Pre-Speech Pathology and Audiology Preparation at UH Mānoa

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

Communication Sciences and Disorders degree program in Hawai`i

Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders (emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology) from the University of Hawai`i at UH Mānoa, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

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

Speech-Language Pathology Programs
Audiology Programs
Prerequisites for Admission
What makes a strong candidate?
Researching Schools
Entrance Exam
The Application Process
Contact Information 
Additional Information

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.

Related Careers: speech and hearing sciences, counseling, education.

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Speech-Language Pathology Programs

Becoming a speech-language pathologist require ~7 years of education:

Undergraduate Preparation (~4 years);
Speech-Language Pathology Program (~2 years);
Clinical Fellowship (1 year).

Although not all schools list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement for admission, few students are admitted without one. Completing a bachelor’s degree is highly recommended. Admission to speech pathology programs is highly competitive, and a bachelor’s degree significantly strengthens a student’s application and provides students with greater options for advancement and career opportunities.

Upon completion of a speech-language pathology program, students are awarded a master’s degree such as the Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) in SLP, among others. All master’s-level SLP degrees are equivalent with respect to licensure and professional practice.

Many schools offer bachelor’s degrees in CSD, which are intended to prepare students for graduate-level CSD programs but are not required by all SLP programs. Two schools currently offer a clinical doctorate, either the Doctor of Clinical Science (CScD) or Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology (SLPD), which include additional semesters of study in areas such as clinical practice, research, and administration. Students interested in research can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in SLP, either in place of or in addition to the clinical master’s, or can complete only the Master of Science (MS) with a research focus.

After graduation, students complete a Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) at an approved setting, and take the Praxis examination, administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS). Praxis scores 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).

Most states require SLPs to be licensed by ASHA, and some require a state teaching certificate to work in the schools. To be become licensed in Hawai`i, you must complete an accredited graduate-level 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. All speech-language pathologists must be licensed to practice.

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Audiology Programs

Becoming an audiologist requires ~8 years of education:

Undergraduate Preparation (~4 years);
Audiology School (4 years).

Although not all schools list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement for admission, few students are admitted without one. Completing a bachelor’s degree is highly recommended. Admission to audiology schools is highly competitive, and a bachelor’s degree significantly strengthens a student’s application and provides students with greater options for advancement and career opportunities.

Upon completion of audiology school, students are awarded the Doctor of Audiology (AuD).

Many schools offer bachelor’s degrees in CSD, which are intended to prepare students for graduate-level CSD programs but are not required by all audiology programs. Students interested in research can choose to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Audiology, either in place of or in addition to the AuD.

Most states require audiologists to be licensed by ASHA, and some require a state teaching certificate to work in the schools. To be become licensed in Hawai`i, you must complete an accredited doctoral-level degree, obtain national ASHA certification, and then take a written state examination. To maintain certification, audiologists must pay an annual certification fee and meet ASHA re-certification requirements. All 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 interested in attending.

The most commonly required courses for CSD programs (audiology or speech-language pathology) include:

General Prerequisites
Examples
Credits
Physical SciencePHYS 100, CHEM 151 (physics or chemistry)3 cr.
Biological ScienceBIOL 171, ZOOL 100, PHYL 103, PHYL 141 (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)3 cr.
Statistics/MathPSY/SOCS 225, EDEP 429, ECON 3213 cr.
PsychologyPSY 1003 cr.
Social/Behavioral Sciences PSY 220, 240, 250, 270; SOC 100; ANTH 152 (additional courses in psychology (e.g. developmental, abnormal, clinical, social, behavioral or physiological), or sociology, anthropology, or public health)3 cr.

These courses are also required for ASHA certification and licensure.

Graduate programs usually require an undergraduate degree in CSD. Students without an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders may be required to complete CSD specific prerequisite courses, which may include:

General CSD Prerequisites
Examples
Credits
Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing MechanismCSD 4313 cr.
PhoneticsCSD 4323 cr.
Speech and Language DevelopmentCSD 4333 cr.
Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Speech and HearingCSD 4343 cr.
Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders CSD 4563 cr.
Introduction to Audiometry and Auditory DisordersCSD 4573 cr.
Clinical Observation Hours

Click here for more information

CSD 43525 hours

CSD specific prerequisite courses can be completed through University of Hawaii’s Prerequisite Certification Program. Click here for more information

NOTE: CSD specific prerequisite courses can also be completed online through Utah State and Northern Arizona University (NAZ).  Other distance education options can be found by using the EdFind search engine on the ASHA website at www.asha.org/edfind/.

