By TMHA Staff
Speech-language pathology (SLP) is a field of healthcare that focuses on communication and swallowing disorders, language development, and cognitive issues related to language. SLPs often work in hospitals and clinics to diagnose and treat people with communication disorders. Patients may suffer from dementia, have recently experienced a stroke or traumatic brain injury, or have a lifelong condition that affects their communication abilities (such as autism or deafness). Some SLPs also work in schools to help children with speech impediments.
For more information about careers in speech-language pathology, market trends, salary information, and education requirements check out this helpful guide on the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Association (ASHA) website. And for more information about the best graduate speech pathology programs (SLPs must have a master’s degree and pass a national exam to become licensed), check out our ranking below!
Ranking the 50 Best Master’s Degrees in Speech Pathology
All of the programs we considered for this ranking are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in ASHA. In addition, all of the programs are “active,” in that they have recently conferred degrees to a graduating class, have students currently enrolled in courses, and participate in SLP research. Of course, these only represent the bare minimum requirements for consideration as a top program. Other factors we considered include:
While the biggest universities are not necessarily the best ones, it sends a clear message when any school attracts a large number of students to a particular program. Using data from College Navigator, we calculated the number of speech-language pathology master’s degrees that each college conferred in the 2014-15 academic year to assess its overall popularity with applicants as well as the resources it allots in support of its SLP program.
Each of these programs are currently accredited by ASHA, but the length of time that each one has remained accredited varies considerably. We used the number of years that a program has consistently maintained ASHA accreditation as an indication of overall quality and experience in SLP education.
To get a sense of each program’s reputation within the SLP community, we turned to peer survey results from U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of top speech-language pathology programs. Each college that received a survey rated the SLP programs at other universities around the country on a 1-5 scale. We used the overall average rating that each program received to determine its peer reputation.
Using data from Thompson Reuters Web of Science, an online research database and citation indexing service, we were able to determine the number of times in recent years that each school published research in one of the field’s two primary journals: The American Journal of Speech Language Pathology and The Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. We used the combined number of publications in both journals to determine each program’s overall research productivity.
We gave each of these categories equal weight in our methodology. After adding up the results, we linearly shifted each program’s final score to fit a 100-point scale. We based this adjustment on the top-ranked program’s pre-shifted point total (such that the #1 school earned 100/100 points). Finally, we chose the 50 top speech pathology graduate programs to include in our ranking. Scroll below to find out more!
A note on tuition: we have included approximate graduate tuition rates and fees in our descriptions of each program (see below). For public schools, we averaged the cost of in-state and out-of-state attendance. All cost-related data came from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator search engine and is, to our knowledge, accurate. However, we encourage readers to reach out directly to the academic programs that interest them to request a personalized quote regarding the total cost of attendance.
50. Florida State University
|Accreditation Year: 2009||Peer Survey Score: 3.5|
At Florida State University, students of all backgrounds can earn the top master’s in speech language pathology they need to become practicing clinicians. While most applicants are likely to possess a bachelor’s degree in SLP or a related field, FSU can also accommodate those who lack certain course prerequisites through its “Bridge Program.” While completion of this coursework doesn’t guarantee admission to the main degree program, it nonetheless provides an excellent opportunity for those who are interested in learning more about speech pathology. And applicants who are admitted not only gain access to more interesting classes, but also become eligible for both clinical certification and professional licensure upon graduation.
Graduate Tuition: $18,759/yr
49. University of North Texas
|Accreditation Year: 1976||Peer Survey Score: 2.6|
With an average tuition rate below $11,000 a year, the University of North Texas has one of the most affordable graduate speech pathology programs in the country. But while this program is certainly financially accessible, it’s also among the most academically selective. In fact, in 2015 just 6.8% of applicants gained admittance from a pool of nearly 500. But those few students who do make the cut can feel confident that their future will be bright. After all, UNT speech pathology graduates have consistently reported 100% job placement and Praxis exam pass rates for the past several years.
Graduate Tuition: $10,855/yr
48. CUNY Queens College
|Accreditation Year: 1973||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
Like UNT, CUNY Queens College’s accredited speech pathology graduate program boasts virtually perfect records for program completion, graduate job placement, and Praxis exam pass rates. And while it’s difficult to exactly pinpoint what makes the program’s graduates so successful, it’s safe to say that Queens College’s robust clinical training requirement has something to do with it. Starting in their first semester on campus, speech pathology students at Queens must complete 10-12 hours a week of rigorous, hands-on training. And they continue this regimen for the duration of the program, working with assigned faculty mentors to enhance their skills every step of the way.
