A teacher and a child working together at a classroom table

Communication Sciences and Disorders: M.Ed. - Master of Education

A full-time clinical degree program with a long, successful record of producing clinicians who are fully prepared for a rewarding career as a speech-language pathologist.

At a Glance

Program Results

M.Ed. - Master of Education

Communication Sciences & Disorders

Career Objective

Speech-Language Pathologist

Best Suited To

  • Anyone who is interested in becoming a speech-language pathologist, regardless of prior undergraduate background.

Program Type

  • Full Time

Location

  • In-Person

Estimated Length

  • 5 semesters (Blue Track) 
  • 7 semesters (Orange Track) 

Application Deadline

Fall semester: December 1

Credits

69 (Blue Track), 82 (Orange Track)

About This Program

  • The M.Ed. in Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD) program consists of both academic preparation and clinical training. Both components are focused on developing the knowledge and skills needed for a career as a practicing speech-language pathologist (SLP). 
  • Students begin the graduate program by attending classes at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia while simultaneously initiating their clinical training in the Sheila C. Johnson Center (SJC), our in-house multidisciplinary clinic that services patients from central Virginia and across the Commonwealth seeking diagnostic or treatment services from speech-language pathologists, audiologists, counselors, and/or literacy specialists. SJC is where our CSD graduate students learn core clinical competencies. 
  • The program is specially designed to meet the needs of students who already have a background in communication sciences and disorders (Blue Track curriculum) as well as those who do not (Orange Track curriculum). Explore tracks in the program overview section, below.
  • During the last semester of their graduate program of study, students are engaged in a full-time “internship” five days per week while also completing their national Praxis exam and comprehensive examinations. The internship semester can be completed in the practice setting of the student’s choice (health care, education, private practice) in almost any geographic location in the United States. 
  • Every class and every clinical assignment is aimed at producing clinicians who are prepared for (1) the entire Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, and (2) the entire continuum of care, from infancy through geriatrics, across medical and educational settings. Our courses and clinical practica emphasize hands-on learning and making clinical decisions through evidence-based practice. We are in the business of creating professionals for the modern workplace.

Program Overview

Before beginning the application process, potential students should determine whether they will apply for admission as a Blue Track or Orange Track student. The online application requires applicants to choose the curriculum track to which they want to apply. Applications are reviewed accordingly and offers of admission are for only the track that an applicant has selected. Please review the information on this website that describes the differences and similarities across the two programs of study. 

Interviews: Invitations for interviews are issued via email in late December/early January.

Blue Track Curriculum

The Blue Track curriculum is completed in five consecutive semesters (summers included). The Blue Track curriculum is designed for:

  • Individuals with an undergraduate degree in communication disorders; and
  • Individuals with an undergraduate degree in something other than communication disorders who have successfully completed all of the ASHA pre-professional courses at another CAA accredited program.

Students with a background in Communication Sciences and Disorders have already completed the four required preprofessional courses: 

  1. Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanisms 
  2. Speech and Hearing Sciences 
  3. Introduction to Audiology 
  4. Phonetics

To learn more about specific courses taken as part of the completion of this degree, visit the Graduate Record website. These webpages represent the official repository for academic program requirements. 

Graduate Admission

Applicants should submit their applications via the CSDCAS common application portal. For more information about how to use CSDCAS, please visit the CSDCAS Help Center.

Orange Track Curriculum

The Orange Track curriculum is designed for individuals with an undergraduate degree in something other than communication disorders.

In the first year, Orange Track students take:

  1. Pre-professional courses (e.g., Speech & Hearing Science, Clinical Phonetics) with upper-class undergraduate students; and
  2. Some professional courses (e.g., Articulation and Phonology) with first-year Blue Track students.

In the second year of Orange Track studies, students are paired with the cohort of incoming first-year Blue Track students.


To learn more about specific courses taken as part of the completion of this degree, visit the Graduate Record website. These webpages represent the official repository for academic program requirements. 

Graduate Admission

Applicants should submit their applications via the CSDCAS common application portal. For more information about how to use CSDCAS, please visit the CSDCAS Help Center.

Clinic

  • Students in our Blue Track curriculum begin seeing clients right away in our clinic. First clinical assignments always occur in the Sheila Johnson Center (SJC), our in-house clinic. Twenty-five hours of clinical observation is the first order of business for Blue Track Associate Clinicians who have yet to acquire them. Most Associate Clinicians are assigned one treatment client and begin conducting assessments during the first semester. Under the supervision and guidance of our Clinical Supervisors, Associate Clinicians are responsible for all clinical services, including documents and billing. Individual caseloads increase as an Associate Clinician becomes more capable.
  • Orange Track students enter our clinic right away. Associate Clinicians observe several clinician-client pairs throughout their first Fall semester and become responsible for client care in their first Spring semester. As an Associate Clinician becomes more capable, additional clients are added to the caseload.

