What is SLP Grad School & When to Start Applying

On the blog last week, we talked all about pursuing a career in Speech-Language Pathology. One of the big first steps is applying to grad school. But, what is SLP grad school and when do you need to start applying?

This blog post will explore what SLP grad school is, what it takes to apply and when you need to start the application process! Enjoy!

What is SLP Grad School?

Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) grad school is a postgraduate program that prepares students to become certified Speech-Language Pathologists.

SLP grad school is typically a two-year master’s degree program with both coursework and clinical practicum focusing on speech, language, and hearing sciences.

Courses include topics such as: normal and disordered communication development; anatomical and physiological mechanisms of communication, cognition, and swallowing; and research-based assessment and intervention. Throughout an SLP master's program, students gain clinical experience in a variety of clinical settings under the supervision of a licensed SLP.

Upon receiving a master's degree in speech-language pathology, students must pass a national exam called the Praxis in order to become a certified SLP in most states. The first certification is a Clinical Fellow, and then a final certification is required after completing your clinical fellowship in order to receive your CCCs (Certificate of Clinical Competence).

Learn more about clinical fellowships HERE.

Applying to SLP Grad School

The application process for SLP grad school starts with researching the schools that offer an SLP master's program as well as the requirements for each.

Application materials typically involve transcripts, letters of recommendation, resumes, and personal statements; but many programs also require essays, interviews, and/or the use of specific application platforms/portals.

This is why it is super important to stay organized throughout your grad school application process, especially since most applicants apply to 3-10 programs - all with varying requirements. If you want to boost your organization and set yourself up for application success, check out the best Grad School Application Organization Spreadsheet!

Once your application has been submitted, the wait time is typically ~2-3 months before you hear back about admission. Most Fall-start programs have applications due between December-February with most due in January, and begin to send acceptance/rejection/wait list letters on March 1st.

Prior to being accepted, you may be invited for an interview at certain programs that have this requirement. After the interview, the admissions committee again reviews your materials as well as their notes from your interview and makes a decision regarding admission.

When Do You Start Applying to SLP Grad School?

The timeline for applying to SLP grad school varies by school and by program. However, I recommend starting the application process 6-8 months in advance. This allows time for researching schools, asking for letters of recommendation, and creating (and perfecting!) all of your application materials prior to deadlines.

It is also important to be aware of any prerequisites for the program and make sure that you have completed them before applying, which is why I recommend applicants coming from a different field (i.e., without a communication sciences/speech-language-hearing specific undergraduate degree) to begin looking into schools and their requirements ~12 months prior to applying so that you have time to add any necessary coursework to your schedule prior to applying. Of note, some SLP graduate programs allow for you to take any missed prerequisites either the summer prior to program start or while on campus in your first couple of semesters.

Every program and every student are different, though, which is another reason why it is SO important to stay organized throughout grad school applications.

If you (1) are just starting this process and want to start off on the right foot by getting organized ASAP, or (2) are in the process and are desperately in need of getting organized (which is the case for many applicants!) check out this organization spreadsheet that contains 29 columns of info to get you on the right track and set you up for extreme success as you complete your applications!


Applying to SLP grad school is a process that requires careful time-management and research. It is important to start the application process early and make sure that you meet all of the prerequisites for the programs you intend to apply to.

With the right organization and preparation, you'll be on your way to being accepted into your dream school and becoming a certified Speech-Language Pathologist in no time!