University of Wisconsin–Madison

Post-Baccalaureate Capstone Certificate


The UW-Madison Certificate in Communication Sciences and Disorders is offered to students who have completed, or will complete, an undergraduate degree in a field other than Communication Sciences and Disorders, and who wish to prepare themselves for admission to a graduate training program in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

The certificate is designed primarily for students who wish to pursue a clinical graduate degree (M.S. in Speech-language Pathology, or Au.D. in Audiology), but is also appropriate for students from other fields who wish to pursue a research graduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

The Capstone Certificate in Communication Sciences and Disorders not only offers students the bulk of the course sequence taken by undergraduate, but it also affords opportunities for students to get to know the faculty, and vice versa.

In addition, the give-and-take of classroom and office-hours communications is likely to produce a much broader and deeper knowledge base than is typically provided by on-line coursework. Furthermore, face-to-face learning from our world-class faculty is a good foundation for requesting and obtaining positive recommendations to graduate programs.

Capstone Certificate students are classified by the University as post-baccalaureate, non-degree students. As a Capstone student you would be eligible for student hourly positions and to apply for Financial Aid through the Campus Financial Aid Office.

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If you have questions about our program not answered on this or related pages, please contact us:

Graduate Studies Coordinator
Post-Bac Capstone Certificate Program
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1975 Willow Drive, Room 318
Madison, WI 53706-1103
(608) 262-6464

Apply Online

Deadline: June 15

Faculty Advisor

Rita Kaushanskaya, Ph.D.
343 Goodnight Hall
1975 Willow Drive
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 262-6473

Students studying in a classroom.


Apply for this Capstone Certificate as a University Special student through the Division of Continuing Studies online application. For more general application information and to apply online, please visit the Continuing Studies website.

In addition to completing the online application, please send the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Graduate Studies Coordinator proof of your undergraduate degree, or proof of satisfactory progress toward your undergraduate degree that will be completed prior to beginning the Capstone Certificate Program. Only students with a current or final GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate programs will be considered for admission to the Capstone program. An official, current transcript can serve as proof of the above, to be mailed or delivered to this address:

Post-Bac Capstone Certificate Program
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1975 Willow Drive, Room 318
Madison, WI 53706-1103

Applications are accepted any time during the academic year, but we encourage prospective students to submit applications no later than May 1 prior to the intended academic year of enrollment. Notification of acceptance to the program will be sent within four weeks of receiving an application.


The certificate is earned upon completion of the following nine courses, over the course of one academic year:


  • CS&D 201: Speech Science (3 cr.)
  • CS&D 202: Normal Aspects of Hearing (3 cr.)
  • CS&D 240: Language Development in Children and Adolescents (3 cr.)
  • CS&D 315: Phonetics and Phonological Development (3 cr.)
  • CS&D 320: Introduction to Audiology (3 cr.)


  • CS&D 371: Pre-Clinical Observation of Children and Adults (3 cr.)
  • CS&D 425: Auditory Rehabilitation (3 cr.)
  • CS&D 440: Child Language Disorders, Assessment and Intervention (3 cr.)
  • CS&D 699: Independent Study (1 cr. From CSD318, craniofacial module)

Most Capstone Certificate students will take all nine courses (24 credits total), but in some cases one or two courses may be waived depending on coursework taken previously, during the undergraduate degree; the minimum number of credits required for the certificate is 18.

To qualify for enrollment in CS&D 371 (second semester of the Capstone sequence), students must earn a 3.0 grade-point average across the same three “gateway” courses (CS&D 201, CS&D 202, CS&D 240) in which undergraduates must earn an average GPA of 3.0 to declare their major as Communication Sciences and Disorders. Capstone Certificate students who do not earn a GPA of at least 3.0 across these three courses will not be allowed to enroll in CS&D 371 (Spring semester), and therefore will not be able to earn the Certificate, although they can (if they choose) continue to take the remaining program coursework.

Prospective Capstone Certificate Program students should also be aware that The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) standards have changed for 2014, and Standard IV-A now specifies a course in Biological Sciences (such as Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Genetics, and so forth), Physical Sciences (Physics or Chemistry), and a Statistics course as requirements for clinical certification. Whereas many students who apply for the Capstone Certificate will already have some or all of this coursework, the prospective student should know that these requirements must be fulfilled prior to the student’s application for ASHA certification (typically applied for following the master’s degree and a clinical fellowship).

Capstone FAQ

Who can be admitted as a Capstone Certificate student?

Capstone Certificates students are Special (non-degree) students who may not be simultaneously enrolled in a Capstone Certificate and a UW-Madison degree program.

Please consult the website for the specific Capstone program you are interested in for admissions and application requirements. While admissions requirements vary, all Capstone applicants must have completed a minimum of a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent).

Capstone Certificate students apply as University Special students.

Can international students be admitted to capstone programs?

If you are an international student needing an F-1 or J-1 visa to legally study in the US, there are currently only three capstone programs which have been approved by the US government for the issuance of the required visa documentation:  Actuarial Sciences, French Studies and Geographic Information Systems. These programs are full-time programs which is one of the requirements for government approval.  International students on F-1 or J-1 visas are required to enroll full-time during their studies in the US. The other capstone programs currently offered by UW-Madison are either part-time programs or they have not yet been approved for study for international students.

If you are an individual in the US already on a different visa type (J-1 scholar, J-2 dependent,  H1B, other) you may be able to legally enroll in any of the capstones programs.  If you have specific questions about visa requirements and capstone study please direct them to or 608-263-6960.

What is the difference between a Capstone Certificate and a graduate degree, and between a Capstone Certificate and other kinds of certificates?

The use of the term “certificate” on the UW-Madison campus can be confusing. As a general rule, a “certificate” is sometimes viewed to be like a “minor,’ i.e. denoting a specialization within a major.

The biggest distinction between a Capstone Certificate and other kind of certificates offered at UW-Madison is that Capstone Certificate students are post-baccalaureate University Special (non-degree status) students. Even though Capstone Certificate coursework is graduate-level, Capstone Certificate students have not been admitted to the Graduate School, nor will their studies provide a graduate degree or graduate certificate: graduate certificates may only be earned by students enrolled in a graduate degree program. By definition, students may not be simultaneously enrolled in both a Graduate and a Capstone Certificate program.

You may also hear the term “capstone” in reference to finishing projects or courses within undergraduate majors. These are not the same as the Capstone Certificate programs.

How long does it take to complete a Capstone Certificate?

The number of credits and the length of time necessary to complete Capstone Certificates vary by program. Most consist of 12-16 graduate-level credits and can be completed in a year. Most are designed so that students can attend part time while working, and several are offered in alternative delivery modes such as evening/weekend or online.

Does Capstone Certificate coursework count toward a graduate degree?

It depends on the graduate program. Students who have completed a Capstone Certificate and wish to apply those credits to a graduate degree must apply and be accepted into the Graduate School, and they must request that the individual graduate program to which they are applying accept the credits. (Other institutions may have additional requirements or exclusions.)

What is the tuition for Capstone Certificate programs?

Tuition varies by program, but is generally based on current graduate student tuition. Please consult the specific program’s website for complete tuition information.

Are Capstone students eligible for financial assistance as non-degree students?

Capstone students are not eligible for federal financial aid, but are generally eligible for private educational loans.  In addition, some programs have other sources of financial support for students.  Please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and your program to explore the options.

Certificates are administered separately by individual academic departments. If you have general questions about Capstone Certificates, contact Katy Duren,, 608-263-5114 in the Division of Continuing Studies.

Visit the UW-Madison Continuing Studies Post-Baccalaureate information page