Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology: Overview

Table of Contents:


•  Overview of Program
•  Faculty specialties and interests in HESP



•  Admission Requirements
•  Funding Opportunities
•  The Advanced Special Student Option and Post-Baccalaureate Options



•  Length of Program
•  Prerequisite Coursework
•  M.A. Curriculum in Speech-Language Pathology
•  Typical Sequence of Classes
•  HESP Course Descriptions
•  The Thesis and Non-Thesis Options: Overview
•  The non-thesis option
•  The thesis option
•  Comprehensive examinations
•  Course requirements: Students without HESP background
•  First year sequence: Students without HESP background
•  Coursework requirements for ASHA C.C.C.
•  Transfer of graduate credits
•  GPA Requirements


•  Clinical practicum enrollment
•  Outside placement opportunities: Speech-Language Pathology
•  Clinical Practicum Handbook



•  University and departmental deadlines for graduation
•  Determination of full-time status
•  Departmental policy decisions relevant to M.A. students





Overview of the Program


The program leading to the Master of Arts degree in Hearing and Speech Sciences is an academically based, clinically oriented, full-time program designed primarily to prepare professional Speech-Language Pathologists. While information pertaining to communication disorders comprises the central focus of the degree, education about the normal processes of speech, language and hearing is considered an integral part of the program.


The primary goal of the program in Speech-Language Pathology is to provide knowledge about and basic competencies in the communication disorders of phonology, language, voice and fluency. The secondary goal is to provide the student with minimal competencies in the measurement of hearing and in the habilitation/rehabilitation of individuals with hearing disorders.


The M.A. program in Speech-Language Pathology contributes substantially to the academic and clinical practicum requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (C.C.C.) granted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The graduate program at the University of Maryland is accredited by ASHA.


In order to practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist, almost all employers and jurisdictions require the prospective employee to hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence. The requirements for this certification include basic social science, physical and biological science, math and pre-requisite speech/language/hearing science coursework usually obtained at the undergraduate level, as well as graduate coursework and supervised clinical practicum. Prospective students should refer to these requirements, which are described under Coursework requirements for ASHA C.C.C.





Admission to the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology


Increasingly larger numbers of students are interested in pursuing careers in Speech-Language Pathology. Admission to the graduate programs in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences is very competitive. The Department usually receives about 200 applications for admission to fill approximately 25 available spaces in the M.A. program in Speech-Language Pathology, which is a full-time program.


Successful applicants typically demonstrate:

  • an undergraduate overall GPA and GPA in the major of at least 3.5
  • strong GRE scores
  • well-written letters of intent
  • strong letters of recommendation


Such keen competition for admission in our program results in our inability to accept a number of well-qualified applicants for graduate study each year. The Admissions Committee evaluates all applications quite carefully, and does consider the applicant's whole application, rather than simple scores in any single domain. Additionally, members of the Hearing and Speech Sciences faculty are available to answer questions that applicants might have regarding their potential qualifications for entry into our graduate programs. Potential applicants should call the Department office for further information, at (301) 405-4214.


All admissions are via electronic application to the graduate school. Deadline for applications is January 15 of each year. Please be advised that some aspects of your application (such as GRE scores, transcripts, etc.) may require substantial lead time; for best consideration, all aspects of your application should arrive at the graduate school by the deadline.


Please note that graduate students are admitted to a specific degree program (i.e., M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology; Au.D. in Audiology, or or Ph.D in Hearing & Speech Sciences). Students seeking to switch degree programs must submit a written petition to the Departmental Admissions Committee. This petition will be evaluated according to usual departmental standards for admission, and with the cohort of pending applicants to the semester of intended admission. All applications are subject to program space availability, which is extremely limited for mid-year entry. Applicants for program transfer must apply by the Graduate School deadline for application to graduate degree programs. The Departmental committee will provide a written response to the applicant in a timely fashion.


Funding Opportunities

Graduate assistantship positions for new students are awarded as part of the admissions process. Current students may apply for funding; applications may be found here.


Advanced Special Student Option and Post-Baccalaureate Options


The University of Maryland offers two options to individuals who do not have an immediate degree objective in mind, or who wish to take courses prior to application for graduate study at UMCP or elsewhere. These options do not lead to a graduate degree, nor do they facilitate student entry into UMCP graduate programs.  The primary uses of these options in HESP are:


  • To allow students with B.A. degrees in non-HESP-related disciplines to pursue undergraduate preparatory coursework in HESP in preparation for application to the M.A. program
  • To allow students whose employers require continuing education coursework to enroll in graduate classes as space permits
  • To allow students to explore their level of interest and aptitude for graduate study in HESP prior to application for a graduate degree program.


