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Speech-Language Pathology

MS/MA COMDDE – SLP Specialization

Utah State University’s speech-language pathology program provides a Master’s of Arts (MA) or Master’s of Science (MS) in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education with a specialization in Speech-Language Pathology. This master's degree is part of the Western Regional Graduate Exchange program (WRGP). The two-year program occurs across six semesters of full-time study beginning with a summer semester. The program involves a minimum of 57-58 total credit hours: 32-33 credits of academic coursework and 25 credits of clinical coursework. Additional credits are required for the Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) emphasis. Students graduate eligible for certification (pending completion of a clinical fellowship year) and Utah licensure. 

The primary program objective is to prepare students to become speech-language pathologists competent to work with individuals of all ages who have developmental or neurological disorders relating to articulation, fluency, voice and resonance, language development, swallowing, augmentative modalities, and cognitive or social aspects of communication. The MA degree requires a final comprehensive exam prior to completion and the MS degree requires completion of a thesis.

The program offers many settings for students to gain clinical skills. The primary location is the Speech and Language Clinic, in the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Clinical Excellence, a state of the art interprofessional center providing comprehensive services across the lifespan. Students also engage in diverse educational, medical, and early intervention externships across Utah and beyond. Students can gain specialized knowledge and skills for working with young children who are deaf or hard of hearing through the Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) emphasis and Sound Beginnings center. Individuals in Utah working as speech-language technicians, with agreements from their school districts, may be able to carry out the program as Outreach students.    

To be accepted in the master’s degree program, students must have a bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders or the equivalent undergraduate prerequisite courses from USU or another regionally accredited university program. 

MS  Communication Sciences

The master’s degree in Communication Sciences is a non-clinical degree in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. This 30-credit program prepares students to enter the Disability Disciplines PhD program strand in speech-language pathology or the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Neuroscience at Utah State University. Students from this program could also be eligible to apply to other doctoral programs in behavioral science or other health or education related fields.

PhD – SLP in Disability Disciplines

Speech-language pathology is a specialization within the Disability Disciplines PhD Program in the Emma Eccles Jones School of Education and Human Services. The Disability Disciplines Doctoral Program offers a multidisciplinary doctoral degree that brings together faculty and students across disciplinary and departmental lines to explore interrelated aspects of disabilities. With their mentor and committee, students design an individualized program of study within this program. Learn about the SLP emphasis within this PhD.

PhD – SLP in Neuroscience

The doctoral program in neuroscience provides students with a strong educational and research foundation in cellular, cognitive, and behavioral neuroscience.  Students apply critical concepts in neuroscience to understanding normal and disordered processes of sensation, movement, cognition, language, and communication across the lifespan. In this program, students take a core set of neuroscience courses, advanced electives, and laboratory experiences. Beyond the core, students select one of the following focus areas in which to complete further preparation: Translational NeuroscienceEducational Neuroscience, or Lifespan Neuroscience. With their mentor and committee, students design an individualized program of study within these focus areas. Learn more about the neuroscience degree.

Application is available through the
Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

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POLICIES

PRIOR YEAR COURSE SEQUENCE

Advisor Contact

Michelle Wilson

Mason Hayes

435-797-9094
mason.hayes@usu.edu

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The masters (MA, MS) in Speech-Language Pathology at Utah State University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301- 296-5700.


Course Sequence

SEMESTER 1
COURSE COURSE TITLE CREDITS
COMD 5240 Neural Bases of Communication a 3
COMD 6250 Birth to Five Language Intervention 3
COMD 6150 Phonological Assessments & Intervention 3
COMD 6100 Advanced Clinical Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology 1
SEMESTER 2
COURSE COURSE TITLE CREDITS
COMD 6020 Language Assessment & Intervention for School-Age Children & Adolescents 3
COMD 6130 Motor Speech Disorders f 3
COMD 6230 Introduction to Research in Communicative Disorders 3
COMD 6100 Advanced Clinical Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology (Campus) 3
COMD 6200 Internship in the Public Schools (Outreach) 4
SEMESTER 3
COURSE COURSE TITLE CREDITS
COMD 6120 Adult Language Disorders 3
COMD 6140 Dysphagia 3
COMD 6100 Advanced Clinical Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology (Campus) 3
COMD 6200 Internship in the Public Schools (Outreach) 4
COMD 6030 Disorders of Fluency/Stuttering 3
SEMESTER 4
COURSE COURSE TITLE CREDITS
COMD 6300 Specialty externship in Speech-Language Pathology (Campus) b 3
COMD 6400 Medical externship in Speech-Language Pathology (Outreach) 10
SEMESTER 5
COURSE COURSE TITLE CREDITS
COMD 6050 Professional Practice in Speech Language Pathology 2
COMD 6220 Severe Communication Impairments 2
COMD 6810 Voice and Resonance Disorders 3
COMD 6200 Internship in the Public Schools: Speech-Language Pathology (Campus) 5
COMD 6200 Internship in the Public Schools: Speech-Language Pathology (Outreach) 3
COMD 6100 Advanced Clinical Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology (Campus) c 1
SEMESTER 6
COURSE COURSE TITLE CREDITS
COMD 6200 Internship in the Public Schools: Speech-Language Pathology (Outreach) 3
COMD 6400 Medical externship in Speech-Language Pathology (Campus) d 10
COMD 6930 Comprehensive Examination in Speech-Language Pathology e 1


