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Center for Urban Education at the University of the District of Columbia is dedicated to helping students in urban America achieve their full academic and social potential. 

MS Speech-Language Pathology

University Speech and Hearing Clinic - 202.274.6161 | | Bldg 41, Rm 306 - Click here for more information.

Curriculum | Courses | Faculty | Student Outcomes | Career Pathways and Prospects | (MS) in Speech-Language Pathology (Programs Page) | SLP Strategic Plan


8/14/15 - UDC NSSLHA Graduate Student Organization Receives National Recognition
7/16/14 - Speech - Language Pathology Program NSSLHA Chapter Earns National Recognition
4/25/14 - Connecting Research and Innovation to Enhance Communication

Mission Statement
Educate, train, graduate and certify students in speech – language pathology in order to enhance and diversify the number of qualified speech - language pathologists in the workforce.

Program Description

The University of the District of Columbia Master's Degree Program in Speech-Language Pathology has been in existence for more than thirty years. The speech-language pathology program at the University of the District of Columbia first gained accreditation in 1981 from its accrediting body.  It is currently accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech–Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (*)

This program has the distinction of being the first professional training program at a historically Black college and university (HBCU) to receive accreditation.  Since its inception, the Program has been designated by the University as a center of excellence. Many of its faculty and students, both past and present, have been recognized in the field for scholarship, leadership and service. Our master's program has a long history of excellence in preparing speech-language pathologists for service delivery to children and adults with a variety of communicative disorders. Our academic and clinical training experiences provide students with a strong generalist foundation and offer opportunities for expanded exposure in the areas of early expressive and receptive language delay, motor speech dysfunction, voice and fluency disorders, and sociolinguistics.

The Speech-Language Pathology Program successfully graduates individuals who seek certification to practice in the discipline and equips them with the expertise necessary to prevent, identify, assess, and treat expressive and receptive communication and swallowing disorders in all modalities of expression, including spoken, written, pictorial and manual. Students learn through active engagement in class-based instruction, clinical practicum, research activities and clinical seminars. Our program is ideal for persons who are interested in the Allied Health Professions and seek a strong theoretical base for evidenced-based clinical practice to meet the needs of persons with communicative disorders.

Accrediting Agency Contact Information
Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), American Speech – Language – Hearing Association*, 2200 Research Blvd – Mailstop 310, Rockville, MD,   20850 | | Voice:  301. 296.5700 | Fax:  301.296.8580

*The Master's Program in Speech – Language Pathology at UDC has been accredited through 2021.  


The Speech-Language Pathology Master's Degree Program is designed to provide training for individuals who wish to become certified in speech-language pathology by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and by local certifying agencies. Training is provided for students who wish to:

  • become knowledgeable in theoretical aspects of communication disorders;
  • provide clinical services in hospitals, clinics, schools, nursing homes, and managed care organizations; and
  • engage in research in speech-language pathology, sociolinguistics, and audiology.

The Master of Science in speech - language pathology requires 57 credit hours (not including credit hours for prerequisite coursework for students without a background); a minimum of 400 clock hours of supervised practicum, of which a minimum of 375 must be in direct client/patient contact, and at least 25 in clinical observation.  At least 325 of the 375 clock hours must be at the graduate level.


Wanda Mitchener-Colston, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Program Director
Dr. Colston holds the Ph.D. degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Howard University, the M.S. degree in Speech – Language Pathology from the University of the District of Columbia and the B.A. degree in Speech Pathology from Shaw University.  She is a specialist in child language and learning disability.  Her research emphasis is in the area of auditory processing and language development in children and adolescents.  Post-doctoral research at the University of Memphis focused on linguistic feature analysis of spoken and written communication. 

Angela Bradford Wainwright, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Dr. Bradford Wainwright holds a Ph.D. degree in Speech – Language Pathology from the University of Memphis, the M.S. degree in Speech – Language Pathology from the University of the District of Columbia and the B.A. degree in vocal performance from Maryland University-College Park.  She is a specialist in adult neurogenics with an emphasis in aphasia and provides instruction in anatomy and physiology of speech, aphasia, voice disorders, research methods, and medical speech pathology. Her research interests include language and cognitive aging, psychogenic voice and language disorders, and aphasia.