There are no limits on the number of courses that may be taken by these methods.   Courses taken this way may be counted as undergraduate pre-requisite courses . However, they will not count towards graduate program requirements, and no more than six credits (2 courses) of graduate courses may be transferred to the graduate program.


For more information on these options, see: Admissions FAQ


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Length of Program


The expected time frame for completion of the M.A. program in Speech-Language Pathology is four academic semesters, plus one intervening summer term. For students who enter the M.A. program without a background in the hearing or speech sciences, the expected time frame for completion of the M.A. degree is an additional two to three semesters (up to 1 year, including summer) of full-time enrollment.


Prerequisite Coursework


Any student who has not taken a course in statistics at the undergraduate level must complete a course in their graduate program. Students should note that courses for which only a portion of the semester was devoted to statistics are not acceptable.


Students must complete a set of undergraduate preparatory coursework before beginning graduate classes. Students who have completed an undergraduate degree in the field of hearing and speech sciences will generally have completed all or most of these necessary courses. Students who come to the graduate program from non-HESP backgrounds may require an additional year to complete this preparatory coursework. More information on these requirements may be found below.


M.A. Curriculum for Speech-Language Pathology Students


  Thesis option Non-thesis option
Diagnostic Methods in Sp-Lang Path (HESP 702)
Audiology course 600 level
The following five disorder courses:
Phonological Disorders (620)    
Child Language Disorders (616)    
Aphasia (610)    
Voice Disorders (624)    
Stuttering (612)    
One of the three following basic science courses:
Acoustic & Perceptual Phonetics (604)    
Research Design (724)    
Neurological Bases of Communic.(602)    
Electives: Select from HESP Courses*
Neuromotor Disorders (622)    
Language & Learning Disabilities (626)    
Dysphagia ( 625)**    
Oro-facial Anomalies (614)    
Augmentative Communication (621)
Rotating Seminars (e.g., 639; Medical SLP,
Autism/ASD, Counseling, etc.)
Or others at 600-800 level, including 604, 724, 602
Thesis (799)
Candidacy Paper (638)


* NOTE: Not all courses offered at the 600 level through HESP continuing education programs are approved for application to the MA degree. Students should consult with advisors prior to registration.


** Although this course is an elective, most clinical practicum sites require coursework in dysphagia before accepting students for placements. Thus, this course is strongly recommended for all students, and is a requirement for those pursuing clinical placements.

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Typical Sequence of Classes


NOTE: Courses are typically offered once per year, occasionally once every other year, in the semester indicated.



  • HESP612 Fluency Disorders (3 credits)
  • HESP616 Language Disorders in Children (3 credits)
  • HESP702 Diagnostic Procedures (3 credits)
  • HESP648A Clinical Practice in Speech: Diagnostic Procedures (1 credit)
  • HESP648B Clinical Practice in Speech: Therapeutic Procedures (2 credits)


  • Possible elective (e.g., Autism/ASD; Counseling; Medical SLP)

NOTE: students are not required to take classes during the 3-week winter term. However, some electives are offered only at this time, and many students choose to take courses during this period and thus lighten their load in subsequent semesters



  • HESP610 Aphasia (3 credits)
  • HESP620 Phonological and Articulatory Disorders (3 credits)
  • Non-thesis option: Elective
  • Thesis option: HESP724 Research Design (3 credits) – also fulfills science requirement
  • HESP648B Clinical Practice in Speech: Therapeutic Procedures (2 credits)



  • HESP635 Aural Rehabilitation/Habilitation (3 credits)
  • HESP625 Dysphagia (3 credits)
  • HESP648B Clinical Practice in Speech (2 credits)



  • HESP728 (Outplacement) Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech: Advanced Graduate Laboratory Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology (2 credits)
  • HESP 624 Voice (3 credits)
  • Thesis option: HESP799 Master's Thesis Research; (1-3 credits; 6 are needed but may be split across semesters)
  • Non-Thesis option: HESP638 Research Candidacy Practicum (1-3 credits; 3 total required, but may be split across semesters)
  • Possible elective and/or basic science (3 credits)
  • One of the following:
    - HESP649B Clinical Practice in Audiology: Aural Rehabilitation; (1-2 credits)
    - HESP649A Clinical Practice in Audiology: Diagnostic Audiology; (1-2 credits)



  • Possible elective



  • HESP728 (Outplacement) Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech: Advanced Graduate Laboratory Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology; (2 credits)
  • Thesis Option: HESP799 (3 credits, 6 total required)
  • Non-thesis candidacy Research HESP638; (1-3 credits; 3 total required)
  • Possible basic science and/or elective (3 credits)
  • One of the following:
    - HESP649B Clinical Practice in Audiology: Aural Rehabilitation; (1-2 credits)
    - HESP649A Clinical Practice in Audiology: Diagnostic Audiology; (1-2 credits)


