Become a Speech-Language Pathologist with Emerson College’s Online Master of Science in Communication Disorders Program

Become a Speech-Language Pathologist

With the same curriculum and faculty as our top 20–ranked on-campus program, most recently ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2016, Emerson’s online master’s in speech-language pathology (SLP) prepares you to make an impact in the lives of those facing speech, language, and swallowing challenges. Our close-knit, forward-thinking community of SLP professors, staff, students, and alumni offers you the evidence-based education, clinical training, and support you need to pursue licensure as a speech-language pathologist.


The Emerson online MS in Communication Disorders program brings together online and in-person learning to offer you the blend of independence, collaboration, and clinical supervision you need to develop as a confident clinician. The program provides you with the tools to support clients, families, and caregivers through all aspects of the therapeutic process, and coursework explores a range of topics to train you as a generalist in the field. Our online MS in Communication Disorders program is designed for students of all backgrounds, offering foundational courses online for students who have not previously studied speech-language pathology.

ASHA Accredited

Speech@Emerson is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Online SLP Program Requirements

The online MS in Communication Disorders program consists of a total of 72 graduate credit hours—54 applied credit hours and 18 foundational credit hours. The program can be completed in as few as 20 months through a 5-term track or in 36 months through a 9-term track. If you need to complete foundational courses, the program will take longer to complete.

  • Academic and clinical courses: 51 credits
  • Seminars/Immersions: 3 credits
  • Portfolio reflecting the integration of your academic and clinical work across semesters
  • Written and oral comprehensive assessment to demonstrate your clinical problem-solving skills

In conjunction with required courses, Speech@Emerson students must complete in-person clinical placements that satisfy both:

  1. The Emerson College requirements that they enroll in at least five semesters of Clinical Practica (CD 605) while in the program; and
  2. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) requirement to accumulate at least 400 clinical clock hours.

These are both minimums, and they are independent requirements. To complete the 400 clock hours required by ASHA, 25 hours must be spent in clinical observation and 375 hours must be spent in direct client contact. Of the 375 contact hours, at least 325 must be obtained within the graduate program.

You will also attend two weekend-long Immersions (Thursday–Sunday) at Emerson’s Boston campus during which you’ll have the opportunity to practice hands-on application of concepts learned in class under the supervision of faculty and staff.

Online SLP Program Foundational Courses

Depending on your academic background, you may need to take up to 18 credits of foundational coursework. These courses need to have been completed within five years of your intended start date with an earned grade of “B” or better. Students who have successfully completed foundational courses within the five-year time frame with a grade of “B” or better may be able to waive certain foundational coursework. All foundational courses are also offered online. Although it is not necessary to have the following courses completed at the time of application, all students must complete them successfully before beginning applied courses.

  • Speech Sounds: Phonetics and Acoustics
  • Language Development
  • Clinical Observations and Foundations
  • Structures and Functions for Speech, Hearing, and Swallowing
  • Survey of Communication Disorders Across the Lifespan
  • Foundations of Audiology

Our Curriculum

The Speech@Emerson curriculum is the same as that taught in our top-ranked on-campus MS in Communication Disorders program. Designed by exceptional Emerson faculty, coursework delves into a range of evidence-based topics, from typical and disordered communication to theories of speech and language development, impairment, and rehabilitation. You will learn to assess and treat the full array of communicative challenges through classroom and hands-on application of family-focused, developmental, cognitive, psychosocial, behavioral, and medical models.

The online curriculum is rigorous and helps you develop the critical problem-solving skills you need to address challenges faced by a speech-language pathologist, including working with people who have:

  • autism spectrum disorders,
  • aphasia,
  • language and literacy challenges,
  • fluency disorders,
  • phonological and articulation disorders,
  • complex communication needs,
  • cognitive-communicative disorders,
  • voice disorders,
  • swallowing problems,
  • motor-speech disorders, and
  • deafness or hard of hearing.

For a full list of courses and descriptions, view our Course Catalogue.

Our Online Campus

The online campus acts as your academic hub as well as your connection to Emerson’s small, tight-knit community.

Attend weekly, live classes, which are kept small to facilitate discussion and collaboration.

Access coursework created by Emerson faculty at any time that can be completed at your own pace between live class sessions.

Connect with Emerson through our interactive virtual campus to meet one-on-one with professors, chat with classmates, or contact the support team.