Myesha G. Carter, M.S. CCC-SLP, Clinical Instructor
Myesha Carter holds M.S. and B.A. degrees from the University of the District of Columbia in Speech – Language Pathology.  She is a specialist in childhood language and early intervention.  She supervises Pre-clinical and Level One clinical experiences and provides instruction in language acquisition.

Richard Kalunga, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Dr. Kalunga holds the Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Howard University, the M.S. degree in Speech – Language Pathology from the University of the District of Columbia, and the B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Manchester, UK.  He specializes in articulation, phonological and language development an disorders with a research emphasis in literacy and developmental correlates.

Angela M. Miles, M.S., CCC-SLP, Clinical Instructor
Angela Miles holds the M.S. degree in Speech – Language Pathology from  Loma Linda University  and the B.S. degree in  Speech Pathology from Oakwood University.  She is a specialist in adult neurogenics in acute care settings.  She supervises Level Three clinical experiences and provides instruction in functional and organic speech disorders.

Natalie A. Ottey, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Dr. Ottey holds the Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Howard University, the M.Sc. degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of the District of Columbia and the B.A.A. degree in Early Childhood Education from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.  Her research interests include: neurogenic motor speech disorders and pediatric neurogenic language impairments with an emphasis in the treatment of apraxia of speech disorders.  She provides instruction in neurophysiological disorders of speech and swallowing.

Toni Walters, M. S., CCC-SLP
Toni Walters holds the B.A. degree from University of Massachusetts in English and the M.S. degree from Boston University in  Speech Pathology. She serves as Clinical Instructor for Clinical Levels one through four and teaches prerequisite courses related to diagnostics, observations and functional disorders.  She specializes in school-age language and literacy.  Her research interests include the promotion of literacy in school-age children.

Rachelle Nelson, M.S., CCC-SLP
Rachelle Nelson holds M.S. and B.S. degrees from Howard University in Speech-Language Pathology.  She acts as a Clinical Instructor for Levels one through four and teaches prerequisite courses related to phonetics, diagnostics, observations, and functional disorders. Her research interests include clinical writing and clinical instruction.

Ruth Marin, Ph.D. in Audiology, Visiting Professor
Dr. Marin holds the Ph.D. in Audiology from Gallaudet University.   She specializes in hearing science and provides specialized instruction in  sign language, aural rehabilitation and communication modalities.  In addition, she provides training and clinical supervision for audiological evaluations.

Tommie L. Robinson, Jr., Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Adjunct Faculty
Dr. Robinson is director of the Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders in the Hearing and Speech Department at Children's National Medical Center.   He is a specialist in the area of stuttering diagnosis and intervention and teaches the graduate seminar on Stuttering.

Clinic Staff

Rachelle Nelson, M.S., CCC-SLP
Rachelle Nelson is the Coordinator of Clinical Instruction and  holds M.S. and B.S. degrees from Howard University in Speech-Language Pathology. Her research interests include clinical writing and pedagogical strategies in clinical instruction.

Weynshet Demessie, B.S. (SLP)
Weynshet Demessie is the Clinic/Office Manager and holds the B.S. degree from the University of the District of Columbia. 

Student Outcomes

 Academic Year

(# of Students)

(# of Students)

(# of Students)

2011-2012100% (13)100% (13)92% (13 )
2012-2013100% (11)100% (11)100% (11)
2013-2014100% (10)100% (10)100% (10)

Learning Outside the Classroom

The SLP Program maintains an excellent on-campus Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic offering quality speech, language, and hearing services to District residents. Our students engage in diagnostic, treatment, counseling and prevention services incorporating new techniques and technologies in the field. Collaborative opportunities within the University community provide valuable support to teaching and learning. In addition, several private and public agencies collaborate with the Program to ensure that clinical services are provided for their unique client/student base. For example, our Clinic offers services to the UDC Child Development Center (UDC CDC), the DC Headstart program, DC Public Schools, and the DC Parks and Recreation Program. Through the operations of the UDC in-house core clinic, services rendered to the university community and the residents of metropolitan DC area include, but are not limited to,

