Woman working with a man on communication techniques

When the ability to communicate is disrupted, every aspect of daily life is affected. The MS Communication Sciences & Disorders program prepares you to work as a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

SLP’s work with clients and their families to improve communication skills and cope with the difficulties of communication and swallowing disorders. You’ll use your expertise to treat conditions such as stuttering, delayed language development, aphasia, dysphagia, and voice and articulation problems.

UWM’s Master of Science degree in communication sciences and disorders is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. View more accreditation information here.

Program Type

Master’s

Program Format

On Campus
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Communication Sciences & Disorders is…

“the academic discipline which involves the study of speech, language, communication and swallowing disorders as well as hearing, balance and related disorders.”

As a speech-language pathologists you will evaluate, treat and assist clients and their families to improve communication skills and cope with the difficulties of communication disorders.

Man working with a child using written communication techniques
  • Our program — which includes two full-semester placements in the community with the option of a third mini-placement — prepares you for both educational and medical settings to maximize your career flexibility.
  • You’ll work in our state-of-the-art laboratories and instructional facilities, including our Speech and Language Clinic and Speech Science Lab, where you’ll have access to the latest acoustic analysis equipment.
  • All of our students participate in research, either through a thesis or by working closely with a faculty mentor on their research projects.
  • Our dedicated, caring faculty members are committed to your success, whether that’s by making time for a one-on-one meeting or observing and consulting on difficult cases in the clinic.
  • We offer all of the opportunities of a metropolitan area at an affordable price. Our location gives you easy access to off-campus externships in medical, rehabilitation and school sites.

MS Communication Sciences & Disorders Student Handbook (PDF)

Employment Outlook

Earnings

ASHA’s SLP Health Care 2021 Survey (PDF) reported a median annual salary in 2021 of $80,00 (n=482) for speech-language pathologists employed in medical and nursing-related facilities.

ASHA’s SLP Schools Survey 2020 (PDF) reported a median 9-10 month salary of $66,000, and a median 11-12 month salary of $80,000 for speech-language pathologists employed in school-based settings.

Expected Growth

Employment of speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 25% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Successful Alumni

The College of Health Sciences has over 10,000 alumni. These alumni have taken their health sciences degrees and have excelled in their careers.

Visit our Alumni page and be inspired by where a health sciences degree can take you.

You must first meet the admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School. In addition to UWM Graduate School requirements, you must be prepared to meet specific departmental requirements for undergraduate coursework in the field. If you have an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders, speech and hearing sciences or speech-language pathology, you will have completed these requirements during your undergraduate studies. If you have an undergraduate degree in another field, you must have completed 15 credits in communication sciences and disorders, including courses in English phonetics, language development and anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanism to be eligible to apply to the program.

Before starting the graduate program, students must have completed 27 credits in communication sciences and disorders, including speech and/or hearing science, introduction to audiology, aural rehabilitation and statistics, in addition to the courses listed above. Students may be admitted with as many as two course deficiencies, however, they must be completed during the first year of the graduate program.

UWM offers a sequence of courses designed to meet these requirements. If you have questions about your eligibility to apply for our program, please contact Graduate Program Coordinator Shelley K. Lund, PhD, CCC-SLP, at 414-229-6465 or sklund@uwm.edu.

MS CSD Non-degree requirements (PDF)

Application Instructions

To apply to the MS Communication Sciences & Disorders program, you must submit all application materials through the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS) by Jan. 15 of the year of expected admission. Students are accepted for a fall term start date.

In order to apply to the UWM graduate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders, you must have completed 15 undergraduate credits in Communication Sciences and Disorders (excluding sign language) by the application deadline.  Your application will be reviewed once it is complete and verified.  Your application and transcripts must be received by Jan. 15.

Completed applications must have the following:

  • All sections of the CSDCAS application completed including the Supporting Information section.  We are especially interested in your experiences in extracurricular activities, community service, leadership, research and any work (volunteer or paid) in CSD-related activities.
  • Official transcripts from every accredited U.S. college or university attended. Be sure to complete an academic update to submit a transcript with your fall grades and spring in-progress courses.
  • You need to submit three letters of recommendation. Only three letters will be reviewed, so choose your three letters carefully. You should choose letter writers who know you well and can speak to your academics, research experience (if applicable), life experiences and personal characteristics. The letters will be rated based on the letter writer’s description of your academics and personal characteristics. It is strongly recommended that at least two letters are from people who know you academically, ideally within communication sciences and disorders. However, we will still evaluate letters from individuals in other academic programs and rate letters from non-academic sources such as supervisors at your place of employment.  These letter writers should be able to speak about exceptional personal characteristics and life, academic and leadership experiences. Please note, we will have more difficulty rating letters from individuals with close, personal connections to you, such as relatives and close family friends. 

