Speech language pathology students walking.

Speech-Language Pathology

Learn how to help children and adults who have trouble communicating because of speech-related disorders. Prepare for careers in schools, private practice and hospitals.

Help Others Build Confidence

The graduate program in speech-language pathology (SLP) provides broad-based academic, clinical and research experience to prepare you as a speech pathologist. You may work in many different research, education and health care settings such as public hospitals, rehabilitation centers, community and mental health services, schools, kindergartens and specialist organizations.

Learn to treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. The two-year, post baccalaureate program consists of coursework and on-site clinical practica, followed by two semesters of full-time, external internship placements.


Degrees & Offerings

Speech Language Pathology (M.A.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in speech-language pathology is a two-year post-baccalaureate program consisting of four semester of didactic coursework (including one summer) and clinical practicum which is at a minimum two semesters of external, full-time clinical placements. The program is typically completed in 6 semesters for full-time students. It may take some students up to 8 semesters depending on courses completed prior to graduate enrollment; part-time enrollment is possible and will be planned on a case-by-case basis.

View Admissions Requirements

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Start Your Application Today

This graduate program utilizes a specialized CAS online application to complete the admissions process. To learn more about this program's unique application process, requirements and program deadlines, visit Specialty Graduate Program Applications.

Additional requirements exist for international applicants. For more information, visit International Admission Requirements. 

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Student Opportunities

As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

We annually offer several graduate assistantships to students pursuing a Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Speech Language Pathology and the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D).

Graduate traineeships are also offered to graduate students in speech language pathology and audiology through the Leadership Education Excellence in Caring for Children with Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program. Audiology and speech language pathology students are selected as trainees for this program. Each trainee receives a stipend and tuition reduction for their participation. The program lasts one academic year. Students take part in classroom, clinical and research experiences focusing on interdisciplinary services for children with developmental disabilities and their families. 

Scottish Rite Graduate Fellowships

These graduate fellowships are designed to provide support to USD students doing graduate work in speech-language pathology or audiology who are interested in practicing in South Dakota or vicinity following graduation (although this is not a requirement). 

The Janet Bailin Fellowship is in the amount of $1,500. Applicants should have a 3.0 or better grade point average in DCOM courses and preferably in all courses taken and completed. To be eligible, a student must be fully admitted into the graduate school program. No work duties are required of holders of a graduate fellowship.

Scholarship Application Procedures

Scholarship opportunities and application deadlines are announced early in the spring semester for awarding at the spring department awards ceremony. The communication sciences & disorders faculty as a committee-of-the-whole will select the recipient of each scholarship.

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders. You may be interested in opportunities to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests.

Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Join your fellow graduate and professional students at USD. We aim to build a sense of community between graduate and professional students. Build your resume, network with others and gain experience and the unique opportunity to represent the interests of graduate students to the greater campus and community. 

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National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA)

The National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA) offers an opportunity to get to know faculty and other students by sponsoring social and educational events throughout the year. As a member you can take advantage of referral services, access to professional literature, networking opportunities with other professionals through sponsored activities and programs.

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At USD, our graduate students are actively pursuing unique research and presenting at local, national and international conferences exploring innovative areas of interest to them. Additional research and grant opportunities include:

Research and Creative Scholarship Opportunities

Each semester students may apply for grants through the USD Graduate School, faculty and students pursue research in virtually all academic departments on campus.

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IdeaFest is an annual event celebrating student research, creative scholarship and academic engagement. Undergraduate and graduate students in all disciplines present their work in oral and poster presentations, live performances, readings, exhibits and displays. 

Learn More

Faculty & Staff

Get to know your professors and support staff in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lindsey Jorgensen

Lindsey Jorgensen

Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders/Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jessica Messersmith

Jessica Messersmith

Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences/Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kyle Brouwer

Kyle Brouwer

Bio Image for Faculty Member Stacie Carlson

Stacie Carlson

Director Sioux Falls SLP Clinic/Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Coral Dirks

Coral Dirks

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jason Fornwald

Jason Fornwald

Bio Image for Faculty Member Shelly Grinde

Shelly Grinde

Bio Image for Faculty Member Elizabeth Hanson

Elizabeth Hanson

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kate Nightman

Kate Nightman

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jennifer Phelan

Jennifer Phelan

Coordinator, Audiology Clinic/Assistant Professor of Practice
Bio Image for Faculty Member Mandy Williams

Mandy Williams

Associate Professor

departments & facilities

Our faculty are members of the Center for Brain and Behavior Research, promoting innovative basic to translational research that addresses problems in neurology, neuropsychology and psychiatry.
Faculty standing over half of a mannequin head explaining the inside of the head to two students who are sitting at the table taking notes

Communication Sciences & Disorders

Gain knowledge of communication disorders and their treatment and take part in world-class clinical experiences, outreach activities and research in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

A teacher reading a book to a child student.

Opportunities to Make a Difference

From the philanthropy efforts provided by a variety of USD clinics to the annual Speech Camp hosted by USD, there are ample opportunities for you to become involved and provide individualized services under the guidance and supervision of state-licensed and nationally certified speech-language pathologists and audiologists.




A child and two adults playing with health equipment together.

USD Clinics

USD has clinics in Vermillion and Sioux Falls that give you the ability to observe clinic activities across the entire breadth and depth of speech, language and hearing services from birth to elderly. Our clinics include the USD Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic and the Sioux Falls Scottish Rite Children’s clinic for Speech & Language Disorders. Our clinics offer students the opportunity to observe evaluation, treatment and consultation services for children and adults with speech, language, hearing and related communication needs.




Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 
GA (Resident*)
Tuition (1 cr.)
GAF Fee (1 cr.)

More About Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates are subject to change and may vary depending on the program or department. Visit the Graduate Tuition & Costs page for more information.

* Graduate Assistant (GA) rates are available for resident, non-resident and online students.

** Resident rates may be available to you through the SD Advantage, Child of Alumni or Western Regional Graduate Program. To see if you quality, visit usd.edu/grad-tuition.

Student success story

Paige Northagen headshot
I chose USD for my master's program because of the experiences I've had with my professors. They enjoy their students success and if you engage, they are willing to be by your side and give you the help you need to succeed. As a graduate teaching assistant, I am more than an instructor, I am a resource and support system for my students.

Paige Northagen

Current USD Graduate Student
Vermillion, South Dakota 


The Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Speech Language Pathology and the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D) residential educational programs at the University of South Dakota are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.

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