Graduate Tuition: $14,947/yr
47. University of Kentucky
|Accreditation Year: 1986||Peer Survey Score: 3.2|
The University of Kentucky’s accredited speech language pathology masters program is one of just a few programs on this list to offer ample scholarships specifically for students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. First generation as well as Appalachian-Kentuckian students are eligible for particularly big discounts – including half-priced tuition through UK’s SUCCESS program. But even without this outstanding opportunity, UK would probably still be on our list; UK’s high graduate placement rates and comprehensive curriculum (including a thesis option) make it a great all-around resource for aspiring speech pathologists.
Graduate Tuition: $20,308/yr
46. SUNY Buffalo State
|Accreditation Year: 1984||Peer Survey Score: 3.4|
Unlike most SLP programs, which provide M.S. (Master of Science) degrees, SUNY Buffalo State’s program is actually formulated as an M.S.Ed. (Master of Science in Education). This technical difference detracts nothing from the caliber of the master’s degree in speech pathology curriculum, which presents the same high-quality clinical and research methods as one would find at any other accredited program. Rather, Buffalo State simply enhances its core coursework with a specialized educator training component. Not only do all degree candidates complete a practicum in an educational setting, but they graduate with a provisional teaching certification in New York state.
Graduate Tuition: $17,251/yr
45. Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI
|Accreditation Year: 1972||Peer Survey Score: 2.7|
Service and research are the two hallmarks of the affordable and accredited speech language pathology masters program at Central Michigan University. Through the Department of Communication Disorder’s Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic, master’s degree candidates at CMU acquire a wealth of hands-on experience as they identify, diagnose, and treat patients with speech disabilities. Those in the master’s program also have the opportunity to volunteer over the summer in CMU’s Summer Speech-Language Specialty Clinic, a five-week “specialized treatment program” for children of all ages suffering from a range of communication disorders.
Graduate Tuition: $15,224/yr
44. Marquette University
|Accreditation Year: 1972||Peer Survey Score: 3|
There are plenty of reasons that Marquette has one of the top graduate speech pathology programs in the country. In addition to the factors that landed it on our ranking, the university also boasts a comprehensive curriculum that spans everything from physiology and neurobiology to behaviorism. This breadth of coursework provides degree candidates with all the tools they need to identify – and ameliorate – speech pathologies. What’s more, Marquette’s program is uniquely accessible to all undergrads (not just those with a bachelor’s degree in a health-related area). Those who lack the necessary prerequisites can simply sign up for the two-semester post-baccalaureate bridge option, which covers all the necessary foundational coursework and guarantees admission into the graduate program.
Graduate Tuition: $19,350/yr
43. University of Virginia
|Accreditation Year: 1973||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
Where Marquette and FSU have created distinct programs to accommodate applicants with different academic credentials/experience, the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education takes a different approach. While it technically only offers a single degree, this affordable speech pathology graduate program really consists of two tracks: one for communication disorder undergraduates, and the other for students with bachelor’s degrees in other fields. Program members in the latter track (“Track II”) begin clinical work right away, shoring up their practical skills before rejoining Track I students in their second year. With this approach, students who are new to the field only need one extra semester to earn the same degree as their more experienced classmates.
Graduate Tuition: $22,751/yr
42. University of New Mexico
|Accreditation Year: 1978||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
The University of New Mexico’s top graduate speech pathology program has a history of strong performance, as evidenced by its students’ degree completion and job placement rates (both 98%!). But this level of statistical distinction didn’t come out of nowhere. Rather, UNM actively pursues high achievement through its rigorous curriculum. On one end, relevant coursework spanning linguistics, neuroscience, and rehabilitation therapy imbues students with a deep understanding of theoretical concepts. On the other end, a hefty dose of clinical experiences, internships, and potential thesis work ensure that graduates enter the job market with an over-the-top résumé that is sure to dazzle prospective employers.
