20 Master’s in Speech Language Pathology (SLP) Online Programs
If you love helping others and have an interest in how communication processes work, a speech pathology master’s program may be ideal. Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, work with children and adults who struggle with communication disorders. Professionals in this area have extensive knowledge of vocal production and physical impairments that can make it difficult for people to speak clearly. To become a practicing speech-language pathologist, you must hold a master’s degree from an accredited college or university.
20 Online Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) Master’s Programs
These master’s programs help prepare students for careers in speech-language pathology.
Vanderbilt University’s Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program only accepts full-time students and has an expected completion time of 20 to 24 months. Although the SLP program is open to students with a variety of bachelor’s degrees, students who do not have a background in communication sciences and disorders must complete an additional semester of coursework. Vanderbilt admits only a select few students each year. Students are required to submit GRE scores with their admission applications, and the average GPA for successful applicants in recent years was 3.9. Tuition for the 2022-2023 academic year is around $44,000.
Once enrolled at Vanderbilt, students can select a specialized training track like autism spectrum disorders, feeding and swallowing disorders, and school-aged language-literacy disorders. Most faculty in the program have worked as clinicians, and Vanderbilt has connections to several clinical training venues, including Vanderbilt University Hospital and Monroe Carrell, Jr. Children’s Hospital. In the 2020-2021 academic year, students in the SLP program achieved a 100% pass rate on the Praxis exam and a 100% employment rate.
The Master of Science in Speech, Language, and Learning program at Northwestern University accepts students with various bachelor’s degrees, with about 50% of enrolled students holding a bachelor’s in communication science. Northwestern typically enrolls between 40 and 70 students each year. While the admissions process includes reviewing student GPAs, greater emphasis is placed on essay responses, letters of recommendation, and previous volunteer work and employment.
The SLP program at Northwestern is broken into seven quarters. In the 2022-2023 academic year, full-time tuition was approximately $17,960 per quarter and part-time tuition was around $6,390 per unit. The curriculum centers on decision-making, self-supervision, and research, and it includes both on-campus clinical experiences and externships at private practices or medical facilities. Among the 68 students enrolled in the 2021-2022 SLP class at Northwestern, all passed the Praxis exam and were employed after graduating.
University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin offers a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology, a two-year clinical program that helps students progress toward state licensure. Students with any bachelor’s degree are welcome to apply, but those who have not completed the necessary undergraduate prerequisites may take longer to graduate. The SLP program at the University of Wisconsin does not include a GRE requirement, but students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Tuition ranges between $811 and $1,644 per credit hour as of 2022. The university offers thesis and non-thesis options for the program and requires a minimum of 40 credit hours for graduation.
In addition to coursework in subjects like motor speech disorders, mechanisms of speech, and phonological disorders, the University of Wisconsin has practicum experiences at sites like the university’s speech and hearing clinic and public school districts. It typically enrolls between 20 and 35 SLP students each year. In 2022, the program had a 100% pass rate on the Praxis and a 96.77% employment rate for graduates.
University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburg’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences offers a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. The program only admits full-time students and requires 60 credit hours for graduation. The time frame is generally two years, with students completing their coursework over six terms, including summers. Students who do not have a background in communication science may need additional time to complete their undergraduate prerequisites. The University of Pittsburgh requires that students have a minimum GPA of 3.0 but does not require students to submit GRE scores.
Coursework in the SLP program includes stuttering, voice disorders, and dysphagia. Students also complete an outplacement practicum at sites like the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, VA Medical Center, and Pittsburgh Public Schools. The SLP master’s program usually enrolls between 30 and 40 students. In the 2021-2022 academic year, it achieved a 100% Praxis pass rate and a 97.2% post-graduation employment rate.
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona’s College of Science offers the Master of Science in Speech, Language, and Hearing with an emphasis in speech-language pathology. Prospective students do not have to submit GRE scores but must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The admissions process places a heavy focus on research, volunteering, and professional experience, as well as letters of recommendation and personal statements. The tuition for graduate students in 2022 and 2023 is $12,348 per semester for residents and $32,290 for non-residents.
