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 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.