Prerequisites

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.

(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.

Please Note:

  • 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.

(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 465, Hearing Impairment)
  • 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, as we offer prerequisites online via SPS.

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.

For local applicants, unfortunately we cannot accommodate non-Northwestern SLL program students in our in-house 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 in general, 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 enrolling.

(1) Completing the courses with a grade of B or better via SPS at Northwestern during the spring and/or summer quarters

(2) Completing the courses with a grade of B or better at any accredited institution prior to enrollment

(3) Deferring enrollment for a year and completing the courses elsewhere or via NU SPS. 

MS in Speech, Language, and Learning
Frances Searle Building
2240 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
ms-sll@northwestern.edu
847-491-5073