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What's the difference between pre-reqs, leveling programs, second bachelor's, and post-baccs? Which is right for me?

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TLDR; each graduate program will have their own list of courses you'll need to complete before applying (& some don't require any!)


There aren't any set definitions for prerequisite, leveling, and post-bacc courses , and they're often used interchangeably anyway. This is sort of a rule of thumb you can follow, but there are quite a few exceptions:


Prereqs: these are courses that can be taken a-la-carte (enrolling in one course at a time, or whichever courses fit your needs) I.e., if the grad program you're interested in just has a list of prerequisite courses (most do), it won't matter where you got your coursework done at. You could do some at one undergraduate program, and some at another, and over a length of time that isn't typical for most students if you wanted. Just check with the grad programs you're interested in to make sure that the courses you're taking will satisfy the requirements. You usually don't have to apply to a university to complete your prereqs a-la-carte. People on this sub seem to really enjoy ENMU's a-la-carte offerings - I believe each course is online, asynchronous, and under $300 out of pocket.


Leveling courses: most of the time, this term is used for a listing of courses that are offered through a university as a way for you to get all of your prerequisite coursework knocked out in a few semesters. Most of the time, you do not need to apply: you can usually just enroll. You sometimes end with a certificate, but most of the time you won't have anything to show at the end except your transcript. Most of the time, you cannot apply to graduate programs that require an undergraduate degree in CSD if you choose this option.


Post-bacc: post-baccalaureate programs are much the same as leveling courses, except that for some of these programs, you'd have to apply and be accepted. Again, you sometimes end with a certificate, but most of the time you won't have anything to show at the end except your transcript. Most of the time, you cannot apply to graduate programs that require an undergraduate degree in CSD if you choose this option.


Second Bachelor's: These programs usually include all of the major-specific coursework that is required of other undergraduates in CSD that come from the same university. (I.e., a degree with just the Junior/Senior classes and none of the gen-eds). You almost always have to apply and be accepted to these programs. When you complete the requirements, you should receive a degree that is just as valid as a regular undergraduate degree in CSD. Most of the time, you CAN apply to graduate programs that require an undergraduate degree in CSD if you choose this option.


OK, so which one is best for me?

My advice would be to come up with a list of 5-10 grad school programs that you'd be interested in attending. It's fairly likely that all of their prerequisites will be slightly different. The prereqs that are required for each program will be listed on their website.

For example,


CSUSM's prereqs are:

SLP 150 - Introduction to Communicative Sciences and Disorders (Formerly EDSL 350)

SLP 201 - Hearing Disorders and Measurement

SLP 251 - Language Development and Assessment for Practitioners

SLP 320 - Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism

SLP 357 or PHYS 357 - The Science of Speech and Hearing

SLP 364 - Cultural Diversity in Schooling (OR EDUC 364 OR ID 340)

SLP 391 - Clinical Phonetics and Analysis of Disordered Speech

SLP 450 - Diagnostics for Speech Language Pathologists

SLP 491 - Neural Correlates in Speech-Language and Swallowing Functions

EDUC 380 - Applications in Child and Youth Development (OR PSYC 330)

MATH 142 - Basic Statistics (OR PSYC 220)


University of the Redlands' prereqs are:

Speech and Language Science

Audiology and Hearing Science

Functional Anatomy/Physiology of Communication

Language Development

Phonetics and Phonology



University of the Pacific

this university offers an accelerated program, so you wouldn't need any prereqs at all!


You'll want to find a post-bacc, leveling, prerequisite, or second bachelor's program that would satisfy the requirements for most of the graduate programs that you'd be interested in attending. You likely won't find one that fulfills all the requirements for all of the programs. However, by meeting most programs' prereq lists, you'd be giving yourself the best chance possible for an acceptance!



If you don't want to do prerequisites:

There are many schools that have extended three year programs, and for some of those you wouldn't have to take any prerequisites before applying to the grad program! The prerequisites are usually just built in, which is why these programs tend to be 3 years instead of the usual 2.

The difference between doing this and going through a prerequisite program is that you are already admitted to the grad program while you complete those prereqs, so you don't have to worry about sinking an entire year of tuition into a leveling program that might not pan out when you actually start applying to grad schools. Additionally, if you're dependent on student aid, it can get a little tricky for some prerequisite programs if they do not offer a degree or certificate - you'd have to be enrolled in a "degree-seeking" program to qualify for some types of financial aid. You'd avoid this in a grad program that includes the prerequisites.

ASHA edfind has a tool that allows you to search for programs that don't require prerequisites. There are 46 (out of 298) - just go to ASHAedfind and one of the search options will be "does not require prerequisites"

People over at slpgradschool on reddit helped me compile a list of schools that are included in ASHA's list of programs that don't require prereqs, but we also found some that don't have this requirement and aren't listed: https://www.reddit.com/r/slpGradSchool/comments/oh7xam/list_of_programs_that_dont_require_prerequisites/


If you'd like to learn more, I have a more in-depth post up here: https://www.jomyers.online/post/prereqs-leveling-second-bachelor-s-and-post-baccs-oh-my-which-is-right-for-me

Edited by jomyers.online
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