Oct 01, 2023  
2016-2017 Academic Catalog (Jan 2017) 
2016-2017 Academic Catalog (Jan 2017) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Speech-Language Pathology, MSSLP

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees, Majors, and Concentrations Offered


Program Objectives

The academic courses and clinical opportunities prepare students to address speech, language, and swallowing disorders across the lifespan in both medical and educational environments. Emphasis is placed on evidence-based practice with sensitivity to cultural and linguistic diversity. This program is designed to meet all academic and practicum requirements for clinical certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).


The program in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center 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, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700. (Latest accreditation period: July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2022)


The UTHSC Program utilizes the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application Service http://www.capcsd.org/csdcas/. Prospective applicants may apply by accessing the Speech-Language Pathology Applicant website at https://portal.csdcas.org/.

Requirements for Admission

  1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the Bachelor’s Degree.
  3. A satisfactory score on the Verbal and Quantitative scales of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  4. Three letters of recommendation preferably from 3 professors who had the student in class.
  5. Foreign applicants whose native language is not English must submit results of TOEFL with a minimum score of 550.
  6. Applicants who accept an offer of admission will be required to complete UTHSC’s Pre-Admissions Requirement System (PARS).

Transfer of Credit

Up to the 30 of the 75 total academic semester hours required for the Master’s degree may be transferred from undergraduate degrees from UT or another institution on the basis of knowledge and skills gained and with the recommendation of the academic advisor and approval of the chair / program director.

A maximum of 15 semester hours of graduate-level academic work and 5 semester hours of clinical practicum taken at the graduate level required for the Master’s degree may be transferred from work completed at an ASHA CAA accredited institution. Such work must have been taken for graduate credit and passed with a grade of B or better and be part of an otherwise satisfactory graduate program. Official transcripts must be received by the Chair of the Department directly from the appropriate institutions before any transfer of credit will be approved. All transfer hours must be approved by the Department and then entered into the transcript by the Registrar’s office.

Health Requirements

Speech-Language Pathology students are required to show proof of current health insurance prior to enrollment. Students are required to be immunized against the Hepatitis B virus and to have an annual skin test for Tuberculosis. Information about meeting these requirements is presented via email prior to the first day of class and, again, during orientation. Some clinical education sites require affiliating Speech- Language Pathology students to have one or more of the following: rubella titer or vaccine, general physical examination. Students are responsible for these costs.

Technical Standards

In order to be considered for national certification or state licensure, Speech-Language Pathology students must have or acquire certain essential skills, functions and professional attitudes and behavior as described in the Technical Standards document. All students who enroll must be prepared to understand and abide by these requirements. Information about meeting these requirements is presented during orientation.

In order to acquire the knowledge and skills requisite to the practice of audiology or speech-language pathology, to function in a broad variety of clinical situations, and to render a wide spectrum of patient care, individuals must have skills and attributes in five areas: communication, motor, intellectual-cognitive sensory-observational, and behavioral-social. These skills enable a student to meet graduate and professional requirements as measured by state licensure and national certification. Many of these skills can be learned and developed during the course of the graduate program through coursework and clinical experience. The starred items (*), however, are skills that are more inherent and should be present when a student begins the program.

A student must possess adequate communication skills to:

  • Communicate proficiently in both oral and written English language. (Language to be determined by program.)*
  • Possess reading and writing skills sufficient to meet curricular and clinical demands.*
  • Perceive and demonstrate appropriate non-verbal communication for culture and context.*
  • Modify communication style to meet the communication needs of clients, caregivers, and other persons served. *
  • Communicate professionally and intelligibly with patients, colleagues, other healthcare professionals, and community or professional groups.
  • Communicate professionally, effectively, and legibly on patient documentation, reports, and scholarly papers required as a part of course work and professional practice.
  • Convey professional information accurately with relevance and cultural sensitivity.

