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Top Speech Pathology Schools


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The field of speech-language pathology is governed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or ASHA. According to ASHA, there are over 200 speech-language pathology schools in the United States that have accredited speech-language pathology programs. Although students can obtain undergraduate degrees in the field, in order to work as a speech-language pathologist, you must earn at least a master’s degree or higher in speech-language pathology from an accredited college or university.

During school, speech-language pathology master’s programs require students to complete 400 clinical hours and students must pass a number of required exams. In addition, prospective speech-language pathologists will need to pass a national exam, complete a one year clinical fellowship and obtain state licensure in order to practice.

 1. University of IowaDepartment of Communication Sciences & Disorders

University of Iowa, Schaeffer Hall

University of Iowa, Schaeffer Hall (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Located in Iowa City, the University of Iowa’s speech-language pathology program was ranked #1 by the prestigious US News & World Reports rankings. This program is one of the oldest in the country and has been educating students in the field for over 60 years. The university was pivotal in contributing to the field of speech-language pathology due to the groundbreaking work of notable faculty and alumni.

The University of Iowa offers an undergraduate degree in speech and hearing sciences, but since a master’s degree is necessary to obtain work in the field, a bachelor’s degree is generally preparation for the master’s degree.

The graduate program at the university offers a master’s degree in speech-language pathology and a Ph.D. in the subject as well. Admission to the program is competitive and students will only be accepted for admission during the fall semester.

 2. University of Wisconsin MadisonDepartment of Communication Disorders

University of Wisconsin, Madison

University of Wisconsin, Madison (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Ranked #2 by US News, the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Wisconsin Madison not only offers students an exceptional education, it also provides low-cost speech and hearing services to members of the community.

The Department of Communication offers an undergraduate program where students can chose to earn a B.A. or B.S .in the College of Letters and Sciences, or a B.S. in the College of Education. The university has two speech pathology master’s programs. Students can choose to pursue an M.S. is speech-language pathology which is a clinical degree and satisfies the requirements to ultimately become a practicing speech pathologist, or the non-clinical M.S. degree in Normal Aspects of Speech, Language and Hearing. The latter program is generally the precursor to a Ph.D. in the subject.

The university also has two Ph.D. programs. There is the Ph.D. program and the M.S./Ph.D. program. The M.S./Ph.D. program is for students who would like to pursue a career in speech pathology and also obtain a doctorate in the subject.

 3. University of WashingtonDepartment of Speech and Hearing Sciences

University of Washington

University of Washington (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

There are several programs available in speech/language pathology at the University of Washington which was ranked #3 by US News. For undergraduates, there is the B.S. in Speech and Hearing Sciences. This program is mainly for students who would like to continue on with their master’s degree in the subject. The university also offers post baccalaureate study. This option is for students who would like to pursue a master’s degree in speech/language pathology, but possess an undergraduate degree in another subject. Students with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines would be required to complete a year-long program to prepare them for the master’s program.

The university has two master’s programs for those interested in a career in speech-language pathology. The first is the two-year Medical Speech-Language Pathology Program. This option is designed for students who would like a career in speech pathology in a medical setting. The other master’s degree program is the Core Speech-Language Pathology degree. This two-year program enables students to enter the field of speech pathology in a variety of settings including schools.
The Ph.D. program at the University of Washington is designed for students who would like to eventually teach or conduct research in the field. The program is an individualized one, and students will not only have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty in the discipline, they will also be able to utilize the numerous facilities the university has to offer.

 4. Vanderbilt UniversityDepartment of Hearing and Speech Sciences

cornelius vanderbilt

Cornelius Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

This department is one of the largest in the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University, and it was ranked #4 by US News. The school does not offer prospective students an undergraduate degree in speech/language pathology, but they do have a Master’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. This two-year master’s program consists of coursework and clinical training and exceeds the criteria required by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. It is also accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

The Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University prepares students for careers in teaching and conducting research in speech-language pathology or speech science. Two years of coursework in addition to the dissertation are required for successful completion of the program.

 5. Northwestern UniversitySchool of Communicationnorthwestern-universityLocated in Evanston, Illinois, the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University has a speech pathology program ranked #5 by US News. Students can begin their academic journey in the field at Northwestern by pursuing an undergraduate degree in Human Communication Sciences. This major will prepare students for a graduate degree in speech-language pathology. Undergraduate students can opt for a general bachelor’s degree in Human Communication Sciences, or they can specialize in speech-language pathology.

Students can continue with their studies in one of Northwestern’s pioneering speech pathology graduate programs. The Speech, Language, and Learning (SLL) master’s program not only focuses on speech-language pathology, it also explores the links between speech-language pathology and learning disabilities. Students are able to choose what they would like to concentrate on within the field—either speech-language pathology or learning disabilities. In addition, knowledgeable faculty who keep informed about recent news and developments in speech-language pathology provide students with substantial experience in the subject.

The Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders prepares students for research and teaching in the field. Students will be able to take full advantage of the expertise of experienced faculty members and utilize the state-of-the-art facilities the university has to offer. Students in the Ph.D. program are encouraged to explore other disciplines in conjunction with their Communication Sciences and Disorders research and coursework.

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