Satisfactory Progress

M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology

  1. Students entering with undergraduate majors in Communication Sciences and Disorders must complete a minimum of 36 credits, including the following required courses.

  2. Students entering without undergraduate degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders are required to complete undergraduate “leveling” courses. Students affected by this rule include those accepted to the master’s program but who do not have an undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as special students without degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders who are making up undergraduate deficiencies in order to be considered for admission to the master‘s program.

  3. Students are required to register for a supervised professional activity each semester. Usually, this activity takes the form of a clinical practicum. A student, who for legitimate cause wishes to be relieved of the responsibilities for clinical practicum in a specific semester, must provide a detailed rationale and request a formal waiver from the Department Chair. In cases where the student will be engaged in a different supervised professional activity, such as research for a thesis, a formal waiver is not required. Questions regarding procedures for obtaining a formal waiver should be directed to the Graduate Advisor.

  4. Students may elect to do a thesis. Students who anticipate continuing to work toward doctoral study are strongly encouraged to complete a master‘s thesis.

    A student electing the thesis option will be advised by a thesis advisor. A thesis advisor is obtained by having a faculty member agree to direct a thesis project. A thesis advisor may be any faculty member of professorial rank.

    A thesis candidate is required to present a written proposal of the thesis project to a research committee. The research committee is comprised of the thesis advisor and at least two other members of the graduate faculty (assistant, associate and full professors) from within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Only after gaining approval of the research design may the candidate embark upon the research project. The project will be closely supervised by the thesis advisor and the research committee. All thesis candidates are required to pass an oral examination at the completion of the thesis project. The examination usually concentrates heavily on the thesis project but may cover any aspect of the candidate's master‘s degree program.

    Students who elect to do a thesis may use 3 credits of CD 990 (Research and Thesis) as part of the “outside optional electives” listed for the Speech-Language Pathology clinical degree curriculum.

  5. All graduate students are expected to meet the minimum academic performance requirements for graduate study within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Only students whose academic performance is consistent with these standards will be recommended for graduation.

    Academic performance is defined by course grades, which also include grades earned in clinical practicum courses and courses offered by other departments. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders defines minimum academic performance as:

    • A cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of no less than 3.0 (B) across all graduate-level courses (by rule, any course numbered 300 or higher), and;
    • No more than two instances of course grades less than B in graduate-level courses, and;
    • No course grade less than C in any graduate-level course.

    A student failing to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 will be placed on academic probation and will be required to raise his/her GPA to 3.0 or above in the following semester. If the GPA is not raised to 3.0 or above in the following semester, the student will be dismissed from the program.

    A student receiving a course grade less than B shall receive a written warning reminding the student of the “no more than two grades below a B rule.”

    A student will not be allowed to register in, or graduate from the graduate program if he/she:

    • Receives a grade below C, or
    • Receives a third grade below a B, or
    • Fails to raise his/her GPA to 3.0 or higher the semester following his/her placement on academic probation (or following completion of the next eight credits if the student is part-time).
  6. Students who obtain an Incomplete in a course have one semester to remove the Incomplete from their records. Students who do not remove the Incomplete in the following semester in which they are registered or who obtain more than a single Incomplete during any one semester will be warned that their academic performance is not acceptable. A Faculty review of the reasons for the Incomplete(s) will lead to a firm timetable for removal of the Incomplete(s). Failure to comply with the timetable will lead to the student's dismissal from the graduate program. The Graduate School considers grades of Incomplete to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next semester of residence.

  7. Clinical Practicum Performance Standards: All Master‘s degree students seeking ASHA certification are expected to demonstrate clinical performance consistent with the minimum standards and clinical competencies of graduate study. This performance is expected to be developmental, reflecting increasing levels of clinical skill and independence. Only those students whose clinical performance is consistent with such standards will be recommended to graduate with a recommendation to ASHA, certifying that they have completed an accredited program.

    Clinical Instructors have the sole responsibility and authority to certify clinical clock hours earned under their supervision.