a Not part of graduate program, if needed, may be taken online Summer 1 or Fall 1
b Variable arrangements, equivalent to minimum 4 wks full-time  
c Optional clinical experience, may occur in Summer 4
d Order of externships may be changed
e Or Plan B thesis project (COMD 6970, 2 credits)
f New title but listed in Catalog as Neural Bases of Communication and Motor Speech Disorders

COMDDE Course Syllabi

For past and current syllabi for all COMDDE courses, go USU Canvas Course Syllabus Tracker at elearn.usu.edu/syllabus. Enter the following:

  • Term = your choice
  • College = EEJ Education & Human Service
  • Department = Comm Disorders & Deaf Ed.
  • Delivery Method = All Delivery Methods
  • Campus = All Campuses
  • Click on Blue Button “Open Direct Link Course Syllabus LIst”
  • Select and click on desired course

Admissions

Application Deadline: January 15th

Admission to COMDDE graduate programs is extremely competitive.  There is no admission deferral: applicants offered admission must attend in the year they are offered the position or re-apply for a future year. Top-ranked candidates may be invited for an interview.

Note: The SLP graduate program begins Summer Semester (June)

Prerequisites

Students pursuing a master's degree in speech-language pathology must have a bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders or the equivalent undergraduate prerequisite courses, either from USU or another accredited university. Effective Summer, 2020 admission, applicants must have an upper division (3000-level or higher) course in neural bases of communication or equivalent.

Minimum Admission Requirements

The items listed below are the minimum required to be considered for admission. Typically, applicants offered admission have strong scores and achievements across all application components. However, multiple sources of evidence are used to make the decisions. Students of diverse life experiences and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

  • Academic transcripts. Academic transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • GPA of 3.0 or better for last 60 credits of college coursework (USU Graduate School Requirement).
  • Bachelor's degree in communication disorders. Students with a bachelor's degree in another area must either complete a second bachelor's degree in communication disorders or take the equivalent coursework as post-bachelor non-degree courses.  
  • GRE Scores – Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytic (Writing). No minimum scores are required.
  • Personal statement and resume. These documents should show the applicant’s academic, work, and personal competencies and achievements that will contribute to success in the graduate program and as a speech-language pathologist.
  • Letters of recommendation. Email addresses for three individuals who have agreed to submit letters of recommendation by the due date.
  • Outreach applicants. Include in the personal statement the applicant's desire to be in the Outreach program. Also optionally submit a letter of support from the district in which they are or will be employed as SLTs. The letter should address district need for SLPs and commitment to the applicant's education (See Outreach Application below). 
Requirements before beginning the clinical portion of the graduate program (which starts in June):
  • 25 hours of guided clinical observations. Submit documentation of 25 hours of guided observations signed by an ASHA-qualified clinical educator. If a student has not completed the 25 hours, they will enroll in COMD 2600 during the summer semester, which may delay initiation of the clinical experience and possibly delay graduation.  
  • Criminal background check. Complete a background check through the Utah State Board of Education.
  • Immunizations. Immunizations are no longer required for program admission but may be necessary for externships. Not having the required immunizations will significantly reduce choices of externship sites, and may delay or prevent graduation.

Outreach Application

We offer a small Outreach program within our SLP graduate program. It is partially supported by a grant from the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) for the training of highly-qualified students to become speech-language pathologists in rural or under-served school districts. Outreach students must be employed during the program as speech-language technicians (SLTs) in a school district within the state of Utah with formal agreements in place from the employing school district or local educational agency.

Outreach graduate students are accepted based on the same criteria as campus-based applicants. In addition, district need and commitment factor into the decision. Applicants will be considered without the district letter, but preference will be given to similarly qualified applicants with strong letters of district support.

The letter of support should be from an employer-designated authority, such as the Director of Special Education, who can address:

  • Rural and underserved district. How the district is a high need area, such as a rural area with low access to a university campus SLP program, or an area where demands are extremely high but the availability of SLPs is very low.
  • Commitment to the applicant. The district’s commitment to the education of this SLT employee while in the Outreach SLP program. See the Outreach SLP Program tab for more information on t academic and clinical requirements of the program.