The University of Arizona’s SLP program typically enrolls between two and three dozen students. It has a Praxis pass rate and an employment rate of 100% and includes clinical education and training through the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic. Practicum sites for external placements include Tucson Medical Center and Banner University Medical Center. Alternatively, students can pursue a non-clinical SLP degree and complete a research thesis.
San Diego State University
The Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology program at San Diego State University is a five-semester program that takes place over two years, including one summer. The program is only open to full-time students and requires specific undergraduate prerequisites prior to admission. The average GPA for recently admitted students is 3.8. The base rate of tuition for graduate students at the university is $3,330, but non-resident students pay additional charges.
The curriculum of San Diego State’s SLP master’s program requires 36 credit hours in subjects like articulation, fluency, and swallowing. Students must also complete 375 clinical hours in order to graduate. The program has a three-year average employment rate of 88% and a Praxis pass rate of 100%.
University of Kansas
The University of Kansas offers a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology degree with 50 required credit hours spread across four semesters. Students hoping to enroll in the program do not have to submit GRE scores, but they must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in speech pathology or communication science. However, you can apply for admission under exceptional status regardless of your undergraduate major. Tuition for resident students is around $420 per credit hour, while non-residents pay just over $1,000 per credit hour.
The SLP program at the University of Kansas allows students to participate in clinical experiences at a variety of locations, including the Schiefelbusch Clinic and Topeka Public Schools. The curriculum includes coursework in clinical processes, professional issues, and multicultural considerations in speech, language, and hearing. As of 2021, the program had an average Praxis pass rate of 96.91%, an on-time program completion rate of 94.06%, and an employment rate of 96.81%.
University of Iowa
The Master of Arts in Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Iowa is a 38-credit hour program, but most students complete between 53 and 57 credit hours. Before beginning their graduate-level courses, students must ensure that they have completed undergraduate prerequisites, such as courses in biological science, physical science, and statistics. The University of Iowa’s SLP program does not require GRE scores, but the typical student admitted to the program has a GPA of 3.8 or above. Residents and non-residents pay the same tuition rate, which was $728 per credit hour for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Students have the option to complete the SLP program at the University of Iowa with or without a thesis. Coursework is divided into five semesters and includes a number of electives. Over the course of the program, students participate in specialty clinical teams in areas like aural rehabilitation, fluency disorders, and voice disorders. They also have the option to participate in outplacement opportunities at locations like the VA medical center in Iowa City and the AEA school district.
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Students completing a Master of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of North Carolina can choose to participate in the clinical or non-clinical track. Students do not need a degree in communication sciences to apply, but they are encouraged to complete as many prerequisite courses as possible prior to submitting their applications. Students admitted to the program generally have GPAs ranging between 3.5 and 3.9, and GRE scores are not a requirement.
This two-year graduate program requires students to complete core courses, electives, and clinical practicums. Possible course subjects include neuroanatomy, pediatric speech disorders, and adult communication disorders. The clinical track is a 60-credit-hour program designed for American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certification and North Carolina licensure, whereas the non-clinical track is designed for those who plan to pursue careers in research or industry rather than clinical work. The SLP program at the University of North Carolina has an employment rate of 100% and a 100% pass rate on the Praxis exam.
The Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology is open to students with any bachelor’s degree, and the program does not require GRE scores. Although they can apply without prerequisites, students must complete courses in subjects like phonetics, language acquisition, and diagnostic audiology before beginning their graduate studies. Tuition for the program is higher than some other options, with a cost of $61,050 for the 2022-2023 academic year. Over the past three years, the program has admitted between 25 and 50 students each year, and nearly all students graduate within two years.