Graduate Tuition: $16,737/yr
41. Ohio University
|Accreditation Year: 1968||Peer Survey Score: 3.2|
Ohio University provides a wealth of exceptional opportunities through its accredited speech pathology graduate program. For starters, Ohio offers two distinct specialization tracks for degree candidates: one in clinical therapy and the other in clinical research. Both options require a considerable amount of clinical experience, which students can conveniently complete on campus (in the same building as the SLP classrooms) or at any of Ohio’s “nationwide network of 250 clinical externship sites.” Program members in both tracks also have the opportunity to complete an education-focused externship, which will help them meet the requirements for teacher certification in Ohio.
Graduate Tuition: $13,506/yr
40. New York University
New York, NY
|Accreditation Year: 1983||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
At New York University’s Steinhardt School, aspiring speech pathologists will find a graduate program that provides them with all the skills and experience they need to be successful in the field. The curriculum for NYU’s accredited master’s degree in speech pathology is considerable and consists of three core segments: Clinical and Disorders Course, Practicums, and Electives. Of these, the clinical practicum requirement is perhaps the most impressive. Comprised of six individual off-campus rotations, this challenging course sequence ensures that students acquire plenty of practical experience in everything from diagnostic assessment and treatment to pediatric and adult care.
Graduate Tuition: $42,368/yr
39. Case Western Reserve University
|Accreditation Year: 1965||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
Case Western Reserve University’s Master of Arts in Communication Sciences easily stands among the best graduate speech pathology programs in the country. In just 42 credits and 375 supervised clinical hours, this program equips degree candidates with a host of diagnostic and treatment skills as well as theories underlying communication disorders. As a result of this strong practical and theoretical grounding, graduates go on to diverse careers in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and special education centers, as well as private clinics. Case Western also features a thesis option for those who wish to pursue a doctorate.
Graduate Tuition: $42,610/yr
38. University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences Center
Oklahoma City, OK
|Accreditation Year: 1965||Peer Survey Score: 3.2|
The University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences’ affordable speech language pathology masters program is available as both an MA and an MS degree. Aspiring clinicians and teachers should choose the Master of Arts option, which provides numerous opportunities to gain practical experience in schools and hospitals. This degree’s comprehensive curriculum also specifically covers topics that appear on the Praxis exam. Individuals seeking a career in research, on the other hand, will find the Master of Science option to be a better value. Its curriculum devotes a considerable portion of the required coursework to “computer tools and statistical techniques for data analysis.”
Graduate Tuition: $13,839/yr
37. CUNY Brooklyn College
|Accreditation Year: 1968||Peer Survey Score: 3|
Like many of the best master’s degrees in speech pathology, the SLP program at CUNY Brooklyn College is practically a conveyor belt to a career in healthcare. In fact, the program’s Student Outcome Data reports that, of the 100+ alumni it has produced over the past three years, 95% found related employment within a year of graduation. And their Praxis exam pass rates are even higher! Yet, an education from Brooklyn College is about more than following a set path to success. That’s why the school also supports programs like the Advanced Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders, which imparts important insights that graduates can use to make a real difference in the care and treatment of this rapidly growing demographic.
Graduate Tuition: $14,857/yr
36. Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA
|Accreditation Year: 1971||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
There are two features of Louisiana State University’s accredited master’s in speech language pathology that distinguish it from other programs. One is its interdisciplinary nature; the department coordinates with the Interdisciplinary Program in Linguistics and the LSU Life Course and Aging Center to grant students access to a range of resources and research opportunities. The other is its embrace of technology. In addition to an on-campus clinic, which sees over 300 patients with unique communication disorders each year, the program also supports state-of-the-art digital research and data analysis facilities and uses high-tech CALIPSO software to track student progress.
Graduate Tuition: $11,887/yr
35. Brigham Young University-Provo
|Accreditation Year: 1970||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
In Brigham Young University’s accredited speech language pathology masters program, degree candidates participate in weekly clinical observations in order to gain exposure to patients with a wide range of communications disorders. This early and ongoing contact with the day-to-day work of practicing speech pathologists serves as a highly effective method of career training – and it lays the groundwork for an ambitious curriculum, as well. To complement the observations they make in the clinic, BYU students spend their classroom hours studying the neurological and physiological foundations of speech and motor skills to acquire a comprehensive, 360-degree view of their chosen field.
