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Division of Communication Disorders

Coming Soon- Leveling Distance Program.  Expected to begin Spring 2017

Leveling Information

The graduate program curriculum builds on an undergraduate degree in communication disorders. If you have a bachelor's degree in a different area, you must complete a core set of courses called Leveling. The courses can be completed in one academic year on campus or they can be taken online. 


There are 12 leveling courses  (see Table below). Although the full set of leveling courses is not required prior to admission to our graduate program, completion of all the courses will maximize success in graduate school and allow a student to apply to any master's program in speech-language pathology. 

Of the leveling courses, four are Pre-requisites to beginning the graduate program: students will not be considered for admission without them. Three courses are Required: these must be completed by the end of the graduate program, in addition to the master’s courses. Due to the heavy load of the Master’s program, we recommend having no more than two in total of these and the Foundational courses (see below) to complete during your master's program. Three leveling courses are strongly Recommended for success in graduate school, but if they are missing, rather than taking the courses, you may be required to do additional readings or activities.  

In addition to the Leveling courses, four college non-remedial Foundational courses, one in each of the following areas, are required: (a) social science (preferably psychology), (b) biological science (preferably biology or human anatomy or physiology), (c) physical science (preferably physics or chemistry), and (d) statistics. These are typically part of the general education of any bachelor’s degree and are easily obtained in community colleges, so having all of them done before starting the graduate program is strongly recommended. Finally, a course in American Sign Language is also helpful for working with individuals with a variety of communication difficulties, but is not one of our leveling courses. ASL courses are offered on campus at UW and at many community colleges.

Clinical Observation Hours

Before beginning direct clinical contact hours in the graduate program (first semester on campus, first summer distance), students must complete at least 15 hours of observation of clinical practice. These hours can be obtained in any combination of settings from ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists or audiologists. Observation hours documentation must include the setting, the time, and from the observed speech-language pathologists or audiologists: signature, ASHA certification number, and photocopy of the current certification card. For Campus Levelers, this process is best initiated through a 1 credit hour course, SPPA 2250, offered each fall.


On campus leveling students take the regularly offered courses. It is expected that distance leveling courses will be offered beginning in spring 2017.  The leveling courses may be taken by leveling students in any order and without the pre-requisites, but this is a more difficult route than taking the coursework in a sequenced manner as part of the undergraduate degree. At the beginning of the semester, students should inform their instructors that they are levelers. An instructor may require leveling students to carry out some additional independent reading or other activities to help them be successful in that course.

Enrollment Status

Leveling is completed on a course-by-course basis, not as part of a degree program, so the transcript will simply list the courses taken and no course transfers from other institutions are required. At the time of master’s application, students send official copies of all college transcripts as part of the application package.

If students are full-time campus levelers, we recommend enrolling in second bachelor's status (SBA). This makes the levelers part of the program for advising and communications, and allows them to qualify for financial aid. Please note, however, that leveling coursework does not constitute a full second degree.

If, during leveling, students also take a graduate course (numbered 5000 or above) that they may want to apply later to any UW graduate program or a graduate program at another university, they must change their status to non-degree graduate student (NDG) for the semester in which they take the graduate course. NDG students pay tuition for all coursework in that semester at the higher graduate student rate. Contact the Registrar for further information on this. 

Further Information

For more information about distance leveling contact the Distance Coordinator, Teresa Garcia at The UW Outreach School can provide more information on distance course registration procedures, tuition, and fees. 

Leveling Courses 


Course Name



SPPA 2250

Clinical Observation  



SPPA 2210

Phonetics and Phonological Development



SPPA 3265

Anat & Phys of Speech, Swallow, & Hearing



SPPA 4160

Language Development



SPPA 4150

Aural Rehabilitation



SPPA 4310

Acoustics of Speech & Hearing



SPPA 4340

Basic Audiology



SPPA 4380

Neurological  Basis of Communication



SPPA 4250

Clinical Methods



SPPA 4240

Language Disorders Across the Lifespan



SPPA 4220

Speech Disorders Across the Lifespan



SPPA 4750

Research Methods



SCH = semester credit hours

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