Clinical Placements

You will work with our team of placement specialists to find local sites within our national partner network where you can treat clients. These semester-long, in-person clinical practica will span at least four semesters, broadening your hands-on, professional experience with a variety of individuals. You will also complete one virtual placement to begin your clinical placement experiences.

Through your clinical placements, you will apply evidence-based concepts learned in class in real-world settings, learn how to collaborate in professional environments, and develop your skills working directly with clients. Our clinical component is designed to equip you to work in a variety of settings with clients ranging from newborns to the elderly.

During your clinical placements, you will:

  • Grow your practical understanding of communication disorders that affect speech, language, literacy, social skills, cognition, and swallowing.
  • Gain exposure to clinical settings such as early intervention programs, public and private schools, private practices, and acute care and rehabilitation hospitals; and
  • Learn professional collaboration, counseling skills, and how best to evaluate and treat diverse clients.

Support for Online Students

As a student in our online master’s in speech pathology program, you will have access to a comprehensive support network, including:

  • a dedicated admissions counselor,
  • a faculty advisor,
  • a student success advisor,
  • a field placement specialist,
  • a clinical supervisor who is a licensed SLP,
  • a financial aid counselor,
  • a technical support team, and
  • career and library services.


Admission to Emerson College’s online Master of Science in Communication Disorders program is competitive, and we seek diverse candidates from a range of academic backgrounds. We offer multiple start dates throughout the year for our online master’s program in speech-language pathology. Our admissions team reviews applications on a rolling basis, so the sooner you apply, the sooner you will receive an admissions decision.

Upcoming Deadlines

Speech@Emerson has three cohorts throughout the year, in January, May, and September.


January 2020 Cohort

Priority Deadline: September 27, 2019

Final Deadline: November 1, 2019

Classes Start: January 13, 2020

May 2020 Cohort

Priority Deadline: January 24, 2020

Final Deadline: February 28, 2020

Classes Start: May 11, 2020

Admissions Requirements

Applicants to our online master’s in speech-language pathology program must hold a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a regionally accredited university. Because we welcome applicants whose undergraduate studies were not in speech-language pathology, we offer foundational courses online to help you prepare for applied graduate-level study. Depending on your academic background, you may need to take and pass foundational courses (with a grade of “B” or better) before enrolling in applied courses.

Application Requirements

In addition to the online application, you must submit the following to apply to the online program:

  • Official transcripts from any institution where you earned a degree, took over 12 credits, or took foundational courses. All non-US transcripts must be sent to an evaluation agency and should include a course-by-course evaluation, GPA, and degree equivalency. All official transcripts should be submitted electronically through or by mail to the following address:

    Application Processing Services
    7900 Harkins Road
    Suite 501
    Lanham, MD 20706
  • A current résumé that includes relevant professional and volunteer experience.
  • Official GRE scores. GRE waivers are available to applicants who already hold a graduate degree. If you are not a native English speaker, you will also need to submit English language proficiency test scores: TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, or Pearson
  • Three letters of recommendation from people best able to assess your academic and professional qualifications for academic study and clinical work as a speech-language pathologist, including your motivations, goals, and clinical potential.
  • An essay that answers the following prompt: Reflecting on your work, life, and educational experiences, describe how you decided to pursue a career in communication disorders/speech-language pathology
  • An interview, which will be scheduled following the submission of your online application. The interview will be conducted over video, recorded, and included in your completed application.
  • A nonrefundable application fee of $75.
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Take the next step to become a speech-language pathologist and help your clients find their voice.

Get started today when you apply to Emerson College's online Master of Science in Communication Disorders.


Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for the 2019–2020 academic year is $1,251 per credit. Our online MS in speech-language pathology program is 54 applied graduate credits, so you can expect to pay at least $67,554 in tuition over the course of your program if you are not required to enroll in any foundational courses. Foundational courses will be charged at the current tuition rate. You can expect to pay additional fees each semester and a moderate tuition increase each year. Students are also required to attend two Immersions on campus in Boston and are responsible for associated travel and lodging costs.

Scholarships may be available for eligible students enrolling in the program. Speak with your admissions counselor to learn more about scholarship opportunities. Students should also conduct independent research for external scholarships, tuition assistance and employer support if applicable.

To help fund your graduate education, graduate students enrolled in this program may be eligible to apply for federal student aid. Federal loans are available to eligible students in the form of Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans. View our financial aid checklist here.

For more information about financial aid, visit the Financial Aid page on our college website.

