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Pre-Speech Pathology and Audiology Preparation at UH Mānoa

Text compiled from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website, ,
the American Medical Association’s Health Professions Career and Education Directory, 2012-2013,
the UHM 2013-2014 Catalog.


Speech Pathology degree program in Hawai'i: Masters of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders at UH Mānoa

The Bachelors of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders (or Speech Pathology and Audiology) and the Masters of Science with emphasis in Audiology are no longer offered at UH Manoa.

Speech Pathology and Audiology Programs
Speech Pathology and Audiology Coursework
What makes a strong candidate?
Researching Schools
Entrance Exam
The Application Process
Contact Information
Additional Information
Downloadable Brochure


Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology are clinical health professions under the umbrella field of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD). Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) are interrelated disciplines: Audiology is the study of human hearing and its disorders, and SLP is the study of human communication and its disorders. Both fields entail evaluating, diagnosing, and treating disorders.

Audiologists address problems with hearing, balance, and related ear problems as a result of birth trauma, viral infections, genetic disorders, exposure to loud noise, medications, or aging. Aural rehabilitation often includes counseling, training in the use of hearing instruments, and teaching communication strategies.

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) address problems with speech production, rhythm and fluency, vocal quality, and cognitive impairment as a result of stroke, brain injury, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, developmental delays, mental retardation, hearing impairment, or emotional problems. They also address swallowing difficulties and work with people who wish to improve their communication skills, by modifying an accent, for example.

Although some specialize, most Audiologists and SLPs treat a wide variety of people, from infants to senior citizens, and often collaborate with other professionals, such as teachers, physicians, social workers, and psychologists. Some Audiologists measure noise levels, develop ways to protect people’s hearing, and conduct hearing protection programs in communities or industry.

Most Audiologists and SLPs work in programs, medical centers, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. Some work in public or private practice or in administration, and a few go into research or education.

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Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Programs

Careers in these fields require 7 to 11 years of education:

  • Bachelor degree (~4 years)
  • Master degree (~2 years)
  • Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) (1 year)
  • Doctorate (4 years)

Please note that standards in the field are changing; students will be required to meet the national standards in place at the time of their graduation and should therefore plan ahead.

The current entry-level degrees for certification in Audiology as of January 1st 2012 are the clinical doctorate, the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) or the research doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Audiology.

Individuals can practice as Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) after earning a Master degree, completing their Clinical Fellowship Year CFY at an approved setting, and passing the Praxis examination administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS). Scores on the Praxis examination are submitted to the national American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) as part of the application for ASHA’s Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP for Speech-Language Pathology).

Students interested in research can pursue a Ph.D. in Audiology or either a Ph.D. in SLP or a Master of Science in SLP with a research focus. In both fields, a doctorate is usually required for teaching.

Most states require Audiologists and SLPs to be licensed by ASHA, and some require a state teaching certificate to work in the schools. In Hawaii, all SLPs and Audiologists must be licensed to practice. To be become licensed in Hawaii, you must complete a degree and the CFY, obtain national ASHA certification, and then take a written state examination. To maintain certification, SLPs must pay an annual certification fee and meet ASHA re-certification requirements. In Hawai'i, all SLPs and Audiologists must be licensed to practice.

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Prerequisites for Admission

Most importantly, remember that requirements vary from program to program!  You must research to create a list of all the prerequisites you will need to apply to the programs you are considering attending.

The most commonly required courses for CSD programs (whether for Audiology or Speech-Language Pathology) include:

Biological Sciences
Physical Sciences
Behavioral and/or Social Sciences
Speech Pathology and Audiology related courses such as Phonetics

Graduate programs usually require an undergraduate degree in CSD or any Bachelor degree plus specific prerequisite courses. Some graduate programs also require observation hours; UHM’s CSD program strongly encourages students to obtain twenty-five (25) observation hours prior to admission.

Students applying to UHM’s CSD program must have either a Bachelor degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders or complete the following prerequisite courses:

Prerequisite Courses for MS in CSD from UHM
Note: The minimum acceptable grade in any prerequisite course is a B-

Prerequisite Course Area



General Prerequisites

Physical Science (physics or chemistry)


UHM: PHYS 100, CHEM 151

Biological Science (should emphasize a content area related to human or animal science – e.g. biology, human anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, human genetics, veterinary science)


UHM: BIOL 171, ZOOL 100, PHYL 103, PHYL 141 (BIOL 101 is not applicable)



UHM: PSY/SOCS 225, EDEP 429, ECON 321 (research methodology courses in CSD are not applicable)



