MA-SLP program - Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology
Note to future applicants: An on-line information session for those interested in applying for the MA-SLP program was held November 23, 2020. An FAQ document was created and is available for download.
The #6 ranked University of Iowa Speech-Language Pathology MA program provides superior and diverse education opportunities which allow graduates of our program to work as speech-language pathologists in any clinical environment. All graduates earning a master's degree in speech-language pathology in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders will have met the academic and practicum requirements necessary to obtain clinical certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Our mission is to produce professionals who have the theoretical foundation and the advanced clinical skills needed for the delivery of clinical services in speech-language pathology. A thesis is not required for completing the MA program; however, opportunities to engage in research are available for those students who are particularly interested in pursuing a research topic with a faculty mentor.
Choosing the best graduate school means finding the one that provides the best fit for you, given your interests and aspirations. According to a recent graduate of the UI MA SLP program,
“UI was an amazing fit for me. It was very rigorous, but it is a setting where a hard-working and dedicated individual can thrive. Iowa accepts the top students who support each other to succeed. The type of student that will succeed are those who are leaders and seek out additional opportunities to learn and grow, all while dedicating themselves to a rigorous academic curriculum.”
The Master of Arts education program in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Iowa 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.
The Admissions Committee reviews all applicants and all aspects of your application. In addition to your test scores and coursework, we consider your experience with vulnerable populations, your leadership, your interests, your referral letters, and your critical thinking skills. We are also committed to maximizing the diversity of our graduate student population.
To be admitted to the University of Iowa’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders MA-SLP program, you must meet the following requirements:
- Agree to adhere to ASHA’s Code of Ethics. In particular, students must be prepared to adhere to ASHA’s rules regarding nondiscrimination “on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity/gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, disability, culture, language, or dialect” and sign the Nondiscrimination Notification.
- Attest that you possess the essential functions required to practice speech-language pathology, as outlined in the Essential Functions document.
- Have fulfilled the prerequisite coursework requirements (see section immediately below).
- Have earned Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores and a Grade Point Average (GPA) that meets or exceeds our admission criteria (please see below).
Prerequisite undergraduate coursework
The following courses (or their equivalent) are required for graduation with an MA in the Speech-Language Pathology program. If you have an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders, you will likely have already completed most of this coursework in your undergraduate program. Students who have not taken these courses will need to take them during the MA program; however, taking prerequisite coursework during the graduate program may extend the length of the MA program.
The following courses are typically taken outside of departments of communication sciences and disorders (CSD). CSD courses cannot be used to fulfill these requirements.
- a biological science course (human or animal biology)
- a physical science course (physics or chemistry)
- a social/behavioral science course (e.g. psychology)
- an introductory course in statistics
The following courses are typically taken within a CSD department:
- phonology/phonetics (3 credits)
- anatomy/physiology of speech (3 credits)
- hearing science/speech science/acoustics (3-4 credits)
- neurological bases of speech, language, and hearing (3 credits)
- language acquisition/development (3 credits)
- hearing loss and audiometry (3 credits)
- aural rehabilitation (3 credits)
- developmental speech and language disorders (3-5 credits)
In addition, applicants are required to have completed 25 hours of clinical observation documented by a practitioner with ASHA certification before beginning the graduate program.
Students who have an undergraduate degree that is not in CSD may: 1) complete the prerequisite courses as a non-degree seeking student and then apply to the two-year program; or 2) apply as a three-year student, taking the required prerequisite coursework during their first year.
GRE/GPA requirements. Criteria for admission to the Graduate College of the University of Iowa are available on the Graduate College website. For admission to the MA-SLP programs, applicants with GPAs of less than 3.4 in their undergraduate programs, with verbal GRE scores under the 40th percentile, with quantitative GREs under the 30th percentile, or under 3.5 in analytical writing, are not likely to be accepted. The typical admitted applicant has a GPA of 3.80, a verbal GRE at the 80th percentile, a quantitative GRE at the 60th percentile, and an analytical writing score at the 80th percentile.
Admission decisions are based on an applicant's credentials in relation to those of other individuals applying. Admissions are made only for the fall semester, and generally 24-25 students enter the program each year.
Applications must be received by January 1 for admission in the fall. All applications to the Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology must be made through the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS), as well as through the University of Iowa Graduate College.
To apply, you must submit the following: a personal statement, transcripts, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation. Some materials will be submitted to CSDCAS and some to the University of Iowa. CSDCAS will require submission of the personal statement, transcripts, and the names of your references. The GRE scores must be sent directly to the University of Iowa. The University of Iowa will also need your transcripts, but not until after you have been admitted into the program.