Electives/Basic Sciences typically offered in FALL:

  • HESP622 Neuromotor Disorders of Speech (3 credits)
  • HESP604 Acoustic and Perceptual Phonetics (3 credits, offered every other year)


Electives/Basic Sciences typically offered in SPRING:

  • HESP602 Neurological Bases of Human Communication (3 credits)
  • HESP614 Oral-Facial Anomalies (3 credits)
  • HESP626 Language and Learning Disabilities (3 credits)
  • HESP724 Research Design


Elective courses (Seminars) typically offered during WINTER SESSION:

  • HESP639F Seminar: Communication Strategies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (3 credits)
  • HESP639 Medical Speech-Language Pathology (3 credits)
  • HESP639 Counseling (3 credits)


Students may also, with permission of the department, enroll in courses at other Universities in the Washington Area Consortium (such as Gallaudet, George Washington University, or Howard University) or in other departments on campus to fulfill elective requirements.


HESP Course Descriptions

Descriptions of classes offered by the department may be found in the course catalog.


The Thesis and Non-Thesis Options

Students pursuing the M.A. degree in Hearing and Speech Sciences with an emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology must choose either the NON-THESIS OPTION or the THESIS OPTION.


Non-Thesis Option


Students who choose the non-thesis option must write a formal research paper on a topic of his/her choosing and must pass written comprehensive examinations in Speech-Language Pathology. The student must register for a total of three credit hours in HESP 638 (Research Practicum) across the semesters that the Candidacy Paper is written.


The Candidacy Paper is intended to be a demonstration of the student's scholarly writing ability and his/her competence in performing independent work. Scholarly writing ability is defined by the Dean of Graduate Studies as "the ability to present in a clearly organized paper, with proper scholarly documentation, evaluation". Thus, the Candidacy Paper may not simply be a review of what is known about a given topic. The critical ingredient is that the student must show evidence of original thought and critical analysis. The Candidacy Paper may be an extension of work prepared for graduate level courses. However, Graduate School policy is that the Paper must be written independently of and in excess of academic course requirements.



Non-Thesis Option Timeline


The student must begin working on the Candidacy Paper by the beginning of the semester PRIOR TO the semester of expected graduation. (That is, if a student is graduating in the spring semester, they must begin working on the Candidacy Paper by the start of the fall semester). However, we recommend that students begin thinking about their Candidacy Paper earlier than this, given the time and effort required to identify a topic and identify faculty readers.

●      First month of the semester prior to graduation (September for Spring graduation, February for Fall graduation): The student is expected to obtain approval for the paper topic from the first reader. In addition, the student needs to identify a second reader (with input from the first reader) and obtain consent from the second reader.

●      Second month of the semester prior to graduation: A paper proposal must be submitted to both readers for feedback and approval.

●      First week of the semester of graduation: The Candidacy Paper is due to both readers.

●      Six weeks into the semester of graduation: Revision or resubmission of the candidacy paper must be made by this time if the previous submission was not approved.

●      The Candidacy Paper must be approved by the deadline posted for the semester for the student to be eligible for comprehensive examinations.


Students should allow a two-week turnaround for reader comments at each stage of the Candidacy Paper process. A detailed schedule of deadlines for each academic year is provided to students each semester. Students must abide by all posted deadlines and obtain final approval of the Candidacy Paper from both readers to be eligible to take the comprehensive examination.


Two members of the HESP faculty must read and approve the Candidacy Paper. The first reader is the primary contact person for advisement on the paper. The student should present a proposal for the paper topic to a faculty member whom they would like to serve as the first reader.  Ideally, this faculty member would have interests are in line with the proposed topic, but most HESP faculty members are able to read papers outside of their own specific research areas. Once a faculty member has agreed to be the first reader, the student should then approach another faculty member to be the second reader.
Eligibility for being a first reader: Eligible first readers must hold the doctoral degree and hold a half-time or greater appointment within HESP.
Eligibility for being a second reader: Any member of the HESP faculty (including both part-time and clinical faculty) may serve as second readers. Under normal circumstances, adjunct faculty do not serve as readers of candidacy papers, although this may be allowed in unusual circumstances, again with approval of the student's advisor. This is generally only allowable for adjunct instructors who are doctoral-level faculty and have a continuing "presence" in the department; instructors who teach a single course are generally not asked to take on additional responsibilities of this nature.  
Please note that time constraints may prevent faculty members from reading an unlimited of candidacy papers in any given semester, and it is incumbent upon the student to ask faculty members to serve as readers in a timely manner.