Complete Outreach applications must be submitted by January 15th, including the optional but recommended district letter of support.  

Note: The availability of Outreach funding from the State Office of Education, through federal flow through money, is not known until approximately April of each year. If State Office of Education funding is not available, or is significantly reduced, there may be no Outreach program. In that case, the newly accepted Outreach students would be offered an on-campus space in the graduate program instead.

Tuition

In addition to regular tuition, there will also be differential tuition for COMDDE courses. (Refer to the last page of the tuition table). Graduate students from participating states may qualify for a WGRP non-resident tuition waiver.

About the LSL Emphasis

Through early identification and advanced technology, children with hearing loss have more opportunities than ever before to use audition to develop spoken language. Rapid progress in these areas has created a critical shortage of appropriately trained professionals who can meet the unique communicative and learning needs of children with permanent hearing loss and their families.

The Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education at Utah State University has developed an innovative training program to provide in-depth training to graduate students in Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology, and Deaf Education graduate programs. In addition to the standard coursework and requirements for a Masters degree (MS) in Speech-Language Pathology, students take additional courses and complete specialized practica and field-study experiences to develop specific knowledge and skills in the practice of Auditory-Verbal Therapy and Auditory-Oral Education for children with hearing loss, aged birth through six, and their families. The emphasis length is two years and occurs at the same time as the master's degree program. Funding is available.

The program is built on a strong foundation of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary service provision to young children with hearing loss and their families. The primary training site for graduate students takes place right on the Utah State University campus at the Sound Beginnings Program. Sound Beginnings at Utah State University is an early education program that provides home and center-based services to children with hearing loss whose families want their children to learn to listen and talk. 

Listening and Spoken LanguageJob Prospects

Students receiving a graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology will be qualified to work in a variety of settings serving young children with hearing loss and their families, including but not limited to:

  • Cochlear Implant Programs & Teams
  • Community Speech-Language-Hearing Centers
  • Family-Centered Early Intervention Programs
  • Educational Programs for Children with Hearing Loss
  • Home Health Organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Private Practices
  • Public and/or Private Schools
  • State and Federal Agencies
  • State Schools for the Deaf

Course Sequence

Summer Yr 1 Fall Yr 1 Spring  Yr 1
COMD 6850 LSL Seminar 1       COMD 6900 Interdisciplinary Implementation of IDEA 2
  COMD 6340 Auditory Learning and Spoken Language 3 COMD 6850 Family-Centered Practices in Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing 2
  COMD 6100 Clinical practicum (LSL) 1 COMD 6100 Clinical practicum (LSL) 1
  COMD 6850 LSL Seminar 1  
 
Summer Yr 2 Fall  Yr 2 Spring  Yr 2
COMD 7340 Pediatric Audiology 2 COMD 6320 Language and Emergent Literacy in Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing 2 COMD 6300 Externship in Speech-Language Pathology or LSL Launch 3
COMD 7520 Introduction to Cochlear Implants 2            
COMD 6730 Multiple Disabilities 2            
  COMD 6100 Clinical Practicum (LSL) 1  
    Total LSL Credit Hours 24  

MS in Communication Sciences

The master’s degree in Communication Sciences is a non-clinical degree in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. This 30-credit program prepares students to enter the Disability Disciplines PhD program strand in speech-language pathology, or the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Neuroscience at Utah State University. Students from this program could also be eligible to apply to other doctoral programs in behavioral science or other health or education related fields.

Students in the program receive a comprehensive background in human communication disorders, basic research pertaining to human communication processes and disorders and applied research on assessment and treatment for individuals with communication and swallowing disorders. Students will apply critical theories and discoveries in the areas of speech science and neuroscience to unanswered questions about normal and disordered processes underlying communication and swallowing disorders across the lifespan.

All students will be required to complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours, comprised of 15 credits of required coursework, 6 credits of thesis (Plan A), and a minimum of 9 credits of electives in areas related to communication sciences and disorders. Each student, with mentor and committee, will devise an individualized program of study from the elective courses. Students may go beyond the 9 minimum with electives selected based on individual interests. A 3.0 GPA or higher, successful completion of appropriate coursework, and a successful thesis is required for graduation.

Applicants must comply with all application procedures for the School of Graduate Studies at Utah State University. The application deadline is January 15. All application materials and minimum requirements are available through the Utah State University School of Graduate Studies Admissions website. Applicants are encouraged to contact potential faculty mentors prior to application and, in their personal statement, address their interest in this research-oriented degree.