- Apply to CSDCAS and to University of Iowa Graduate College. It is the applicant’s responsibility to meet the application deadlines.
- The CSDCAS portal is to https://csdcas.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login
- The deadline to submit your CSDCAS application online is January 1 (midnight, Eastern time).
- The University of Iowa portal is https://grad.admissions.uiowa.edu/apply.
- The deadline to submit your University of Iowa application online is February 1.
- The CSDCAS portal is to https://csdcas.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login
- Submit your personal statement to CSDCAS. The personal statement prompt is attached as a pdf file.
- You do not need to submit your personal statement/essay or recommendation letters to the University of Iowa. If the online form does not allow you to skip over these items, just write “see CSDCAS app.”
- All official transcripts MUST be sent to CSDCAS at: CSDCAS Transcript Processing Center, P.O. Box 9113, Watertown, MA 02471.
- You may wait until you hear that you have been admitted into our program to send transcripts to the University of Iowa. If you are denied admission, then you do not have to send transcripts to the University of Iowa.
GRE's: COVID-19 disrupted the availability of GRE testing, and the Admissions Committee elected to make submission of GRE results OPTIONAL for the 2020-2021 admission cycle. This means that your application will NOT be considered incomplete if you do not submit GRE scores. If you would still like to take the GREs, please be aware that home-testing options are available this year; check the following link for eligibility: https://www.ets.org/s/cv/gre/at-home/. If you do choose to submit GRE scores with your application to the University of Iowa, they may be considered by the Admissions Committee along with other optional experiences, such as research experience or clinical experience. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Jean Gordon, the Chair of the Admissions Committee (email@example.com).
- CSDCAS Customer Service information. Customer Service is available Monday thru Friday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM EST. Phone – (617) 612-2030; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CSDCAS “Frequently Asked Questions”
Interviews and Visit Day: Once the applications have been reviewed, interviews will be arranged via Skype. Students who have been admitted to the MA-SLP will be invited to a Visit Day in February or March. Visit Day gives applicants an opportunity to participate in a day-long set of activities to familiarize them with Iowa's MA-SLP program.
When will I hear a decision about admission?
Students accepted into the program will be notified by early March. If you have questions, please Email Mary Jo Yotty (319-335-8719) for admissions questions and Dr. Eileen Finnegan (319-335-8717) for queries relating to curriculum.
The MA program generally requires five semesters to complete: First Fall, First Spring, Summer, Second Fall, Second Spring. Students are not segregated into professional tracks. Instead, once the required coursework is completed, students are able to customize their program by selecting from a wide range of elective courses. Students can select coursework to prepare for a future career in a variety of professional settings.
All students complete a seminar in Evidence-Based Practice, which prepares them to be sophisticated consumers of research. In addition, students have the opportunity to pursue a thesis or to work in labs on a semester basis.
A current listing of coursework and course descriptions for the MA-SLP degree are available on the UI Registrar's Office website.
The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa uses a team approach to clinical education. Each student typically rotates through 6 specialty-based clinical teams. These teams may include Aural Rehabilitation, Early Childhood, General Speech and Language Disorders, Acquired Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, Autism and AAC, Voice Disorders, and Fluency Disorders. These teams are led by UI CSD clinical faculty at the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic. Students typically obtain 150 to 175 hours of supervision from UI CSD faculty prior to outplacements. This one-on-one teaching is a costly part of the program but we feel the investment into our students pays large dividends in terms of helping to develop critical thinking skills and professionalism.
During the summer sessions, there are a number of intensive therapy programs held at the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic. All students participate in UISPEAKS, a daycamp for school-aged children who stutter, or the residential camp for teens who stutter. Students assigned to the Aural Rehabilitation summer team may participate in Listen and Speak Up, a joint program with SLP and AuD students working together to treat preschool-aged children with hearing impairments. During the summer sessions, other students may rotate through the Summer Speech Buddies program, which was created to provide speech sound therapy to school-aged children. A wide range of services are offered at WJSHC throughout the year.
In the first photo, a camper in the UISPEAKS summer program reads perspectives from his fellow campers who also stutter. In the second photo, a graduate student "speech buddy" leads group therapy in Listen and Speak Up, a summer preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds who are deaf or hard of hearing.
All students engage in Inter-professional Education (IPE) activities during their two year MA program, through large group and small group activities in collaboration with students in Audiology, Physical Therapy, Nursing, Medical Education, and the Physician Assistant programs.
Because the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic is a billing clinic, students are trained in current billing procedures, diagnosis and treatment coding, and advocacy strategies for clinical services.
