Degree Requirements

Our students integrate real-world perspectives in their field through extensive clinical observations and practicums. Anually, our clinics provide meaningful services to hundreds of patients in Buffalo. As a student, you will develop the knowledge and skills to change lives.


The MA degree requires a minimum of 40 credit hours of academic courses in Communicative Disorders and Sciences, not including clinical practicum credit. Actual requirements may exceed that number of hours, however, since the MA program is also designed to fulfill the academic and clinical requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence. Thus, requirements will vary with the student’s undergraduate background.

MA Curriculum Plan

A general course of study for the entire MA program. It is intended as a guide to help student in planning their course of study each semester.

Clinical / Certification Requirements:

Clinic Practicum requirements are based on a minimum of four semesters of practicum work. One 12 week clinical practicum summer session (1st and 2nd summer session) is mandatory between a student's 1st and 2nd year of clinical work.

The second spring semester is a full time commitment for students, 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday.

Typically occurring in a student's second year of graduate school, a 16 week full time, Monday through Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm clinical externship experience is required. Appropriate coursework and academic requirements must be completed prior to externship placement. The maximum number of courses that may be taken while one is on externship is one night course.

  • 25 hours of clinical observation
  • Satisfactory completion of 375 clock hours of supervised clinical practicum over a variety of communicative disorders and with all ages.
  • Satisfactory completion of one summer of clinical practicum in the University at Buffalo Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic (required for all M.A. students in speech-language pathology). See summer program requirements.
  • Satisfactory completion of externships in schools and clinical settings. Externships will typically be arranged during the third and fourth semesters of study.

Students should also be aware of prerequisites for participating in clinical practicum.  

The sequence and length of clinical practicum / externship is dependent on an individual's demonstration of clinical competencies as outlined by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association.

The New York State certificate for Teachers of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities is available at the graduate level but may require additional time. Please see the section regarding requirements for initial certification for practice in the schools. 

3. Grades: A minimum 3.0 GPA must be maintained in academic courses and successful performance in clinical practicum must be maintained as indicated by a Satisfactory (S) grade on an individual's grade report.

4. Probation: If a student falls below the 3.0 level for one semester or does not achieve clinic competencies for one semester, the student is notified of probationary status and is allowed one more semester in which to achieve the acceptable standard. Clock hours obtained in a clinical practicum judged “unsatisfactory” will not count toward the 375 clock hours required for certification. If the student fails to achieve the minimum academic grade point average (3.0) and/or clinical competencies, he or she will be dismissed from the program.

5. Residency: The master’s program requires two years of full-time study. Students considering part-time study should note that all graduate work credited toward a master’s degree must be completed within four years (official leaves of absence excluded) from the first graduate school registration date. Petition for acceptance of transfer credits for courses taken at another university must be approved by the student’s advisor and by the department chair. Such transfer credit is generally limited to no more than 6 credit hours. Forms to request approval of transfer credit may be obtained from the department secretary.

6. Thesis: A thesis is not required for the M.A. degree but is an option strongly recommended for all students who expect to apply at any time for doctoral study. The thesis option may be completed with a minimum of 37 credits (speech-language pathology) in academic courses and 6 credits in thesis guidance. All thesis candidates will be required to pass an oral examination on the thesis topic at the completion of the thesis.

The non-thesis option requires satisfactory completion of the national ASHA examination.