CUW’s Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program is now fully accredited!

The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) has granted CUW’s Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS SLP) program full accreditation for five years, the maximum term allotted.

Leading up to this point, Concordia’s SLP program underwent a rigorous review process which culminated in a site visit in October 2023. Earlier this month, the program officially received word that it had met or exceeded all 161 standards/sub-standards during the review, qualifying it for five years of full accreditation effective March 1, 2024.

“The standards laid out by the CAA are designed to ensure the highest excellence in educating students. The fact that we earned initial accreditation for the full five years without having any areas identified as needing improvement speaks to the quality of our program,” says Department Chair Beth Eernisse, PhD, CCC-SLP. “I want to recognize our faculty and staff in the department for their hard work in developing the program and continually rising to the occasion for each cohort we’ve had the pleasure of educating.”

Building momentum

CUW welcomed its inaugural cohort of MS SLP learners in summer 2018. Since that time, the program has graduated three cohorts of SLP students under a provisional candidacy status, with annual reviews being held each year.

CUW is now one of only two private colleges in Wisconsin and the only school within the Concordia University System to offer a fully- accredited SLP degree.

CUW SLP distinctives

In addition to the accreditation achievement, there are several other ways that CUW’s speech-language pathology master’s program sets itself apart.

Quality faculty and staff

Concordia’s SLP faculty are highly qualified and bring a wealth of real-world experience to the classroom. Students regularly cite the professors and the community they build as a hallmark of the program, says Eernisse.

The caliber of the faculty is evident in the program’s retention rates. Students who earn a bachelor’s at Concordia consistently choose to remain at CUW for their graduate experience. Last year alone, 10 out of the 12 students who earned their bachelor’s degree at CUW chose to stay. In addition, there has been progressive growth in the quality and quality of applicants from outside CUW, which speaks to the growing national reputation of CUW’s graduate-level SLP program.  

New clinic space

In 2019, Concordia opened the doors to its latest building, the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center. About half of the 41,000-square-foot building is devoted to SLP clinic and education spaces, including facilities dedicated to pediatric feeding, preschool language and literacy, voice and audiology services. Through these clinics, CUW students – under the supervision of licensed professionals – serve members of the community who are seeking SLP or audiology services at low or no cost.  

Strong clinical experiences

Thanks to the up-to-date clinical spaces on CUW’s campus, students benefit from a variety of on-site clinical opportunities. However, the program is also intentionally designed to expose students to off-site clinical experiences, and Concordia has a wide range of partnerships established with well-established medical and educational organizations in the area.

Through partnerships with the LUMIN schools St. Martini and Granville Lutheran, for example, students have opportunity to work with students in working classrooms to become immersed in the environment before they graduate. This isn’t the case for every SLP program in the state, says Eernisse, but it’s an important part of preparing students for their careers after graduation.

Out-of-state externship opportunities

The CUW SLP master’s program frontloads classes in order to intentionally leave student’s final semester open for medical and educational externships. This course-free semester allows students the flexibility to pursue externships out of state, which isn’t always possible in other SLP programs. Past externship locations have included Seattle, the Twin Cities, Nashville, Chicago, Austin, and Napa.

Preparation for school or health-care settings

Speech-language pathologists are able to practice in both academic and medical settings, as they support effective communication and swallowing in individuals across the lifespan. Accordingly, CUW’s program is designed to prepare students for both DPI (education) and DSPS (health care) licensure. Concordia is also approved as an Educator Preparation Program (EPP) partner for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which ultimately streamlines the process for Wisconsin licensure.

Want in?

In order to obtain a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders (or equivalent from another school) is required. Concordia offers the undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and a one-year leveling program for students with a non-speech bachelor’s degree, needed to prepare learners to graduate as competent practitioners. Learn more about our programs by clicking below.