The SLP program includes a minimum of 67 credit hours in courses like speech sound disorders, cognition, and preschool language disorders. Students also complete clinical practicums through the university’s on-campus clinical centers or local medical institutions. To remain enrolled in the program and graduate, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0. Boston University’s SLP program has a 100% Praxis pass rate and a three-year average employment rate of 99.03%.
Indiana University offers a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology and is open only to full-time enrollment. Most students complete the program within two years, and they must complete courses in speech anatomy and physiology, phonetics, and child language development prior to beginning their degree programs. Although the recommended minimum GPA is 3.0, the average GPA for admitted students in recent years was 3.8. The program does not require students to complete the GRE and admits around 100 students each year.
The curriculum at Indiana University includes coursework in phonological disorders, stuttering, and aphasia. Students also complete four semesters of clinical practicums at Indiana University clinics and externships at local sites. The SLP program has impressive student outcomes, with both a 100% employment rate for graduates and a 100% pass rate for the Praxis exam in recent years.
University of Texas – Austin
The Master of Science in Speech, Language, and Hearing Science at the University of Texas at Austin is a 57 to 60-credit-hour program completed across five semesters. The minimum GPA for admission is 3.0, and the GRE is not required. Students can apply without having completed ASHA prerequisites, but applicants with completed prerequisites receive preference. Tuition for the program is approximately $4,200 for Texas residents and $14,900 for non-residents.
Students in the University of Texas master’s program can specialize in specific subjects, such as bilingualism, by selecting electives that align with their areas of interest. They can also complete the program with or without a thesis. Required courses include developmental speech disorders, acquired cognitive communication disorders, and voice disorders. Students complete clinical practicums at the University of Texas Speech and Hearing Center and two externships at local partner organizations.
University of Washington
At the University of Washington, students can enroll in three separate Master of Science speech-language pathology tracks. The clinical experiences and coursework for the degree differ based on whether students choose to pursue the educational, medical, or clinical concentration. The program is selective and admits only 20 to 26 students per year. It does not accept GRE scores but requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree. Admissions are open to any bachelor’s degree, but the university strongly recommends that students complete their prerequisite coursework before beginning the program. Yearly tuition for resident students in the 2022-2023 academic year was $28,100, while non-residents paid $34,800.
The SLP curriculum includes courses in counseling skills, augmentative and alternative communication foundations, and fluency disorders. Students participate in clinical education through on-campus facilities like the Speech and Hearing Clinic and Center on Human Development and Disability. The program has had a 100% Praxis pass rate over the past three years.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s Master of Science in Communication Disorders can be completed in as few as 20 months. Admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA and a bachelor’s degree. Students may be admitted to the program without undergraduate majors in communication sciences, but they must complete prerequisite coursework in subjects like language science, speech science, and hearing science before beginning their graduate courses. As of the 2022-2023 school year, annual tuition rates for residents of Arizona are around $16,800 and $38,500 for non-residents.
The MS program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours in subjects like feeding and swallowing disorders, traumatic brain injuries, and autism. Students complete clinical practicums and internships at locations like public schools, private practices, and outpatient medical sites. They can opt to write a research thesis or take a written comprehensive exam in order to graduate. The curriculum for the exam option includes a minimum of six elective credit hours, while students who write a thesis dedicate that time to completing their projects under the supervision of faculty advisors.
Rush University Medical Center
Rush University’s Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology includes both traditional coursework and clinical experience. The program is only open to full-time students and can be completed in two years. To be considered for admission, students need a bachelor’s degree and an overall GPA of at least 3.0. Although students can apply without completing their prerequisite coursework, they must take classes in subjects like phonetics, statistics, and normal language development before matriculating. GRE scores are not a requirement for admission to the SLP program, and the average class size is 33 students.
Students at Rush University can complete a thesis or non-thesis track, depending on their future plans and research interests. Non-thesis students must pass a comprehensive exam prior to graduation. The curriculum for both tracks includes courses in dysarthria, dysphagia, and fluency, as well as clinical practicums. In 2022, the SLP program had an employment rate of 100%, a Praxis pass rate of 97%, and an on-time completion rate of 92%.