 

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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 seek applicants who have:

  • completed the prerequisites
  • a high overall GPA
  • performed well on the GRE
  • balanced their course load so it is challenging yet realistic

Are you likely to become a good speech-language pathologist or audiologist?

Admissions committees seek applicants who have:

  • demonstrated empathy, compassion, and a commitment to public service
  • high ethical and moral standards and a conscientious work ethic
  • demonstrated maturity (judgment, responsibility, dependability)
  • a broad liberal arts education that includes the humanities and social sciences
  • experience in the field and with what CSD entails
  • relevant observation hours in volunteer, school-sponsored, or work experiences
  • a well-rounded life that balances academics, community service, social activities, and personal interests (hobbies, skills, sports, etc.)
  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • strong letters of recommendation

UH-Manoa’s CSD Program Specific Information

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 prerequisite course is a B-.
Applicants must submit one official transcript to the Communication Sciences 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 Sciences 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, scores must be sent to UHM by designating “University of Hawai`i at Mānoa” as a recipient; UHM’s institution code is 4867.

It should be noted that recently enrolled graduate students have the following average percentiles on their GRE prior to admission to the program:

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

We understand that other factors (such as undergraduate GPA, PB 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 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 currently about 252 accredited master’s-level SLP programs and 74 accredited doctoral-level audiology programs in the US, each unique in its mission, philosophy, criteria, and strengths.  Students can research programs using EdFind, a service of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

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 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 Record Examination (GRE).

Preparation: Your most important preparation for the GRE is your undergraduate courses, many of which sharpen your writing and verbal reasoning skills.  Remember that the verbal sections are not only the most accurate predictor of how well you will do in CSD programs, but also the most difficult scores to improve.

GRE Summary: The GRE assesses your knowledge and skills in Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing, and Quantitative Reasoning. The test requires approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. The GRE is offered in computer-based and paper-based formats, and is offered year-round for computer-based administrations and up to three times per year for paper-based administrations.

GRE Scoring: The Verbal and Quantitative sections each receive a score between 130 and 170, in 1-point increments.  The Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6, in half-point increments. GRE scores are often reported as percentiles, with the median score (50th percentile) among examinees being 150 for the Verbal and Quantitative sections and 3.5  for the Analytical Writing section. Scores at around the 50th percentile or higher are considered competitive for CSD programs.

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.

Note: Most CSD programs participate in CSDCAS. Students interested in applying to other programs must complete each of their prospective schools’ individual applications. For these schools, the application process consist only of steps 2 and 3.

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 interviewing, including airfare, lodging, ground transportation, professional attire, and meals.

UHM’s CSD program participates in CSDCAS. Students must submit two separate applications and two separate application feesone 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.

Tips:

  • 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
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) credits
    • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits
    • military credits
    • courses taken at a community college
    • non-US coursework
    • courses taken for credit/no credit instead of a grade
    • residency issues
    • time limits on prerequisite science courses

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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: fiestasc@hawaii.edu (Christine Fiestas, PhD)
edson@hawaii.edu (Edson Hirohata, AuD)

For more information, visit http://manoa.hawaii.edu/csd/students and read through the website thoroughly prior to e-mailing or calling the department.

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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 and apply to CSD programs

UHM's Department of Communication Science and Disordershttp://www.manoa.hawaii.edu/csd/
UHM's Graduate Divisionhttp://www.manoa.hawaii.edu/graduate/
Communication Science and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS)http://www.capcsd.org/csdcas/
National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA)http://www.nsslha.org
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) http://www.asha.org
Edfind – ASHA SPA Schools Databasehttp://www.asha.org/edfind.htm
Hawai`i Speech-Language-Hearing Association (HSHA)http://www.hsha.org
Hawai`i State Licensing Boardhttp://www.hawaii.gov/dcca/areas/pvl/boards/speech
Preparing for Graduate School by the Honors Programhttp://preparingforgraduateschool.weebly.com/

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