Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-Language Pathology: 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 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.

MS Speech-Language Pathology

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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.

As a UDC Center of Excellence, our master's program in speech-language pathology prepares you to treat children and adults with communicative disorders in a variety of clinical settings. Our intensive curriculum is designed for students who have a strong work ethic and a commitment to serving the community.

Student Learning Objectives

Students completing the Speech – Language Pathology Master of Science Program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate information pertaining to normal and abnormal human development across the lifespan
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the biological sciences, physical sciences, statistics, and social/behavior sciences
  • Understand and demonstrate knowledge  of the principles and methods of prevention, assessment and intervention for people with communication and swallowing disorders
  • Integrate knowledge of processes used in research and of the integration of research principles into evidence-based clinical practice
  • Demonstrate knowledge of communication and swallowing disorders and differences, including the appropriate biological, neurological, acoustic, psychological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural bases.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of communication and swallowing disorders and differences, including the appropriate etiologies, characteristics, anatomical/physiological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural correlates in nine areas:  articulation; fluency; voice and resonance, including respiration and phonation; receptive and expressive language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, prelinguistic communication and paralinguistic communication ) in speaking, listening, reading, writing; hearing, including the impact on speech and language; swallowing (oral, pharyngeal, esophageal, and related functions, including oral function for feeding, orofacial myology); cognitive aspects of communication (attention, memory, sequencing, problem-solving, executive functioning); social aspects of communication (including challenging behavior, ineffective social skills, and lack of communication opportunities); and augmentative and alternative communication modalities.
  • Demonstrate skills in oral and written or other forms of communication sufficient for entry into professional practice
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the profession’s standards of ethical conduct

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.

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 |
http://www.asha.org/academic/accreditation | Voice:  301. 296.5700 | Fax:  301.296.8580

Student Outcomes



Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Program

Program of Study

The master's degree in speech-language pathology takes approximately two - three years to complete depending upon admissions criteria. Students are admitted on a two-year track if they have an undergraduate degree in Speech - Language Pathology and are on a three - year track if they do not have an undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology. 

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.

Requirements for admission to the program include:

  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited institution
    • A degree is speech-language pathology is preferred, but not required.
  • Minimum grade point average of 3.0
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Letter of intent
  • GRE general test scores
  • Interview with admission committee representative

The master's degree program in speech-language pathology offers two externship specialty tracks:

  • School-based
    • Students will be trained to service school-aged children, particularly those from economically and/or culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • Medical Speech Pathology
    • You will be trained in the 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.

Program requirements:

  • 57 credit hours
    • This does not include credit hours for prerequisite coursework
  • A minimum of 375 hours of supervised practicum, at least 325 of which must be completed at the graduate level.  
  • Minimum of 15 credit hours of clinical practicum
  • A minimum of two external clinical practicum experiences

After completing the requirements for the master degree, you must complete the certification requirements as defined by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. These requirements include:

  • Passing the national certifying examination (PRAXIS)
  • Completing the Clinical Fellowship Experience

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Speech-Language Pathology Program

The National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA) coordinates advocacy activities, social events and attendance at local, regional and regional conferences. NSSLHA is a UDC Graduate Organization and is supported by the Program, College of Arts and Sciences and the University’s Office of Student Affairs.  The UDC NSSLHA Chapter is very active at the local, regional and national levels and has received numerous awards and recognition for exemplary student service to the profession.

In addition, students are very active in the provision of services through the UDC on-campus Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic.  In addition to serving as a clinical training site for students enrolled in clinical courses, students provide valuable diagnostic, treatment, counseling and prevention services to D.C. residents both on-campus and throughout the DC metropolitan area.  The UDC Clinic has served District residents free of charge for more than two decades.

Several private and public agencies (including the UDC Child Development Center, the D. C. United Planning Organization Early Childhood Programs and the D. C. Office on Aging) collaborate with UDC SLP to provide clinical services to their client or student base.

Faculty Spotlight: UDC Speech-Language Pathology Program 

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.

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. 

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.

Rachelle Nelson, M.S., CCC-SLP
Rachelle Nelson is the Director of Academic and Clinical Instruction. She holds an M.S. and B.S. degree from Howard University in Speech-Language Pathology.  She teaches prerequisite courses related to phonetics, diagnostics, observations, and functional disorders. Her research interests include faculty and student wellness and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

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.

Kristin Spivey, Ed.S. CCC-SLP
Kristin Spivey holds the M.S. and B.S. degree in Communication Disorders from Marshall University. She also holds an Ed.S. Degree in Early Childhood Special Education, and Educational Administration. She is a specialist in childhood language and provision of school-based services. She supervises Level One and Level Two clinical experiences with a focus on communication needs of children K-12.

As a UDC Center of Excellence, our master's program in speech-language pathology prepares you to treat children and adults with communicative disorders in a variety of clinical settings. Our intensive curriculum is designed for students who have a strong work ethic and a commitment to serving the community.

Career Pathways and Prospects

Graduates enter the Speech-Language Pathology profession upon completion of the certification requirements defined by the national certifying body, Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech - Language Pathology (CFCC) 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.

Contact info:

E: wcolston@udc.edu  | T: 202.274.6161 or 202.274.6851 | F: 202.274.5589