International students now welcomed into master’s program

Priyanjana Chaudhary

International students may now be admitted to Augustana College’s master of science in speech-language pathology program. In Nov. 2022, Augustana College was approved by the government to enroll international students in their Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program. The college had begun the program in 2020.

According to the College of American Pathologists, “Pathology is the medical discipline that provides diagnostic information to patients and clinicians.” Speech pathology in particular focuses on evaluating, diagnosing and treating communication and swallowing disorders. 

Augustana’s speech pathology department is in Brodahl Hall, which houses a clinic that gives a practical learning approach to the students. 

“Anyone in the community can come for the service, but it’s not for free. There’s a certain charge. We do have discounts for Augie students depending on their diagnosis,” first-year graduate student Sarah Chapman said.

Xong Sony Yang, the director of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) is excited about international students being able to enroll in the graduate program at Augustana.

“We were recognized by Homeland Security department education only at the undergraduate level. Each level of education we have needs to be recognized by the government so that we can host international students at that level,” Yang said. 

Receiving governmental approval to enroll international students into a new program is a long process. 

“In April last year, we petitioned that Augustana has a graduate program, and we were able to host international students at that level,” Juanita Trevino Perez, an International Student Advisor, said. “There were many processes and documentation that we had to provide in order to be recognized. And finally, in November 2022, we were recognized and approved.” 

Students in a pathology program will engage in courses in speech anatomy, communication disorders, diagnosis, treatment, research and counseling, as well as training in collaboration with families and professionals.

“The program is two years long. The first year we have classes, the second year we go out into the work field,” Chapman said. “In order to get the degree, the last step is passing the final board test.” 

Since a Master’s in speech-language pathology is not a STEM degree, international students who graduate in this program will be able to work up to 12 months after graduation. Opportunities include clinical speech-language pathology work, research, academia and consulting. 

“To get into a master’s program, you have to get a 3.5 or higher GPA, [you] don’t necessarily have to be a CSD major in undergraduate, but we have to take a couple of courses to be able to get into the program,” Chapman said. 

Each college has its own requirements to be eligible for graduation. The basic requirements for this master’s program are completion of required courses, research experience, academic performance, seminars and presentations and comprehensive exams. 

The importance of science in pathology programs in colleges cannot be overstated. It is the foundation upon which the discipline of pathology is built. Being able to enroll international students in graduate programs will help Augustana’s alumni create a global impact in their field of study.