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Graduate Admission and Application Requirements

Applications for the fall 2024 semester are available now on the CSDCAS application portal


**COVID-19 Vaccine Information**

Please be aware that CMS has issued an emergency order enforcing any facility that is funded by Medicaid and Medicare to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. Any site serving Medicare and Medicaid patients is requiring the COVID vaccine for staff and students. You can find more information about this requirement at the following link:  


While vaccination is not required by WKU, externship site requirements for vaccination are determined independently by each individual facility and is out of the control of the University and Communication Sciences & Disorders Department.  If you DO NOT get vaccinated for COVID-19, you may be unable to complete a medical placement which is a requirement for completion of the Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology from WKU.  Please take this into careful consideration if you plan to seek admission in our program.


Applications to the Graduate Programs in Speech-Language Pathology are considered to be selective acceptance.  Admission is quite competitive. This means that not all who apply will be accepted, as there are limited seats and external clinical placement sites available.

Your application consists of ALL the steps below and ALL materials must be received by the deadline specified. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all materials are received by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and The Graduate School prior to the deadline for application. Failure to do so will result in not being considered for admission to the program.


  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 for the last degree earned or the degree in progress

*If an applicant does not meet the above minimum requirements the application will not be considered for admission to the program.  To view statistics regarding those accepted to our program in the past click here.

Things To Consider Before Applying To The Program:

We want to make sure that your experience in the graduate program is a positive one and that you enter the program with a clear understanding of what will be required of you and what credentials you will be eligible for. Please take a moment to carefully consider the following to make an informed decision BEFORE applying:


In addition to attending evening classes weekly in either a face-to -face classroom or an online classroom, a significant amount of time is required to participate in clinical courses.  The clinical courses provide hands-on experience to provide students the opportunities to develop the skills competencies required by the program for graduation.  There are two levels of clinical experience, please click on each of the links below to gain more insight into how many daytime hours are required for clinical participation:


It is simply not feasible to work full-time and complete this program. Students enrolled in the distance learning program may be able to work prior to the Summer Clinical Internship, however students enrolled in the on-campus program must be available a minimum of 2 days/week for the clinical internship during the first Fall and Spring semesters.

Students wishing to obtain employment as a speech-language pathology assistant (or equivalent title given to Bachelor's level professionals in a given state) may have that experience serve as their SLP 591 placement (if the employer and supervising SLP are in agreement). The Academic Coordinator for Clinical Education (ACCE) must also approve the placement. The supervising SLP must hold a current CCC for a minimum of one year and complete a form indicating his or her willingness to serve as the SLP 591 externship supervisor.

Students who are employed outside of the profession or in a setting where they will be unable to use that setting as an externship often need to modify their schedules as externship plans are made. Most facilities providing services do so during a typical workday. That means students will need to allow time during the day (a minimum of 2 and 1/2 days per week for a part-time externship or 5 full days a week for full-time externship) for time at the externships. They will also need to leave the evening hours free to attend classes.


The Academic Coordinator for Clinical Education (ACCE, also referred to as the externship coordinator) makes placement arrangements for the campus students. Distance-learning students are responsible for locating and securing their own externship placement sites.  Many times this will require a new affiliation agreement.  The student provides contact information to the ACCE when the student has identified a site that is willing to pursue a contract/affiliation agreement with WKU. The ACCE is responsible for initiating the contract/affiliation agreement after determining appropriateness of the placement in light of graduate program requirements. For all cohorts, there must be a contract/affiliation agreement in place prior to the beginning of the externship. While every effort is made to consider students’ residence location and preferences, students enrolling in SLP 591 may be assigned to externship sites that are 100 miles or more away for campus/home.

International applicants or US citizens living internationally must also consider that ASHA certified SLPs will be required in order to complete the externships.  

Please note: a contract/affiliation agreement (also known as an affiliation agreement) is a legal agreement between the site and WKU. Due to required legal wording, it may be more difficult and time consuming to obtain a contract in some states.


Upon graduation, students will be eligible to apply for the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). Most settings require the CCC and it is considered the gold standard for employment in speech-language pathology. All states require a license to practice. The state license may be in addition to the CCC. Other states also require teacher certification to work in the schools. 

 Eligibility for teacher certification is not available as part of the Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Program at WKU. Consequently, students graduating from the Master's program after September 1, 2014 are not eligible for teacher certification in Kentucky.  Speech-language pathologists do not need teacher certification to work in Kentucky schools although some districts prefer it.

 Students seeking school-based employment in states other than Kentucky should determine if their potential out-of-state employer requires teacher certification eligibility in Kentucky. Some states require that teacher certification applicants be eligible for certification in the state from which the Master's degree was earned.  Some states just require that applicants be eligible for the ASHA CCC, while other states do not offer teacher certification for speech-language pathologists.  Because of the array of requirements across the country, potential students should decide if the WKU graduate program would meet their needs based on the requirements where employment may be sought. Individual state requirements may be viewed at: http://www.asha.org/advocacy/state/info/ 



Externships CANNOT be completed in California nor will contracts be sought for placements there. Furthermore, applicants to the graduate program must understand that externship opportunities may not be available in the geographic region of choice.  In the event they are not, students must be willing to relocate to obtain externship placement.

Placements within 65 miles of Bowling Green, KY have been reserved for students in the residential/campus-based cohort.  Placements for distance learning students will not be permitted at a site within 65 miles of Bowling Green unless the student is employed in a role as an SLP-A or an equivalent support personnel title in speech-language pathology as determined by your state.

