We welcome students with backgrounds in CSD as well as students with diverse educational backgrounds. Our incoming classes are typically equally weighted between CSD majors and non-CSD majors. We value the perspective that each group of students brings to the classroom and clinic.
MS SLL Program Prerequisites
Unlike many other programs, Northwestern allows prospective students to apply without having completed their leveling coursework. There are two types of required coursework for students to consider: (1) general coursework completed as part of a bachelor’s degree and (2) field-specific coursework and observation. If there are any concerns regarding the transfer of coursework or fulfillment of requirements, we are happy to review an applicant’s coursework. In some cases, the course number and description from the institution will suffice; in other cases, we may need to review the syllabi. Additional steps are required for international applicants applying with foreign transcripts including those that have been translated.
(1) General Coursework Requirements:
These requirements are outlined by ASHA and form the foundation of a solid arts and sciences background. These courses must be completed before beginning the two-year MS program coursework. They do not need to be completed prior to application. Statistics must be completed with a grade of “B-” or better. The other courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.
- At least one course in the Biological Sciences – Biology, human anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, human genetics, and veterinary science are all possible options to meet this prerequisite. Other courses classified as biological science at the applicant’s degree-granting institution will meet this prerequisite. A lab is not required.
- At least one course in the Physical Sciences – Physics or chemistry is required to meet this prerequisite. A lab is not required.
- At least one course in Statistics – The course must be an actual statistics course and not a research methods course; it does not need to be a CSD statistics course.
- At least one course in the Social/Behavioral Sciences – Courses in psychology, sociology, anthropology, or education are all possible options to meet this prerequisite.
These courses may be taken at any accredited university in a face-to-face or online format.
- Credit for these courses must be listed on your transcript in the form of a course or an AP or CLEP credit. A “waived” course will not fulfill the requirement.
- A course in biological and physical sciences specifically related to CSD does not fulfill the science requirements unless the course fulfills a university requirement in Biological or Physical science.
- An AP course may be used to fulfill a requirement if one of the following forms of documentation is provided:
- An official transcript in which the AP rest score is listed in the form of a specific credit rather than a general credit. For example, the official transcript states “Stats” alongside the number of awarded credits.
- AP credit is listed on the official transcript as a mass of general/nonspecific credit, but the student provides one of the following forms of supporting documentation confirming the course in question was included in this general credit: 1) An unofficial/advising transcript on which AP credit is listed directly in the form of a specific credit rather than a generic credit. For example, the unofficial/advising transcript states “Stats” alongside the number of awarded credits. 2) An official enumerated score report from the administrators of the AP test (The College Board) that list the specific test and score.
If you have any questions about qualifying general prerequisite coursework, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In that email, provide supporting information (e.g., name of institution, name of course with the course number, course year and term, link to the course description, syllabus, weekly course schedule, etc.).
(2) Field-Specific Coursework/Course Equivalents:
Our graduate courses assume a level of background knowledge in the field. Students who have not completed a degree in the field typically will not have completed these key courses. These courses must be completed before beginning the two-year MS program coursework. They do not need to be completed prior to application. These courses must be completed with a grade of “B-” or better.
- Anatomy and Physiology of the Vocal Mechanism (CSD 301)
- Phonetics (CSD 305)
- Language Development (CSD 392)
- Intro to Audiology (CSD 318)
- Aural Rehabilitation (CSD 319)
- 25 hours of observation of therapy completed with ASHA-certified SLPs
These courses may be taken at any accredited university in a face-to-face or online format. Courses taken via a Speech Language Pathology Assistant (United States) or Communication Disorders Assistant (Canada) program do not fulfill these requirements.
Northwestern offers all 5 CSD prerequisite courses online via our School of Professional Studies (SPS). These courses are substantially less expensive than our face-to-face courses, though they are taught by Northwestern faculty. You do not need to apply or be accepted to the Northwestern MS program to complete these courses. If you are interested in the online prerequisite courses, please see the information page and registration information available via the SPS website (http://bit.ly/1ucQrj6). SPS manages the application, admission, and registration for these courses.
We do not offer a formal face-to-face post-baccalaureate program; we offer prerequisites online via SPS.
If you have any questions about qualifying field-specific coursework, email us at email@example.com. In that email, provide supporting information (e.g., name of institution, name of course with the course number, course year and term, link to the course description, syllabus, weekly course schedule, etc.).
(3) Observation Requirement:
Like the prerequisite coursework, the observation requirement must be completed before beginning the two-year MS program coursework. It does not need to be completed prior to application.
Please document the 25 observation hours (mentioned in prerequisites), including the date of observation, type of cases observed, and setting. Additionally, please have the SLPs sign and include their ASHA numbers on the documentation. If desired, a form is available for use (http://bit.ly/24XAAEH).
There is no formal process for your establishing observations. Simply googling for local SLPs is a great way to start, as is contacting the SLPs at local hospitals, clinics, and schools. ASHA provider finder (http://www.asha.org/findpro/) can be helpful in locating large companies as well as some smaller independent providers in Early Intervention.
Unfortunately, for local applicants, we cannot accommodate non-Northwestern SLL program students for observation within our campus clinic due to our HIPAA policy.
Northwestern strongly encourages applicants to gain at least five observation hours in each of the following settings: (a) medical (hospital, rehab, skilled nursing), (b) school (elementary, junior, or senior high), and (c) other (Early Intervention, outpatient clinical settings, etc.). Observing a variety of SLPs and patient/client populations provides a broad perspective of the field.
A Note about Northwestern Prerequisites
Please be aware that this information is specific to Northwestern’s requirements. Programs have different approaches to prerequisite coursework, and generally, Northwestern tends to require fewer courses than other programs. Students are strongly advised to verify other programs’ requirements.
Application without Prerequisites Completed
As mentioned, unlike many other programs, Northwestern allows prospective students to apply without having completed their leveling coursework. There is not a different application process for students in this circumstance. While an applicant is not viewed as more or less competitive if s/he has not completed the prerequisites, it is recommended that applicants have evidence of completion of some coursework and/or observation in the field at the time of application.
Please note: All prerequisite courses must be completed before beginning the two-year MS program coursework. If accepted, students have three possible options to complete their leveling courses (with a grade of B or better) prior to a Fall MS SLL program enrollment.
(1) Completing pre-speech courses via SPS at Northwestern during the spring and/or summer quarters with a grade of B or better
(2) Completing general and field-specific prerequisite requirements at any accredited institution prior to enrollment with a grade of B or better
(3) Deferring enrollment for a year and completing the courses elsewhere or via NU SPS prior to the following year’s Fall enrollment.