Approval Process

Following approval of the topic by the first reader, the student is expected to submit an “Initial Proposal” to both readers. The readers may provide constructive feedback on this initial proposal. The student may meet in-person with the first reader. The student is expected to incorporate the feedback in preparation of the Candidacy Paper and submit the Candidacy Paper both readers.



As mentioned earlier, the candidacy paper is a demonstration of a student’s competence in performing independent work, scholarly writing ability, original thought and critical analysis. The candidacy paper is expected to include a critical analysis of key literature followed by a research proposal.


Initial proposal

This submission should provide a well-thought out conceptual framework based on five primary references, followed by a statement of objectives for further study and describe succinctly every major aspect of the proposed project. It is expected that students would have already performed a thorough review of relevant literature before selecting the five key references that are thematic anchors for the paper. One of the factors that will be considered in assessing your initial proposal will be the degree to which these five references are: recent, high quality, empirical, and central to the proposal. Students may include a reasonable number of additional supporting references for background and research methods. This initial proposal is expected not to exceed one page (excluding reference list; see instructions below on font and margin specifications).

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the library’s research resources


Candidacy Paper

The candidacy paper should include relevant background and a research proposal. The background section will introduce the topic, provide a critical analysis of key literature and the significance and rationale for the research question(s). The research proposal should include specific hypotheses and methods for study. It is expected that the overall length of the candidacy paper will be 7-10 pages, excluding references (Arial or Helvetica font style, 12 point size, with 1.5 line spacing and 1-inch margins). Recommended page limit guidelines for the sections of the candidacy paper as follows.

1.      Background, including literature and significance/rationale for study – 2 to 3 pages

2.      Innovation and Research Questions and Hypothesis – 1 to 2 pages

3.       ResearchApproach (experimental design, participants, stimuli, procedure, data analysis and statistics, interpretation) - 1.5  to 3 pages

4.       Conclusions/applications – 1 to 2 pages

The style of the Candidacy paper, including citations and references, should follow those described by the latest edition of the style manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Copies of the manual are available in McKeldin Library. Students may wish to refer to any ASHA publication for an example of APA style. Students are strongly encouraged to consult the writing resources compiled by the HESP department



The course number for the candidacy paper is HESP638: Research Practicum.  Of the three candidacy paper credits, two credits will be under the section number of the first reader and one credit will be with the second reader. There is no restriction on the semester(s) during which the credits are registered for (as long as these are during the semesters that the candidacy paper is written).


Thesis Option


Students who choose the thesis option must conduct an independent research study on a topic of his/her choosing, and write a formal research paper (thesis) describing this research study.


Students who elect the thesis option must register for six semester hours of HESP 799, M.A. Thesis Research using the section number of the thesis advisor.


The student is not required to take comprehensive examinations, but is required to defend his/her thesis in an oral examination.


The following steps should be taken before a student undertakes a thesis project:


(1) After formulating a tentative research question and a research design, the student seeks out a member of the graduate faculty who agrees to serve as the primary advisor or chairperson of the thesis committee. In most cases, the primary advisor is a full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty member within the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP). If not, then a full-time HESP faculty member (typically the student's academic advisor) must serve as co-advisor.

Note: Students are not required to formulate their research question/design independently; in many cases, it is common for a student to approach a potential mentor first, and for them to jointly develop a study in line with the student's interests. However, this works best if the student has some general ideas of the topic areas in which they are interested so that he or she can approach an appropriate faculty member.


(2) If the thesis advisor or co-advisor is not the student's assigned academic advisor, it is the student's responsibility to inform his/her academic advisor and contact the Director of Graduate Studies. In many cases, reassignment of advisors will be appropriate.


(3) The primary advisor and the student choose at least two other members of the graduate faculty to serve on the thesis committee.


REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Please download the Thesis Checklist for information on eligibility and approval of thesis committee members and thesis advisors.


(4) Once the members of the committee are approved, the student completes a Nomination Form; this form is submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies, and becomes part of the student's file. This form should be completed no later than the fall semester of the student's 2nd year (or 3rd year for students entering the program as a 3-year student), and preferably by October 15.


(5) The student then prepares a formal written proposal providing the rationale for the research project and the procedures to be followed in collecting and analyzing the data. The student submits the proposal for review by the thesis advisor. Typically, multiple drafts of the thesis proposal will be necessary the thesis advisor recommends its distribution to the rest of the committee. Therefore, thesis proposal submission should be initiated early to permit timely completion of the thesis. A recommended timeline is listed here.


