Lateral Entry Speech-Language Pathology Students

"I want to earn a master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology, but my undergraduate degree is in another area. What do I need to do?"

A student wishing to pursue graduate study in speech-language pathology who has an undergraduate degree in an area other than speech-language pathology is classified as a “lateral entry student.” 

Lateral entry students must complete undergraduate coursework related to the speech-language pathology profession before they are eligible to apply to the graduate program. They can enroll at UNL as post-baccalaureate, non-degree-seeking students ( to fulfill the undergraduate requirements, or they can take comparable courses at another institution. Other admission requirements include a passing score on the Praxis CORE Exam, and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores obtained within the past 10 years. Of note, the average undergraduate cumulative and within-major GPAs of students accepted into the master-level program consistently exceed 3.75.

Prerequisite courses for lateral entry students seeking admission to UNL’s graduate program fall into three categories: (a) courses required by the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) for teacher certification, (b) general education courses required by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and (c) courses specific to the speech-language pathology profession. Lateral entry students must have completed 15 of the 20 prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better by the end of the semester prior to beginning the graduate program; having the majority of the remaining prerequisite courses completed is highly recommended. Of these 15, the following UNL courses marked with an asterisk (*), or equivalent courses from other institutions, must be completed:

a. Courses required by NDE:
–Foundations of Education (TEAC 331, 430, 434, 437)
–Developmental Psychology (EDPS 250, 251, 450, 451; CYAF 160)
–Learning/Cognition in the Classroom (EDPS 362, 457, 854; PSYC 263, 268)
–Multicultural/Human Relations (SLPA 488/888; TEAC 330/861)

b. General education courses required by ASHA:
–Biological Sciences (e.g., biology, human anatomy & physiology, neuroanatomy & neurophysiology, human genetics, veterinary science) *
–Physical Sciences (e.g., physics [PHYS 141 or higher], or inorganic/organic chemistry [CHEM 105 or higher, but not CHEM131])
–Social/Behavioral Sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology, public health)
–Statistics *

c. Courses specific to the speech-language pathology profession:
–SLPA 250 Phonetics *
–SLPA 251 Speech & Language Development (4 credits) *
–SLPA 271 Audiology I (4 credits) *
–SLPA 421 Professional Issues for the Communication Disorders Specialist (4 credits)
–SLPA 441 Clinical Methods
–SLPA 453 Introduction to Communication Neuroscience
–SLPA 454/854 Research Methods
–SLPA 455 Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism *
–SLPA 456 Speech and Hearing Science
–SLPA 461/861 Language Disorders
–SLPA 464 Phonological Disorders
–SLPA 472 Aural Rehabilitation

Prospective lateral entry students also must have completed 25 hours of supervised and documented observation of speech-language pathology evaluation or treatment sessions prior to starting the master's program.