Non-degree Seeking Students

Students holding bachelor’s degrees in a field other than Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SLHS; also referred to as communication sciences or disorders) who wish to pursue a clinical Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree in Speech-Language Pathology may apply to the M.S. program. If accepted, that student will be put on a 3-year track. Those who are not accepted to the M.S. program or who would rather complete foundational coursework before applying to the MS program may want to consider taking undergraduate coursework in SLHS as a non-degree seeking student prior to applying to an M.S. program. The questions and answers below cover information regarding foundational coursework, the 3-year M.S. program, and non-degree seeking status.

Why is foundational coursework required?

Completion of coursework provides students from outside disciplines with the necessary academic foundation to succeed academically and clinically. A foundation in normal hearing, speech and language development, speech acoustics, anatomy & physiology, as well as the nature of language, speech and hearing disorders in children and adults is essential to understanding the clinical processes involved in the identification, prevention and remediation of these disorders.

What is the 3-year Master’s degree program offered at UA?

The 3-year Master’s degree program at UA is designed for students who do not have foundational coursework in the discipline, but who are excellent students who have been accepted into the Master’s program. The first year of the program is spent taking foundational coursework and preparing students for the rigor of the 2-year Master’s program. At the start of the 2nd year, students join the incoming class of 2-year Master’s students to begin the coursework for the clinical Master’s degree.

How do I apply to the 3-year Master’s degree program offered at UA?

There is only one application process for the M.S. program. Thus, whether a student is considered a 2-year or -3-year student, the process is the same. During the review of applications, the faculty committee determines whether the student would be a 2-year or 3-year student. Details on the application process are here.  If you would like us to conduct a preliminary review of your coursework to determine if you are a 2-year or 3-year student, please email an unofficial transcript to

What does it mean to take courses as a non-degree seeking student?

Students can apply to the graduate college at UA formally as a non-degree seeking graduate student. Application deadlines are 1 week prior to the start of a semester. Details on the admission process are here.

After admission at UA as a non-degree seeking student, students are eligible to enroll in courses on campus if they meet the requirements for those courses and/or receive instructor permission.

As a non-degree seeking student, am I eligible for financial aid?

Typically students need to be enrolled in degree seeking program to be eligible for financial aid (i.e., scholarships, subsidized loans, work-study) through the University of Arizona Financial Aid Office.  As a non-degree seeking study, you may be eligible for certain types of loans.   Please contact the office of Scholarship and Financial Aid for additional information

When can I enroll in foundational coursework as a non-degree seeking student?

Students who hold non-degree seeking status do not have priority for registration. Therefore, students will be enrolled in the course only if space remains in the course at the start of the semester. It is likely you will not know if you can take a course until the first week of classes. There is no guarantee that courses will be available or that registration in one course guarantees registration in the next course in the sequence.

If you plan to enroll in SLHS coursework as a non-degree seeking student, you should contact Dr. Meghan Darling-White to determine an appropriate sequence of coursework.

What are the advantages of the 3-year Master’s degree program compared to taking coursework as a non-degree seeking student?

Students in the 3-year M.S. program have priority in registration for foundational courses and have guaranteed continuation into the 2-year clinical Master’s degree program at the UA.

What courses are recommended as foundational coursework at UA?

The following courses are required for students enrolled in the 3-year M.S. program and recommended for non-degree seeking student who are taking courses prior to applying to the 2-year clinical M.S. program.

Fall semester

  • SLHS 261 Anatomy & Physiology of the Speech Mechanism (4 units)
  • SLHS 340 Language Science (3 units)
  • SLHS 477 Communication Disorders I (3 units)
  • SLHS 483R/L Principles of Audiology (4 units)
  • SLHS 471 Speech Sound Disorders (3 units; prerequisite is a course in Phonetics)

Spring semester

  • SLHS 367 Speech Science/Phonetics (3 units)
  • SLHS 441 Language Acquisition (3 units; prerequisite is SLHS 340)
  • SLHS 473 Communication Disorders II (3 units; prerequisite is SLHS 477)

Are there additional courses I should consider taking prior to applying to a 2-year Master’s degree program?

The governing board for the field of Speech-Language Pathology establishes certification standards for the field. They recently released the 2014 standards. While most standards are met during a graduate training program, there are several that effect required undergraduate science courses. At the University of Arizona, we have changed our undergraduate requirements to meet these standards beginning Fall 2014; however, currently enrolled students may need to modify their plan of study to meet these requirements. If you do not meet these standards, you will not be successful in applying for clinical certification. In addition, some graduate programs are including these prerequisites in their admission criteria. Details are listed below:

Standard IV-A: The applicant (student applying for clinical certification) must have demonstrated knowledge of the biological sciences, physical sciences, statistics, and the social/behavioral sciences.

Acceptable courses in biological sciences should emphasize a content area related to human or animal sciences (e.g., biology, human anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, human genetics, veterinary science).

Acceptable courses in physical sciences should include physics or chemistry.

Acceptable courses in social/behavioral sciences should include psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health.

A stand-alone course in statistics is required. Research methodology courses in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) may not be used to satisfy the statistics requirement.

Courses used to fulfill these requirements must be taken outside a Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences / Communication Disorders department
. They must appear by name/number on your official college transcript with a final grade
. They can consist of any number of credits
. They can be taken for a numerical grade, credit/no credit, pass/fail, or satisfactory/unsatisfactory, but students must achieve a passing grade.

Details on Course Guidelines are here.

These requirements may also be satisfied by Advanced Placement credit, International Baccalaureate credit, CLEP or examination of equivalency. However, students must have transcript record of these credits/examinations. The full standards can be found at the ASHA website.