UHM: PSY 100

Social/Behavioral Sciences (additional courses in psychology (e.g. developmental, abnormal, clinical, social, behavioral or physiological), or sociology, anthropology, or public health)


UHM: PSY 220, 240, 250, 270; SOC 100; ANTH 152

UHM CSD Specific Prerequisites



UHM: LING 410; (Online: N.AZ.: SST202; Utah State: COMD 3500) [future UHM online starting in Fall 2014: CSD 432]

Speech & Language Development


UHM: LING 470; (Online: Utah State: COMD 2500) [future UHM online starting in Fall 2014: CSD 433]

Introduction to CSD


(Online: U. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: CSD 150) [future UHM online starting in Fall 2014: CSD 436]

Anatomy & Physiology of Speech & Hearing Mechanism


(Online: N.AZ.: SST 251; Utah State: COMD 3100) [future UHM online starting in Fall 2014: CSD 431]

Acoustics & Psychoacoustics of Speech and Hearing


(Online: Utah State: COMD 3400) [future UHM online starting in Fall 2014: CSD 434]

Introduction to Audiometry and Auditory Disorders


(Online: Utah State: COMD 3700) [future UHM online starting in Fall 2014: CSD 437]



Observation hours: Students can obtain observation hours through: 1) an approved course; 2) an online course that delivers observation hours through videos; or 3) apply and matriculate then complete the hours through a CSD 699 Directed Reading/Research independent study course taken during their first semester. Students cannot enter clinical work until this requirement has been fulfilled.

25 Hours

Possible leads: Utah State: COMD 5900 (13 hours of videotape plus 12 hours arranged with someone in the local community). The U. of Vermont: Online speech pathology assistant program where they state on their website that a student can get 25 observation hours, probably through courses listed as CSD 125 and CSD 126, but you would need to check. LaSalle University: Online course SLH 308, but one would need to clarify whether it includes the observation hours. Idaho State U.: Online program where they offer CSED 3315 and CSED 4425, presumably for the 25 hours, but one would need to check to be certain. Eastern New Mexico U: Online CDIS 441 for observation hours, but the course does not appear to include any instruction in clinical methods; one would need to call them to clarify.

NOTE: Courses from Utah State and Northern Arizona University (N.AZ.) can be completed online.  Other distance education options can be found by using the EdFind search engine on the ASHA website at

NOTE: General linguistisc is no longer considered a pre-requisite for admission to the UHM CSD program.

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What makes a strong candidate?

Schools need to be certain that the students they accept will be capable of completing the academic curriculum and are likely to become good speech-language pathologists/audiologists.

Are you capable of completing the CSD curriculum?
Admissions committees are looking for applicants who have:

  • a strong academic record
  • a strong overall GPA
  • performed well on a standardized test (usually the GRE)
  • completed the prerequisite courses and fulfilled all entry requirements
  • excelled in CSD-related coursework
  • effective written and oral communication skills
  • a well-written, carefully considered personal statement
  • clear career goals and who understand the field of CSD
  • relevant observation hours in volunteer, school-sponsored (e.g. internships), or work experience

Applicants to UHM’s CSD program should have both an appropriate academic background and relevant experience. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate their interest and commitment.

UHM’s CSD program accepts up to 12 students in the Fall semester of each year. Requirements include:

Grade Point Average:All students potentially entering the graduate program must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. The average GPA of recently enrolled students is 3.44. The minimum grade in any pre-requisite course is a B-.
Applicants must submit one official transcript to the Communication Science and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS) and to the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa’s Office of Graduate Education, regardless of number or credits or length of time attended, including any study abroad or exchange programs, summer programs, non-degree work and extension programs. Official transcripts must be received directly from the institution.

Personal Statement and Letters of Recommendation:A personal statement and three letters of recommendation must be submitted to the Communication Science and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS) by February 1. It is advisable to obtain letters of recommendations from professors or clinicians within the field of CSD.

GRE Scores:

Upon completion of the GRE, send your scores to our university by designating “University of Hawai’i at Mānoa” as a recipient; our institution code is 4867.
It should be noted that our recently enrolled graduated students have the following average percentiles on their GRE exam before admission to our program:

  • Verbal: 55th percentile
  • Quantitative: 40th percentile
  • Analytical: 39th percentile

We understand that other factors (such as undergraduate GPA, PBU GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and previous work experience) also play important roles in determining a student’s success. Therefore, GRE is not the most decisive factor in our selection committee.
The above being said, if your GRE percentiles fall well below the previous averages, unless other aspects of your profile are extremely exceptional, it is unlikely that your application will be considered favorably in the screening and selection process.
Note: Since scores may take up to several weeks to be reported, plan your test date accordingly before the application deadline of February 1.

