M.S./Ph.D. Program

CAA SLP Accreditation Statement

The Master’s of Science education program in speech-language pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been placed on probation by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700. A program on probation is not currently in full compliance with the accreditation standards. Programs on probation remain accredited but must demonstrate compliance with the standard within one year.

Program Overview

Degree Requirements

When you are admitted, you will be assigned an academic advisor in your area of research interest. You may change advisors at any time in the course of your program, provided you and your advisor agree on this, but there is no guarantee that the new advisor will provide funding. You also will be assigned a clinical advisor at the time of admission (with advisor consent).

Requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • A study plan
  • Course work
  • Clinical experiences
  • First-Year Project
  • Master’s Thesis
  • Ph.D. Minor (Single or Distributed)
  • Preliminary (Prelim) Exam
  • Final Oral Examination of Dissertation Project

Study Plan

In your first semester, you will meet with your advisors to create an individualize plan for academic and clinical activities during the 2.5 years of the M.S. portion of the M.S./Ph.D. program.

This plan will includes course work as well as clinical and research experiences. The aim is to give you an early introduction to research, while allowing time to complete the requisite course work and clinical hours to meet the M.S. degree requirements by the end of the fall semester of their third year of full-time study.

You and your clinical and academic advisors will sign the plan, and a copy will be kept in your file. You may modify your plan with the agreement of both advisors.

Course Work & Clinical Experiences

Your academic study plan is individualized. You will need to consult both the M.S. program course requirements and the Ph.D. program course requirements. You are encouraged to take courses out of the CS&D department that will support research interests and skill sets, including courses in research methods and/or statistical analyses. For doctoral students, it is required you attend the departmental Professional Seminar (ProSem) lecture series.

Clinical Experiences will also be individualized. Please see the M.S. Handbook for more information regarding clinical experiences.

First-Year Project & Master’s Thesis

You must complete a first-year project in collaboration with your program advisor. You must present the completed project at the department’s proseminar during the fall semester of the second year of graduate study.

Your first-year project could serve as the basis for the required Master’s thesis. The Master’s thesis, which would meet the requirement of the first-year doctoral project, must be completed by the end of the third year of graduate study.

Ph.D. Minor

The UW-Madison Graduate School has a breadth requirement. For our department, this is fulfilled by a minor concentration consisting of 10 credits taken outside the major area of concentration and must be approved by the student’s advisor. There are two options for fulfilling the minor requirement:

Option A: Single department or major field of study

Requires a minimum of 10 credits in a single department or major field of study. Students must refer to the individual department for specific requirements, as many departments require more than 10 credits. Option A requires approval from the minor department as well as the approval of your major advisor.

Option B: Distributed

Requires a minimum of 10 credits in one or more departments and can include course work in the major department. Option B requires signatures of your major advisor and major department chairperson.

Preliminary Exam (“Prelim”)

Before official admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree, you must pass a preliminary examination in your area of expertise. The purpose of the doctoral comprehensive preliminary examination in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is to assist the faculty in determining whether a student’s knowledge of pertinent facts, theories, and methods is sufficient to render the student generally capable of (1) undertaking effective research in an area within communication sciences and disorders, and (2) undertaking other forms of scholarship required or expected of persons who professionally use the doctoral degree. Research and other scholarly work require the ability to (a) apply terminology, facts, concepts, relations, procedures, theories, and issues accurately and appropriately, (b) invoke facts, reasoning and other evidence to support observations and opinions, (c) identify, organize, analyze and integrate information, (d) to evaluate one’s own work and that of others critically, and (e) communicate effectively. The Prelim exam serves to demonstrate that you have these required abilities and are competent to begin dissertation research.

Final Oral Examination of Dissertation Project

The final examination committee will examine the candidate over the research project and other aspects of the doctoral program. The final exam committee is composed of at least five members of the graduate faculty including the student’s major advisor, who is the chairperson of the committee, and one member from outside the major department. Graduate faculty status is defined as: tenure-track faculty holding professional (full, associate, or assistant) rank in any department with graduate program authority. Tenure-track faculty members are automatically permitted to retain graduate faculty status for one year after their retirement or resignation. Annual extensions of graduate faculty status for retired or resigned faculty may be recommended by the departmental executive committee for consideration and approval by the Graduate School dean or designee. Pass must be by unanimous vote. If one of the committee members signs the warrant on the DISSENT line, then a pass/fail determination is made jointly by the Graduate School and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Applications & Admissions

To be considered for the M.S./Ph.D. program, you must first apply and be accepted to the M.S. program. Please see the M.S. program requirements for more detailed information.

The University of Wisconsin Madison’s MS-SLP Program has decided to remove the GRE requirement for the 2020-2021 admission cycle.

The admissions committee will initially evaluate M.S./Ph.D. applications with all other applicants to the M.S. program. After initial admissions decisions have been made, the committee will then perform a secondary review of students who have indicated interest in the M.S./Ph.D. program within the online supplemental application.