Graduate Tuition: $6,680/yr
34. University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
|Accreditation Year: 1972||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
Although the University of Northern Iowa’s affordable graduate speech pathology program has been granting degrees for over 40 years, the school’s history in the field goes back even further. In fact, UNI’s Roy Eblen Speech and Hearing Clinic actually predates the graduate program itself (it was founded in the early 1960s). Interestingly, it was the need to train more staff for the clinical practice that originally motivated the university to create an academic department for communication disorder programs. Still today, UNI maintains its emphasis on clinical work by pushing SLP degree candidates to start acquiring hands-on experience from day one.
Graduate Tuition: $15,040/yr
33. University of Memphis
|Accreditation Year: 1973||Peer Survey Score: 3.6|
Requiring a whopping 60 credit hours of coursework and practicum experience, the University of Memphis’s top master’s in speech language pathology is one of the more robust programs on this list. Over the course of two years (including summers), degree candidates receive a strong clinical and theoretical foundation in the discipline. From Speech Science to Psycholinguistics, every principle in communication disorders and related linguistic fields has a class of its own. And while the sheer size of the curriculum may seem daunting, the cost of the program – which comes in at less than $17k a year – is certainly not.
Graduate Tuition: $14,855/yr
32. Northeastern University
|Accreditation Year: 1981||Peer Survey Score: 3.4|
Northeastern University’s considerable technological resources and experienced faculty of clinicians makes it one of the foremost schools for a top master’s degree in speech pathology. At the heart of this prestigious program is the university’s Speech, Language, and Hearing Center, which is fully equipped with assistive technology, cutting-edge computer software, and high-tech audio-visual equipment for non-obstructive clinical observation. And while this facility acts as an essential hub for experiential and theoretical learning, students can also utilize other departments’ facilities – including the Computational Vision and Communication Analysis and Design Laboratories – to conduct research of their own.
Graduate Tuition: $22,913/yr
31. Kansas State University
|Accreditation Year: 1972||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
With a 100% graduate pass rate for the Praxis exam rate every year since 2004, Kansas State University’s graduate speech pathology program has a tremendous – and long – track record of success. Its six-semester program (with additional time for those who do not possess an undergraduate degree in speech-therapy pathology) the curriculum takes longer to complete than most programs of study. Students can take entire classes on specific disorders like cleft palate and aphasia, granting them insights unmatched by more cursory curricula.
Graduate Tuition: $16,611/yr
30. San Diego State University
San Diego, CA
|Accreditation Year: 1972||Peer Survey Score: 3.6|
Featured in US News’ ranking of the best speech language pathology masters programs, San Diego State University already has a reputation for excellence. And for good reason, too; the program has reported 100% completion and Praxis exam pass rates for each of the past four years. The credit for SDSU’s success divides equally between the program’s expansive core curriculum/elective options as well as the experiential component of the degree. The former features courses in exciting topics like dysphagia and neuromotor speech disorders, and the latter is comprised of clinical practicums, internships, and laboratory courses.
Graduate Tuition: $12,814/yr
29. Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
|Accreditation Year: 1971||Peer Survey Score: 3.2|
There are many reasons to love Michigan State University’s affordable graduate speech pathology program, not least of which is the 100% graduate placement rate it has maintained since 2013. Another reason? MSU’s extensive professional network, which includes over 100 local organizations – from schools and hospitals to clinics and nursing homes – and gives degree candidates a serious career advantage from the very start. MSU also offers a number of $10,000 scholarships each year for students who opt to pursue the (admittedly, more rigorous) thesis option. Those who choose not to complete a thesis take 6 extra elective credits to meet the degree requirements.
Graduate Tuition: $24,852/yr
28. Western Michigan University
|Accreditation Year: 1966||Peer Survey Score: 3.2|
Like Michigan State, Western Michigan University provides a wealth merit scholarships for students in their accredited speech language pathology masters program. In fact, there are a total of 10 such scholarships to draw from at WMU! Each award is merit/GPA-based and has enough funding to support multiple students (there is no limit on the number of scholarships an applicant can receive each year, either). But these scholarships are certainly not the only advantage WMU has to offer; from the Charles Van Riper Language, Speech and Hearing Clinic to an active chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA), there is no shortage of opportunities for professional engagement on campus.