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Researching Schools

There are now over 240 Master level SLP programs and 72 Doctorate level Audiology programs accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology (CAA).  The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) maintains a website that includes a database of AuD and SLP programs, searchable via EdFind. Each program is unique in its mission, philosophy, criteria, and strengths, which means that students must research carefully to find programs that will work well for them.

Although there are resources that “rank” schools, the rankings are rarely pertinent for individual applicant or specific programs. More important is whether there is a good match between applicant and school.

To find schools that are good a fit for you (PAC peer advisors can help with this process):

  1. Assess your individual strengths and weaknesses, your professional interests, learning style, and personality;
  2. Start by considering all schools, which usually includes all 200+ schools;
  3. Create your “Long List” by omitting the schools that do not match your professional interests, learning style, and personality;
  4. Once you have your GRE scores, create your “Short List” by categorizing the schools into ‘Reach’, ‘Match’, and ‘Safety’, ranking the schools by preference, and finally choosing how many schools to apply to.

If possible, visit the schools to see their facilities, talk to Admissions Directors, and chat with students.

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Entrance Exam

Almost all CSD programs require applicants to take a standardized test called the Graduate Records Examination (GRE).

Preparation: Your most important preparations for both the GRE are your undergraduate courses, many of which sharpen your writing and verbal reasoning.  Remember that your Verbal Reasoning score is not only the most accurate predictor of how well you will do in graduate school, but also the most difficult score to improve.

GRE Summary: The GRE is administered year-round, appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis, and is available only in computer-based format. The test requires approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete and assesses your skills in Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing, and Quantitative Reasoning.

GRE Scoring: Scores for the Verbal and Quantitative sections each yield a scaled score of 130 to 170, in 1-point increments. The Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 in half-point increments, and you will receive a single score for your overall performance in this section.  Competitive scores for CSD programs begin around 150.

Official Test Preparation Material:

  • The Official Guide to the GRE revised General Test from ETS
  • Practice Questions on the GRE website
  • Free diagnostic exam on the GRE website

Click Here for the GRE Breakdown

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Application Process

There are three general steps in applying to CSD programs: the primary application, the secondary application, and the interview.

1. Primary applications must be filed with the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS), which is a centralized application system.  Once the application is complete, CSDCAS forwards it to whichever schools the student has designated

2. Secondary applications are specific to individual schools, and are sent to applicants after receiving the CSDCAS application. Some but not all schools screen applicants before requesting secondary applications.  Secondary applications commonly request additional information, essays, and letters of recommendation.

3. Interviews: After reviewing the primary and secondary applications, some CSD programs invite promising applicants for an interview. An online (e.g. Skype, Google Chat) interview for the promising applicants is required as part of the final selection process for the University of Hawai'i CSD program. Applicants are responsible for all costs incurred while interviewingincluding airfare, lodging, ground transportation, professional attire and meals.

Note: Most, but not all schools participate in CSDCAS; to apply to those that do not, request applications directly from the individual schools.

UHM’s CSD program participates in CSDCAS. Students must submit two separate applications and two separate application fees: one to CSDCAS (along with its application fee), AND one to UHM’s Office of Graduate Education (along with its application fee). Complete applications to both CSDCAS and UHM’s Office of Graduate Education must be submitted with appropriate fees by the February 1st deadline.


  • The more you know about the school, the better your chances of being accepted.
  • Contact individual schools’ Admissions Offices to find out how they handle:
      • Advanced placement (AP) credits
      • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits
      • Courses taken at a community college
      • Courses taken for credit/no credit instead of a grade
      • Military credits
      • Residency issues
      • Time limits on acceptable science courses
      • Time limits on GRE scores
      • Course work taken outside the U.S.

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Contact Information

Communication Sciences and Disorders Department:
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, John A. Burns School of Medicine
677 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 625, Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808-692-1581; Fax: 808-566-6292
Email: (Christine Fiestas, Ph.D.) (Edson Hirohata, Au.D.)

UH Speech and Hearing Clinic:
Phone - 808-692-1580

For more information: visit and read through the website thoroughly prior to calling the department at (808) 692-1581.

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Additional Information

UHM’s Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center (PAC) has reference books, academic planning worksheets, and one-on-one advising by peers who can help you prepare for your Audiology or SLP program.

UHM's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

UHM’s Graduate Division

Communication Science and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS)
National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA)
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
Edfind – ASHA SPA Schools Database
Hawai’i Speech-Language-Hearing Association (HSHA)
Hawai'i State Licensing Board
Preparing for Graduate School by the Honors Program

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