  • counseling on typical language development,
  • communicative and swallowing dysfunction,
  • speech and hearing screenings,
  • audiological testing,
  • accent modification,
  • language stimulation to facilitate language development  in normally developing and at-risk pre-school children;
  • assessment, diagnosis and treatment of delays and disorders of speech, language, cognition, and language processing, fluency, voice, articulation, reading, and written language across the pediatric and adult spectra. 

Career Pathways and Prospects

Graduates enter the Speech-Language Pathology profession upon completion of the certification requirements defined by the national certifying body, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech – Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. These requirements include the completion of the Master's degree, successful completion of the national certifying examination (PRAXIS) and completion of Clinical Fellowship (CF). Career pathways are diverse with opportunities for highly individualized practice in health care agencies, educational settings and private practice.

The need for qualified practitioners and Ph.D. scholars in speech-language pathology is expected to grow over the next decades. The Program is committed to meeting this labor shortage by active recruitment and retention of students to the discipline.

The Program has several partnerships with neighboring agencies, including hospitals, specialized treatment and acute care nursing homes and hospices, public and private school special education programs and services, and access to a broad range of patient populations and resources offering a myriad of career opportunities. The Program takes pride in a large number of UDC Alumni who have received or in the process of pursuing the doctorate in speech-language pathology and audiology. Many UDC alumni currently hold terminal degrees are professors, researchers and administrators. 

The UDC Edge

The principal strength of the Program is its faculty and clinical staff who are committed to student education, training, nurturing, and accomplishment. The Program has a very well defined mentoring and tracking system that facilitates the matriculation and retention of its students. Once admitted students are provided a well-rounded academic and clinical experience in a nurturing student-friendly environment. To facilitate our students' academic achievement, the Program maintains a low student to faculty/staff ratio allowing for students to have ready access to professors and clinical supervisors. The Program has successfully graduated many at-risk undergraduate and graduates students who are active and successfully working in the discipline. Moreover, the Program accommodates students without a background in speech-language pathology, allowing for the master's degree in SLP to be accomplished within a three year period.

The Program is a mission driven, dynamic program responsive to the University's commitment to education, research and community service as an urban land-grant university. Persons committed to a career in the Education and Allied Health Professions will find the synergistic mix of cross-disciplinary teaching, cultural-diversity and multi-agency collaboration to be a holistic and thoroughly engaging environment for learning.

Admission Requirements:

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and a minimum grade point average of 3.0. A degree is speech-language pathology is preferred, but not required. Students must submit three letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, and GRE general test scores with their applications for admission. Prospective applicants may be also required to participate in an interview with an admission committee representative.

Graduate Writing Proficiency Examinations:
Demonstrated proficiency in writing is required of all graduate students. Students must take GRE Analytical Writing Subtest as a requirement for admission. The criterion score is four. Students failing to meet the criterion must enroll in and pass the assigned English course to satisfy this requirement.


Students are provided multiple opportunities to engage in career fairs, research forums, and external practicums in a variety of educational and health care facilities. Didactics in relevant specialty areas, such as the treatment of swallowing disorders, traumatic brain injury; voice, stuttering, and aphasia are provided. In this environment students get guided experience by their professors to ensure that they have the necessary skills to address the SLP needs of patients in an acute care as well as subacute facility. Evidence-based practice guides the clinical process ensuring that all graduates have the necessary skills for successful practice.

The program offers an opportunity to specialize in clinical practicum settings after successful completion of clinical exit examinations in the following areas: School-based and Medical Speech Pathology. Students opting for the school-based track are trained to service school-aged children in both rural and urban settings with a specialization in service delivery to children from economically and/or culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and their families. Students opting for the medical speech pathology track are trained in neurological and anatomical substrates involved in neurogenic speech, language and swallowing disorders in special populations; as well as diagnosis and management strategies for patients with dysphagia, neurological disorders and dementia.

