Jul 22, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Communication Sciences and Disorders

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The Disciplines

Speech-language pathologists work in a variety of settings with children and adults to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, communication and swallowing disorders. Audiologists are healthcare professionals who identify, diagnose, and provide evidence-based treatment of hearing, balance, and other auditory disorders. Preparation leading to an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders includes a wide range of courses and a variety of clinical practicum opportunities working with the infant through geriatric populations.

Students who intend to seek employment as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist, whether in a public school, clinic, rehabilitation center, or hospital setting, are advised that a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or a clinical doctorate in audiology and certification/licensure at the state and/or national levels are required. Out-of-state students should recognize that other requirements may exist for employment in their locales.

For students who do not wish to continue with a graduate degree in speech-language pathology or audiology, an undergraduate degree in CSD provides excellent preparation for other professions and fields of study. Some students with a CSD degree go on to attend graduate programs in deaf education, rehabilitation counseling, early childhood or elementary education, adult and higher education, or special education. Students not wishing to seek a graduate degree can work in the schools as an educational assistant, or pursue certification as a speech-language pathology assistant, behavioral specialists, a reading specialist or reading coach, sign-language interpreters, a hearing aid dispenser, or an audiology technician. Some students pursue national or international teaching and service opportunities with organizations such as Teach for America, Americorps, or the Peace Corps.

Degree Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders, a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology, and a Clinical Doctorate in Audiology. The Bachelor of Arts degree in CSD is a pre-professional degree with an emphasis on the liberal arts and sciences that prepares the student for pursuing graduate studies in either audiology or speech-language pathology. For the bachelor’s degree in CSD at Western, a minor area of study is required and must be approved by the student’s academic advisor. Suggested minor areas include audiology (in moratorium), linguistics, English, biology, physics, business, education, psychology, and sociology. Individually designed minors are permissible with faculty advisor approval.

The Master of Arts and Clinical Doctorate degrees are professional degrees and partially fulfill certification requirements at both the state and national levels.

A post-baccalaureate program is offered for those with an undergraduate degree in a field other than communication sciences and disorders and for those who hold a CSD degree that was completed five or more years ago. This program is designed to prepare such students for graduate-level study in speech-language pathology or audiology. The four-quarter lockstep program begins fall quarter. The post-baccalaureate program is self-supporting and has a tuition rate that differs from that of regularly enrolled undergraduate students.

Students interested in the post-baccalaureate program need to complete the Extension Undergraduate Application. Extension admission and registration information is available from Outreach and Continuing Education, 360-650-7780.

NOTE: Enrollment in the post-baccalaureate program does not guarantee a place in the graduate program.


The master’s degree (MA) education program in speech-language pathology at Western Washington University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700 (TTY). The department also is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The Clinical Doctorate in Audiology (AuD) at Western Washington University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Certification/Licensure in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology

There are three types of professional certification/licensure in the field: state licensure from the Washington State Department of Health; certification as an educational staff associate from the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; and the Certificate of Clinical Competence, a national certification, from ASHA. Consult the department for additional information.


ANNA C. DIEDESCH (2017) Chair and Associate Professor. BA, Washington State University; AuD, Wichita State University; PhD, Vanderbilt University. Program director (audiology and speech-language pathology), AuD graduate advisor (audiology).
DAVID L. EVANS (2014) Associate Professor. BA, University of Colorado-Boulder; MA, University of Maine; PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; SLP graduate advisor (speech-language pathology).
KELLI J. EVANS (2014) Associate Professor. BA, MA, University of Maine; PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (speech-language pathology).
HEATHER MOORE (2019) Associate Professor. BA, James Madison University; MA, University of Georgia; PhD, Arizona State University. Undergraduate advisor (speech-language pathology).
KIMBERLY A. PETERS (2002) Professor. BA, Trinity College; MA, PhD, University of Connecticut. Undergraduate advisor; director, aural rehabilitation clinics (audiology).
STERLING SHEFFIELD (2023) Associate Professor. BS, Brigham Young University; MA, University of Iowa; PhD, Vanderbilt University (audiology).
JENNIFER THISTLE (2017) Associate Professor. Alfred University; MEd, Fitchburg State College; MS, Emerson College; PhD, Pennsylvania State University; post-baccalaureate advisor (speech-language pathology).  
CAN (ELAINE) XU (2024) Assistant Professor. BA, MA, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; PhD, University of Texas at Austin (audiology).

Clinical Educators

MEGAN COOPER (2017) AuD Internship coordinator; BS, University of Nevada, Reno; MA, Western Washington University; AuD, A.T. Still University (audiology).
MELINDA BRYAN (2022) BA, MA, Western Washington University (audiology).
DAWN BURGESS (2018) SLP Internship coordinator; BA, MS, MS University of Southern Mississippi (education of the deaf & speech-language pathology).
JENNIFER GRUENERT (2008) BA, MS, University of Washington (speech-language pathology).
YARROW POSPISIL (2001) BS, University of Nebraska; MA, Western Washington University (speech-language pathology).
ANDREA REED (2018) Director, BA, University of South Florida; AuD, University of Washington (audiology).
JASMINE RUBERT (2014) BA, MA, Western Washington University (speech-language pathology).
MAGGIE SAVAGE (2020) BS, University of Washington; MA, Western Washington University (speech-language pathology).
LESLEY STEPHENS (2006) Director, BA, MA, University of Kansas. (speech-language pathology).

Declaration Process

Students wishing to declare a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders must have:

  1. Completed at least 75 credits;
  2. Successfully completed or be currently enrolled in CSD 251;
  3. Achieved a Western GPA (based on at least 12 credits) of 2.70 or higher. A grade of at least B- (2.70) in each of the core courses (CSD 251, 352, 354, and 356) may be substituted for the overall 2.70 GPA.
  4. Send a Major Declaration and Change form to CSD@wwu.edu.

As stated in the section regarding general university academic policies, “any grade below a C- is unacceptable in the student’s major or minor.” In the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department students also are required to complete each prerequisite course with a grade of C- or better before enrolling in the courses for which that serves as a prerequisite.

Other Departmental Information

The graduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders is recognized as a broad degree requiring the acquisition of general knowledge and basic skills in all applicable domains of speech and hearing sciences. The education of speech-language pathologists and audiologists requires assimilation of knowledge, acquisition of skills and development of judgment through academic and clinical experience in preparation for independent and appropriate decisions required in practice. The current practices of speech-language pathology and audiology emphasizes collaboration among speech-language pathologists, audiologists, other health care and education professionals, the patient/client, and the patient/client’s family.


The accredited graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at Western Washington University adheres to the standards and guidelines of the Council of Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, as part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Western Washington University is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. The University, College, and Department do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, parenting status or genetic information. The University, College, and Department are committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education, and employment for individuals with disabilities.

Writing Proficiency Guidelines

Majors in Communication Sciences and Disorders must complete a minimum of three writing proficiency points in approved upper-division writing proficiency courses at WWU with a minimum grade of C-. Students must meet with an undergraduate advisor no later than the fourth week of winter quarter of the junior year to file a plan of study. The plan of study will include signing up for specific writing proficiency courses and labs.

Graduate Study

For a concentration leading to the Master of Arts degree or the Clinical Doctorate degree in Audiology, see the Graduate School  section of this catalog.


    Undergraduate MajorUndergraduate MinorGraduate


      Communication Sciences & Disorders

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

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