Ohio State University
At Ohio State University, students can enroll in a Master of Arts Speech-Language Pathology program that is designed to meet ASHA certification and Ohio state licensure requirements. This six-semester program is only open to full-time students. In 2022, the average GPA for incoming students was 3.9, and GRE scores are not part of the admissions process. Students who do not have a degree in communication sciences are sometimes offered conditional admission. As of the 2022-2023 academic year, Ohio residents pay tuition of approximately $6,060 per semester. Non-residents pay an additional charge of around $1,660 per credit hour.
Ohio State’s SLP program includes non-thesis and thesis options. In either case, the curriculum includes courses in adult language disorders, language acquisition, and cognitive communication disorders. Students may also enroll in electives to expand their knowledge in specific areas of interest. As of 2022, the Praxis pass rate and the post-graduation employment rate for the program were both 100%.
University of Maryland – College Park
The Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at the University of Maryland offers a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology. This program requires 35 credit hours of coursework and 13 hours of clinical training and is typically completed in two years. The program is selective, with an average class size of 20 to 25 students. In order to apply, students must provide strong letters of recommendation and must have completed at least 60% of the undergraduate prerequisite courses listed by the program.
Students in the program participate in clinical experiences at the in-house clinic and externships at partner organizations like the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC. As of 2022, the University of Maryland’s SLP program had 100% rates for program completion, on-time program completion, and Praxis pass rates. The 2021 employment rate for the program was also 100%.
Florida State University
Unlike many master’s programs in speech-language pathology, Florida State University’s Master’s in Communication Science and Disorders is open to both part-time and full-time students. To gain admission, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours of coursework completed in their bachelor’s degree programs. They must also provide evidence that they have completed communication science prerequisite courses. Students have the option to supply GRE test scores along with their other application materials.
The courses in Florida State University’s master’s program include developmental communication disorders, augmentative communication systems, and motor speech disorders. Students must complete clinical practicums, but they have the option to partner with schools, hospitals, and private practices within their home communities. The curriculum includes 40 credit hours in academic courses, 5 credit hours in clinical or professional courses, and 16 credits in clinical practicum courses. Part-time students can complete their degrees in three years.
University of Colorado – Boulder
The University of Colorado in Boulder has a Master of Arts Speech-Language Pathology program that is designed to help students receive certification from ASHA and Colorado state licensure. This two-year program includes at least one internship and a thesis or comprehensive exam. The university has waived GRE requirements, and the recommended minimum GPA for applicants is 3.25. If admitted, students must complete all prerequisite coursework and a minimum of 25 observation hours prior to beginning the program. As of the 2022-2023 academic year, tuition for Colorado residents was approximately $14,000 per year, while nonresidents pay around $34,700 annually.
Students in the University of Colorado’s SLP program begin clinical practicums during their first semester, culminating with one or two internships at off-campus locations in the final semester. Students take classes focused on topics like neuroanatomy, fluency disorders, and neurogenic speech disorders. In 2020, the SLP program had both a 100% post-graduation employment rate and a 100% Praxis pass rate.
University of Illinois
Students applying for the Master of Arts in Speech and Hearing Science program at the University of Illinois can elect clinical or nonclinical tracks. The nonclinical track helps students become better qualified for work in industry or doctoral degree programs. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA but do not have to submit GRE test scores. During the 2022-2023 academic year, the tuition for resident graduate students was approximately $13,400, compared to $29,000 for non-residents.
Students complete the University of Illinois’s SLP program over six semesters. However, students who have not completed prerequisite courses may attend additional semesters. Required courses include phonology and articulation, preschool language disorders, and ethics and professional issues. Students on the clinical track must also complete practicums, an externship in a school or hospital, and a hospital placement during the final semester. In 2021, the program had a 95% employment rate and a 100% Praxis pass rate.