A student must possess adequate motor skills to:

  • Sustain necessary physical activity level in required classroom and clinical activities.*
  • Respond quickly to provide a safe environment for clients in emergency situations including fire, choking, etc.*
  • Access transportation to clinical and academic placements.*
  • Participate in classroom and clinical activities for the defined workday.*
  • Efficiently manipulate testing and treatment environment and materials without violation of testing protocol and with best therapeutic practice.
  • Manipulate patient-utilized equipment (e.g. durable medical equipment to include AAC devices, hearing aids, etc.) in a safe manner.
  • Access technology for clinical management (i.e. billing, charting, therapy programs, etc.).

A student must possess adequate intellectual and cognitive skills to:

  • Comprehend, retain, integrate, synthesize, infer, evaluate and apply written and verbal information sufficient to meet curricular and clinical demands.*
  • Identify significant findings from history, evaluation, and data to formulate a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
  • Solve problems, reason, and make sound clinical judgments in patient assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic plan and implementation.
  • Self-evaluate, identify, and communicate limits of one’s own knowledge and skill to appropriate professional level and be able to identify and utilize resources in order to increase knowledge.
  • Utilize detailed written and verbal instruction in order to make unique and independent decisions.

A student must possess adequate sensory skills of vision, hearing, tactile, and smell to:

  • Visually and auditorily identify normal and disordered communication in all areas relevant to professional practice.
  • Identify the need for alternative modalities of communication.
  • Visualize and identify anatomic structures.
  • Identify and discriminate findings on imaging studies.
  • Discriminate text, numbers, tables, and graphs associated with diagnostic instruments and tests.
  • Recognize when a client’s family does or does not understand the clinician’s written and or verbal communication.

A student must possess adequate behavioral and social attributes to:

  • Display mature empathetic and effective professional relationships by exhibiting compassion, integrity, and concern for others.*
  • Recognize and show respect for individuals with disabilities and for individuals of different ages, genders, race, religions, sexual orientation, and cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.*
  • Conduct oneself in an ethical and legal manner, upholding the ASHA Code of Ethics and university and federal privacy policies.*
  • Maintain general good physical and mental health and self-care in order not to jeopardize the health and safety of self and others in the academic and clinical setting.*
  • Adapt to changing and demanding environments (which includes maintaining both professional demeanor and emotional health).
  • Manage the use of time effectively to complete professional and technical tasks within realistic time constraints.
  • Accept appropriate suggestions and constructive criticism and respond by modification of behaviors.
  • Dress appropriately and professionally.

Criminal Background Check

A criminal background check is required after acceptance and prior to enrollment.  Upon receipt  of an adverse criminal background check, an explanation by the student will be required and a decision will be made by the Chair and Dean as to whether the incident(s) would be a problem for the student when seeking internship placements or licensure to practice.  Admission may be denied in some cases. Students should be aware that additional criminal background checks along with drug screens and fingerprinting may be required by clinical sites, certification committees, and state licensure boards. Students are responsible for these costs.

Curriculum Summary

The MS in Speech Pathology program typically requires at least five semesters of study for full-time students with undergraduate preparation in the discipline and eight semesters of study for full-time students who hold bachelor’s degrees in other areas. For this reason, most applicants with an undergraduate background in speech pathology will begin the program in year two. Part-time students are accepted into the MS-SLP program on occasion and time to completion of the program is dependent on their schedules and availability of needed courses and clinical practicum experiences. In order to earn a MS-SLP, satisfactory completion of a minimum of 75 hours in academic coursework and a minimum of 15 hours in clinical practicum are required. (Up to 30 hours of requirements may be waived on the basis of knowledge and skills gained at the undergraduate level or prior to enrollment.)

The following courses are required:

All students are also required to take at least one graduate level class in stuttering ( ASP 514 - Stuttering  or ASP 531 - Advanced Stuttering ), voice (ASP 508 - Voice Disorders  or ASP 523 - Advanced Voice Disorders ), and speech sound disorders ( ASP 590 - Professional Series in SLP - Special Topics  or ASP 522 - Advanced Speech Sound Disorders ).

