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Emphasis in Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology



The Emphasis in Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology (EBSLP) is a specialized track within the speech-language pathology graduate program. Graduate students on this track receive academic and clinical training in:

  • Speech and language development and disorders in bilingual children, with an emphasis on Spanish-English speakers
  • Speech and language processing and communication disorders in adult bilinguals, with an emphasis on Spanish-English speakers
  • Clinical techniques for the identification, assessment and management of communication disorders in linguistically and culturally-diverse adults and children

This graduate track equips all students with the ability to provide clinical services to linguistically- and culturally-diverse children and adults who present communication disorders. Students enrolled in the EBSLP track complete one additional course and participate in a variety of clinical experiences with bilingual children and adults. Because TCU is located in a state with a large Hispanic population, the language of focus on our track is Spanish. However, the knowledge and skills acquired in the courses and clinical work are applicable for working with individuals whose primary language differs from Spanish.

Diversity in SLP

More than 40 Years of Training Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology

The Hispanic/Latino population is the fastest-growing group in Texas and the United States. Due to great ethnic, racial and linguistic diversity within the Latino population, individuals may speak Spanish, English or varying degrees of both. Though their needs for speech, language, hearing and swallowing services are comparable to those of individuals from any other linguistic, cultural or ethnic background, the Latino population’s particular linguistic diversity makes effective assessment and treatment of communication disorders a unique challenge.

Meeting the clinical needs of the Latino community requires speech-language pathologists who not only speak and write fluently in Spanish, but who also have advanced graduate training which provides them with the knowledge and skills needed to properly evaluate and treat Spanish-speaking individuals from varied backgrounds. The EBSLP track has a rich tradition of training these professionals. It was founded in the late 1970’s as the first federally-funded bilingual SLP training in the United States. The first class of bilingually-trained SLPs graduated in 1982 and, since that time, we have trained more than 100 professionals who have pursued successful careers in speech-language pathology and who have served culturally and linguistically diverse individuals.


A Short History of the Emphasis in Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology

Advanced graduate training specific to bilingual populations was initiated at TCU in 1979 with a federal grant from the Department of Education. Federal funding for the bilingual track continued through the 1980’s as the curriculum and clinical experiences continued to expand and be refined. The first coordinator of the bilingual track, Dr. Manuela Juarez, was recruited from Children’s Hospital in Boston and relocated to Fort Worth to establish a world-class specialization in bilingual SLP at TCU. The first group to graduate with the bilingual specialization in 1982 included three students – Nora Zarate-Hodges, Linda Spurlock, and Graciela Garcia. Teri Mata-Pistokache, one of the early graduates of the track, is now an associate professor at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

Many of the students who were trained in the graduate bilingual track at TCU went on to be leaders in cultural and linguistic diversity in the state and nation. A large cohort of TCU graduates helped to form and are still involved with the Texas Organization of Multilingual Multicultural Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists (TOMMAS), an organization that provides leadership, advocacy, and support for multilingual, multicultural professionals serving individuals with communicative impairments from culturally- and linguistically-diverse backgrounds.

In addition to Dr. Juarez, a number of outstanding faculty have coordinated the bilingual track over the last 30 years, including Dr. Hortensia Kayser, who currently coordinates multicultural and bilingual programs as director and Dr. Raquel Anderson, currently full professor in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences at Indiana University. The current faculty of COSD have created one of the most effective, dynamic, and influential bilingual SLP training in the United States. Today, graduate bilingual SLP training at TCU is known as the Emphasis in Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology track, and we continue to train and graduate professionals who will become leaders in the communication needs of culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

Characteristics of the Emphasis in Bilingual SLP Track

Admission to the graduate EBSLP track requires native or near-native spoken and written English and Spanish language fluency since all communication is conducted in the language or languages that best match the needs of the client and family. Spanish proficiency will be assessed with a submission of a written essay and during a telephone or in-person interview. Students must obtain a bachelor’s degree, including at least 27 hours in approved speech-language pathology courses (see Frequently Asked Questions).  Students also must obtain 25 hours of guided clinical observation hours prior to enrolling in the MS graduate program.

While on this track, students will complete academic coursework specific to second-language learning, multicultural and linguistic considerations, and the presentation of communication disorders in bilingual populations. Additionally, students will have clinical experiences with bilingual children and adults with a variety of communication disorders in a variety of settings. Students also may engage in bilingual research.