(6) Once the thesis advisor feels the proposal is complete, it is submitted to the thesis committee, and a date scheduled for a proposal meeting. The paper should be submitted to the committee at least 10 working days prior to the proposal meeting. This proposal meeting (or “defense”) is intended to be helpful to the student in planning the details of the study and to address any concerns before the project is conducted. Many committee members are also willing to serve as a resource throughout the execution of the research project.


(7) Following the approval of the thesis topic, the student is then permitted to pursue his/her research and write the thesis. If the research involves human subjects, the University Committee for Research on Human Subjects (IRB) must approve the project prior to its initiation. A thesis involving human subjects, even if considered “exempt”, cannot be filed without Human Subjects Review certification. Likewise, if the research involves animal subjects, then the University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee must approve the project prior to initiation. Moreover, for any official MA thesis, the IRB or IACUC approval for the project must be under the student's own name; it is not sufficient that the advisor already has approval for that type of research under an existing, more global, proposal. Finally, in order to be involved in a research project or to submit a human subjects IRB proposal, the student must complete CITI training (please see


The department has prepared a guide to assist students in researching and writing theses. This guide is available in the Main Office. Students are highly encouraged to make use of the guide.


Should I do a thesis? The thesis is intended to be a demonstration of the student's scholarly ability and his/her competence in performing independent research and scholarly writing. A thesis is excellent preparation for anyone who is considering pursuit of a doctoral degree or a career combining clinical practice and significant research involvement. It is also an opportunity to become involved in a component of the field that might otherwise not be experienced, and thus broaden a student's graduate education. Students sometimes fear that the thesis option may delay graduation. Timely completion of the thesis is dependent on many factors, the most crucial of these being timely initiation of the thesis plan and right-sizing of the scope of the thesis project. In fact, most students who undertake theses defend it either in the Spring or Summer of their second year.


Students should be aware that ASHA's stated eligibility to begin a CFY does not require the MA degree, only completion of ASHA course work and clock hour requirements. HOWEVER, a number of states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia , have recently developed local licensure policies that require conferral of the actual M.A. degree PRIOR to issuance of provisional licensure to begin a CFY. It is imperative that students consult with advisors to develop a realistic and customized plan of research that will permit the student to start the CFY within an appropriate time frame and in the student's anticipated CFY location.


Writing resources to help with a thesis can be found here:


Comprehensive Examination


For a guide to the Comprehensive Examination, Click here to view the format.


Speech-Language Pathology majors are required to answer 3 comprehensive exam questions; they will be given 2 hours to complete each question. Each question will require integrating information across (at least) two topic areas. All questions require incorporating information from across the graduate curriculum.


A student who fails two or more questions will be judged to have failed the comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination may be retaken a second time the following academic semester. (Examinations are not offered during the summer semester).


Any student who fails one question may take a make-up question in that area during the same semester. A new question will be administered which follows the general procedural format of the question that was failed. Students who fail to pass a re-administered question area will be judged to have failed the comprehensive examination, and will be required to take the entire comprehensive examination over during a subsequent semester.


Any student may take the entire comprehensive examination only twice. Failure to pass any questions on the second full administration of the comprehensive examination will result in termination from the program without earning a diploma.


NOTE : Comprehensive examinations are administered in the College Computer Laboratory. Students are expected to type responses to comprehensive examination questions, using their choice of any of the word processing packages on the BSOS network. Students may wish to familiarize themselves with the Open Labs in Lefrak Hall prior to their comprehensive testing date. A student wishing accommodations due to a disability must have approved accommodations from the University Disability Support Service.



Course Requirements for Students with a non-HESP Background (3-year program)

A. Undergraduate preparatory courses

HESP 300 - Introduction to Psycholinguistics
HESP 305 - Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
HESP 311 - Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology of the Auditory System*
HESP 403 - Introduction to Phonetic Science
HESP 400 - Speech and Language Development
HESP 407 - Introduction to Hearing Science
HESP 411 - Introduction to Audiology*
HESP 417 - Principles and Methods in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

*HESP 606 may be substituted for HESP 311/411

B. Graduate Requirements The graduate coursework requirements are identical to those for students with a prior HESP background as described above.

Typical First Year Academic Preparation Sequence For Students with a non-HESP Background

Fall Spring Summer
HESP 300 HESP 403 HESP 417
HESP 305 HESP 407  
HESP 311 HESP 411  
HESP 400 Graduate-level course (e.g., 602.724)  


Note: This sequence does not include or permit clinical practicum enrollment, which is taken in the second and third years of the M.A. program for students without HESP background. In particular, students without full HESP background should be aware that clinical practicum enrollment requires a minimum pre- or co-requisite of HESP 702 and HESP 616.