Qualifying Examination:
Students must successfully complete a thesis or the comprehensive examination administered by the Department. Students electing to take comprehensive examination must sit for the exam at the end of their first year of graduate study. They have two opportunities to take the exam. Two failures result in dismissal from the program.

Curriculum Requirements:
The Master of Science in speech – language pathology requires 57 credit hours (not including credit hours for prerequisite coursework for students without a background); a minimum of 400 clock hours of supervised practicum, of which a minimum of 375 must be in direct client/patient contact, and at least 25 in clinical observation. At least 325 of the 375 clock hours must be at the graduate level.

Prerequisite courses: The following courses are required for students without an undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology

CourseCourse NameCredits
SPLP  115Introduction to Linguistic Analysis (Phonetics)3
SPLP  224Anatomy and Physiology of Speech & Hearing3
SPLP  312Language Acquisition3
ADUL 334Audiology3
SPLP 434Diagnostics (required of all students)3
SPLP 507Speech/Hearing Disorders & Related Disciplines3

Required courses for the Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology

Contact the Program Office for the recommended course of study.

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
1109 500Sociolinguistic and Theoretical Perspectives on Language3
1109 520Neuroanatomy of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism3
1109 534Stuttering3
1109 535Language Disorders3
1109 536Phonological Disorders3
1109 560
1109 561
1109 562
1109 563
1109 564
Practicum in Speech (Minimum of 5 semesters required)15
1109 634Aphasia3
1109 635Voice Disorders3
1109 637Motor Speech Disorders3
1109 638Dysphagia3
1107 552Aural Rehabilitation3
1109 555Communication Modalities3
1109 610Speech Science3
1109 674Research Methods in Communication Sciences3
1109 695Independent Study1-3
1109 698Elective3
1109 699ThesisVC


1109 500 Sociolinguistic and Theoretical Perspectives on Language (3)
Provides the fundamental concepts of theoretical linguistics and sociolinguistics and their applications for speech-language pathologists and other professionals who work with culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) populations. In addition to surveying the linguistic characteristics of a variety of American English dialects, focuses on  language and its linguistic theories that address natural language change and variation. This knowledge will enhance evidence-based practice by applying these theories in clinical practice when working with culturally and linguistically diverse persons.  Prereq:  Graduate standing.

1107 552 Aural Rehabilitation (3)
Provides an overview of acoustical and perceptual phonetics and the impact of hearing loss. Addresses assessment of hearing-impairment and its implications for habilitation. Reviews techniques for speech-reading, auditory training and counseling, including an overview of cued speech, manual communication systems and amplification systems (auditory training units, hearing aids and assistive listening devices). Prereq: 1107 520.

1109 507 Speech and Hearing Disorders and Related Disciplines (3)
Provides an overview of the practice of speech-language pathology including requirements for certification as an SLP, the discipline's code of ethics, and disorders and client populations served by the SLP. This course is required for new graduate students without an SLP background. Prereq: Graduate standing.

1109 520 Neuroanatomy of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism (3)
Examines the anatomy and physiology of the central and peripheral nervous systems as they relate to the speech and hearing mechanisms. Prereq: Graduate standing.

1109 534 Stuttering (3)
Examines the definition and description of stuttering as a disorder of fluency; discussion of speech and non-speech behaviors; types of stuttering; form of stuttering; incidence and prevalence of stuttering, etiology, onset and development of stuttering; assessment and treatment strategies..Prereq: Graduate standing.

1109 535 Language Disorders (3)
Examines the pragmatic, semantic, and syntactic features of children exhibiting disorders or oral and written language. Provides practical experience in the use of common language assessment protocols and the application of various language intervention strategies. Requires a basic knowledge of normal language acquisition. Prereq: SPLP 510.