Under the supervision and guidance of our Clinical Supervisors, Associate Clinicians are responsible for all clinical services, including documents and billing.

After developing core clinical competencies in SJC, students begin a series of clinical rotations, usually referred to as “external placements” because they are completed at agencies outside of the University. Externships are half-time clinical assignments that are completed while also taking academic courses. Each is a semester-long assignment. The final semester is dedicated to a full-time clinical internship (40+ hours per week for 16 weeks). These occur in Virginia and across the United States. In essence, our new graduates are very familiar with the work-a-day life and responsibilities of an SLP.

During the final internship semester, students also enroll in a capstone independent study in which they complete steps in preparation for certification as a practitioner, in addition to preparing for and completing the comprehensive exam. This is an oral presentation of a real-life case study (sort of Grand Rounds presentation of a client seen at the internship site). Students practice these types of presentations in several classes throughout their studies.

Sheila Johnson Center

Learn more about the Sheila C. Johnson Center here:

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements that apply specifically to this program are listed below:

Prior to beginning the M.Ed. in Communication Sciences & Disorders program, students are expected to have completed the following undergraduate courses, per ASHA certification requirements, with a B- or better grade:

  • At least one 3-credit biological science course with content related to the study and characterization of living organisms and the investigation of the science behind living things. Broad areas include anatomy, biology, cell, and molecular biology, computational biology, ecology and evolution, environmental biology, forensic biology, genetics, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biosciences, natural science, neurobiology, neurology, physiology, and zoology. 
  • At least one 3-credit physical science course: chemistry or physics
  • At least one 3-credit social/behavioral science course such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health
  • At least one 3-credit course in statistics

    Coursework from massive open online courses (MOOCs) are not accepted. Examples of MOOCs include, but are not limited to: Educause, MOOC.org, edX, Coursera, and Khan Academy.

A review of official transcripts must include passing grades in all 4 of these courses before August 16 in order to enroll in our graduate program. In other words, an offer of admission is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of all necessary undergraduate coursework. Any student who accepts an offer of admission (for either the Blue Track or Orange Track program) but whose official transcripts do not include courses that satisfy these requirements, may defer entry into their designated Track for one year to complete the missing undergraduate requirements.

Students who are offered admission to the Orange Track program and who defer for one year must enroll the following year in the Orange Track program. An offer of admission to the Orange Track program is not transferable to the Blue Track program following deferral.

Application Fee

You will be prompted to pay an application fee as part of your online application. This fee is not administered by the School of Education and Human Development (EHD); no application fee waivers are available through the School.

 

Graduate Admission

Applicants should submit their applications via the CSDCAS common application portal. For more information about how to use CSDCAS, please visit the CSDCAS Help Center.

Additional Program Details & Resources

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) residential education program in speech-language pathology at the University of Virginia is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). 2200 Research Boulevard, #310 Rockville, MD 20850 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700

To file a formal complaint, contact the Accreditation Office to obtain a copy of the complaint procedures through https://www.asha.org/ or by writing or calling CAA: Chair, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 2200 Research Boulevard, #310 Rockville, MD 20850 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700

Full accreditation documentation including information on Student Outcome Data can be found on the ASHA-CAA Annual Reporting Measures page of the school's Office of Assessment.

University of Virginia Communication Sciences and Disorders Program Statement Against Racism and Other Forms of Bias and Injustice

The core values of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program are caring, collaboration, compassion, connectedness, and community. Our commitment is to our local, national, and global communities, especially persons of color and others whose voices have not been heard and whose rights have been denied. We are listening. We hear the anguish and the justifiable anger. We stand up against racism and all types of prejudice and injustice.

We pledge to continue and to increase our efforts and contributions to:

  • support and advocate for students, faculty, and staff who are at risk of being marginalized.
  • learn with our students and each other about the lasting negative impacts of systemic racism and other forms of bias and how these can be prevented and countered.
  • collaborate with other members of our college, the university, and the community to identify and reduce systemic bias and alleviate the impacts of past injustices at all levels.
  • research and develop admissions procedures to ensure equal access to all of our programs.
  • university and college initiatives to establish pathway partnerships for students of color and from other under-represented groups.

We welcome students, colleagues, and community members who wish to join us in these endeavors and/or to make other suggestions for how our department can advocate for and increase social justice in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, EHDS department, School of Education and Human Development, UVA, Charlottesville, central Virginia, and beyond. Please share your questions, comments, suggestions, and let us know if you would like to partner with us on these endeavors.


We thank our sister program, the University of Vermont, for eloquently authoring and sharing this vision. Together, positive change is happening. Now is the time.

Many answers to frequently asked questions can be found throughout this program page and the graduate admission page. FAQs not addressed elsewhere can be found below. If you have additional questions please reach out to the program director.