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Coursework Requirements for Clinical Certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


Below, we provide a brief summary of the ASHA standards for clinical certification in speech-language pathology. Please see the full set of standards at


The applicant for certification must complete a program of study (a minimum of 75 semester credit hours overall, including at least 36 at the graduate level). The minimum 75 semester credit hours may include credit earned for course work, clinical practicum, research, or thesis/dissertation. The minimum of 36 hours of course work at the graduate level must be in speech-language pathology. Verification is accomplished by submitting an official transcript showing that the minimum credit hours have been completed, as well as a completed KASA form (see below).


The applicant must ALSO have prerequisite knowledge of the biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and the social/behavioral sciences. This knowledge must be documented through transcript credit (which could include course work, advanced placement, CLEP, or examination of equivalency) for each of the following areas: biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and the social/behavioral sciences. Courses in biological and physical sciences specifically related to communication sciences and disorders (CSD) cannot be applied for certification purposes in this category. HESP advisors routinely audit students' past and continuing transcripts and experiences to ensure that graduating students are eligible for certification. HOWEVER, it is crucial that students regularly meet with advisors to assure that their curriculum plan, past and present, will satisfy ASHA requirements for certification. A copy of the ASHA certification requirements is always included in the orientation packet and should be retained for future reference.



Transfer of Graduate Credits


The University allows transfer of up to six credits (e.g., two courses) of eligible graduate coursework taken before matriculation, or at another institution, into a graduate program, pending Departmental review and approval. A new Graduate School policy enables departments to exercise discretion in raising this number to twelve (four courses). Students wishing to transfer up to twelve credits must petition the HESP faculty for consideration of these additional credits; however, departmental granting of such petitions is very rare.



GPA Requirements



The Graduate School requires that students maintain a 3.0 overall GPA (including both academic coursework and clinical practica); students with GPAs below this go on academic probation.  However, our department has slightly more specific requirements, above and beyond these graduate-school requirements:


1.  A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required for all academic courses taken after matriculation as a graduate student.  Academic courses include all courses other than 648A, 648B, 649A, 649B, and 728.    (Please note that students typically receive satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades for candidacypapers, such that these registrations will not affect GPAs.)


2.  Clinical practicum requirements are that students receive a minimum grade of  B-; students not meeting that requirement will be reviewed by the faculty to determine eligibility for future practicum placement.


3.  Students pursuing prerequisite coursework (that is, students with provisional admission) must maintain a 3.25 GPA in these courses in order to maintain their eligibility for graduate-level coursework.  


Finally, the Graduate School determines probationary status on the basis of graduate-level coursework only – this includes courses 400-level and above.  Thus, a student who is taking  prerequisite coursework needs notonly to maintain an overall 3.25 GPA, but must also be above a 3.0 when only the courses at the 400-level and above are considered.


A student on academic probation at the end of a given semester  is not eligible for outside placement during the next semester (he or she must register for a semester of in-house practicum). Moreover, students cannot graduate, take comprehensive exams, or defend a thesis while on academic probation.


Please note that it is the student's responsibility to calculate his or her own GPA and to ensure continued non-probationary status.





In order to be recommended to the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association for Clinical Certification in Speech-Language Pathology, and to comply with standards effective for applications made to the Association after January 1, 2006, a student must accumulate at least 25 hours of supervised clinical observation and a minimum of 375 clock hours of supervised clinical practice. At least 325 hours of graduate level practicum must be obtained under the direct supervision or monitoring of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. Practicum enrollment is concurrent with coursework registration, and carries additional registration charges.


Clinical Practicum Enrollment

Students interested in obtaining certification/licensure shall participate in clinical practicum each semester of their graduate training, until the minimum number of ASHA clinical clock hours required for the ASHA C.C.C. have been obtained. These enrollments may be subdivided into those that take place within the departmental clinic, and those that occur as outside placements.


A. University of Maryland Speech and Hearing Clinics .


For the first three semesters of clinical training, all students perform evaluation and treatment activities at the University of Maryland Speech and Hearing Clinics (including LEAP program). Registration in HESP 648B (Clinical Practice in Speech Pathology), is for two credit hours per semester. Registration in HESP 648A (Clinical Practice in Speech: Diagnostic Procedures) for speech/language majors is for one credit hour. The Diagnostic Procedures registration Speech Diagnostic Practicum (648A) may be taken concurrently with or following HESP 702. In no case will students be allowed to register for 648A before they have taken HESP 702. Registration for clinical practicum in the minor professional area (HESP 649 A or B - Clinical Practice in Audiology: Diagnostic Procedures and Aural Rehabilitation, respectively) is one credit for each clinic pursued.