1109 536 Articulation and Phonological Disorders (3)
Focuses on systems of speakers exhibiting phonological disorders, with emphases on diagnosis, , analysis of phonological data, and remediation strategies. Discusses normal phonological acquisition as a baseline for examining disordered systems. Prereq: 1109 510

1109 555 Communication Modalities (3)
Designed to assist the learner to develop an understanding of augmentative/alternative communication (AAC.)  The course emphasizes information that assist skill development in assessment/intervention procedures for verbal and non-verbal individuals with significant communication disorders.  Technology related to other disabilities will also be reviewed.  Apps for each topic will be integrated into the class discussion.  Prereq:  Graduate standing.

1109 560 - 564 Practicum in Speech (3 credits for each of 5 sections)
Provides supervised clinical practicum in the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of communication disorders. Including techniques of interviewing and counseling. Includes discussion of requirements for the profession and professionalism. Prereq: Permission of the clinical director.

1109 610 Speech Science  (3)
Focuses on the production of and reception of speech and speech sounds.  Emphasis is placed on how we produce speech (phonation and respiration), how we produce vowels (concepts of resonation), and consonants (distinctive features), how sound travels through air (acoustics), how the auditory system picks up sound (hearing) and transmits the speech signal to the brain (auditory processing) where it is comprehended (language and cognitive processing.)  The course presents the basic acoustics of speech and sound waves as well as spectrographic analyses of speech.  Instrumentation will be used to analyze voice and speech production.  Prereq:  Graduate standing.

1109 634 Aphasia (3)
Focuses on language disorder in adults and children caused by lesions of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Discusses specific disorders such as aphasia due to left hemisphere lesions. Congenital aphasia, language disturbances caused by right hemisphere lesions, traumatic brain injury and dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Prereq: 1109 520

1109 635 Voice Disorders(3)
Examines the perceptual and physical characteristics of disorders of voice. Discusses the etiology of these disorders and various assessment and treatment procedures. Prereq: SPLP 520.

1109 637 Motor Speech Disorders (3)
Focuses on the clinical processes of diagnosis and management of motor speech disorders. The nature, etiology and physiology of normal and abnormal patterns that  may impact a person's motor speech skills will be discussed across the lifespan. Current theories on the underlying neurology bases for motor speech disorders will be discussed as well as the general speech characteristics that accompany apraxia of speech and various dysarthrias.  Assessment procedures, differential diagnosis and treatment techniques will be addressed and the efficacy of the techniques as they related to behavioral, surgical and pharmacomedical interventions.     Prereq: 1109 SPLP 520

1109 638 Dysphagia (3)
Focuses on the nature, etiology and physiology of normal and abnormal patterns of swallowing and different disorders that may impact a person's ability to swallow will be discussed across the lifespan.  The course is designed to build the student's  knowledge and skills as they relate to the evaluation and management of dysphagia in the child and adult population.     Prereq: 1109 SPLP 520

1109 674 Research Methods in Communication Sciences (3)
Introduces students to basic research and statistical procedures in the communication sciences; demonstrates how research can be used to answer important questions in both speech-language-hearing disorders. Prereq: Graduate standing.

1109 695 Independent Study (3)
Allows graduate students the opportunity to explore areas of academic interest in which no formal course is available. Gives the graduate student the opportunity to explore and area which may lead to a thesis problem or which will further understanding in a particular area. Prereq: Permission of Acting Program Director

1109 698 Elective Subject varies. (3)

1109 699 Thesis (VC)
Gives the student an opportunity to apply research theories and methodologies to the study of a topic of importance in the selected discipline. Enrolls students in the course according to their areas of concentration and faculty availability and willingness to direct the thesis project. Prereq: Permission of Acting Program Director

Center for Urban Education
For more information about CUE, please contact:
Description: phone202.274.6960   

Mailing Address:
University of the District of Columbia
Center for Urban Education
Building 52, Room 306
4200 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008

For more information about the Speech – Language Pathology Program, please contact: Description: phone202.274.6161

Mailing Address:
Speech – Language Pathology Program
University of the District of Columbia
Building 41, Room 306
4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC   20008