These requirements for master’s degree students were approved by the faculty in May 1979, and amended October 1979, May 1981, May 1984, June 1986, May 1987, April 1990, May 1991, July 1994, July 1995, May 1996, May 1997, May 1998, August 2005, March 2009.

M.S. in Normal Aspects of Speech, Language, and Hearing

The purpose of this degree program is to offer a mechanism for the scientific study of the basic physical, physiological and psychological factors involved in the processes of human communication.

Speech communication processes historically have been investigated from many different perspectives (e.g., communications, engineering, psychology, linguistics, neurology, computer science). There are scientists from many other disciplines becoming involved in this endeavor. These multidisciplinary approaches reflect the nature of the communication process itself and as such must be offered as options in a bona fide program of study.

This suggests study for a master‘s degree in the normal aspects of speech will be individualized and may take a number of forms, for example:

  1. a combined program of interdisciplinary emphasis in such areas as computer science, biomedical and/or electrical engineering, psychology, linguistics, neurophysiology, and/or anatomy;
  2. a focus within one of these core areas as it relates to a sub-area of speech science (e.g., sensory psychology-speech perception, neurophysiology-speech neuromotor control, electrical engineering-speech acoustics);
  3. an emphasis on normal speech processes as they relate to a particular speech disorder (e.g., speech neuromotor control and neuropathologies of speech production, speech physiology and voice or cleft palate disorders);
  4. combinations of these approaches; or
  5. other programs proposed by individual students and approved by the graduate faculty.

For most students pursuing a nonclinical degree, this master‘s program will not be a final degree, but rather an integral first stage in a doctoral program. Indeed, an individual earning this degree will not be prepared to work clinically in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

However, for some individuals, perhaps those wishing to work in industrial settings, this degree program may be suitable as a basis for immediate employment, depending, of course, upon the individual course of study.

An undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders is not required of incoming master‘s students. However, course work similar to the kind and amount that might be part of an undergraduate degree in Speech and Hearing or a related field will be desirable.

This normally would include some course work in linguistics, physiology, psychology, statistics and computer science. The extent of additional course work in speech and hearing or related fields will depend upon the chosen program of study and will be determined by the student's masters committee.

To complete a master’s degree with specialization in normal aspects of speech, language and hearing, a minimum of 30 credits is required. While the curriculum is individually designed for the specific student, it includes many of the same academic courses as in the Speech-Language Pathology curriculum. However, it typically does not include the following courses that are related to clinical practice: CI 692, CD 713, CD 714, CD 750, CD 752, and CD 790.

In addition, the student must:

  1. maintain a grade point average of 3.0;
  2. successfully complete a research thesis of publishable quality; and
  3. pass an oral examination on the thesis of not less than one and one-half hours.

The purpose of the thesis is to demonstrate the student's ability to undertake independent and original research and to determine the student's potential for continuing work toward the doctoral degree.

In determining the individual program of study, each master‘s candidate will work with a major professor in consultation with two other members of the graduate faculty (assistant, associate and full professors), one of whom must be in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. These three graduate faculty make up the student's masters committee.

These requirements for master’s degree students were approved by the faculty in May 1979, and amended October 1979, May 1981, May 1984, June 1986, May 1987, April 1990, May 1991, July 1994, July 1995, May 1996, May 1997, May 1998, August 2005, March 2009.

Leaves of Absence

Students in the graduate program may apply for a leave of absence from the program for up to one calendar year. Leaves typically are granted for medical or personal reasons, but also may be requested by M.S./Ph.D. or Ph.D. students who plan to complete a clinical fellowship during their graduate program.

Leave requests should be first discussed with the student’s advisor, and then submitted in writing to the Department Chair. If the leave request is not granted, the student must complete the regular application process if he or she decides to return to the program, and will be considered as a new applicant. If students have pre-enrolled for a future term, they must be sure to drop all courses before the first day of class.

Students who are absent for one or more terms must re-apply to the program through the Graduate School. To apply for readmission, graduate students should first contact their program and then the Graduate School Office of Admissions and Academic Services.

