MS in Speech-Language Pathology

The mission of the Boston University Master of Science degree program in Speech-Language Pathology is to prepare graduates to meet American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) clinical certification standards and state licensure requirements necessary for entry-level practice positions. We believe that the study of human communication disorders must be built on a strong foundation in the basic sciences and normal processes related to communication, cognition, and swallowing as well as an understanding and appreciation of scientific inquiry. The program strives to create a learning environment that fosters critical and innovative thinking and encourages the development of future leaders. The Master of Science education program in Speech-Language Pathology at Boston University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, MD 20850; 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.

The master’s degree program requires the equivalent of four semesters of full-time study plus a minimum of four credits during the summer, the exact number depending on the specific prerequisites that have been completed prior to entering the graduate program. All course plans are individualized based on student needs. Course selection depends upon the student’s undergraduate preparation and professional and certification goals. A minimum of 67 credits plus successful completion of a comprehensive written examination are required. For qualified students, a thesis may be substituted for the written examination.

The program prepares students for employment in medical, rehabilitation, private practice, educational, and community settings.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a MS degree in Speech-Language Pathology will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge in the basic sciences and normal processes related to communication, cognition, and swallowing.
  • Identify, diagnose, intervene, and counsel individuals with communication and swallowing difficulties across the lifespan and from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds within an evidence-based practice framework.
  • Successfully complete a capstone experience that requires the synthesis and integration of acquired knowledge related to communication and swallowing disorders within an evidence-based practice framework.

Admission Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is required for admission. The applicant must also complete the following prerequisite speech-language pathology and audiology courses or their equivalents.

Prerequisite coursework

The following six prerequisite courses must be completed. Four courses, SAR SH 221 Phonetics, SAR SH 522 Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism, SAR SH 524 Language Acquisition, and SH 535 Introduction to Audiology must be completed prior to matriculation. The other two prerequisite courses may be completed prior to matriculation but do not have to be. Once accepted into the program, students may complete these courses on a non-graduate-credit basis concurrent with graduate study. All MS-SLP students who have not completed the prerequisite course SAR SH 547 Introduction to the Clinical Process take this course as SAR SH 647 with other graduate students in the fall semester of their first year. Planning for the remaining prerequisite course, SAR SH 542 Aural Rehabilitation, is individualized.

  1. SAR SH 221 Phonetics
  2. SAR SH 522 Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
  3. SAR SH 524 Language Acquisition
  4. SAR SH 535 Diagnostic Audiology
  5. SAR SH 542 Aural Rehabilitation
  6. SAR SH 547 Introduction to the Clinical Process

The Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology requires that a course be completed in each of the following areas prior to graduation from the master’s degree program. If these courses have not been completed prior to matriculation, they may be completed on a non-graduate-credit basis concurrently with graduate study.

  • Biological Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences
  • Statistics

The applicant must submit evidence of academic and clinical aptitude in the form of previous academic records and aptitude scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (Boston University CSDCAS 0681) and at least three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic ability.

Please visit our website for details about Technical Standards for the MS-SLP program.

Proficiency in English

Non-native speakers of English must demonstrate proficiency in English through the following methods:

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a university or college where English is the primary language of instruction and is required for all oral and written student assignments and exams, or completion of the TOEFL examination. Students who are the most competitive for admission will have a composite score of at least 90–100 and minimum scores of 20 in each section.
  • Successful communication during an oral interview with members of the MS-SLP admissions committee.

Application Deadline

The date for submission of all application materials for fall admission is January 1.

Degree Requirements

Each student’s plan of study must be approved by his or her faculty advisor. A minimum of 67 credits for courses at the graduate level with at least 59 credits taken at Boston University are required for the degree. At least one semester must be devoted to full-time study and all degree requirements must be completed within five years after initial matriculation in the program.

Satisfactory performance on the comprehensive examination is required unless the faculty approves a thesis as a substitute.

Candidates must maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher in all graduate courses, with no more than 8 credits of C or C+ work accepted toward the degree. Required courses receiving grades of C– and below must be repeated; a student may repeat a required course only once.

For prerequisite courses that are being completed by matriculating MS degree students, the first course with a grade of C or below must be repeated. Should a grade of C or below be received in a second course, the student will be terminated from the program.

Continued enrollment in the graduate program is contingent upon the maintenance of a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students whose GPA falls below 3.0 for more than one consecutive semester will be terminated from the program. This applies to all graduate students enrolled for more than 4 credits in a semester. The acceptability of C or C+ work in required courses is subject to departmental faculty approval.

To count clinical practicum clock and credit hours toward ASHA certification, the student must receive a practicum grade of B– or better. A clinical practicum experience that receives a grade of B– or below must be repeated.

Sample Curriculum

First Year

Fall Semester

  • SAR SH 605 Speech Sound Disorders (3 cr)
  • SAR SH 700 Research Methods (1 cr)
  • SAR SH 708 Models of Language (3 cr)
  • SAR SH 709 Language Sampling Analysis (2 cr)
  • SAR SH 737 Evaluation and Diagnosis in Speech Pathology (2 cr)
  • SAR SH 740 Introduction to Clinical Practicum (2 cr)
  • SAR SH 748 Hearing Practicum I (1 cr)
  • SAR SH 756 Cognition and Neural Bases (3 cr)

Spring Semester

  • SAR SH 702 Public School Seminar (1 cr)
  • SAR SH 704 Clinical Reasoning: IPE (1 cr)
  • SAR SH 729 School-Age Language Disorders (3 cr)
  • SAR SH 735 Preschool Language Disorders (3 cr)
  • SAR SH 736 Aphasia (3 cr)
  • SAR SH 738 Dysphagia (3 cr)
  • SAR SH 741 Clinical Practicum (3 cr)
  • SAR SH 744 Clinical Practicum: Diagnostics (1 cr)

Summer Term

  • Elective(s) (2 cr)
  • SAR SH 691 Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (3 cr)

Second Year

Fall Semester

  • SAR SH 703 Counseling (1 cr)
  • SAR SH 705 Clinical Reasoning: Case Studies (1 cr)
  • SAR SH 721 Motor Speech Disorders (2 cr)
  • SAR SH 727 Autism Spectrum Disorders (2 cr)
  • SAR SH 733 Voice and Resonance Disorders (3 cr)
  • SAR SH 742 Clinical Practicum (4 cr)
  • SAR SH 752 Hearing Practicum II (1 cr)

Spring Semester

  • SAR SH 650 Healthcare Seminar (1 cr)
  • SAR SH 706 Clinical Reasoning: Advanced Case Studies (1 cr)
  • SAR SH 715 Professional Issues (0 cr)
  • SAR SH 732 Fluency Disorders (2 cr)
  • SAR SH 734 Acquired Cognitive Disorders (2 cr)
  • SAR SH 743 Clinical Practicum (5 cr)
  • SAR SH 757 Aging and Dementia (2 cr)
  • SAR SH 790 Comprehensive Exam (0 cr)