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Pre-Professional Speech/Language Pathology

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Speech language pathologists research, diagnose, and treat communication disorders including disorders of speech and disorders of language.  Professionals in this area work with children and adults in a variety of settings (schools, hospitals, and private practice).

A clinical career in speech and language pathology (SLP) requires an advanced degree (MA, MEd, or MS). Graduate programs in speech language pathology prepare the student for the national certification exam and licensure processes, which vary by state. To ensure that students are ultimately successful in certification and licensure, graduate programs require the completion of specific prerequisite courses at the undergraduate level. The pre-professional speech-language pathology program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science at the University of Delaware is designed to provide students with the prerequisites they need in order to apply to graduate school.  While the courses we offer are broadly recognized as the core and are essential to later success in graduate school, some programs also prefer that students have taken additional coursework; these additional requirements vary widely from program to program.


Image of Steps on the Pathway to Practice as a Speech Language Pathology

A clinical career in audiology requires a clinical doctorate, i.e. the  Audiology Doctorate (Aud.D.) or a Ph.D.  Students who complete the pre-professional speech-language pathology sequence in Linguistics and Cognitive Science are equipped to apply to graduate programs in audiology.  For specifics regarding requirements for certification as an audiologist, visit the American Speech Language Hearing Association website, at

A student aspiring to conduct research related to speech pathology or audiology as a speech, language, or hearing scientist must earn a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.

·        UD students who wish to prepare for graduate school in SLP should major in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Pre-Professional SLP.  This area of specialization provides the most common prerequisites for most graduate programs.  

·        Students are strongly encouraged to demonstrate special interests via participation in campus research related to speech pathology and audiology.

·        Because admission into speech and language pathology graduate programs is highly competitive, we strongly recommend that students maintain a 3.6 GPA or higher. 

·        Students should also seek volunteer experience, work in a lab for credit, and obtain other forms of experience relevant to the field. See 'recommended electives' (below) for more information.

·        Minors. Students are not required to take a minor. For those who wish to do so, popular minors for SLP include Disability Studies, Psychology, Human Development & Family Studies, and Spanish. Students can take more than one minor, but should not over-stretch themselves with minors.

·        UD Chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA): This is an organization for students interested in Speech and Language Pathology. The group functions as a source of information about admission to graduate programs, upcoming speakers and events, volunteer opportunities and more. If you wish to join, please contact NSSLHA at

·        You'll notice above (see flow chart) that 25 hours of clinical observation is required for certification. Some graduate programs require that a portion or, in some cases, all of those hours be acquired before admission.  The pre-professional course sequence includes upper-level coursework that connects students with community observation sites as well as guided, virtual observation opportunities recognized as counting toward those 25 hours.  See your advisor for details.

·        The American Speech Language Hearing Association website offers a wealth of information about graduate programs, access to research publications, professional affairs, and more.  Visit

Clearances for Observation

  1. For information about clearances, (re:clearance processes), please visit the Office for Clinical Studies (OCS) website:
  2. Be aware that the Criminical Background Check (CBC) process, may take 6-8 weeks to complete.
  3. Clearances MUST be completed by the 1st day of classes for courses requiring them.
  4. Most graduate programs do not recognize observation hours completed outside of an academic course requirement.
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Pre-Professional Speech/Language Pathology
  • Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science
  • 125 E. Main Street
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-6806
  • Fax: 302-831-6896