The Master of Arts program in speech pathology and audiology provides training for individuals who wish to do clinical work in speech-language pathology. Graduates of the M.A. program meet all academic and practicum requirements for clinical certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and for licensure by the State of Iowa. Students preparing for clinical positions in public schools must meet school licensure or certification requirements of the states in which they plan to work.

Learning Outcomes

Graduating M.A. students in speech pathology and audiology will:

  • demonstrate knowledge and skills specified in the Knowledge and Skills Acquisition (KASA) competencies for speech-language pathology professionals;
  • behave professionally and ethically, and adhere to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Code of Ethics;
  • use critical thinking skills to apply theory and knowledge to clinical decision making; and
  • use evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence to make clinical decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment of persons with communication disorders.

The Master of Arts program in speech pathology and audiology requires a minimum of 38 s.h. of graduate credit, although students typically earn 53-57 s.h. of credit by the time they complete the degree. The program prepares clinicians to be able to function independently in a variety of clinical settings. The program is designed to ensure that upon graduation, a student will meet requirements for immediate professional employment.

M.A. students usually have a background of undergraduate courses in speech and hearing science, psychology of language, and human behavior that is equivalent to an undergraduate major in speech and hearing science at the University of Iowa.

Before registering in the program, entering M.A. students receive descriptive materials about basic science core courses considered to be required preparation for the M.A. program, and required M.A. clinical core courses for which the department may accept comparable courses taken at the undergraduate level. Decisions about incorporating background coursework in these areas are made by the faculty advisor in consultation with the student and the instructors of the basic science or clinical core courses. Entering students must have completed the following courses or their equivalents.

A biological science course (human or animal biology)3
A physical science course (physics or chemistry)3
A social/behavioral science course3
CSD:2110Phonetics: Theory and Applications3
CSD:3112Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Production4
CSD:3113Introduction to Hearing Science4
CSD:3116Basic Neuroscience for Speech and Hearing3
CSD:3118Language Acquisition3
CSD:3185Hearing Loss and Audiometry3
CSD:4145Developmental Language Disorders3
CSD:4148Developmental Speech Disorders3
CSD:4244Rehabilitative Audiology3
PSQF:1020/STAT:1020Elementary Statistics and Inference3
25 hours of observation documented by a practitioner with ASHA certification

Candidates for an M.A. with a professional emphasis in speech-language pathology are not required to complete a thesis, although all students demonstrating research aptitude and interest are encouraged to do so.

A typical program usually takes two calendar years to complete but may take longer, depending on a student's background and personal interests.

Core Requirements

All students seeking an M.A. in speech pathology and audiology with professional emphasis in speech-language pathology must take the following.

CSD:5135Foundations of Clinical Practice I2
CSD:5136Foundations of Clinical Practice II1
CSD:5137Foundations of Clinical Practice III1
CSD:6515Professional Seminar (taken fall and spring semesters of first year)0

In addition, they must take the following courses unless they completed equivalent courses as undergraduates.

CSD:2140Manual Communication1
CSD:4114Introduction to Voice Disorders2
CSD:4115Structural Disorders2
CSD:4183Introduction to Stuttering2
CSD:5104Language Disorders in School-Aged Children3
CSD:5146Neurogenic Disorders of Language3
CSD:5203Counseling in Communication Disorders1
CSD:5236Neurogenic Disorders of Speech and Swallowing3
CSD:6519Evidence-Based Practice2

Also required are additional semester hours of practicum registration sufficient to meet supervised, direct clinical experience requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Iowa license, and to provide broad, supervised practicum experience.

In addition to the core requirements listed above, all nonthesis students preparing to be speech-language pathologists must earn a minimum of 12 s.h. from the following; thesis students must earn a minimum of 8 s.h. from the following. Thesis students also must enroll in 4 s.h. of research.

CSD:4130Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Communication Sciences and Disorders1
CSD:5213Voice Habilitation2
CSD:5223Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Disorders1
CSD:5234Acquired Cognitive-Communication Disordersarr.
CSD:5237Cleft Palate and Related Disorders1-2
CSD:5258Multilingualism and Culturally Responsive Practice in Communication Sciences and Disorders3
CSD:5260Augmentative and Alternative Communication2
CSD:5282Phonological Development and Disorders2
CSD:5283Clinical Problems1-2
CSD:5350Seminar in Supervision1

Professional Licensure

Licensure to Work Outside Public Schools

A number of states, including Iowa, require a state license in speech-language pathology or audiology for persons who work in settings outside the public schools. Students who meet the requirements listed above for the M.A. in speech pathology and audiology also meet the academic requirements for the license in Iowa as well as in most other states.

Public School Licensure

Students preparing for clinical positions in public schools typically must meet school licensure or certification requirements of the states in which they plan to work. The following criteria meet the requirements for endorsement as speech-language pathologists in Iowa and most other states:

  • a master's degree with professional emphasis in speech-language pathology or the equivalent;
  • completion of an approved human relations component;
  • completion of courses that cover the education of people with disabilities and the gifted and talented (e.g., exceptional persons, education of the gifted); and
  • completion of the requirements in speech-language pathology and the 20 s.h. professional education sequence, including CSD:5104 Language Disorders in School-Aged Children and CSD:5304 Speech Pathology Outplacement: School as a speech-language pathologist.

The professional education sequence requires coursework in the following areas:

  • curriculum (e.g., reading, methods, curriculum development);
  • foundations (e.g., philosophy of education, foundations of education);
  • educational measurement (e.g., tests and measurements, measures and evaluations of instruction);
  • educational psychology (e.g., educational psychology, counseling theories and techniques);
  • special education (e.g., introduction to special education, exceptional persons, learning disabilities); and
  • child development (e.g., human growth and development, principles and theories of child development, history and theories of early childhood education).

GE CLAS Core courses (e.g., introduction to psychology, sociology, history, literature, and humanities) do not meet the requirements of the professional education sequence.

Alternatively, speech-language pathologists practicing in Iowa can obtain a Statement of Professional Regulation (SPR). In order to obtain the SPR, they must have a temporary or regular license from the State Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology Examiners, a master's degree in speech-language pathology, and have completed a human relations course. The SPR is valid for five years and does not transfer to other states.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Admission to the program is competitive; applicants' credentials are considered in relation to those of others in the applicant pool, and a limited number of individuals are admitted to each program. Applicants whose undergraduate g.p.a. is below 3.30 rarely are admitted.

Admission is for fall; the application deadline is January 15. All applications to the M.A. program must be submitted through the Central Application Service for Communication Science and Disorders (CSDCAS).

For detailed information regarding evaluation of applicants, application materials and requirements, and other matters, see Graduate Programs on the department's website.

Financial support is based on merit and dependent on availability of funds. For more detailed information, contact the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders director of graduate studies.

The speech pathology and audiology program provides excellent preparation for a career as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. There continues to be a strong demand for professionals in these fields, and both speech pathology and audiology are consistently ranked highly in “best job” surveys.

Advanced degree holders may work as a teacher, clinician, and/or researcher in the field of communication sciences and disorders.