ASHA Online Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) Accreditation
Finding speech pathology master’s programs accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is especially important. This professional organization sets standards for speech pathology programs by examining the curriculum, faculty, and outcomes and ensuring that they are focused on current best practices and knowledge in the field. Attending an accredited program is essential if you hope to become a licensed SLP because state licensure boards generally will not accept degrees from unaccredited institutions.
Online Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Admissions Requirements
All colleges have different admissions requirements, but the most common criteria include:
- Bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s degree is a requirement for all master’s degree programs in speech-language pathology.
- Undergraduate coursework: Universities require students to have taken specific courses in subjects like language development and phonetics.
- Test scores: Many schools no longer seek standardized test scores, but others require minimum scores on the GRE.
- Recommendations: Letters of recommendation from former instructors and supervisors are a standard admissions requirement.
Some schools also ask students to write a personal statement or essay or participate in an interview, in addition to submitting an official application and paying a fee.
Examples of Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology Courses
The curriculum of a speech-language pathology program focuses on current research, theories, and approaches to voice disorders. During the program, you will take courses in subjects like:
- Speech sound disorders
- Research methods
- Language disorders in children
- Language disorders in adults
Most programs conclude with a thesis or comprehensive exam that allows you to demonstrate the full breadth of your knowledge and skills.
After graduating with a master’s in speech-language pathology, the next step is to complete your clinical experience. You will work under the supervision of a licensed SLP. Clinical fellowships are intended to give you hands-on experience in the field, and they allow you to get a deeper understanding of the type of practice and specialization that you prefer. According to the ASHA, clinical experience is one of the core requirements to earn SLP certification, and it’s also necessary for state licensure.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Pursuing an advanced degree in speech pathology requires a significant financial investment, but you can seek aid from multiple sources. The first step is to submit a FAFSA, which determines whether you are eligible for federal aid. Search for scholarships related to your degree or personal circumstances. If you are currently working, your employer may offer tuition reimbursement or assistance.
FAQ about Online Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Program
How Much Does a Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Program Cost?
The cost of a speech-language pathology master’s program depends on the number of required credit hours, with most programs requiring between 50 and 60 hours to graduate. According to the Education Data Initiative, the cost of a master’s degree program usually ranges between $30,000 and $120,000, with public colleges charging lower tuition than private schools. Online degrees are sometimes more affordable because students save on fees and expenses like housing, parking, and transportation.
How Long Does it Take to Earn an Online Speech Pathology Master’s Degree?
A full-time student can generally complete an online speech pathology master’s degree in two years. However, a student with other obligations, such as a career or caretaking responsibilities, might graduate in three to four years rather than two.
Is a Graduate Degree Required to Become a Speech Pathologist?
In most cases, employers require speech pathologists to hold a minimum of a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. A master’s degree is also a requirement for ASHA certification and licensure in many states.
What Is the Average Salary of Someone with a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology Degree?
The median annual salary for speech-language pathologists is $79,060 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Your potential earnings differ depending on your location, experience, and employer. For example, according to the BLS, SLPs who work for educational services have median salaries of $75,270 a year, compared to $99,340 for SLPs employed by nursing and residential care facilities.
Do Online Speech Pathology Programs Require the GRE?
Some schools require minimum GRE scores for admission. However, many schools have made the GRE an optional admission requirement, while others do not accept scores at all.
What Are Career Options for Someone with a Master’s in Speech Pathology?
Many students enter speech pathology master’s programs with the goal of becoming licensed speech-language pathologists, who help children and adults overcome problems with speaking and swallowing. SLPs can seek positions with a variety of employers, including:
- Nursing and residential care facilities
- Outpatient clinics
- Community health centers
- Rehabilitation facilities
Some SLPs open private practices and work independently with a caseload of patients.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2020 Standards and Implementation Procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology
Education Data Initiative, Average Cost of a Master’s Degree
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Speech-Language Pathologists