Focus Areas

There are two areas of focus available at the MA level:

  • MA leading to professional certification in speech-language pathology
  • Research

Professional Certification Focus

The master's degree program leading to professional certification in speech-language pathology (MA-SLP) is designed to provide a theoretically and clinically rich path for students planning to work as speech-language pathologists in medical, educational, and private practice settings.  Students in the MA-SLP program are provided with a strong foundation of theoretical and clinical knowledge through their coursework and clinical experiences.

Students completing the MA-SLP program obtain a Master of Arts degree from the University of Colorado and are eligible to receive the Certificate of Clinical Competence in speech-language pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) upon successful completion of the clinical fellowship year and the national PRAXIS examination and thus meet educational requirements for Speech-Language Pathology licensure in all states. However, students should also contact the applicable licensing board in the state where they are planning on looking for employment. Students can also apply for Colorado State Licensure to work in the public schools.

Research Focus

The master's program with a research focus allows students to design their own master's degree in SLHS in any topic related to speech, language or hearing sciences. This degree does not result in clinical certification. Working with an advisor, students design a plan of study, with coursework within SLHS and from other departments. A master's thesis is required.


Professional Certification Focus

The master's program with a professional certification focus (MA-SLP) is a two-year (24-month) program that culminates in one or two internships and either successful passage of the comprehensive exam or completion of a thesis. The program consists of an initial summer intensive session beginning in early August and ends in late July two years later. Students are enrolled for August intensive, fall year 1, spring year 1, summer year 1, fall year 2, spring year 2, and summer year 2.

Within departmental and ASHA guidelines, master's students with a focus in speech-language pathology complete a core set of seminars and clinical assignments that assure at least minimal competence in the full scope of practice for speech-language pathologists. In addition, students complete at least one of three electives that provide the opportunity to develop greater knowledge and skills in areas of specific interest. Clinical assignments are initiated in the on-site Speech, Language and Hearing Center; later, student input is obtained in making off-campus clinical assignments in educational and medical settings.

Students with an undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology and audiology can expect to complete the program in two calendar years (see the MA-SLP webpage). Those without such a background are required to make up undergraduate deficiencies, which normally require at least an additional 18 credit hours of courses in speech, language and hearing sciences and related disciplines.

Students must meet standards for both academic and clinical competence, as well as professional conduct. Full-time graduate study is required.


In addition to meeting the Graduate School and SLHS requirements, students in the MA-SLP program must meet ASHA requirements for clinical certification. MA-SLP students must complete all undergraduate course prerequisites, which can be found on our website. Students may complete the prerequisites prior to applying to the graduate program, either as part of their undergraduate degree program, or following completion of the undergraduate degree in any other major. Students may also apply to enter the MA-SLP program and complete the prerequisites during the first year of their graduate study as a 3-year track student (the prerequisites will not count as credits in the MA-SLP program). Please note that all prerequisite coursework must be approved by the CAA Program Director.

Research Focus

The research focus is designed for students who are not seeking clinical certification.

Working with an advisor, students design a plan of study with coursework from SLHS and other departments. A master’s thesis is required. The non-clinical master's degree in SLHS requires 30 credit hours of graduate coursework, with four to six credit hours devoted to the master's thesis. For more information, visit the Thesis Option webpage.

At least 24 hours must be completed at the 5000 level or above. A maximum of 6 credit hours may be completed at the 3000 or 4000 level at the discretion of the academic department. Students may be able to transfer up to 9 credit hours of graduate credit towards this degree. The non-clinical master's degree requires close work with a faculty member of your choosing. Students interested in pursuing this degree option are encouraged to talk with SLHS faculty members who share their interests before applying (see the Meet Us webpage).

Sample Two-Year Plan of Study

Below is a sample curriculum for the MA-SLP program. MA-SLP students must take 3 credit hours of elective classes. Students will take either the comprehensive exam in the fall of the second year or pursue a thesis option. The department recommends students take the PRAXIS exam by mid-April of the second year. Due to the length of time of the two internships in spring of year two, most MA-SLP students officially graduate in the summer term.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
August IntensiveCredit Hours
SLHS 5112 Clinical Practice I 2
SLHS 5342 Counseling in Speech-Language Pathology 2
 Credit Hours4
Fall Semester
SLHS 5012 Evidence-based Practice and Research Methods 3
SLHS 5252 Acquired Language Disorders in Adults 3
SLHS 5362 Fluency Disorders 3
SLHS 5576 Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology of Communication 3
SLHS 5602 Communication Challenges in Children: Birth to Six 3
SLHS 5898 Practicum 1: Speech-Language-Learning Diagnosis, Assessment, and Intervention 1-4
 Credit Hours16-19
Spring Semester
SLHS 5242 Language Disorders in School Age Children 3
SLHS 5272 Augmentative Alternative Communication: Theory and Use 1
SLHS 5282 Acquired Cognitive Disorders 3
SLHS 5302 Speech Sound Disorders in Children 3
SLHS 5332 Voice and Resonance Disorders 2
SLHS 5898 Practicum 1: Speech-Language-Learning Diagnosis, Assessment, and Intervention 1-4
 Credit Hours13-16
SLHS 5262 Dysphagia 3
SLHS 5898 Practicum 1: Speech-Language-Learning Diagnosis, Assessment, and Intervention 1-4
SLHS 6000 Advanced Topics in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (Optional elective) 1-4
 Credit Hours5-11
Year Two
Fall Semester
SLHS 5132 Clinical Practice II: Clinical Practice in Varied Work Settings 1
SLHS 5142 1
SLHS 5292 Neurogenic Speech Disorders in Adults 3
SLHS 5372 Cleft and Resonance: Fundamentals for Evaluation and Treatment 1
SLHS 5555 Advanced Topics in Social Communication: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3
SLHS 5898 Practicum 1: Speech-Language-Learning Diagnosis, Assessment, and Intervention 1-4
SLHS 5352 Bilinguals with Communication Disorders (Optional elective) 3
SLHS 6642 Development and Intervention in Childhood Hearing Loss (Optional elective) 3
SLHS 6000 Advanced Topics in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (Optional elective) 1-4
 Credit Hours17-23
Spring Semester
SLHS 6918 Practicum 2: Medical-Clinical Internship 7
SLHS 6928 Practicum 2: Public School Internship 7
 Credit Hours14
 Total Credit Hours69-87