Graduate Tuition: $21,676/yr
27. Temple University
|Accreditation Year: 1970||Peer Survey Score: 3.4|
It’s no exaggeration to say that Temple University’s Speech-Language-Hearing MA program is one of the best master’s degrees in speech pathology that money can buy. Rooted in clinical experience, Temple’s pedagogical approach aims to produce expert clinicians and researchers right out of the gate. Fortunately, Philadelphia is home to myriad hospitals, clinics, schools, and other institutions where degree candidates can flourish as interns and mentees. These hands-on experiences build on the theoretical materials introduced in required courses like “Voice Disorders: Theory and Analysis” and “Assessment and Treatment of Diverse Populations.”
Graduate Tuition: $19,601/yr
26. University of South Florida
|Accreditation Year: 1981||Peer Survey Score: 3.1|
The University of South Florida offers an unparalleled number of ways to complete its affordable graduate speech pathology program. There’s a traditional residential track in Tampa; a part-time, hybrid-delivery format track for full-time professionals at the Suncoast campus; and even a post-baccalaureate track for those who do not already possess a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology. What’s more, USF also provides numerous opportunities (e.g., graduate assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, or even funding for independent research) for degree candidates to mitigate the price of the education while increasing their exposure to the field.
Graduate Tuition: $15,777/yr
25. University of Connecticut
|Accreditation Year: 1966||Peer Survey Score: 3.4|
The University of Connecticut’s accredited speech language pathology masters program is available in two different tracks: a two-year program for students who meet a 15-course prerequisite (consisting of biology, physical science, linguistics, statistics, and more), and a three-year program for those who don’t. However, unlike many other schools that offer this kind of opportunity, UConn doesn’t segregate the two groups at all. In this way, students from a variety of educational backgrounds have the chance to learn from each other’s divergent experiences. Degree candidates can further customize their degree plan by choosing to emphasize a thesis or clinical work.
Graduate Tuition: $26,514/yr
24. University of Alabama
|Accreditation Year: 1960||Peer Survey Score: 2.8|
Combining clinical training, data-driven research, and a rigorous academic curriculum, the University of Alabama’s interdisciplinary approach to the field of communication disorders makes its accredited graduate speech pathology program one of the most sought after in the nation. At the heart of it all is the University of Alabama Speech and Hearing Center, which serves as an inviting gateway to the world of practicing speech pathologists. There, faculty and full-time clinicians provide the kind of mentorship and tutelage that is often difficult to achieve through class time alone, paving the way for students to find their own career path.
Graduate Tuition: $18,710/yr
23. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
|Accreditation Year: 1975||Peer Survey Score: 3.7|
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders is a bastion of stringent academic standards. On top of a 45 credit hour core curriculum, two semester-long clinical practicums, and an oral examination, every master’s thesis must undergo a four-stage approval process even before the submission of the first draft. And while completing a thesis is not a requirement of this top speech pathology graduate program, those who opt out aren’t off the hook. Instead, they’ll round out their coursework with a specialization in either Evidence-based Practice or Directed Research.
Graduate Tuition: $15,449/yr
22. University of Georgia
|Accreditation Year: 1968||Peer Survey Score: 3.3|
The University of Georgia’s MEd in Communication Sciences and Disorders is among the best master’s in speech language pathology programs for those who have their hearts set on a career as a practicing clinician. This is because UGA forgoes the traditional thesis requirement in favor of additional clinical experiences. In fact, students in this program must complete more than 400 hours of clinical work – a figure that well exceeds the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s mandate for certification/licensure eligibility! It should come as no surprise, then, that Georgia’s graduate placement and Praxis exam pass rates have been tied at 100% for the past four years.
Graduate Tuition: $18,561/yr
21. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
|Accreditation Year: 1988||Peer Survey Score: 4|
The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill joins a number of excellent schools on this list in offering two tracks towards its accredited master’s degree in speech pathology. The first and most popular is the clinical track, a 60 credit-hour program that augments theoretical coursework with continuous observation and practicum experience. This is also the only track that leads to ASHA certification. The second option is the non-clinical track, which is ideal for those who would prefer a career in academia or research over patient care. But all differences aside, both emphases share a strong focus on clinical work and require students to complete a minimum of 375 hours in direct patient/client contact.