Q: How many students are in your master’s degree program?
A: At any point in time, we have approximately 70 master’s degree students at various stages of the curricula.

Q: I see that Speech-Language Pathologists often work with clients in small groups or individual sessions. Would SLP be a good career for someone who has social anxiety or is an introvert?
A: It is possible for people who have naturally introverted personalities to become successful speech-language clinicians. This does, however, require the rapid development of a clinical persona (or interactive style) which the graduate student can deploy for the purposes of meeting their clients’ clinical needs. SLPs activate their own social strengths to help clients develop improved communication abilities. This is an unrelenting, moment-by-moment component of the profession that may not be obvious to an onlooker. Therapeutic services require SLPs to have interactive skills that are well-developed and highly adaptable. Throughout clinical training, graduate students must be primarily focused on the clients’ needs rather than their own personal comfort. In addition, clinical sessions are always observed and often videotaped so that students and supervisors can closely analyze performance with the goal of identifying teaching or interactive skills that the graduate student should improve. This is the nature of the profession and the nature of clinical training. Graduate students who are significantly introverted or who have substantial social anxiety may find the clinical requirements of the profession to be inherently taxing. The requirement for constant, intense interaction with others may make the career path less satisfying over the long term for some individuals who struggle with introversion or social anxiety.

Q: What is the general sequence for completing practicum experiences?
A: All students complete at least two practicum rotations in our university-based clinic (under the supervision of UVA Clinical Supervisors) before being assigned to an off-site location. After establishing core competencies in our clinic, each student completes at least two externships. An externship typically involves a two to three days/week commitment while students continue to take courses at the University. One externship must be in a public school and the other is completed via computer-based simulation training using standardized cases that focus on services to adults as well as low-incidence disorders. Students may elect to also complete an in-person clinical training experience, in addition to the standardized cases, by taking independent study during the summer. Please note that elective independent study credits would be beyond the minimum requirement to complete the degree and would incur additional tuition costs. The last semester is dedicated to a full-time, 5 days per week clinical internship while also preparing for and completing comprehensive examinations.

Q: Do students complete their externships in the area of the University?
A: Most externships are outside of central Virginia. Students on the Blue path take classes online during their externship semesters.

Similarly, internship sites are throughout the United States with only a few internship possibilities available in or around Charlottesville. We work with students to develop contracts with sites where the student would like to live during externships and internships.

Q: Can courses taken as part of my undergraduate program fulfill graduate requirements at the University of Virginia?
A: Students who are pursuing the Blue curriculum enter the graduate program with undergraduate preparation in communication sciences and disorders (CSD). Courses in *Basic Human Communication may fulfill pre-professional coursework requirements in our Program. For example, courses in anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanisms, phonetics, speech and hearing science, audiology and statistics judged by the student’s academic advisor to be equivalent to UVA courses will be accepted. Decisions are made by the student’s advisor during the advising period that precedes the beginning of Fall Semester classes. A course from another university cannot substitute for a UVA pre-professional course unless the student earned a grade of B- or better.

Students who are pursuing the Orange curriculum have not yet completed the preprofessional courses during their undergraduate studies and will complete them within the Orange curriculum.

Graduate courses completed at other ASHA-accredited programs in CSD may be accepted as replacements for up to six hours of *Professional Coursework (i.e., 700- and 800-level courses) in the UVA Communication Sciences and Disorders Program. Course substitution is contingent upon approval from the student’s academic advisor during the advising period that precedes the beginning of Fall Semester classes. Students must have received a grade of B- or better for consideration of a course waiver, and documentation for the course proposed as a substitute must be provided.

In addition, ASHA requires at least one course in the biological sciences, the physical sciences (specifically: an undergraduate course in physics or chemistry), statistics, and the social/behavioral sciences for professional certification. Students who did not fulfill these general education requirements as undergraduate students will need to do so before beginning their graduate training. In other words, deficiencies in any of these courses will prevent students from enrolling. If that were to happen, a student will be allowed to defer enrollment for one year to complete the deficiencies, after which the offer of admission will be void.

*Category specified in the ASHA Membership and Certification Handbook

Q: I have accumulated 25 observation hours through my undergraduate program in CSD. Will those hours transfer into the Speech Communication Disorders Program at UVA?
A: Yes, if you have documentation for clinical observation hours that includes the required information, they will transfer into the Communication Disorders Program at UVA. At a minimum, the required information for every session that was observed includes: your name, the observation site, date of observation, age of client(s), type of session (evaluation or treatment), name of ASHA certified speech language pathologist, their ASHA number, and their signature.