Registration for clinical practicum in the hearing clinic/audiology (HESP 649 A or B - Clinical Practice in Audiology: Diagnostic Procedures and Aural Rehabilitation, respectively) is one credit each.


Notes on practicum enrollments : Students should note that admission to the academic degree programs does not guarantee access to the clinical training component of the department. Clinical training is required for eventual ASHA Certification, but is not a requirement of any of the degree programs at the University of Maryland .


Departmental permission is required for registration in clinical practicum and is granted only to matriculated students. Students must possess the communicative competencies requisite to satisfactory conduct of usual clinical procedures. Further, as the client population served by this program is predominantly English-speaking, participants in any clinical practicum must be fluent, intelligible speakers of English.


All students enrolled in clinical practicum are expected to abide by the ASHA Code of Ethics, provided to each student upon admission to graduate study. Any violation of the Code of Ethics may result in permanent dismissal from practicum placement opportunities, and may additionally subject the student to dismissal from the academic degree program.


Clinical practicum students are expected to maintain professional dress and demeanor. Unprofessional conduct, or any conduct which compromises the quality of care to clinic patients, may result in dismissal from clinical practicum placements.


All clinical practicum students receiving grades of "C" or less will be reviewed by the faculty to determine eligibility for future practicum placement.


B . Outside Placement


Students may apply for outside placement (HESP 728) assignment after they (1) demonstrate adequate skills in the University of Maryland Clinics , (2) obtain a satisfactory number of hours of clinical experience in HESP 648, and (3) satisfactorily complete appropriate coursework, which should include HESP 625 (Dysphagia). ( See "Notes on outside placements", below). These placements at school/clinic/hospital facilities in the Washington, D.C. or Baltimore metropolitan areas occur during the second year of graduate study and must be arranged by the HESP faculty. Registration for HESP 728 (Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech) is always for two credit hours. A listing of selected outside placement opportunities for HESP students is provided under Outside Placement Sites for HESP Graduate Students in Speech-Language Pathology. This sample is representative of opportunities available to HESP graduate students, but is subject to change in any given semester.


Notes on outside placements : A student may not go on outside placement if he/she is on academic probation (GPA below 3.0). Students will receive clock hour credit for hours earned in clinic registrations which that receive a grade of C or better; no hours will be credited for clinic registrations which receive a grade of less than C. Please refer to the Clinic Manual for detailed information on evaluation of performance in clinical practicum.


A student must complete a minimum of 15 hours of academic coursework prior to applying for outside placement. Students who receive a grade of C or less for an outside placement, or whose outside placements are terminated, must re-register for placement in the University of Maryland Hearing and Speech Clinics (through HESP 648 b) and earn a final grade of B or better during the following semester, before being permitted to re-register for outside placement. A minimum of two outside placement assignments must be completed successfully.



Outside Placement Sites for HESP Graduate Students in Speech-Language Pathology


I. Adult Placements

  • Anne Arundel Medical Center
  • Bethesda National Naval Medical Center
  • Crofton Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center
  • Fairfax Hospital
  • Frederick Memorial Hospital
  • George Washington Voice Center
  • George Washington University Medical Center
  • Georgetown University Medical Center
  • Holy Cross Hospital
  • Howard County General Hospital
  • INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Laurel Regional Hospital
  • Loudoun Hospital Center
  • Montgomery General Hospital
  • National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
  • National Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Northern Virginia Training Center
  • Prince George 's Medical Center
  • Shock Trauma Center, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems
  • Sibley Memorial Hospital
  • Suburban Hospital
  • University of Maryland Hospital
  • VA Hospital
  • Walter Reed Army Hospital
  • Washington Adventist Hospital
  • Washington Hospital Center


II. Child Placements

  • Chapel Forge Special Education Center
  • Chelsea School
  • Children's Hospital National Medical Center
  • Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Harford County Public Schools
  • Hospital for Sick Children
  • Howard County Public Schools
  • Ivymount School
  • Katherine Thomas School
  • Kendall Demonstration Elementary School-Gallaudet University
  • Kennedy Krieger Institute and School
  • Lab School of Washington
  • Lourie Children's Center
  • Montgomery County Public Schools
  • Mount Washington Pediatric Center
  • National Speech-Language Therapy Center
  • Prince George 's County Public Schools
  • River School
  • The Summit School
  • Treatment and Learning Centers
  • Wheatley Early Childhood Center

Clinical Practicum Handbook

Download the Clinical Practicum Handbook here.