Graduate Tuition: $20,211/yr
20. University of Tennessee-Health Science Center
|Accreditation Year: 1969||Peer Survey Score: 3.3|
The University of Tennessee-Health Science Center’s robust credit requirements place it in contention for the most rigorous graduate speech pathology program on this list. 75 credit hours of required academic coursework span fundamental topics like “Phonetics” and “Anatomy & Physiology” as well more specialized subjects such as “Stuttering.” But it doesn’t end there; the curriculum also requires all degree candidates to complete 15 credit hours of clinical experience. What’s more, UTHSC has earned wide regard for its concentration option in Aural Habilitation. The suite of courses for this track consist of topics like cochlear implants, speech perception, and even deaf education.
Graduate Tuition: $21,973/yr
19. University of Maryland
|Accreditation Year: 1972||Peer Survey Score: 3.7|
The University of Maryland’s Hearing and Speech Sciences Clinic is home to an impressive number of specialized training opportunities for masters students in its affordable speech pathology graduate program. A great example is UM’s Language-Learning Early-Advantage Program (LEAP), an “individualized preschool program” designed around early language-enrichment that is located right on campus. Programs like LEAP and SIGNA (a similar initiative focused on young people with autism) set UM apart from other schools in the way that they encourage degree candidates to hone their knowledge and skills by improving the lives of those around them.
Graduate Tuition: $23,145/yr
18. University of Colorado-Boulder
|Accreditation Year: 1971||Peer Survey Score: 3.6|
The University of Colorado-Boulder’s accredited speech language pathology masters programs are among the most flexible and customizable on this list. First, degree candidates can select from both online and on-campus course delivery options to accommodate their individual schedules. But they can also customize the curriculum itself by choosing between Clinical and Research degree tracks, which will largely determine both their course of study and their career trajectory after graduation. Those in the research track, for instance, are required to complete a graduate thesis under close supervision of a faculty advisor—a prerequisite for doctoral work. The clinical track, on the other hand, is thesis-optional and qualifies graduates for ASHA certification.
Graduate Tuition: $21,520/yr
17. Teachers College at Columbia University
New York, NY
|Accreditation Year: 1968||Peer Survey Score: 3.4|
As one of the most prestigious schools in the world, it’s never much of a surprise to find Columbia University near the top of any college ranking list. In this case, however, it is Columbia’s Teachers College that has managed to raise the bar for progressive, accredited masters in speech language pathology programs. One aspect that makes this program especially unique is its bilingual/multicultural focus. Not only do degree candidates regularly work and train in culturally diverse settings, but they also have the opportunity to earn professional bilingual certification as educators in the state of New York.
Graduate Tuition: $37,164/yr
16. University of Texas-Austin
|Accreditation Year: 1971||Peer Survey Score: 4.1|
Clinical experience, professional specialization, and close mentorship are the three pillars of the University of Texas-Austin’s affordable speech language pathology masters program. These values are perhaps most evident in the program’s unique academic advising process, which connects new admits with a personal academic and clinical faculty advisor on their very first day of registration. Each advisor serves as a mentor throughout the student’s time on campus, providing assistance on everything from finding a clinical site to choosing electives. Advisors can also offer guidance on the various pathways embedded in the program’s curriculum, including separate Thesis/No-Thesis tracks and Regular/Bilingual course sequences.
Graduate Tuition: $16,409/yr
15. University of Florida
|Accreditation Year: 1970||Peer Survey Score: 3.5|
The University of Florida’s top master’s in speech language pathology is a five-semester program (on average) that provides students with an exhaustive introduction to the professional study of communication disorders. Combining a cohort-based classroom learning model with a clinical component that takes degree candidates to clinics and schools around the Gainesville area, UF packs a considerable amount of information and experience into a short amount of time. Despite this level of intensity, UF reports a 96.5% program completion rate. Even better, UF graduates in SLP have reported nearly 100% job placement and Praxis exam pass rates every year since 2013.
Graduate Tuition: $21,019/yr
14. Vanderbilt University
|Accreditation Year: 1968||Peer Survey Score: 4.5|
There are two features of Vanderbilt’s top speech pathology graduate program that help it stand out from the competition. One is the encyclopedic range of clinical placement opportunities that it offers. Educational sites include the Pediatric Speech-Language Clinic, the Acute Speech & Languages Services Unit, the Department of Otolaryngology’s (i.e., ear, nose, and throat) Voice Center, and many more. And students don’t have to wait long to jump into hands-on work; assignments begin immediately after they pass an introductory course on clinical procedures. The other distinct feature of Vanderbilt’s program is its range of specializations, which cover unique topics like School Speech Pathology, Voice, and Early Identification and Management of Children with Hearing Loss.