Clinical Training

A defining characteristic of the EBSLP track is that a 125 of the 425 clinical hours are with culturally and linguistically diverse populations across the lifespan under the supervision of expert bilingual faculty and clinical supervisors. Clinical training experiences within the EBSLP track are unique.

In 2010, Irmgard Payne helped to develop “Ranitas en el Campo,” an interprofessional collaboration with Fort Worth Independent School District, where first year graduate EBSLP students provide assessment and classroom-based intervention to culturally and linguistically diverse preschool children with speech and language impairments. Students enrolled in the EBSLP track begin these experiences in their first semester at TCU, which sets the stage for advanced knowledge and skill acquisition throughout the five semester graduate program.  Additional first year EBSLP graduate experiences include evaluation and treatment of young bilingual clients at the Miller Speech & Hearing Clinic on the TCU campus.

In the summer semester and again in the second year of the graduate program, students will obtain advanced experiences in medical facilities, early childhood intervention, and school districts throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex via clinical externships. See a list of clinical sites here. These externships provide opportunities to gain experience with culturally and linguistically diverse populations under the supervision of experienced clinicians who are also bilingually-trained SLPs. Also in the second year, students will have opportunities to work with Spanish-speaking patients with aphasia in the Miller Speech & Hearing Clinic. This unique experience provides students with the opportunity to work with adults who have had a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or degenerative disease which has caused language and cognitive impairment. As part of this clinical training, students will see clients in both group and individual therapy formats.


Academic coursework has been developed to provide classroom-based experiences and learning specific to culturally and linguistically diverse populations. An MS with emphasis in bilingual speech-language pathology requires 46 credit hours of coursework over five semesters of study. The EBSLP specialty track currently admits six students each year who have demonstrated excellence in undergraduate study but also native or near-native spoken and written English and Spanish fluency. TCU understands the need for SLP’s with advanced training in culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and allows us to support every student admitted with a graduate assistantship that covers the majority of tuition costs (typically 70-80%) for the duration of the program.

Our graduate program requires full-time enrollment and is a residential program (courses are not offered online and students must attend class on campus). Throughout the program, you will enroll in course distributions that allow for the completion of academic and clinical requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in SLP (CCC-SLP). Classes at the graduate level focus on more complex disorders of communication.  Academic coursework and clinical practicum begin during the first semester of the graduate program.

All graduate students pursuing the MS with EBSLP complete COSD 60443 and an advanced course in bilingual speech-language pathology (COSD 60453).

  • COSD 60443 Multicultural Issues in Communication Disorders

Study of multicultural considerations for children and adults with communication disorders. Topics will include socio-cultural influences on speech and language development, educational considerations, non-biased assessment, and cultural and linguistic considerations in treatment planning. Issues of dialect, languages other than English, and bilingualism will be discussed.

  • COSD 60453 Speech, Language, and Cognition in Bilinguals

Study of research related to cross-linguistic and multilingual speech and language development, neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics. Includes current practices in the assessment and treatment of communication impairments in non-English speaking and bilingual adults and children. An overview of the curriculum is found here.

Research Opportunities

We encourage you to participate in culturally and linguistically diverse research conducted by faculty in the Davies School of Communication Sciences & Disorders. Students with an interest in conducting supervised research are also encouraged to consider completing a thesis to meet graduation requirements.

Admission to the Emphasis in Bilingual Speech Language Pathology

Students who are interested and meet the requirements for EBSLP track, please be sure to answer yes on the CSDCAS application. If you have questions related to the EBSLP track, please contact:

Irmgard Payne, MS, CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor of Professional Practice
Coordinator of the EBSLP track

On-Time Program Completion Rate

Period # Completed Within Expected Timeframe % Completed Within Expected Time Frame
2021-2022 20 100%
2020-2021 19 95%
2019-2020 20 100%

Praxis Pass Rates

Reporting Period # Taking the Exam # Passed Exam % Passed Exam Rate
2021-2022 19 18 95%
2020-2021 19 19 100%
2019-2020 20 20 100%

Employment Rates of Graduates

Reporting Period Employment Rate in Profession
# of Graduates from prior year % of Graduates from prior year
2021-2022 18 90%
2020-2021 20 100%
2019-2020 17 85%

The master of science (M.S.) education program in speech-language pathology {residential} at Texas Christian University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 220 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD, 20850, (800) 498-2071 or (301) 296-5700.