Coursework

Required Courses
Course Number Course Name Credits
EDUC 6570 Introduction to Educational and Psychological Research 3
EDUC 6600 Research Design and Analysis 3
PSY 6120 Behavioral Neuroscience 3
COMD 5240/6240 Neural Bases of Cognition and Communication 3
COMD 6970 Thesis (Plan A) 6
Required Choice (choose 1)
Course Number Course Name Credits
COMD 6230 Introduction to Research in Communicative Disorders 3
EDUC 6040 Applied Research methods 3
Elective Courses (choose 3)
Course Number Course Name Credits
COMD 6250 Birth to Five Language Intervention 3
COMD 6020 Language Assessment and Intervention for School-Age Children and Adolescents 3
COMD 6030 Disorders of Fluency/Stuttering 3
COMD 6120 Adult Language Disorders 3
COMD 6130 Motor Speech Disorders 3
COMD 6140 Dysphagia 3
COMD 6220 Severe Communication Impairments 3
COMD 6810 Voice, Resonance and Craniofacial Disorders 3
COMD 6900 Advanced Topics in Speech and Language Disorders 3
COMD 7820 Research Seminars in Communication Disorders 3
COMD 7310 Psychoacoustics and Instrumentation 3
COMD 7320 Amplification I 3
COMD 7340 Pediatric Audiology 3
COMD 7380 Advanced Audiology 3
COMD 7430 Electrophysiology 3
COMD 7460 Aural Rehabilitation Across the Lifespan 3
COMD 7490 Medical Aspects of Audiology 3
COMD 7530 Balance Evaluation and Management 3

Outreach SLP Program

Purpose

The primary objective of the Outreach graduate program is to meet the critical shortage of school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in rural or SLP under-served areas of Utah. The graduate program provides high quality education and training. Students graduate ready to become SLPs, eligible for national certification, state licensure, and employment in all professional work settings.

Requirements

In order to participate in the Outreach program, students must: (a) be employed in the Utah public schools as speech-language technicians (also called speech-language assistants), and (b)  have signed agreements between COMDDE and their employing school districts or local educational agencies (LEAs). Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in communicative disorders or equivalent undergraduate prerequisite coursework. Admission to the COMDDE master's degree in speech-language pathology is on a competitive basis. For more information on application and admission, see the Graduate SLP Admissions tab.

Coursework

Outreach students are part of the department SLP graduate student cohort. They are full-time graduate students who are expected to graduate in six semesters. The program starts in June with a summer semester. During that first semester, Outreach students travel to the Logan main campus to attend classes with the campus-based students. Fall and Spring semesters, Outreach students participate in classes synchronously with campus students from USU regional campus sites via broadcast technology. Outreach students must be available to take the classes when scheduled. In this way, Outreach and campus students see, talk, and interact with each other and with the instructors.

Clinical Experiences

Outreach graduate students participate in clinical training each semester of graduate school. In the first summer semester, students receive their initial clinical experience on the main Logan campus. In subsequent semesters, students receive clinical experiences within their employing districts. In order to develop clinical competencies across a range of disorders and ages, students may need to move among sites within the district. Workloads should allow sufficient opportunities for quality clinical education.

To provide quality education to Outreach students, the district training and supervision must be conducted by SLPs who are clinically responsible for those sites. The supervising SLPs must hold a current certificate of clinical competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)  and a Utah educational license. 

As part of the educational path to becoming a certified SLP, students must gain competencies in medical or adult-oriented settings, such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, or rehabilitation centers. Again, these educational experiences are supervised by certified and licensed SLPs who are clinical responsible for those sites. These experiences are gained in a full-time externship in the second summer semester.

Continuity of Clinical Training

A full-time USU COMDDE Clinical Educator works closely with the Outreach graduate students, their supervising SLPs, and the sponsoring districts for the duration of their program. This certified, licensed SLP oversees all clinical training experiences, with remote interactions via a HIPAA-compliant conferencing system. The Outreach Clinical Educator sets up and oversees the medical externship. The Outreach Clinical Educator tracks all clinical experiences and assures that each student receives the variety and number of clinical clock hours and associated competencies required to become a highly qualified and CCC-eligible SLP.

Employer Support

A student’s employing district must enter into a contractual agreement with COMDDE prior to the beginning of the first fall semester. The district must be willing to provide the time and resources needed for a quality SLP graduate education taking place concurrently with work responsibilities.

Not all employers are willing to commit to the support required. Applicants to the program should have at least an informal agreement with their employers prior to accepting an offer of admission. Preference will be given to highly-qualified applicants with a strong letter of support from their employer in their application packet (see SLP Admissions tab).

If a student is unable to obtain a formal agreement or if an appropriate district SLP supervisor cannot be secured, the student will be terminated from the Outreach program. The student will have the option of moving into the campus program, but the student must fulfill all campus program obligations.

Payback

Students participating in the Outreach program may receive funding for their education through COMDDE via a grant from the Utah State Office of Education. Recipients are responsible to work as SLPs in Utah public schools for a designated amount of time after graduation. Additional information will be provided at the time of acceptance.