Pre-Speech Pathology Plan

The UT Martin Pre-Speech Pathology (SLP) Plan is designed to prepare students for application to professional school. By following the Pre-Speech Pathology Plan recommendations, students will be eligible for admission into most graduate Speech Language Pathology (SLP) programs; however, the undergraduate courses required for admission vary substantially from one institution to the next. The courses listed in the plan are intended only as a guideline and students are strongly encouraged to review the requirements for their school(s) of choice as they vary from school to school.


The Pre-Speech Pathology Plan is slightly different from the other pre-health plans because the undergraduate prerequisites for most SLP graduate programs are not as rigid as other graduate health professions programs. Moreover, some graduate programs require specific courses in speech language or communication disorders that are not offered at UT Martin. In some cases students can add those courses to their graduate studies; however, in other cases, students will need to plan to take those courses after graduating from UT Martin. Students should contact the HSPP Program Coordinator for more information.


Please note: The Pre-SLP Plan is not a major and does not fulfill the requirements for a baccalaureate degree at UT Martin. The courses listed below are recommendations and are not required for degree completion unless also listed under the student’s chosen major.

Frequently Asked Questions


What does a speech language pathologist (SLP) do?
Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in patients. Speech, language, and swallowing disorders result from a variety of causes, such as a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, Parkinson’s disease, a cleft palate or autism. (source:


Is there a demand for speech language pathologists?
YES! According to the US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2026.


What degree to do I need to become a speech language pathologist?
The entry level degree for speech language pathologists is a Master’s degree.


How many accredited graduate speech language programs are there in Tennessee?
Five: East Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, the University of Memphis, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and Vanderbilt University


What is the typical length of the professional program?
5 semesters/2 years


Are there any required admissions tests?
Yes, most SLP program require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)


What application service do I use to apply to a graduate SLP program?
Most programs in Tennessee require students to apply directly to their program; however some programs use the Communication Sciences and Disorders Centralized Application Service (CSDCAS).


When should I apply?
Applications to SLP schools should be submitted in the summer or fall of the year preceding the desired admission date. For most students, this means that they will apply the summer after their junior year or the fall of their senior year.


Do I have to have a bachelor’s degree to get into a graduate SLP program?


What kind of grades do I need to get into a graduate SLP program?
Academic performance is crucial. A GPA of 3.5 or higher is needed to be a competitive applicant. Moreover, most SLP programs require that all prerequisite classes be completed with a grade of “C” or higher.


What kind of SLP experience do I need?
You don’t necessarily have to have work experience in the SLP field; however, you are strongly encouraged to learn about the field through volunteering and shadowing a speech language pathologist.


How many hours of direct observation do I need?
There is no magic number for how many hours of shadowing/observation you should have; however, the more shadowing/volunteering you do, the more knowledgeable you will be about the field, which will translate into a stronger application. Not only should you have as many hours as possible, it is also a good idea to observe in as many different clinical settings as you can.


Will I be a pre-SLP major?
No. The Pre-SLP Plan is not a major and does not fulfill the requirements for a baccalaureate degree at UT Martin. The courses listed in the plan are recommendations and are not required for degree completion unless also listed under the student’s chosen major.


What should I major in?
As a pre-SLP student at UT Martin, you can major in any area you choose. The best major is the one in which you are the most interested and the most likely to succeed. The most common majors for pre-SLP students at UT Martin are Psychology and Human Performance: Exercise Science and Wellness because many of the classes required by the SLP schools are also required by those majors.


What are the minimum requirements for SLP?
At a minimum, most Speech Language Pathology programs require:

  • one biology course
  • one chemistry course
  • one statistics course
  • one math course

In addition to the courses listed above, many Speech Language Pathology schools require specific courses in human speech or communication disorders.


What classes at UT Martin should I take as a pre-SLP student?
While not an exhaustive list, the following courses are recommended for students considering applying to an SLP program school. As noted above, the requirements for the different SLP programs vary and students should always check with their advisor and/or school(s) of choice before deciding which classes to take.


Recommended courses

  • Biology 130 Foundations of Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity
  • Biology 140 Foundations of Biology: Cell and Molecular
  • Chemistry 121 General Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 122 General Chemistry II
  • Physics 101 Physics in Everyday Life I OR 211 College Physics I
  • Physics 102 Physics in Everyday Life II OR 212 College Physics II
  • Psychology 101 Introduction to Psychology
  • Sociology 101 Introduction to Anthropology
  • Sociology 201 General Sociology
  • Statistics (Math 210 Statistics OR Human Performance 440 Evaluation in Human Performance OR Psychology 318 Experimental Psychology II)
  • Zoology 251 Anatomy & Physiology I
  • Zoology 352 Anatomy & Physiology II


Where can I find out more about the field of Speech Language Pathology?

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