The readmission process accomplishes two goals:

  1. assures the Graduate School that a student is in good standing with his/her academic program; and
  2. activates his/her enrollment eligibility.

There is no application fee if reapplication is made within five years of the last semester of enrollment (see Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures > Leave of Abssence).

Dissertators who take a leave of absence (break in enrollment) will be assessed a degree completion fee before being allowed to deposit their dissertation (see Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures > Continuous Enrollment Requirement).

This fee may be substantial and is waived if the student enrolls for four subsequent terms (see Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures > Degree Completion Fee).

Students receiving financial aid should contact the Financial Aid office for information regarding loan-deferment guidelines. In-school status for the purpose of loan deferment requires pre-dissertators to take at least 6 graduate-level credits per term and dissertators to take at least 3 graduate-level credits per term (see Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures > Financial Aid).

International students should check on their visa status with International Student Services.

This departmental leave policy was approved March 1, 2010.

Progress Tracking

We use the Student Assessment Management System (SAMS), a secure, web-based tool, to monitor student progress. Using SAMS, we can:

  1. 1. Track each student’s learning outcomes in academic courses and clinical practica in terms of the Knowledge and Skills Acquisition (KASA) standards;
  2. Keep a detailed list of the type and number of ASHA clock hours that were earned; and
  3. Keep a list of whether or not other program requirements have been met.

You can obtain read-only access to your SAMS record to check on your performance and progress throughout the program.

Completion, Licensure & Certification

Below are 12 tasks you must do for degree completion, graduation licensure, and ASHA certification.

Do not interpret this list as a chronology of steps. Rather, carefully read through the entire list before the beginning of the fall semester of your second year in the master’s program to remind yourself of the 12 tasks that you need to do before graduation.

Then, depending upon the task, take action during the fall or spring semester of the second year of your master‘s program.

Task 1: Take the Praxis

During the semester before you intend to finish your degree course work, take the Praxis II Exam (ASHA NESPA) and obtain a passing score (600 or above). This is required for graduation.

You may register for an online or paper test. Arrange to have your score sent to both the department and ASHA.

  • Test Code/Name: 0330/5330 (Speech-Language Pathology)
  • Current fees
  • Attending Institution: R0336 for UW-Madison SLP/AUD
  • Designated Score Recipients: R0336-UW-Madison SLP/AUD and 5031-ASHA

IMPORTANT: List the school code in both the Attending Institution section and the Designated Score Recipients section. In addition, list the ASHA code in the Designated Score Recipients section.

If you have done this properly, ASHA will have your score on file when you eventually apply for your Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) following your clinical fellowship (CF). If you do not list ASHA’s code on your Praxis II Exam registration, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) will charge you an additional fee to send your score to ASHA after you have finished your CF.

» For more information, visit ASHA or ETS.

Task 2: Request Your Degree Warrant

Within the first few weeks of the semester in which you intend to graduate, complete the Request for Degree Warrant and give it the department’s Graduate Studies Coordinator.

Make sure you do not have any “Incompletes” on your grade record. If you do, contact the instructor to get the grade entered as soon as possible. The Graduate School will not release your warrant until all “Incompletes” are cleared. Be sure to also indicate whether you are continuing on for your Ph.D..

» Read UW Graduate School details on Completing Your Degree.

Task 3: Begin the Licensure Application Process

If you have already determined that your clinical fellowship (CF) will be in a Wisconsin medical setting, versus in another state or in a Wisconsin school setting, you may wish to begin the licensure application process early in your final semester of the master‘s program. (For more information, see Task 8: Temporary and Regular Licensing below.)

Task 4: Plan Commencement

If you submitted your Request for Degree Warrant by the semester deadline, your name will be listed in the Graduate School College of Letters & Science (L&S) commencement program.

» Read more about Commencement Ceremonies at the UW-Madison and Ordering your Commencement Attire.

