Jul 13, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Speech-Language Pathology, Non-Thesis Option, MA

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Graduate Faculty

Evans, David L., PhD, speech-language pathology, stuttering, speech science, communication in virtual environments.
Evans, Kelli J., PhD, speech-language pathology, adult neurogenic disorders, cognitive-communication disorders.
Moore, Heather, PhD, speech-language pathology, early intervention, child language, autism spectrum disorders.
Peters, Kimberly A., PhD, audiology, pediatric audiology, auditory physiology, aural (re)habilitation, cochlear implants, social cognition, social competence.
Thistle, Jennifer, PhD, speech-language pathology, alternative and augmentative communication, child language, autism spectrum disorders.

Graduate Program Faculty Advisor: David Evans, PhD, AI 376, 360-650-3178


The objectives of the program in Speech-Language Pathology are to prepare competent entry-level professionals in speech-language pathology and to prepare students for advanced study at the PhD level. The program includes an internship taken after other academic and clinical requirements have been completed.

Speech-language pathology is a discipline which has developed out of a concern for people with communication disorders. Preparation leading to a degree in communication sciences and disorders includes a wide range of course work and a variety of clinical practicum opportunities working with the infant through geriatric populations.

Students who intend to seek employment in this profession, whether in a public school, clinic, rehabilitation center or hospital setting, are advised that certification/licensure at the state and/or national levels is required. Out-of-state students should recognize that other requirements may exist for employment in different geographic locations.


Students must have completed an undergraduate major in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) or an equivalent professional core curriculum. The BA or BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders (Speech Pathology and Audiology) must have been completed within the past eight years in order to be considered as an applicant for the graduate program in CSD. Grade point average requirements are consistent with those of the Graduate School.

Students who are not native speakers of English must demonstrate competence in written and spoken English. This can be done by submitting a satisfactory score on the international TOEFL or IELTS, taken within one year of the date of application. A minimum composite score of 600 is required for the paper-based test; the scaled score for the computer-based test is 250; the Internet-based minimum score is 100. The TOEFL Internet-based minimum score is 100 and the IELTS is 7. The TOEFL scores must be on file in the Graduate School prior to receipt of the application for graduate study.

ASHA Standards

IV-A: The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of the principles of biological sciences, physical sciences, statistics, and the social/behavioral sciences.

Implementation: The applicant must have transcript credit (which could include course work, advanced placement, CLEP, or examination of equivalency) for each of the following areas: biological sciences, physical sciences, social/behavioral sciences, and statistics. Appropriate course work may include human anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, genetics, physics, inorganic and organic chemistry, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. The intent of this standard is to require students to have a broad liberal arts and science background. Courses in biological and physical sciences specifically related to communication sciences and disorders may not be applied for certification purposes in this category. In addition to transcript credit, applicants may be required by their graduate program to provide further evidence of meeting this requirement.

The Graduate Program Advisor will review the student’s transcript during the first quarter of graduate work and if any of the above course work needs to be completed, the student will be advised to do so, as an overload, before graduation.

Application Information

Enrollment is limited to 20 new graduate students per year.

Admit Quarter: Fall quarter only. The communication sciences and disorders program is a lock-step program which offers courses in sequence once a year beginning in the fall.

Deadline: Application deadline is January 15.

TA Deadline: Application deadline is January 15.

Supporting Materials:

❑ Application with $100 fee (subject to change)
❑ Three recent letters of reference
❑ One official transcript from every school attended (no more than two years old)
❑ One-page statement of purpose
❑ One-page resume

Additional Information

Clinical Competence

In addition to meeting academic requirements, students specializing in speech-language pathology must demonstrate satisfactory competence in diagnostic and clinical practica. Refer to course description for additional information. No student in CSD may participate as a primary clinician in the clinic or an internship until cleared a criminal background check. Clearance is valid for specified time frames. Procedure and fee information are provided to students upon acceptance into the graduate program. At times, the requirements for the completion of clinical practicum courses may fall outside the regular University calendar. Contact the department for further details.

Students are permitted to retake a clinical practicum only once. If a satisfactory grade is not achieved in the retake, students will not be permitted to continue in the practicum courses.

Not everyone is suited to work with clients in the clinical fields of speech-language pathology and audiology even though the student may maintain a satisfactory academic record.

Per the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) for CSD programs, applicants for the Certification of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech-Language Pathology must demonstrate competency in all American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) knowledge and skills standards, CAA professional practice competencies, and CSD essential functions. Opportunities to demonstrate competency are offered throughout the program during program activities and coursework (i.e., academic and clinical). Intervention is a program requirement when students do not demonstrate competency.

Competency in knowledge and skills related to the assessment and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders, and knowledge and skills applicable to ethical and professional practice is operationally defined as earning a “B” (83%) or higher in all academic courses and on all clinical and academic assignments that are linked to the ASHA 2020 certification standards. Students who fail to demonstrate competency in standards-linked knowledge and skills are required to participate in clinical and/or academic intervention, in compliance with CAA-ASHA accreditation requirements.

Students who fail to demonstrate competency in in knowledge and skills linked to ASHA Standards following clinical or academic intervention will be dismissed from the graduate program.

Students must maintain a GPA of “B” (83%) or higher to remain in the CSD program. An overall GPA below this level will result in dismissal from the program. If a student receives a course grade below 83%, they are required to participate in intervention. A second course grade below 83% will result in dismissal from the program. Students must earn a grade of 83% or higher on all major learning activities (e.g., exams, quarter projects, mid-quarter or final reviews, papers, etc.) within each course and maintain compliance with the professional practice competencies and CSD essential functions. If a student earns a major grade below 83% or demonstrates non-compliance with professional practice competencies and essential functions, they are required to participate in intervention. A student may receive no more than 6 major interventions for the duration of their graduate program. Students earning more than 6 major interventions may be dismissed from the program at the discretion of the SLP Program Director in consultation with the Graduate Curriculum Committee.


An internship is required for all CSD students. This experience provides an opportunity for each student to refine and expand basic clinical skills by participating in a supervised, full-time work experience in a professional setting. The terminal objective of this training phase is to facilitate each clinician’s transition from student in training to competent entry-level professional. As such, the internship is taken after other academic and clinical requirements have been completed with the exception of the research project. In addition to the required full-time internship (CSD 599), students also may choose to complete one or more part-time internships (CSD 598). Both the full-time and part-time placements require assignment to clinical settings off campus (e.g., schools, hospitals, private clinics, et cetera).


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.

The master’s degree (MA) education program in speech-language pathology also is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Professional Certification Requirements

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 2014 Standards for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology stipulate the completion of 400 clock hours of practicum. Of these hours, at least 375 must be direct patient contact, at least 325 of which must be obtained at the graduate level. The requirement is met by taking an appropriate number of practicum credits (see application information above). Consult the department about specific requirements regarding clinical experience in the area in which the certificate is sought. Consult the ASHA Membership and Certification Handbook for details.

Program Requirements (76 credits)

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