Outplacement Opportunities. Students have the option for a part-time mini-outplacement in the fall semester of their second year. All students complete two full-time 8-week outplacements in the spring semester of their second year. We currently have contracts with over 100 clinical sites. Students work with the Clinical Director to arrange their spring outplacement experiences. Here are a few examples of sites where we have placed students:
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Iowa City, Iowa)
- VA Medical center (Iowa City, Iowa)
- AEA school district (Iowa City, Coralville, and Williamsburg, Iowa)
- Children’s Hospital Colorado (Aurora, Colorado)
- Cincinnati Children’s hospital (Cincinnati, Oh)
- Courage Kenny Rehabilitation, Allina Health (several locations in Minnesota)
- Easter Seals (Peoria, Illinois)
- Mayo Clinics (Jacksonville, Florida)
- Ability Rehabilitation, previously Rehab Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
- Stanford Hospitals and Clinics (Stanford, California)
- American Institute for Stuttering (New York, New York)
- The Emory Voice Clinic (Atlanta, Georgia)
- Blain Block Institute for Voice (Dayton, Ohio)
- School districts across the country
- Private practices across the country
The MA SLP degree is primarily a clinical degree. However, as a practicing clinician, it is important to be able to critically read and integrate information from professional journals. To promote this approach to life-long learning, all MA students are required to complete the Evidence-Based Practice Seminar. This course provides an introduction to the design and conduct of research and evidence-based clinical practice in the field.
Students also have the opportunity to pursue an MA thesis project under the direction of a member of the faculty. CSD faculty engage in a wide range of research; see the UI CSD Research link for more details. Examples of recently completed theses include: "Comparing Satisfaction with Social Networks of Adults with and without Aphasia," "Effects of Fitzmaurice Voicework on the Voices of Graduate Student Actors," and "Co-speech Gesture Integration in Hippocampal Amnesia."
One strength of our program is the attention students receive from the large faculty, many of whom are nationally known, teaching courses and supervising in their primary areas of research and clinical interests. Faculty descriptions of professional interests, contact information and photos are under the UI CSD People link.
“After completing my experience at Iowa and reflecting on the nine other graduates programs which I visited, I think the most unique thing about Iowa is the 'family feel' of WenJo” - former UI graduate student
Building a sense of community is an important goal of our program. Incoming MA SLP students participate in a one week “boot camp” prior to the first semester of classes. The purpose of this camp is to obtain initial instruction in foundations of clinical practice, get oriented to the clinic, and participate in social events which are organized to help the students get to know each other and the faculty. Community building continues with our Camp Wapsi event, which is generally scheduled during the first month of the first semester. This two day event, filled with team building experiences, is held at a local YMCA camp and is attended by first and second year SLP students and faculty.
Many graduate students become active members of the UI NSSLHA group. Our departmental group has consistently earned GOLD chapter honors from ASHA, due to its work in advocacy, philanthropy, and professional development. Students have the opportunity to attend the state ISHA convention during their first Fall semester in the program and the ASHA convention during their second Fall semester.
University of Iowa NSSLHA members prepare for their state-wide Advocacy Day by attending the state association’s conference.
On-time Program Completion Rates
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Praxis Examination Pass Rates of Test-takers
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Employment Rates of Graduates
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- Current tuition and fees are listed at the University of Iowa Registrar’s website. (Scroll to "Graduate, Speech Pathology and Audiology, MA or AUD" table.) To estimate TOTAL tuition for the two-year program, compute tuition based on 15 credits in first fall, 15 credits in first spring, 9 credits in summer, 15 credits in second fall, and 4 credits in second spring.
- All graduate students are considered for funding, based on merit and availability of funds. Funding is awarded via tuition scholarships, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships. The Department strives to be able to provide at least one form of funding for each admitted graduate student at some point during the course of study.
- Both University of Iowa-based and externally-based scholarships curtail tuition and living expenses. Consult the Resources webpage for details.
The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is located in the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center. Our building houses the clinic, classrooms, faculty offices and research labs. MA students enrolled in the program will spend most of their days in the building treating clients in the clinic, attending courses in the classrooms, meeting with faculty, and possibly engaging in research.
We are located in close proximity to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, the Center for Disabilities and Development, and the VA Hospital.
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
University of Iowa
Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center
250 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
For specific questions regarding the SLP Graduate Program, please contact:
To be curious, to investigate
To think, to learn
To become as fully aware as possible of one’s self and of one’s world
To evaluate tradition with the calm and appreciative honesty that one employs in evaluating new knowledge and points of view.
And so, to leave the world a bit more favorable in the full flowering of each individual in it
These things to me are important – Wendell Johnson