The MS-SLP curriculum is designed to provide opportunities for students to focus on certain areas through the use of elective options focusing on SLP in schools, Medical SLP and/or Aural Rehabilitation. There also is opportunity to complete a thesis in lieu of certain elective courses. In general, courses are offered one time per calendar year. Exceptions include undergraduate courses (e.g., ASP 300 Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders, ASP 320 - Speech and Language Development , ASP 494 - Introduction to Aural Habilitation/Rehabilitation of the Hearing Impaired ), which may be offered twice per calendar year. Professional series in SLP (ASP 590), clinical practicum experiences (e.g., ASP 533 - Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology , ASP 537 - Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology: Off-Campus School Sites , and ASP 538 - Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology: Off-Campus II Medical Sites ), and directed research or independent study courses (e.g., ASP 500 - Thesis , ASP 555 - Special Problems in Speech-Language Pathology , ASP 593 - Independent Study , ASP 659 Directed Study in Speech Science  ) are offered every term.

Sample Course Schedules for MS-SLP Curriculum

Sample 3- year program

(for students without bachelors or equivalent in communication disorders)

Sample 2 -year program

(for students with bachelors or equivalent in communication disorders)

Fall 3

Comprehensive examination typically taken this this semester.


1 Summer elective offerings are expected to include ASP 573 - Pediatric Audiology for Education Professionals , 590 Pro-Series in SLP, ASP 661 Advanced Study in Child Language  and approved content-related graduate level classes from the UTK campus (under ASP 840).
2 Spring elective offerings are expected to include ASP 556 - Autism and Language , ASP 558 - Augmentative and Alternative Communication , and 590 Pro-Series in SLP.
3 Fall elective offerings are expected to include ASP 521 - Advanced Cognitive Communication Disorders  ASP 522 - Advanced Speech Sound Disorders  ASP 523 - Advanced Voice Disorders , ASP 531 - Advanced Stuttering , ASP 551 - Pediatric Medical Speech Pathology , 590 Pro-Series in SLP and ASP 652 Acoustic Accessibility in the Classroom .
4 Though listed as a summer class, ASP 580 - Medical Speech-Language Pathology  will be taught in the ‘mini-term’ between the spring semester and first summer session.
5Comprehensive examination typically taken this this semester.

MSSLP Grading Scales

Academic Coursework
A = > 0.90,
B+ => 0.86 & < 0.90,
B = > 0.80 & < 0.86,
C+ = > 0.76 & < 0.80,
C = > 0.70 & < 0.76,
D = > 0.60 & < 0.70

Clinical Practicum
A = > 0.94,
B = > 0.86 & ≤ 0.93,
C = > 0.78 & < 0.85,
D = > 0.70 & < 0.77

ASP 500 - Thesis  courses are graded using Pass/No Pass (P/NP) criteria.

Information about grading for incompletes and withdrawals in covered in the general college section of the catalog. Students should reference this information about grade assignments in these situations.


The following requirements must be satisfied to earn the degree of Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology.

  1. Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 75 hours in academic coursework and a minimum of 15 hours in clinical practicum. (Up to 30 hours of requirements may be waived on the basis of knowledge and skills gained at the undergraduate level or prior to enrollment.)
  2.  Grades of “B” or above are required in all content area coursework and practicum, with rare exception.
  3. A grade of C in any class or clinical placement is not acceptable and will result in placing the student on probation.  Grades of C in more than one semester will likely result in dismissal from the program.
  4. Grades below “C” in any course or practicum will likely result in immediate dismissal from the program.
  5. Satisfactory completion (“Pass”) of a thesis or comprehensive exam is required prior to graduation.
  6. Students must discharge all financial obligations to the University and remove all deficiencies documented by the Registrar.
  7. Students planning to practice in the United States also must pass all Knowledge and Skills (KASA) competencies prior to graduation.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees, Majors, and Concentrations Offered