Graduate Tuition: $44,934/yr
13. University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
|Accreditation Year: 1969||Peer Survey Score: 3.4|
The University of Utah is one of just a handful of schools on this list—and perhaps even the country—to offer both MA and MS degrees in speech-language pathology. But that’s hardly the full extent of Utah’s accredited graduate speech pathology programs. In fact, both the MA and the MS programs are available in clinical/non-clinical, thesis/non-thesis, and full/part-time formats. But no matter what path they choose, all program members should expect to acquire a considerable amount of clinical experience. Indeed, all students will complete at least two clinical externships over the course of this 55-credit hour curriculum – in addition to on-campus practicum requirements.
Graduate Tuition: $15,714/yr
12. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Accreditation Year: 1967||Peer Survey Score: 3.8|
Like Utah, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has made its affordable speech language pathology masters program available in both clinical and non-clinical formats. Unsurprisingly, the former – which prepares degree candidates for a career at the forefront of communicative disorder treatment – is the considerably more popular choice. Students in this track meet their graduation (and ASHA certification) requirements by acquiring a total of 400 hours of clinical experience. By contrast, the non-clinical track serves as an expedient route to an academic or research career. And while program members in this track complete fewer practicum hours, they must also write a master’s thesis paper – a task that can be just as demanding as clinical work!
Graduate Tuition: $24,909/yr
11. University of Arizona
|Accreditation Year: 1972||Peer Survey Score: 4.1|
The University of Arizona’s master’s degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences with an emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology is an excellent option for those who are equally interested in research and treatment. In fact, $9,000 annual teaching/fellowship stipends make this one of the best speech pathology graduate programs for students who want to work and/or conduct research on campus. As for patient care, the Arizona campus is home to a number of Speech-Language and Hearing Clinics that serve as practicum sites. Degree candidates can also seek clinical experience in their specific field of interest at one the many healthcare facilities in the greater Tucson area.
Graduate Tuition: $22,259/yr
10. Northwestern University
|Accreditation Year: 1970||Peer Survey Score: 4.3|
Northwestern University’s innovate, high-tech curricular model somehow makes it possible to condense an entire accredited master’s degree in speech pathology into just seven quarters (approximately five semesters) of coursework. Clinical immersion begins in the first year of study, while team-based lab courses and an emphasis on problem solving permeate the curriculum at every level. The program also works to bridge the gap between practical and theoretical work, enabling students to integrate concepts more fully and graduate with a true feeling of mastery over their discipline. Combine this sophisticated approach to learning with Northwestern’s sprawling medical campus and it’s easy to see why this program deserves a top 10 ranking.
Graduate Tuition: $50,864/yr
9. Boston University
|Accreditation Year: 1966||Peer Survey Score: 4|
Boston University has long ranked among US News’ best graduate speech pathology programs, so it’s no surprise it found its way onto our list as well. BU’s proximity to the largest extended medical campus in the country makes it an obvious choice for any student interested in a career in the health sciences. And with clinical practicums that begin in the first semester, SLP degree candidates waste no time in getting their hands dirty. BU even has specialized clinics and labs for the SLP program, including an Aphasia Resource Center and a Child Language Lab.
Graduate Tuition: $49,886/yr
8. University of Pittsburgh
|Accreditation Year: 1968||Peer Survey Score: 4.1|
The University of Pittsburgh is another school that places among the 10 best speech pathology graduate programs on both our ranking and US News’ (where it comes in just one spot higher at 7th in the nation). What makes this fact truly interesting is that Pittsburgh does not actually have a Speech & Hearing Clinic…at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, SLP degree candidates pursue their clinical education off-campus via a citywide departmental network of community organizations. But thanks to the university’s ironclad reputation, great clinical placement is all but guaranteed for the top students in this program.
Graduate Tuition: $29,656/yr
7. University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA
|Accreditation Year: 1969||Peer Survey Score: 4.5|
With an average tuition of less than $20,000 a year, the University of Iowa has one of the more affordable top speech language pathology masters programs on this list. The degree is available as an MA only, and clinical experience takes significant priority over independent research. In fact, while program members must complete a minimum of 400 credits hours of clinical practicums to meet the degree requirements, writing a thesis report is completely optional. Even so, the school encourages all SLP graduate students to pursue thesis work as a way of building stronger relationships with faculty and increasing their marketability as practitioners.
