Apr 19, 2024  
2010-2011 Catalog 
2010-2011 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Speech-Language Pathology, Thesis, MA

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Graduate Faculty

Baharav, Eva, PhD, speech-language pathology, child and adolescent language, typical and disordered language across the life span, phonology.
Darling, Rieko M., PhD, audiology, amplification, geriatrics, central auditory processing disorders, aural rehabilitation.
Mathers-Schmidt, Barbara, PhD, fluency disorders, neuromotor speech disorders, research methodology, speech science.
Peters, Kimberly A., PhD, audiology, pediatric audiology, auditory physiology, aural (re)habilitation, cochlear implants.
Zeine, Lina, PhD, adult language disorders, voice/laryngectomee.

Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Lina Zeine, 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.


Undergraduate major in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) or equivalent professional core curriculum. The BA or BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders (Speech Pathology and Audiology) must have been completed within the past five years in order to be considered as an applicant for the graduate program in CSD. Grade point average requirements consistent with the Graduate School. Graduate Record Exam — minimum 430 in verbal and quantitative and 4.5 on the analytical writing.

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, 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 scores must be on file in the Graduate School prior to receipt of the application for graduate study.

ASHA Standards

Standard IIIA: The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of the principles of biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, 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 mathematics. Appropriate course work may include human anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, genetics, physics, inorganic and organic chemistry, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and nonremedial mathematics. 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 coordinator 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

Notice: The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western Washington University admitted its last audiology master’s degree students in fall 2004. The department placed a moratorium on admission until further notice. Please contact the department for more information.

The above does not affect the speech-language pathology graduate program. The department will continue to offer the ASHA-accredited master’s degree program in speech-language pathology.

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 February 1.

TA Deadline: Application deadline is February 1.

Specific Test Requirements: Graduate Record Exam, General Test, with a minimum of 430 in each area and 4.5 on the Analytical Writing. (No test scores are required if an applicant holds an advanced degree — MA, MS, PhD.)

Supporting Materials:

❑ Application with $50 fee (subject to change)
❑ Three recent letters of reference
❑ Two official transcripts from every school attended (no more than two years old)
❑ One-page statement of purpose
❑ One-page résumé

Program Requirements Speech-Language Pathology

(minimum 73 credits for non-thesis; minimum 76 for thesis)

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 by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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. The faculty and staff of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders thus reserve the right to counsel students with this in mind, and to recommend a change of academic focus for the student who appears to have personality traits that would prevent the student from being successful in the discipline.


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).

Due to the limited number of clinical credits that may be applied toward the graduate degree, students may use only 3 of the 8 CSD 599 credits toward the MA. An additional 3 credits of CSD 598 also may be applied toward the MA. Please see the graduate advisor or internship coordinator for further information.

Comprehensive Examination and Thesis/Non-Thesis Oral Defense

The student will have a choice of writing a comprehensive exam or completing either a thesis or non-thesis research project and paper. The five-hour written comprehensive exam covers the student’s area(s) of specialization and graduate program up to the time of the exam. A minimum of 50 graduate credits must be completed before the comprehensive exams can be taken.

Should the student choose to complete a thesis or a non-thesis research project and paper, this will be followed by an oral exam based on the student’s topic. For details regarding the comprehensive exam and oral defense, the student should consult the graduate coordinator. Any recent policy/procedure changes or exceptions will be listed in the current CSD Graduate Guide.


The graduate programs in speech-language pathology and audiology at Western Washington University are accredited by the Council of Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Professional Certification Requirements

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 2005 requirements for Certification 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. The student must have a minimum of nine hours of classwork in the minor area of study (speech-language pathology or audiology). Consult the ASHA Membership and Certification Handbook for details.