In addition to the University commencement, the department holds a private graduation ceremony in May. You may attend both ceremonies. They are usually on the same day: the University ceremony in the morning and the department ceremony and reception in the mid-to-late afternoon. Your name will be listed in the department‘s commencement program unless you notify the Graduate Studies Coordinator by April 17th that you do not want your name included.

Students planning to graduate in August or December may attend either the May or December L&S commencement ceremonies. However, the department only hosts a private ceremony in May. If you plan to attend commencement in a semester other than the one in which you are completing your degree, notify the Graduate Studies Coordinator within the first month of that semester. The department will relay the information to the Secretary of the Faculty‘s office. If you neglect to do this by the deadline, your name will not be in the program, but you still may walk at commencement.

Task 5: Record Clock Hours

Check with the department‘s Financial Specialist to make sure your ASHA clinical clock hour records are up-to-date and accurate.

Task 6: Department Check-Out

  • Clean out your locker and mailbox. Remove your lock and ID label. If you were using a department lock, please return it to the Graduate Studies Coordinator. If you forgot your combination, the Graduate Studies Coordinator should have it on file.

  • Change your PIN and update your contact information. If you won't be continuing in the Ph.D. program, log into your Student Center to change your mailing and e-mail addresses.

    Then, on the menu under personal information, reset your pin, and keep track of it for future reference. With your new pin and your permanent student ID number, you'll be able to maintain access to your student information through

    This way, you will still be able to access unofficial transcripts, request official transcripts, track degree processing, etc. It will also ensure that your diploma gets mailed to the correct address after graduation, and will make it possible for us to contact you in the future.

    If you have questions or difficulty resetting your PIN, please call (608) 263-6612.

Task 7: Do Your Clinical Fellowship (CF)

Find a job that offers you a CF. Before beginning your CF, get information about what the licensing agency in the state where you have a CF requires. (For more information, see Task 8: Temporary and Regular Licensing below.)

Completing the clinical fellowship without meeting the state licensing requirements may jeopardize your ability to practice and may involve a punitive fine.

After you have your license, perform your CF under the supervision of an ASHA CCC professional. In addition, please email the following information to both Trici Schraeder and the Graduate Studies Coordinator:

  1. The state in which you’re doing your CF;
  2. The type of placement (e.g., school, hospital, long term care/skilled nursing facility/rehab center);
  3. The reason why you’re not doing a CF, if applicable; and
  4. Your current e-mail address.

Task 8: Temporary and Regular Licensing

Determine the licensing requirements for fulfilling a CF in the state in which you intend to work and learn whether you can file early to expedite the process upon graduation. Some states use a different designation for the fellowship (e.g., Required Professional Employment). Many states require clinical fellows to register with their licensing agency, obtain a provisional or temporary license, and/or file a clinical fellowship plan. For more information, visit ASHA’s State Advocacy Team.

Completing the clinical fellowship without first meeting the state licensing requirements may jeopardize your ability to practice and may involve a punitive fine.

Your degree will be posted to your transcript approximately six weeks after graduation. Since the department does not have the official University seal, send any degree certification documents requiring the seal, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, directly to:

UW-Madison Transcripts & Certification
333 East Campus Mall #10101
Madison, WI 53715-1384

If you need a degree certification letter bearing the school seal prior to your degree being posted on your transcript, you may be able to obtain one as early as one month after graduation. You must apply for this through the Registrar’s office:

UW-Madison Transcripts & Certification
333 East Campus Mall #10101
Madison, WI 53715-1384

Note: If you plan to obtain a temporary license from the Wisconsin DSPS, you should not need to request a degree certification letter.

Wisconsin Licensing Information

There are two licensing agencies in Wisconsin:

  1. The Wisconsin Division of Safety and Public Services (DSPS) for any work setting other than a public school; and
  2. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) if you plan to work in a Wisconsin public school.
You don’t necessarily need licensure from both.
  1. Wisconsin Division of Safety and Public Services (DSPS).

    If you have accepted a job in a medical setting, such as a hospital, clinic, skilled nursing facility, rehab center, birth-to-three program, or private practice, you will need to apply for a license with the DSPS. Apply for both the temporary and permanent licenses at the same time.