Q: I earned clinical hours in my undergraduate program. Will those hours transfer into the Speech Communication Disorders Program at UVA?
A: Up to 50 clinical hours acquired at the undergraduate level can be applied toward the 375 hour minimum required by ASHA for certification. In order for hours to be used, the clinician supervising the undergraduate experience must have been a speech-language pathologist (or audiologist in the case of hearing screening/treatment hours or speech-language screening hours) holding ASHA certification, who signed for the hours, and provided his/her printed name and ASHA number.

Q: Do you have a graduate program in audiology?
A: No, unfortunately, we no longer have a graduate program in audiology.

Q: I speak English, but it is not my first language. Will that be a problem?
A: Because oral communication skills are essential for clinical practice in speech-language pathology, students must demonstrate proficiency before they can begin clinical assignments. Students whose oral communication skills do not allow them to complete all practicum requirements (i.e., work with clients of all ages, backgrounds, and disabilities) will not be eligible to graduate or obtain ASHA certification following graduation. In the case of international students who plan to practice outside the United States, ASHA certification may not be necessary. Importantly, however, the School of Education and Human Development does not offer a non-clinical degree in communication sciences and disorders. Therefore, any student who is unable to complete all practicum requirements, for any reason, cannot complete the master’s degree.

Students who initially are ineligible for practicum assignments may opt to engage in a treatment program to improve their oral communication skills at the UVA Speech-Language-Hearing Center. If proficiency can be demonstrated following treatment, the student will be able to complete practicum requirements and apply for ASHA certification following graduation.

Q: Could an individual who is eligible for the Blue curricular path (i.e., they have completed the 4 pre-professional courses with satisfactory grades) elect to apply for admission to the Orange curricular path?
A. Occasionally this question is raised by a potential applicant who, for personal reasons, would prefer a longer but less compressed graduate program and/or a more gradual entry into the clinical training component.

The short answer is: yes.

A student who chooses to do this would not be required to repeat the pre-professional coursework within the Orange curriculum but would follow the sequence of academic courses and clinical practica that unfold over 29 calendar months, rather than the Blue path which is usually completed in 21 months.

Importantly, however, an applicant who is thinking about this option should seriously consider the following factors:

  • An offer of admission to the Orange curriculum does not convert to an offer of admission to the Blue curriculum. An applicant who applies for admission to the Orange path and receives an offer of admission to the Orange curriculum but then wishes to pursue the Blue path must reapply during the next admissions cycle.
  • The Orange curriculum is carefully curated to support student development of professional knowledge and skills. The sequence of courses and clinical rotations cannot be altered. Academic courses are offered only once each calendar year. Consequently, there is at least one semester in the Orange path during which a student who had already completed the pre-professional courses would be enrolled in less than 12 credits, which is considered to be less than full-time student status.
    • Part-time enrollment (i.e, enrolling in fewer than 12 credits within a semester) could negatively impact some forms of financial aid.
    • A student who finds themselves needing to be enrolled full-time during such a semester could elect to enroll in CSD independent study credits &/or a course(s) outside of the CSD program to bring their semesterly enrollment up to 12 credits, thereby ensuring full-time student status.
    • The CSD program director &/or academic advisor will be happy to talk with you about this option. Please take advantage of this support if you are considering this option.
  • Through Project VIDEO, $12,000 fellowships to well-qualified individuals seeking to become special education teachers or speech-language pathologists who plan to work in P-12 public schools. Visit the Project VIDEO page for more information.
  • Each year the Education School Foundation grants awards, scholarships, and fellowships to support the studies of students in the School of Education and Human Development. For more information on the Izzo Fellowship for Speech-Language Pathology, visit the Foundation Scholarships and Awards page.

M.Ed. in Communication Sciences & Disorders News

Program Faculty

Michaela DuBay

Michaela DuBay

  • Assistant Professor
Jane Hilton

Jane C. Hilton

  • Associate Professor, Clinical Faculty
LaVae M Hoffman

LaVae M. Hoffman

  • Associate Professor
  • Communications Sciences and Disorders Program Director
Filip Loncke headshot

Filip T. Loncke

  • Professor
Headshot of Kazlin Mason

Kazlin Mason

  • Assistant Professor
  • Director of the Imaging and Communication Outcomes Lab
Randall R Robey

Randall R. Robey

  • Associate Professor

Clinical Supervisors

Claire Barbao

Claire Barbao

  • Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Clinical Supervisor
Rebecca Rehm

Rebecca Rehm

  • Clinical Supervisor
  • Speech Language Pathologist
Jamiee Traub

Jaimee Traub

  • Director of Clinical Services and Training
  • Clinical Supervisor

Contact Us

We are happy to answer questions about the program via email, or by phone. To view all upcoming in-person and virtual visitation sessions, please visit our Events page.

Disclosures

As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)). Although California does not participate in SARA, it allows students to enroll in out-of-state programs.

Upon completion of the Master of Education in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).