University and Departmental Deadlines for Final Semester of Enrollment

Reminder: Graduate school regulations require all students to carry at least one credit of enrollment during the semester in which graduation in anticipated , regardless of the number of credits already accumulated. This includes summer registration for students graduating in August. Please plan accordingly. Failure to be enrolled for at least one credit during the semester of graduation may prevent timely receipt of your diploma.

The University and Department both have strict deadlines which must be followed to ensure timely graduation. University paperwork that must be completed and filed in order for a student to graduate consists of the following forms:

Diploma Application (typically due during the second week of the semester during which graduation is expected)

Approved Program Form AND

Nomination of Thesis Committee Form (for theses)

(typically due six weeks after the beginning of the semester)
Report of the Oral Examining Committee (for theses) OR Certificate of Completion of MA degree without thesis (typically due three weeks before the end of the semester)


University paperwork deadlines are published each semester in the Schedule of Classes. Please note that the Department has virtually no authority over University graduate school deadlines, and thus, "forgetting" a deadline can have very serious consequences.


Departmental paperwork consists of the Candidacy paper Paper and candidacy Candidacy paper Paper A approval form. Candidacy paper Paper approval must occur prior to administration of the comprehensive examination.


Failure to meet either University or Department deadlines will typically result in delay of graduation for one full semester. During that semester, the student will be required to enroll for a minimum of one credit of registration.


Students are responsible for delivering paperwork to the required campus offices. The department cannot deliver materials for students.


Departmental paperwork deadlines are distributed each semester for current and following semesters.


Determination of Full-time Status


The M.A. program in Speech-Language Pathology is a full-time program; part-time students are not accepted. Graduate education in this discipline requires timely and concurrent registration in both academic and clinical experiences.


The department and the university use slightly different criteria for determination of full-time status. Full-time registration is viewed slightly differently by the department vs. by the university. The Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences views full-time enrollment based on making appropriate progress towards the degree. In the first year of study, this will typically consist of enrollment in 3 courses plus three or four credits of clinical practicum; in the second year, it will typically consist of one to two graduate courses and three credits of clinical practicum per semester, plus registration in either thesis or candidacy paper research. Full-time commitment and course sequence are critical because graduate courses are offered only once per academic year and course content is closely tied to clinical practicum assignments.


Enrollment in clinical practicum places significant time demands on students during the work week. Clinicians registered for clinical practica should be prepared to devote approximately 20-30 hours per week to the preparation, implementation, and analysis of clinical experiences.


Full-time registration is formally defined by the university based on a system of "units" - students are full-time if they are registered for 48 units per semester, or if they are registered for 24 units and have a 20-hr/week GA position (or 36 units with a 10-hr/week GA position). Each credit hour counts for multiple units, with more advanced courses counting as more units per credit hour. Information is available at In general, graduate courses in the 600-897 series carry 6 units per credit hour; thus, a 3-credit course counts as 18 units. Undergraduate courses carry fewer units (2 units per credit hour for courses in the 000-399 series; 4 units per credit hour for courses in the 400-499 series). Students who are not full-time (as determined by the university) are not eligible for graduate funding, and full-time status may be relevant for some forms of external financial aid or health insurance.


All students seeking an M.A. degree must accumulate a minimum of 36 hours of graduate level academic coursework. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required for all courses taken after matriculation as a graduate student.


Graduate school regulations specify that students must be enrolled for at least one credit, regardless of credits already accumulated , in the semester of graduation . Students may wish to consider this when enrolling in variable credit assignments (e.g., thesis, candidacy paper) over more than one semester, or planning to graduate in a later semester than typical.



Departmental Policy Decisions

Students may appeal adverse departmental actions. Appeals should be addressed, in writing , to the Chair, with thorough justification of the grounds for the appeal. Appeals will be reviewed by the full faculty, who may, in exceptional cases, waive normal departmental policy. Students should be aware that such waivers are rarely granted. (January, 1990).


STATEMENT ON ACADEMIC INTEGRITY (from the Graduate Catalog, page 16)


The University of Maryland is an academic community dedicated to teaching, learning and research. Like other communities, the University can function properly only if its members share an expectation of intellectual honesty. ...By enrolling at the University of Maryland , students acknowledge their obligation to adhere to the Code of Academic Integrity. As members of the University community, students are responsible for promoting academic integrity. This includes the responsibilities to report cases of academic dishonesty to the Student Honor Council and to cooperate with faculty and the Council in resolving such cases.


Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: cheating (including use of unauthorized materials or study aids in any academic exercise), fabrication, and plagiarism. The Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences considers charges of academic dishonesty very seriously. In keeping with University policy regarding graduate students, violations of the Code of Academic Integrity may result in expulsion of the student from the graduate program. Definitions of academic dishonesty and tutorial materials are available through the Office of Student Conduct.