Admissions Requirements and Essential Functions

Admissions Requirements and Essential Functions

Master's degree full-time program includes two phases. Applications from students with undergraduate degrees in speech-language pathology will be submitted automatically to the Core phase of the program; applications from those with degrees in unrelated fields will be submitted automatically to the Preparatory phase of the program.

Please Note:
Current University of Louisville undergraduate students may enroll in Preparatory phase courses without applying to the program. These courses may be taken as electives. Completion of the courses does not guarantee admission into the Core phase of the program. Student must formally submit an application to the Graduate School and qualify for admission. Post baccalaureate students must be formally accepted to the preparatory phase.

The two phases share the following admission criteria and application process.

Application Deadline

The application deadline for the fall semester, is always the preceding February 1st.

Average Admissions Information

We are frequently asked about the credentials of students who have been admitted to our program. The class beginning Fall 2014 were admitted with the following credentials:

Core Students: MEAN GRE Score: 301.8  MEAN GPA: 3.88

Prep Students: MEAN GRE Score: 305.7  MEAN GPA: 3.77

Admission Criteria

  • Minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
  • GRE combined score of 300 for Verbal and Quantitative sections using the new GRE conversion tables beginning November 1, 2011.
  • IELTS Exam (if necessary) The Graduate Council supported and approved a minimum of 6.5 on the IELTS, International English Language Testing System, as way for graduate applicants to demonstrate English proficiency.
  • Three supportive letters of recommendation from two academic sources and one personal source. Please use the recommendation form supplied by the graduate school, you can follow this link
  • A formal interview may be required of some applicants
  • A personal statement IS NOT required for application
  • Student, faculty and staff in the program are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner. That is, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, participation restriction, age, sexual orientation, or status as a parent. The institution and program comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and executive orders pertaining thereto.

Applicants should also consult general graduate admissions and graduation requirements in the University of Louisville Graduate School Catalog for further information.

Looking Ahead: Preparing for Certification

In addition to the coursework of an accredited Master's program, ASHA requires that students have completed undergraduate classes in biological, physical and social/behavioral sciences, and a math-based statistics course. For more information, see the Requirements for ASHA Certification section on this site.

Tuition Information

For more information on tuition at the University of Louisville

How to Apply

Both phases of the program use the same application form. Applications of students with
Bachelor's degrees in speech-language pathology will automatically be considered for admission to the Core phase of the program. Applications for students without Bachelor's degrees in speech-language pathology will be considered for admission to the Preparatory phase of the program.

Students apply to the program using the University of Louisville Graduate School

Apply Online:

Apply Now!

Contact the Graduate School:
Phone: 502.852.3101

Essential Functions of Candidates for Graduate Program Admission and Continuance

UofL’s Communicative Disorders graduate program in SLP is accredited by ASHA's Council on Academic Accreditation in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (CAA). Operating within the scope of ASHA standards, the Speech-Language Pathology Section has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for (1) the selection of students, (2) the design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum, (3) the evaluation of student progress, and (4) the determination of who should be awarded a degree.

Faculty and professional staff in the Division of Communicative Disorders have a responsibility for the welfare of clients tested, treated, or otherwise affected by students enrolled in the CD Program. The Division has the responsibility to the public to assure that its graduates can become fully competent SLP professionals, capable of delivering quality services in a timely manner and preserving the well-being of the clients they serve. Thus, it is important that the persons admitted, retained, and graduated possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice SLP.

The Division of Communicative Disorders, as part of the School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, University of Louisville, is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. The University, College, and Department do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability. The CD faculty and professional staff have responsibility for the welfare of students in the Department and for the clients the students treat during their graduate program. To meet this responsibility, the Division has established academic standards and minimum essential functions (defined on the following pages) that must be demonstrated by students with or without reasonable accommodations in order to participate in the program and to complete it successfully. Students with conditions that may require accommodations will be referred to the Office of Diversity (OD) for a determination of whether the condition is a disability as defined by applicable laws, and for determination of what accommodations are reasonable. The determination will specifically take into consideration whether the requested accommodation might jeopardize the safety of clinic clients or the ability of the student to complete the classroom, laboratory, and clinical coursework required for the CD graduate program. The OD will make this determination with input from the Department of CD. Whenever possible, reasonable accommodations will be provided for students with disabilities to enable them to meet these standards and ensure that they are not denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination.

Essential Functions

UofL's Division of Communicative Disorders endeavors to select applicants who have the ability to become highly competent SLP professionals. Admission and retention decisions are based not only on satisfactory prior and ongoing academic achievement but also on non-academic factors that serve to insure that the candidate can demonstrate the essential functions of the academic and clinical program required for graduation. Essential functions, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those cognitive, physical, and behavioral abilities that are necessary for satisfactory mastery of the curriculum, and the professional attributes required of all students at graduation. Essential functions can be described in relation to six areas: physical health, motor, sensory, communication, intellectual/cognitive (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities for problem solving and diagnosis), behavioral/emotional, and the professional aspects of the performance of an SLP professional. Each is described below:

1. Physical Health - The student must possess the physical health and stamina needed to carry out the SLP Program. The student must be able to continuously sit or stand for several hours.