Graduate Tuition: $19,159/yr
6. Indiana University
|Accreditation Year: 1972||Peer Survey Score: 4|
Indiana University is home to another accredited graduate speech pathology program that prioritizes clinical experience. Over the course of just two years, degree candidates complete four semesters of clinical practicums – that’s an average of one every semester (not including summers)! What’s more, the program devotes the final spring term entirely to off-campus internships. During this time, students gain exposure to clinical work in both educational and medical settings. And these clinics go beyond the traditional tasks of observation and guided instruction; they also consist of weekly seminars with faculty who have direct experience in patient care.
Graduate Tuition: $19,858/yr
5. University of Washington-Seattle
|Accreditation Year: 1967||Peer Survey Score: 4.4|
The University of Washington-Seattle offers two accredited graduate speech pathology program tracks: an MS in SLP and an MS in Medical SLP. The distinction between the two is slight, but not altogether cosmetic. While both degree tracks provide students with the credits and clinical experience required for ASHA certification, only the MedSLP program highlights UWS’s “specialized curriculum and community-based clinical education model.” In practical terms, this means that MedSLP students have a much more substantial clinical experience requirement, including a full-time externship in the fall quarter of their second year. CoreSLP students (as the alternative program is called), on the other hand, conduct the bulk of their clinical training on campus.
Graduate Tuition: $22,290/yr
4. Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
|Accreditation Year: 1971||Peer Survey Score: 4.3|
With a curriculum that meets every requirement for professional licensure and certification in the state of Indiana, Purdue University’s top speech language pathology masters program was designed to transform high-performing students into clinic-ready professionals. Taking a look at the student outcome data, it’s fair to say they have succeeded: program completion, job placement, and Praxis exam pass rates for Purdue SLP graduates in the last five years all average nearly 100%. Those statistics also include graduates of Purdue’s dual-track degree, which allows master’s students to take courses and conduct research simultaneously, with the goal of ultimately graduating to the PhD program.
Graduate Tuition: $19,403/yr
3. University of Texas-Dallas
|Accreditation Year: 1982||Peer Survey Score: 4|
The University of Texas-Dallas’s Callier Center for Communication Disorders is one of the leading clinical and research institutions of its kind worldwide, making it the home of one of the best speech pathology graduate programs as well. As a hub of internationally renowned research and treatment, the Callier Center provides SLP degree candidates at UT Dallas with firsthand exposure to groundbreaking work every day. In fact, graduate students in this program frequently collaborate with their professors on important research in everything from bilingualism and speech production to autism spectrum disorders and the neurobiology of language.”
Graduate Tuition: $18,284/yr
2. University of Kansas
|Accreditation Year: 1965||Peer Survey Score: 4.1|
With the number two ranking on our list, it would be reasonable to expect the University of Kansas’s affordable speech pathology graduate program to report virtually perfect student outcome statistics. They do, of course; from a 92% average employment rate to a 98% average Praxis exam pass rate, UK students regularly outshine their competitors. Plus, about 90% of all recent graduates have earned their degree in the expected time frame (four semesters plus a summer term), which is higher than many program’s total completion rates! Over the course of the program, degree candidates complete 400 clinical hours and more than 40 credit hours of course work spanning clinical theory, professional development, and even multicultural training.
Graduate Tuition: $16,786/yr
1. University of Wisconsin-Madison
|Accreditation Year: 1970||Peer Survey Score: 4.4|
The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers both clinical and non-clinical degree tracks in its top master’s in speech language pathology program. And while these tracks certainly have their differences, they also share much in common. Both tracks include clinical and research experience, provide teacher certification training, and even share similar course requirements. In addition, both options prepare students for a number of different careers ranging from patient care to academia. However, degree candidates in the clinical track have the distinct advantage of meeting ASHA certification and professional licensure requirements upon graduation.
Graduate Tuition: $18,606/yr
We’ve provided plenty of information about the top master’s degrees in speech pathology, but it’s up to you to pick your favorite!
Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
U.S. News Best Grad Schools: Speech Language Pathology
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Journals
Thompson Reuters Web of Science