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Admissions Events

Our admissions team hosts live, online events so you can learn more about the program and what it’s like to study online at Emerson. If you’d like to attend an upcoming session, register today.

Admissions Events
Wednesday, September 11, at 6:00 p.m. EDT Program Overview Webinar
Thursday, September 19, at 5:30 p.m. EDT Application Workshop

About Emerson

Emerson College is devoted to communication and the arts, and speech and communication were two of our founding disciplines. Speech and communication disorders remain an important focus of the College, and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is always working to advance research and education in these disciplines. With campuses in Boston, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands, Emerson infuses the energy and culture of its students into its undergraduate and graduate program offerings. Our diverse community fosters curiosity and innovative thinking to shape society and culture in the 21st century.

Emerson strives to educate tomorrow’s leaders to bring creativity and depth to their fields of study. The College’s core liberal arts values seek to promote civic engagement, encourage ethical practices, foster respect for human diversity, and inspire students to create and communicate with clarity, integrity, and conviction. Emerson’s on-campus graduate program in communication disorders is ranked in the top 20 nationally.

About the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Emerson’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders has been dedicated to helping people overcome challenges associated with speech, language, and other communication disorders for more than 80 years. The Department’s pioneering undergraduate- and graduate-level programs prepare students for a range of careers in the field, including speech-language pathology, audiology, and occupational therapy. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is known for being at the forefront of research and has a reputation for excellence in its clinical preparation of professionals in the field.

Our community of communication disorders students and alumni is supported by:

Reflective Clinical Practice

The communication disorders curriculum is built on the foundation of clinical practice, and students gain hands-on practice exposure in their communities beginning in their second semester of applied graduate-level study. Students also attend two Immersions on Emerson’s Boston campus to complete seminars on academic and clinical topics. Through these learning opportunities, students are encouraged to integrate academic and clinical knowledge and to think critically about the effectiveness of their own clinical practice.

Faculty Research and Evidence-Based Scholarship

Emerson communication disorders faculty are engaged in clinically relevant research for people with communication and swallowing impairments; this research informs our academic and clinical instruction.

Personalized Support

Students in our online speech pathology master’s program benefit from joining a collaborative and caring group of passionate, driven, and self-motivated students from across the country. Our faculty think of their students as future colleagues, offering mentorship and opportunities for professional growth. Classes are kept small with a 15:1 student-to-teacher ratio, ensuring a personalized experience in which all students are equal contributors.

Emerson College also offers the Master of Science in Communication Disorders program at our main campus in Boston. Learn more about the on-campus program.

Take the next step to become a speech-language pathologist and help your clients find their voice.

Get started today when you apply to Emerson College's online Master of Science in Communication Disorders program.

Emerson Faculty

The online Master of Science in Communication Disorders program is designed by the same exceptional faculty who teach in the on-campus program. Our full-time faculty have earned graduate degrees in speech-language pathology or related fields. Most of our faculty are practicing SLPs; some engage in applied clinical research. All faculty are committed to integrating evidence-based practice into the learning process.

You can view profiles of our faculty and instructors here:

Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure

Emerson College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The master's in communication disorders education program in speech-language pathology at Emerson College is 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. This accreditation ensures that your program of study at Emerson will satisfy the academic and clinical requirements to pursue national ASHA certification as a speech-language pathologist. State licensure requirements vary depending on where you wish to practice. You should check each state’s specific licensure requirements for more information on how Speech@Emerson can enable you to meet the standards for state licensure.


Request information to learn more about Speech@Emerson. You can also get started on your application at any time.


Why Speech-Language Pathology?

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have the ability to make an impact on those struggling to do something we all do every day—communicate. As an SLP, you have the opportunity to deliver essential care in a one-on-one setting and provide life-changing support to people from all walks of life. Emerson’s program gives you the generalist clinical training you need to pursue a career as a client- and family-centered speech-language pathologist, able to treat people and empower their caregivers.

The Need for SLPs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 18 percent by 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. In 2016, about two out of five SLPs worked in schools, while most others worked in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals.1

From newborns to the elderly, there are a range of societal factors contributing to the increased need for SLPs. Life expectancy is increasing as baby boomers age, and early intervention for children with speech, language, and cognitive disorders is becoming more prevalent. As these trends continue, SLPs will find more opportunities to support clients and their families throughout the lifespan.

1, viewed online February 2, 2018.Return to footnote reference

Pursue your career in speech-language pathology and start making an impact on clients in need. Apply to Emerson’s online Master of Science in Communication Disorders program today.