International Applicants must also include:

  • Transcripts from institutions outside the United States must be submitted for an academic credential review by a foreign transcript evaluation service. Please allow additional time for your application to be processed. For assistance with transcript translation, please contact the UWM International Education Center at (414) 229-4846.
  • For international candidates whose native language is not English and who have not completed their undergraduate coursework in the United States, the TOEFL or IELTS must have been taken within 12 months of the date of application (no earlier than Jan. 15, 2020). Documentation of taking the exam as well as the score must be submitted to CSDCAS by Jan. 15, 2021.

Review of Applications

We will evaluate your application holistically.  That means we look at multiple parts of the application to evaluate the following areas:

  • Academic skills (GPA overall and in CSD major)
  • Writing skills (Four short answer questions)
  • Service, Leadership and CSD related experiences (short answer questions, letters of recommendation, volunteer and work experience, extracurricular activities)
  • Oral communication (video response)
  • Personal characteristics (short answer questions, video response, letters of recommendation)

Once recommended for acceptance to the program, you will need to apply to and be accepted by the UWM Graduate School.

For information regarding required course sand course descriptions, see the UWM Academic Catalog.

The program typically takes six semesters to complete. Listed below is a sample program exact sequencing and scheduling of courses will depend upon course deficiencies, electives selected, and scheduling of externships.

Year 1

Fall Semester – 14 credits

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
COMSDIS 701Research Design and Methods in Communication Sciences and Disorders3
COMSDIS 703Voice Disorders2
COMSDIS 706Language Assessment and Intervention3
COMSDIS 712Acquired Neurogenic Communication Disorders in Adults3
COMSDIS 720Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology3

Spring Semester – 14 credits

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
COMSDIS 702Clinical Phonology and Articulation2
COMSDIS 709Evaluation and Management of Swallowing Disorders3
COMSDIS 710Motor Speech Disorders3
COMSDIS 715Assessment and Intervention in Augmentative and Alternative Communication3
COMSDIS 720Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology3

Summer Semester – 5-7 credits

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
COMSDIS 725Speech/Language Services in Educational and Medical Environments2
Possible Elective2
COMSDIS 720Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology3

Year 2

Fall Semester – 10-12 credits

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
COMSDIS 670Advanced Procedures in Aural Rehabilitation for the SLP3
COMSDIS 704Speech Fluency and Stuttering3
Possible Elective2
COMSDIS 784Professional Portfolio Development I1
COMSDIS 791Research Experience in Communication Sciences and Disorders1
COMSDIS 799Clinical Independent Study

Spring Semester – 8 credits

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
Possible Elective2
COMSDIS 727Speech-Language Pathology Externship in Educational Environments6

Summer Semester – 7 credits

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
COMSDIS 785Professional Portfolio Development II1
COMSDIS 726Speech-Language Pathology Externship in Medical Environments6

Essential Functions

Essential functions, as distinguished from academic standards, are those communicative, motor and physical, cognitive, sensory/observational and behavioral/social skills that are necessary to meet graduate and professional requirements as assessed by state licensure and national certification agencies, and are thus necessary for satisfactory completion of clinical practicum requirements.

List of Essential Functions (PDF)

Portrait of Adam Follmer
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of John Heilmann
  • Associate Professor. Communication Sciences & Disorders Graduate Program Coordinator, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Dawn Marie Hennes
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Sabine Heuer
  • Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders Program Director, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Shelley Lund
  • Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Bethanne Mazurczak
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Barbara Pauloski
  • Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Stacy Ryan
  • Senior Clinical Audiologist, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Jing Yang
  • Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Important Dates

January 15
Application and transcripts must be received

Accreditation

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders education program in speech-language pathology (residential) at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.

View more accreditation information

Contact

John Heilmann, PhD, CCC-SLP
Program Coordinator
414-229-4615
heilmanj@uwm.edu