The Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS SLP) program at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP) is officially changing its name to align with the program’s medical emphasis. After four cohorts of students, and starting in fall 2021, the program will be called the Master of Science in Medical Speech-Language Pathology (MS MedSLP).
In addition to the program name change, the curriculum will increase to 80 credits to better represent the time students spend in laboratory training and externships and other practical experiences. Linda Spencer, PhD, CCC-SLP, the MS SLP Program Director, explains, “Our students perform complex skills and procedures, such as practicing flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy. That time is currently not considered in their credit hours, so the updated curriculum includes lab credits to represent that content.” She also said that externships and practicum hours in the updated curriculum would increase to represent students’ clinical training experiences more accurately.
While the program curriculum will increase in total credits, the total tuition cost of the program will not increase; rather, the program cost per credit will decrease.
With these changes, the program curriculum emphasis is not changing. Spencer explains that the program, when it was created and started, was always medically-focused. “It’s an affirmation of what we’ve always been doing,” said Spencer.
The program’s medical emphasis benefits the students who go through the program in many ways. Spencer explained that students with a medically-focused MS SLP degree are more competitive candidates when applying for externships. “We have students doing externships at prestigious hospitals like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Those institutions acknowledge that our students come from a program that emphasizes medical applications in courses covering dysphagia, medical instrumentation, and medical SLP tracheostomy. This medical emphasis prepares students to be more competitive to get those most envied externships. Then having had those externships, they may be more employable in medical settings.”
By changing the program’s name, RMUoHP will better be able to recruit students specifically interested in being part of a medically-focused MS SLP program. “During interviews, our students often express their specific interest in the medical aspects of this program,” said Spencer. Changing the name of the program, added Spencer, “will make the medical-focus of the program more consistently noted and obvious.”
The program changes will go into effect with the fifth cohort of students who will start the program in the fall of this year. For more information on the program, visit their webpage.