2. Motor Skills - The student must have sufficient motor function so that he or she can (1) access transportation to all academic settings and clinical affiliations, (2) process relevant academic and clinical information (e.g., take notes during class and during client interviews, type papers and clinic reports, participate in classroom discussions and client counseling sessions, give oral presentations, model the production of speech, etc.), (3) use a computer keyboard to operate clinical and laboratory equipment, and to (4) execute movements required to provide with acuity, accuracy, facility, a complete speech/language and dysphagia evaluations and to provide therapeutic services to clients of all ages and genders across a full range of clinical and educational contexts.

  1. 3. Observation Skills - Students must have sufficient vision and hearing to observe effectively in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings. Hearing (aided or unaided) must be functional for the speech frequencies. Students must be able to master information presented in course work through lectures, and recorded audio signals, including subtle discriminations involving individual phonemes, phoneme sequences, words, larger language segments, and suprasegmental features of speech. Vision (aided or unaided) must be sufficient to allow for the processing of written materials, projected video segments, laboratory demonstrations, and demonstrations in the clinical training portion of the program. When performing clinical evaluations and treatments, the student must be able to observe a client sufficiently from varying distances to identify nonverbal communication signals (e.g., body orientation, joint attention, facial expressions, conventional gestures, manual signs, proxemics cues). The student must further be able to read a case history and to perform a visual evaluation of various oral, manual, and cranio-facial structures (i.e., ear, throat, oral cavity, skull, etc.) and functions (e.g., individual oral-motor movements, swallow patterns, articulatory gestures, manual gestures, facial expressions, visual gaze patterns, body postures, etc.). The student must have sufficient sensory capability to perform all required evaluations and treatment protocols using instruments and tools necessary for accurate, efficient, and timely completion of such activities, including the ability to interpret video swallow studies.

4. Communication Skills - Consistent with ASHA's Standard IV-B for Certification in Speech-Language Pathology, the student "must demonstrate communication skills sufficient to achieve effective clinical and professional interaction with clients and relevant others." For oral communication, students must "demonstrate speech and language skills in English, which, at a minimum are consistent with ASHA's most current position statement on students and professionals who speak English with accents and nonstandard dialects." For written communication, students must "be able to write and comprehend technical reports, diagnostic and treatment reports, treatment plans, and professional correspondence." (ASHA, 2005). Information must be communicated in a succinct yet comprehensive manner and in settings in which time available may be limited. These skills require the ability to assess and effectively communicate all relevant information including the significance of nonverbal responses. Also required is the ability to immediately assess incoming information to allow for appropriate, well-focused follow-up inquiry. The student must be capable of responsive, empathic listening to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences. He or she must express his or her ideas clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback.

5. Cognitive Skills - The student must have the cognitive abilities necessary to master relevant content in basic science and clinical courses at a level deemed appropriate by faculty and professional staff. These skills may be described as the ability to comprehend, memorize, integrate, analyze, synthesize and apply material. He or she must be able to develop the reasoning and decision making skills needed for problem solving appropriate to the practice of SLP.

6. Behavioral/Emotional Health - The student must possess the emotional health required for the full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the ability to manage the use of time, and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and treatment of communication disorders. In addition, he or she must be able to maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with clients, students, faculty, staff, and other professionals under all conditions including highly stressful situations that may be associated with some clinical contexts. The student must have the emotional stability to function effectively under the typical stresses of clinical settings and to adapt to an environment that may change rapidly without warning and/or in unpredictable ways. The student must know if his or her values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and/or experiences affect his or her perceptions and relationships with others. The student must be willing and able to examine and change his or her behavior when it interferes with productive individual or team relationships. The student must possess skills and experience necessary for effective and harmonious relationships in diverse learning and working environments.

7. Professional Skills - The student must possess physical and emotional health sufficient to carry out the tasks above, must have good judgment, and must behave in a professional, reliable, mature, and responsible manner. The student must effectively manage the use of time and be able to systematize actions in order to complete professional and technical tasks with realistic constraints. He or she must be adaptable, possessing sufficient flexibility to function in new and stressful environments. He or she must be able to critically evaluate his/her own performance, be forthright about errors, accept constructive criticism, and look for ways to improve academic and clinical performance. The student must show respect for individuals of different age, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, and disabilities across the diverse spectrum of communicative disorders. The student must exhibit professional behavior by conforming to appropriate standards of dress, appearance, language, and public behavior. The student must uphold the Code of Ethics of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association and UofL's standards of academic honesty.