The Portland State University (PSU) Medical Speech-Language Pathology Concentration within the PSU Speech and Hearing Sciences (SPHR) Graduate program offers an additional rigorous, advanced specialty training for graduate students interested in a career as a medical Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). This program provides graduates with a competitive edge in seeking positions for SLP job opportunities in multi-disciplinary medical settings across the continuum of care (e.g., inpatient settings, acute care, intensive care units, outpatient, skilled nursing facilities and home health settings) with both adult and pediatric populations. The PSU Medical SLP Concentration provides training opportunities that can include clinical and instrumental assessment and treatment of dysphagia, motor speech, voice, craniofacial, language processing disorders, and cognitive-communication with a variety of acquired, developmental and neurodegenerative adult and pediatric populations in the Portland metropolitan area. These clinical opportunities include topics of tracheostomy, mechanical ventilation, augmentative and alternative communication, and more. 

(Must be completed prior to beginning the program)

  • Acceptance in the PSU Speech and Hearing Sciences Master’s Degree Program
  • Application for the Graduate Medical SLP Concentration
  • Academic coursework relevant to neurologic communication disorders, and anatomy/physiology of speech and swallowing mechanisms (to be approved by appropriate faculty). Ideally completed prior to entrance, but could be completed simultaneously with the master’s program.
  • Experience hours (60 hours) - If you are interested, please apply regardless of experience. Due to COVID-19, the Medical SLP Concentration committee will be flexible with these aspects of the prerequisites. 
    • Volunteer or other work experience in medical settings in a capacity related to rehabilitation or working with individuals with disabilities
    • Shadowing of health care providers (for example: speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, physicians) 
    • Guided observations of speech-language pathology assessment and/or treatment across at least three distinct settings and/or medical populations (a minimum of 15 hours). Suggest observation of assessment or treatment related to swallowing, speech, language and/or cognition with adults or pediatrics. Examples of acceptable online platforms: Master Clinician, SimuCase, videos from your university clinic, a guided observation course or live observation. 


1. Courses
1a. Academic Requirements (for all graduate students)

  • SPHR 566 Motor Speech Disorders
  • SPHR 563 Adult Language Disorders
  • SPHR 555 Assessment and Treatment of Dysphagia in Adults
  • SPHR 556 Assessment and Treatment of Dysphagia in Pediatrics
  • SPHR 582 Voice Disorders
  • SPHR 559 Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)

1b. Additional Required Electives (for the Concentration)

  • SPHR 564 Medical Speech-Language Pathology I (2 credits)
  • SPHR 568 Medical Speech-Language Pathology II (2 credits)
  • Third approved elective related to medical speech pathology (2 credits)
  • *Fourth elective of your choice (2 credits)

*Medical Concentration students are required to take 4 electives (1 more than the general degree). Medical Concentration students graduate with 2 additional credits in comparison to the general degree students. 

2. Culminating experience or thesis on an approved topic related to work as a medical SLP with co-mentorship from a faculty member from the medical speech-language pathology concentration.*

* Note that comprehensive exam is not an option


3. SPHR Clinics

  • Dysphagia Clinic
  • Adult Medical Clinic
  • Cleft/Craniofacial Clinic
  • One other medical clinic 

4. Externships

  • At least *two practicum sites in medical centers (may include hospital, outpatient clinic, skilled nursing facility)
    *If the availability of externship placements is limited in any given year, requirements for graduation from the concentration may be adjusted as determined by a joint decision between the Medical Concentration Committee and Externship Committee.


5. Engagement: Each student in the Medical SLP Concentration cohort is required to engage in at least six approved community-based activities during their program to further their education in the area of medical speech pathology.


Applications for the Medical SLP Concentration will be sent to students who are admitted to the PSU Speech and Hearing Sciences Master’s Degree Program.

Contact: Cassie Quinn at