    You are encouraged to apply at the beginning of your final semester of course work if you know you do not plan to work in a school. Applying early will expedite the process upon graduation and enable you to get your temporary license much earlier than if you wait until May to apply. You will eventually need three forms:

    You should file both the temporary (#1979) and regular (#1987) license applications together, based upon the information available to you at the time. Filing early will get your application into the DSPS database. You will need to submit additional forms and information later. Pay close attention to page 2 of the application for additional requirements. If you have questions, contact the DSPS at (608) 266-2112.

    The SLP Certificate of Professional Education form (#1984) cannot be submitted until your degree is posted to your transcript (approximately six to eight weeks after graduation). The form has a signature line for the Dean or Department Head and requires the school seal. To get the signature and official seal, send this form directly to the UW-Madison Registrar’s office:

    UW-Madison Transcripts & Certification
    333 East Campus Mall #10101
    Madison, WI 53715-1384

    Do not send the form to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders; we do not need to sign because we do not have the school seal.

    Since you will not be able to obtain a signature and official seal on the SLP Certificate of Professional Education form until approximately six to eight weeks after graduation, the department routinely sends a list of new graduates to the DSPS once all grades are posted (approximately one week after graduation). The DSPS accepts this for the purpose of issuing a temporary license; however, you will need to submit the completed the SLP Certificate of Professional Education form (#1984) before the DSPS will issue a permanent license.

  2. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

    If you have accepted a job in a Wisconsin public school, you will need to obtain a license from DPI.

    Even if you do not plan to work in a Wisconsin public school right after graduation, you should still apply for the WI DPI License. This will ensure that you will be "grand fathered in" when license requirements change. The Standards are expected to change by the year 2015. If you do not apply for this license right after graduation, but end up working in a WI public school at a future date, then you will be held to new license requirements. This may involve additional course work and creating a new portfolio.

    To obtain a license, first download the application for an Initial In-State Teaching or Pupil Services PI-1602-IS license.

    The grade level to indicate on the application is Pre-School to Adolescent, and the license number is #820 Speech and Language Pathology.

    Send your completed application and check made out to the WI DPI to:

    UW-Madison School of Education Academic Services Office
    127 Education Bldg.
    1000 Bascom Hall
    Madison, WI 53706

    EAS will have the School of Education Associate Dean, as the Certification Officer, sign the completed application form, and send it with your check to the DPI. If you have questions, contact EAS.

Task 9: Begin the ASHA Certification Procedure

Obtain information about How to Apply for Certification in Speech-Language Pathology.

Send the Verification by Program Director (page 3) with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

Financial Specialist
UW-Madison Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
1975 Willow Drive, Room 302
Madison, WI 53706

The Financial Specialist will complete the degree verification form and return it to you for safekeeping. You will need it when you apply for ASHA certification after your degree has been posted. It takes approximately six to eight weeks for your degree to show up on your transcript.

If you need degree certification prior to that, contact the Registrar’s office.

For more information, see Task 8: Temporary and Regular Licensing above.

Task 10: ASHA Certification & Membership Application

To apply for ASHA certification, follow the steps at How to Apply for Certification in Speech-Language Pathology.

Please note that the ASHA application form is separate from the Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship (SLPCF) Report and Rating Form. You may apply for your ASHA membership before, during, or after your clinical fellowship.

Task 11: Filing the Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship (SLPCF) Report and Rating Form and Applying for Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC)

The SLPCF Report and Rating Form must be completed after you are done with your CF. It must be signed by your CF supervisor and sent to ASHA when your CF is completed. Unless you have already applied for ASHA membership earlier, you should apply for ASHA membership when your CF is completed and you are applying for your CCC.

Task 12: Clinical Fellowship and Permanent Employment Reporting

Upon completion of your clinical fellowship, complete and email the Clinical Fellowship and Permanent Employment Reporting form to Trici Schraeder and Graduate Studies Coordinator.

The information is needed for departmental reports that we send to ASHA and for your student file. Please email additional updates as applicable.