my first degree?

Yes, you are eligible to apply. Please note that you must be able to attend courses at the end of September when Autumn quarter begins. If you are unable to do so then you will apply the following year. Visit the UW Academic Calendar to ascertain dates of instruction.

I completed a Linguistics major or minor. Do I still need to apply for the Postbac program?

Yes. Students with Linguistics backgrounds will still need to complete the undergraduate coursework requirements for a degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences.

Do you accept late applications?

No. If your materials are not submitted by the February 15th deadline your application will not be considered.

I submitted my application to the SPHSC department. How do I know if my materials have been received?

Application materials are processed as they are submitted. Please do not contact the office to request an application status update. Due to the number of applications, staff does not have the resources to field these inquiries. Staff will contact applicants if they have missing components beginning in late January/early February. If you do not hear from us, then we have received all of your materials.

The UW Online Postbac Application is not live yet. What do I do?

The UW online application is not live (available) until January 9, 2023. While you wait to submit the online application, you can begin requesting official transcripts and letters of recommendation. See the Postbac Apply page for more information.

The UW Postbac online application says that I need a recommendation from the major department I'm interested in. How do I get this recommendation?

Please disregard this statement – it is inaccurate. You do not need a recommendation from the SPHSC Department in order to apply for admission.

Who should I ask to write a letters of recommendation to support my application to the SPHSC Department?

Letters of recommendation should speak to your academic skills, clinical potential, and experiences related to the field of speech and hearing sciences (e.g., research, internships, work). Professors and professionals in the SPHSC field will be able to best speak to these elements. You may also include letters from work and/or volunteer supervisors (excluding colleagues and personal acquaintances).

What if I have been out of school for many years? How do I get a recommendation from a professor?

Applicants should plan to support their applications with the strongest letters that can be secured. We recognize that is not always possible to obtain a letter from a professor, but it is important to secure a letter from someone who can speak to your academic accomplishments and potential. With all references, it helps writers to know your goals and past achievements so we recommend sharing key information (including resumes and transcripts) with references to allow them to write the best possible letter. Please recognize that personal letters from friends or colleagues often carry less weight with the admissions committee than those from professors, professionals in the field, or former employers or supervisors.

When will I hear whether I’m accepted to the program?

The SPHSC department will communicate admissions decisions in May. Applicants placed on our waitlist will be contacted throughout June as offers of admission can be extended.

Am I required or is there preference given to prospective students who meet with the Undergraduate Advisor in-person?

No, prospective students are not required to meet with the advisor in-person nor is preference given when applications are reviewed.

Do graduate programs favor students with a Bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences over applicants who complete non-degree/leveling coursework?

Graduate selection committees typically do not give preference to applicants with a second bachelor’s degree over those who complete non-degree prerequisite coursework. Graduate programs look to ensure applicants completed all of the coursework prerequisites and also take into consideration the institution at which they completed their coursework.

What is the advantage to completing a second bachelor’s degree?

The advantage to earning a second bachelor’s degree is gaining a more in-depth foundation in speech and hearing sciences. With 13 courses and 50 credits, the University of Washington currently offers one of the most comprehensive Postbac degree program in the U.S. Many students interested in completing a comprehensive degree in speech and hearing sciences opt to obtain a second bachelor’s degree. Ultimately, the choice is one of personal preference.

Are UW Postbac students given priority or preference over other applicants when applying to the UW Master of Science in speech language pathlogy programs?

No. All M.S. applicants are considered according to the same selection criteria and there is no guarantee of acceptance into the graduate program. However, doing well in the UW Postbac program will certainly support your candidacy to the graduate program.

I heard that I need to complete clinical observations in order to become a certified speech-language pathologist. Can I observe in the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic while I am a Postbac?

Yes. There is a clinical observation requirement of 25 hours for students planning to attend graduate school for speech-language pathology and work as a certified SLP. Enrolled Postbac students will have access to the UW Speech & Hearing Clinic to complete all of these required observations. Note that there is no clinical observation requirement for certification in audiology, although completion of audiology observations is strongly recommended for anyone planning to attend graduate school in this field. These observations can also be completed in our clinic. For more information on observing in the clinic, visit our clinical observations page.

May I volunteer in the SPHSC Department?

There are no volunteering opportunities in the SPHSC department but you are encouraged to seek them elsewhere. Use ASHA as a resource to locate local clinics where you can request to volunteer. The department does not arrange these opportunities for students but will communicate volunteer opportunities to students when asked by UW and community sites.

Is it possible to work as an independent clinical practitioner with my Bachelor’s degree in this field?

No. A graduate degree is required to practice as an independent clinical professional in speech-language pathology or audiology, and to conduct research in the field. A master’s degree is required to practice as a speech-language pathologist.

It is possible, however, to work as a speech-language pathology assistant (often called paraprofessional) with a Bachelor’s degree. These positions can be found in the public schools, clinics, and hospitals/rehabilitation settings. Our degree is not intended to specifically prepare you for those types of positions, but some graduates do pursue this career path and are eligible for employment. Additional information about SLP assistants can be found on the ASHA web site. SLP assistants

How do I become a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who is certified to practice as an independent clinical professional?

To become a certified SLP you need to:

  1. Obtain a master’s degree in speech-language pathology (2 year program)
  2. Obtain a passing score on the national Praxis exam in speech-language pathology
  3. Complete a post-graduation, mentored Clinical Fellowship with an ASHA-certified professional (36 weeks, full-time employment)
  4. Obtain a license or school credential, in accordance with your state’s requirements
  5. Obtain your Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA*

* The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) awards clinical certification in the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology. Visit ASHA’s certification page to learn more. Certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is optional, but most professionals obtain this certification as it is required for licensure and insurance reimbursement in most states.

How can I best prepare myself for graduate study in speech and hearing sciences?
  1. Consider the elements of the graduate application- Graduate programs will likely assess your application according to a variety of factors. Admissions committees typically request and evaluate applicant grades, GRE scores, undergraduate coursework/transcripts, relevant experiences in the field, and letters of recommendation. The strength of a student’s application is directly related to strength of each of these components.
  2. Evaluate your academic achievements–The courses required for Postbacs are designed to give you the knowledge needed for graduate study and your performance in these courses will be important to graduate programs. To apply to the UW, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last 90 graded quarter credits, and other graduate programs will likely have similar admission requirements. When evaluating your academic progress, it’s important to assess whether your coursework approximates the 3.0 benchmark; particularly the SPHSC, statistics, and science coursework. To be considered for admission to prestigious and highly regarded graduate programs, such as the ones at the UW, your grades should be at 3.5 or above. Most programs publish entrance statistics for prospective students to view in evaluating the strength of their applications (see Student Outcomes Data).
  3. Volunteer- Volunteering in a clinical setting or with individuals with special needs is another good way to prepare for graduate study. Clinical graduate degree programs consider community service in admissions. Consider volunteering at a hospital, clinic, or school to gain experience working with individuals with communication disorders and the professionals who assess, diagnose, and treat them.
  4. Participate in Research- If you are interested in research, particularly as a career, take advantage of opportunities to volunteer or work in research laboratories and/or complete independent study for credit. As a postbac, you can register for SPHSC 499 independent study credits under the supervision of faculty. Use our directory to ascertain faculty areas of expertise and contact them to request to work with them.
  5. Participate in SPHSC student organizations and activities- Being active in the department can also be helpful. One way to do this is to become a member of the UW National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) or the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA).
How do I find out more about job prospects for SLPs?

These sources are a great place to find out more about the job market for SLPs:

ASHA Career Information
ASHA Market Trends
U.S. Department of Labor, Speech-Language Pathologists