Frequently Asked Questions

Why UMaine?

While there are many options nationally for your graduate education in speech-language pathology, UMaine is the only graduate program in the State of Maine (and one of only three in Northern New England). We proudly prepare our masters students as generalists, competent to work in any setting with any client, to serve all of the communities across our state. 

In the classroom, we offered experiential learning experiences that enable our students to master content and apply skills within the structured classroom setting. Our faculty facilitate the development of collaboration, self-reflection, critical thinking, and professional writing skills through case studies and other interactive activities. 

Clinically, our student gain experiences from the start of graduate school with clients with different communication needs across the age span. In their first semester, our students begin developing a caseload in our on-campus clinic, and then expand their learning to off-campus placements. Given our community and alumni connections, our students can gain clinical experiences across New England and Canada in varied settings including: early intervention, public schools, community clinics, private practices, acute care, rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities, and more. Our clinical supervisors work hard to understand students’ professional goals and secure external clinical placements that align with their skills and preferences.

Our research labs provide opportunities for students to engage in mentored or self-directed (thesis) projects to further develop their skills. We hope students’ experiences with research in their masters program enable them to contribute to much-needed research in the field as a clinician and as an independent researcher. 

When students are asked, “Why should someone pick our program?”, they’ve shared perks such as: cost of attendance, size of the program, starting clinical experiences in the first semester, availability of off-campus clinical placements, exposure to a variety of clients, confidence in meeting the clinical hours requirement before graduation, relationships with clinical and academic faculty, and individualized graduate school experiences. Our international graduate students from Canada specifically stated the benefits of: opportunity to work as graduate assistants, qualification for specific scholarships, and tuition rates specific to Canadians. 

The Graduate Student Experience

What funding opportunities are available for the graduate program?

Please review our Funding page. 

How do I find housing? Where do students live?

Generally, our students live within a 30 minute drive to campus, most frequently in Orono, Old Town, and Bangor. Our students recommend looking at apartment complexes in Old Town and Orono, such as The Ave, The Reserve, and The Block, but there are more. Additionally, Facebook pages like “University of Maine (UMAINE) Housing, Sublets & Roommates” can be helpful. After admission, the graduate coordinator can help connect students to facilitate the process. 

How many students would be in my graduate class?

We aim to have about 20 students in each graduate class, ranging from 15 to 25 each year. 

When do you start your first clinical placement?

For a standard program of study, students will start serving their first clients in our on-campus clinic the first semester of graduate school. Typically, treatment services begin the second week of the semester. Students receive ample guidance in preparing for and starting their first session, with continued support throughout their graduate program.

What does a day in the life of a graduate student look like?

Although schedules and programs of study can vary, most first-year graduate students in their fall and spring semesters begin their days by seeing clients in the on-campus clinic between the hours of 8 and 4. Each weekday, students can expect to attend a graduate course at night (typically 4-7pm) to fulfill coursework requirements.  Summer clinic placements vary widely based on the student’s interest and needs but often include off-campus and international placements for students looking to pursue Canadian licensure upon graduation. For second year graduate students, they are off-campus for both the fall and spring semesters with night classes on weekdays. The hours and locations of these clinical placements vary based on the student’s interest and needs. Students commute up one hour, one way for highly desirable placements, such as acute care hospitals, while many students commute within a half hour drive of Orono. A sample course rotation, with the weekday night classes listed, can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook. 

I am interested in speaking with a current graduate student. Is this possible?

Yes, our department has graduate student ambassadors to answer your questions about our program.

Applying to the Graduate Program

Do I need a Bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) to apply to the Graduate Program?

You will need to complete a Bachelor’s degree before enrolling in the Graduate Program, but the degree does NOT need to be in CSD. Applications from all backgrounds are welcome. Many of our students have earned degrees in other areas including but not limited to Psychology, Neuroscience, the Performing Arts, and Human Development.

If you do not have a CSD degree, you will need to complete five prerequisite undergraduate courses. It is also necessary to have undergraduate courses in physics (or chemistry), biology, statistics, and behavioral sciences (psychology or sociology).

What background courses will I need for the Graduate Program?

The Graduate Program requires completion of 5 undergraduate prerequisite courses in CSD: Audiology, Language Development, Speech Anatomy and Physiology, Phonetics, and Speech Science (at UMaine, the course numbers are CSD 201, 280, 283, 382, and 484) and a course in Neuroscience. The course in Neuroscience, required for students beginning the program in Fall 2025 and later, does not need to be in CSD but must include both neuro-anatomy and neuro-physiology.
These courses may be completed before or during the first year of the Graduate Program. When included as part of the Graduate Program, the background coursework can extend the length of the program by 1-2 semesters, but some prerequisites can be taken concurrently with a traditional program of study. If prospective students are prioritizing what prerequisites to pursue prior to their graduate program, it is highly recommended that students complete courses in Speech Anatomy and Physiology, Language Development and Phonetics to prevent extension of the graduate program.
ASHA’s EdFind and the Medical University of South Carolina have lists of programs offering prerequisite courses. Prerequisites taken outside of UMaine should be approved before students take the course by sending the course description to the graduate coordinator to ensure they meet the requirements. 

ASHA also requires that students have background undergraduate coursework in biological sciences, physical sciences, behavioral sciences and statistics. These courses cannot be related to communication sciences and disorders.

Is there a “cut-off” for GPA and GRE scores to apply?

Applications are reviewed according to three criteria: GPA, personal statement, and  letters of recommendation. Strengths in some areas may compensate for a weakness in another area. The GRE is no longer a requirement for admission. Currently, only applicants with GPAs of 3.25 and above will be considered for admission.

Is there a certain question I should be answering in my personal statement?

Yes, please address the following prompt in your personal statement in 300-500 words: “Applicants to our graduate program consistently have strong academic records and varied extracurricular experiences. Our department aims to find a graduate cohort of students who can uniquely and meaningfully contribute to the graduate program and the field of speech-language pathology. Share a story about yourself that exemplifies why you are a good fit for the University of Maine’s graduate program and the field of speech-language pathology.”

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

We strongly encourage two letters of recommendation from academic faculty who can speak to your capacity to participate in graduate-level work. These could be past instructors, advisors, or anyone you interacted with in the university/college-setting. The third letter could also be from an academic faculty or from an outside person, like a work supervisor.