Department of Communication
Sciences and Disorders

West Chester University

Dr. Cheryl D. Gunter, Chair
201 Carter Drive, Suite 400
West Chester, PA  19383
Phone:  610.436.2115
Fax:  610.436.3388


Program Description

West Chester University’s graduate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) prepares students for a career in speech-language pathology. Students participate in the program by attending classes on campus and by completing clinical practicum courses both on campus and in affiliation sites. The program is not delivered via distance education.

CSD’s graduate program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. The CAA is an organization of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA).


The content of CSD’s graduate curriculum meets the standards defined by the CAA. The core curriculum consists of 63 semester hours, including 36 semester hours of didactic courses and 27 semester hours of clinical courses. All didactic courses are taught on campus. Clinical courses are taught on campus in WCU's Speech and Hearing Clinic and off campus at affiliation sites (schools, hospitals/rehabilitation centers). The clinical courses provide students opportunities to earn a minimum of 400 clock hours of clinical work (therapy and diagnostics) in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the post-graduate Clinical Fellowship (CF) experience, which is a prerequisite for earning the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) offered by ASHA.  

In some cases, the actual number of credit hours that a specific student must earn may include more or less than 63 credit hours, depending on the following factors:

  1. The number of courses transferred into the program from another institution
  2. Academic deficiencies in a student's undergraduate program (e.g., lack coursework in statistics, neurology, biology, chemistry or physics, lifespan development)
  3. Academic deficiencies in coursework required to earn the Pennsylvania Instructional Certificate (for students who seek this certificate)

The specific courses included in CSD’s core graduate curriculum are listed below.

Course Number Course Title Credits
Required Courses (63 semester credits)
SPP 501 Foundations of Research in SLP 3
SPP 511 Language Disorders I (0 to 5 years) 3
SPP 512 Language Disorders II (6-18 years) 3
SPP 516 Adult Neurogenic S/L Disorders 3
SPP 523 Voice Disorders 3
SPP 524 Fluency Disorders 3
SPP 526 Clinical Articulation and Phonology 3
SPP 543 Therapy for the Hearing Impaired 3
SPP 570 School Language, Speech, and hearing Programs 3
SPP 575 Medical SLP 3
SPP 582 Dysphagia 3
SPP 551 Graduate Clinical Practicum S/L-1 3
SPP 551 Graduate Clinical Practicum S/L-2 3
SPP 551 Graduate Clinical Practicum - Hearing 1.5
SPP 551 Graduate Clinical Practicum - S/L Dx 1.5
SPP 552 Medical Affiliation Practicum 9
SPP 553 School-Based Affiliation Practicum 9
*Elective Courses (3 hours each – Students must take one)
EDR 550 Literacy Development and Instruction 3
SPP 521 AAC 3
SPP 550 Advanced Diagnostic & Therapeutic Methods 3
SPP 560 Seminar in Communicative Disorders:(various topics) 1–3
SPP 565 Communication Enhancement for ASD 3
SPP 590 Independent Study (1-3) 3
SPP 610 Thesis 3


* With three exceptions (EDR 550, SPP 521, SPP 610) the availability of elective courses is rotated from year to year.

Program Progression

A new cohort of students enters the program each fall semester. The cohort typically includes 24 full time students and 4 part time students. All students must be available for daytime classes. Full time students take 12 hours a semester and part time students take 6 hours a semester. A full-time student can complete the curriculum in two years, including summers (i.e., 4 academic-year semesters plus 4 summer semesters). Part-time students can complete the program in 3 years (i.e., 6 academic-year semesters plus 6 summer semesters). Full-time and part-time students must be available for daytime classes.

Academic Standards

Once students enter the program, they must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale. This is the minimum standard established by the West Chester University for all graduate programs. Additionally, students must meet all of the standards listed on the Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills Assessment (KASA) form, a copy of which is available elsewhere on this website. Students must also complete three comprehensive examinations, and they must pass the SLP Praxis, a national examination that meets one of the requirements to qualify for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) as defined by ASHA. Students are encouraged to do thesis research, but it is not a requirement of graduation.

Requirements for earning the PA Instructional Certificate

Students who complete the graduate program may qualify for the Pennsylvania Instructional Certificate if they choose to complete the requirements established by the PA Department of Education (PDE). For information about the requirements that must be met to qualify for the PA Instructional Certificate, please visit the College of Education website.

English proficiency requirements

Given the scope of practice in speech-language pathology, and given that the mission of CSD’s graduate program is to prepare students for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in the United States, oral English proficiency is considered an essential tool. WCU's Graduate Catalog states that, "Applicants whose native language is not English must submit evidence of satisfactory performance on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education before application forms can be processed." It also indicates that "a score of 550 is the minimum acceptable score (213 for computer-based exam)" Additionally, if a student whose native language is not English is accepted into WCU's Communicative Disorders graduate program, and if there is evidence that this student is having exceptional difficulty with one or more of the tasks required in clinical service delivery (e.g., speech perception, speech/language modeling, comprehending speech or language produced by individuals with disorders, writing clinic reports, counseling families, etc.) then the student will be asked to address these deficits through a remediation plan (e.g., therapy for accent reduction, perceptual training, etc. as needed).

Additional Information

If you require additional information about the graduate program, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Mareile Koenig, at