Southern California offers a plethora of graduate degree programs in speech pathology at the master's and doctoral levels. These programs generally follow a cohort model and include multiple clinical experiences for hands-on learning. Here we look at a few of the schools and their programs in detail.
Schools in Southern California with Graduate Degree Programs in Speech Pathology
California Baptist University
Riverside's California Baptist University offers a full-time Master of Science (MS) in Speech-Language Pathology for state licensure and national certification. The program can be completed in 6 semesters (2 years), including summers, and follows a cohort model. Students are required to complete at least 400 clinical hours in a variety of settings, including schools, medical institutions and community organizations. The program requires a comprehensive exam and includes a capstone course and a Praxis exam (national certification) review course.
San Diego State University
San Diego State University in San Diego has a full-time Master of Arts (MA) in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences with a concentration in speech-language pathology and an interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Language and Communicative Disorders. The MA program can be completed in 5 semesters, requires a practicum experience in a public school and offers a thesis or comprehensive exam option. Students in the MA may also choose a specialization in bilingualism to work with bilingual clients, but interested students must pass a second-language proficiency test. The PhD program focuses on the neuroscience and cognitive science behind language disorders and provides students with a variety of research and teaching opportunities.
California State University-Long Beach
California State University-Long Beach provides an MA in Speech-Language Pathology. Students in the program complete at least 400 hours of clinical experience, including 2 externship experiences with one in a medical setting and another in a school setting. Some of these clinical hours are accomplished at the school's on-campus Speech and Language Clinic where students receive experience in areas such as neurogenic and developmental speech and language disorders. Graduates meet the requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
University of Redlands
The University of Redlands in Redlands has an MS in Speech-Language Pathology that totals a minimum of 60 credits. The program requires a final oral presentation and does not have a thesis option, but students interested in research can participate in projects with faculty members for experience. Students also complete 25 hours of observation, a range of clinical experiences and an externship in a health setting and one in a public school setting. Clinical experiences provide students with practice in areas like autism, adult neurogenic disorders, fluency disorders, school-age language disorders and more.
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda University in Loma Linda offers an MS in Speech-Language Pathology that is full-time and follows a cohort model. Students can complete the program in 2 years and must take a practicum each quarter, as well as 2 full-time internships in a medical and school setting, after completing a clinic orientation. Students in the program can also compete for graduate assistantships, but cannot work as speech-language pathologists while in the program. The program prepares students to take the Praxis during or after the program.
Common Entrance Requirements
The majority of graduate programs in speech pathology in Southern California require applicants to have a minimum GPA of a 3.0 or higher and a bachelor's degree in speech-language pathology, communicative disorders or another closely related field. Applicants who do not have a bachelor's degree in the field must complete prerequisite coursework in subjects such as language development, phonetics, audiology and speech and language science. Most programs require students to include their official transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a personal statement with their application. However, a few programs may not require the GRE and some programs may also ask to see a current resume and/or have qualified applicants participate in an interview process.
California offers MS, MA and PhD degree programs in the field of speech pathology and typically requires around 400 hours of clinical experience to meet ASHA requirements. Students in these programs are usually exposed to medical and educational settings and may be able to choose a thesis option if they would like.