It’s important that you contact professor(s) before applying to the M.S./Ph.D. program. We believe it’s highly valuable if you have some pre-application interaction with your potential advisor(s).

The Communication Sciences and Disorders website includes a faculty directory and lab overviews. We urge applicants to examine labs and to look carefully at relevant professor research areas. We urge you to read some publications by any professor(s) whose research appears to be compatible with your grad study goals, and who, therefore, could potentially become your advisor. We highly encourage you, after examining the profiles, and before applying, to contact the professor(s) whose interests best match your own. Most professors will make themselves available to exchange emails.

If you are admitted as an M.S. student, but NOT into the M.S./Ph.D. program:

  • You may apply again to the program by January 1 of your first year of graduate study.
  • You must make your application in writing, addressed to the Admissions Committee, and accompanied by a letter from the academic advisor who has ag
  • reed to mentor you.
  • If you are accepted into the M.S./Ph.D. program at that time, you will meet with a clinical advisor to modify your existing clinical plan.

Apply Online

Fall Application Deadline: January 1st

All potential M.S./Ph.D. applicants must meet the Graduate School’s admission requirements, as well as department-specific requirements.

Graduate School Requirements

UW-Madison Graduate School Requirements for Admission

  • A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (4.0=A); however, the students we accept into the program typically have much higher GPAs

Program Prerequisites

You must complete the following undergraduate courses before beginning graduate course work:

Code Course Title Credits
CS&D 201 Speech Science 3
CS&D 202 Normal Aspects of Hearing 3
CS&D 240 Language Development in Children and Adolescents 3
CS&D 315 Phonetics and Phonological Development 3
CS&D 318 Voice, Craniofacial and Fluency Disorders 3
CS&D 320 Introduction to Audiology 3
CS&D 371 Pre-Clinical Observation of Children and Adults 3
CS&D 425 Auditory Rehabilitation 3
CS&D 440 Child Language Disorders, Assessment and Intervention 3

In addition to the above courses, you will need a course in each of the following areas:

  • Biological sciences
  • Physical sciences (chemistry or physics)
  • Statistics
  • Social/behavioral sciences

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) standards now specify that a course in each of these areas is required for ASHA certification. For additional details, visit ASHA’s website Standard IV-A.

If you choose to complete prerequisites at UW-Madison before applying for graduate study, you must apply to the Capstone Program. These courses typically can be completed within two semesters. Equivalent courses from another university or department will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Letters of Recommendation

These letters should address your potential for academic success in graduate school. At least two should come from instructors who have knowledge of your academic performance. The third may come from a clinical supervisor, employer, or other individual who has knowledge of your academic potential and likelihood for success in graduate school. No more than three.

Reasons for Graduate Study

This is an opportunity for you to highlight experiences, related skills, and personal attributes which make you an exceptional candidate. 1-3 pages, single-spaced.

Application Fee

UW-Madison charges a non-refundable $75 application fee that must be paid by credit card (Master Card or Visa) or debit card. In addition to the $75 application fee, non U.S. citizens will be charged a $6.00 international document processing fee.

There are also limited application fee grants available. Check the UW-Madison Graduation Application Fee grants to see if you qualify. Please note that fee grant applications must be submitted before you application and can take two weeks to process so you should plan to submit fee grant applications by December 1st with consideration of holidays.

CV or Resume

Include honors and awards


Upload a copy of your unofficial transcripts. These show grades earned at every college or university you have attended, including study abroad. If admitted, the Graduate School will request official transcripts.

Supplemental Application

Complete the supplemental application found in the online application. This is where you will show us how you fulfilled the prerequisites by matching your courses to the prerequisite courses. It is in this section of the application that you will indicate that you are applying to the M.S./Ph.D. program and what your research interests are and which faculty you would like to work with.

TOEFL Scores

If your native language is not English, or your undergraduate instruction was not in English, a TOEFL score is required. Use institution code 1846. Use institution code 1846. You may take the test more than once; we will consider the scores from your best testing date. Only official scores, submitted directly from ETS, from within the last five years and submitted by the application deadline will be accepted.

Notable Advice

  • Submit all materials one week prior to deadline. Late and incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • File your application early. Do not wait until you can gather all your materials. It is better to file early and send additional items as they become available.
  • Track your application status. After submission of your application, you will receive a link to a personal web page where you can track your application status. We update this page as we receive your materials, usually within two weeks of receipt.
  • For more information, review the UW-Madison Graduate School “Steps to Apply” and “Admissions FAQ”.


Masters Courses

Information about the masters-level courses can be found on the MS Speech-Language Pathology page.

Ph.D. Courses

Each student creates an individual study plan with his or her advisor. There are no specific course requirements for Ph.D. majors. Ph.D. students must, however, take the following seminars/courses to satisfy the core requirement:

  • CS&D 900: Graduate Professional Seminar, “ProSem” (8 cr.; four semesters)
  • CS&D 900: Research Methodology, “Theory to Practice” (2-3 cr.)
  • CS&D 900: Grant Writing (2-3 cr.)
  • Teaching Methods (1 cr. or audit)