The Admissions Committee Will Be Evaluating Applicants Utilizing the Following Criteria:

  • Transcripts will be evaluated to determine the GPA for the last degree earned or the degree in progress.
  • Essay will be analyzed for compliance with instructions (see below), content, grammar, and spelling.
  • Transcripts and Prerequisite Coursework Worksheet will be evaluated to make certain that all prerequisite courses have/will be completed prior to the semester in which you are applying to begin the graduate program - The prerequisite course requirements are listed on CSDCAS and by viewing the PreSLP curriculum by clicking here.
  • References may be contacted via email as needed for further information. Three letters of recommendation may be submitted using the CSDCAS platform to suffice as “references.” However, we do not formally review the letters or keep them on file in our department.

The Department reserves the right to only admit students from locations where it is confident that students will have sufficient access to externship placements where appropriate and diverse clinical populations are available.

Explore the Clinical Experience menus in the right column by clicking here. You can search on the ASHA website for ASHA certified SLPs in your area.


There are 2 cohorts available for our graduate program. An applicant must choose only ONE to apply to and must specify which cohort applying to. If you are unsure of which cohort fits you best please review the graduate program information and the different options by clicking here.



It is recommended that you print this page and use it as a checklist as you complete each step. A complete application will include all information presented on this page. It is solely the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all steps are completed accurately, that all documents are received by the university, and to send any additional information requested by the department or The Graduate School upon request prior to the deadline.

Your application will not be reviewed by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders until the application is complete. Applications that are not completed by the priority deadline will only be reviewed if space allows (i.e., an open seat becomes available).


PART 1 – Apply to WKU Graduate School (all information in Part 1 is to be submitted to the Graduate School, NOT the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department. Once all the application materials listed in Part 1 have been submitted to the Graduate School, they will forward your information to the CSD Department for consideration for admission):

  • APPLICATION TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL - Complete the Online Application for The Graduate School.  Click here to access application. When completing this application, it is extremely important that you complete it in its entirety including submitting the application fee.

******Be sure to apply for the Fall 2024 term and choose the cohort for which you are applying.  Please be aware that we are no longer offering a part-time online program - choose residential or distance.  If you do not select the correct term or cohort, your application may not be considered.*******

  • OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS - Submit ALL official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended to the WKU graduate school. This includes those courses that show as transfer credit on another transcript. You must send all transcripts from the institutions where you completed the coursework regardless of whether it appears on another transcript as transfer credit. Failure to do so will result in a delay in your application being complete and possibly not being considered for acceptance if all transcripts are not received by the deadline. Some institutions will take longer than others to issue transcripts, be sure to request them well before the deadline. If you have a foreign transcript you must adhere to the Graduate Studies requirements for a transcript evaluation which you will find by clicking here and then choosing International Degree Seeking.  We require that you provide translation/transcription for all foreign transcripts.
  • The SLP program will only accept coursework from universities approved by WKU. The SLP program reserves the right to accept or deny coursework.
  • PLEASE NOTE:  If you apply before completion of Fall 2023 coursework, please be sure to have your updated transcripts showing your Fall 2023 grades sent to the WKU Graduate School no later than the application deadline!

If mailing, send above listed items to:

The Graduate School

Western Kentucky University

1906 College Heights Blvd #11010

Bowling Green, KY 42101-1010

Phone (270) 745-2446

PART 2 – Apply to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders using our application on the CSDCAS application portal: www.csdcas.org

  • Please note that you may only apply to only ONE of our cohorts:  Residential (On-Campus) or Distance Learning.
  • Students should complete the minimum information on their application as prompted by CSDCAS including: personal/demographic information, academic history and previous coursework, etc.
  • Students applying to our program are required to submit the following that is specific to our program:
  1. ESSAY (WRITTEN STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/GOALS) – Submit a written essay describing why you want to be a speech-language pathologist using the following guidelines. The essay must be no more than 1 page typed, using a 12-point Times New Roman font, and double-spaced. The applicant’s name and the date on which the essay was written should be noted at the top. There is a place for you to upload your essay on our CSDCAS application.
  2. VIDEO - Submit aYouTube video introduction. This oral communication sample in the form of a video should tell us what you can bring to our graduate program that is unique or valuable, and sets you apart from other applicants. It will be rated on content, professionalism, organization, and positive engagement. Limit the video to no more than two minutes in length. There is a place for a link to your video on our CSDCAS application.

How to post your video:

  • Using your PC or Mac, sign up or into a YouTube account.
  • Click on “Upload” at the top right of the page.
  • Click on the drop-down menu and select “Unlisted”
  • When the video finishes processing, copy and paste the link
  • Check your link to make sure it is working and that the correct link is listed on your application.


  • REFERENCES - Our program only requires a list of three professional references and their contact information. You should also indicate their relationship to you.  The references should be able to speak to your ability to be successful in graduate school and in the field of speech-language pathology. Three letters of recommendation submitted via the “evaluators” section of CSDCAS will fulfill this requirement.


Applications will not be reviewed fully until after the priority deadline of February 5, 2024.  Once the deadline has passed the department will consider all completed applications. You will receive notification of our decisions (accepted, alternate, or not accepted) within approximately 8 weeks of that deadline via email. Be sure to include on your application an email address which you will be checking regularly.


If you applied to the program in past years then you will need to complete all of the above steps except for submitting transcripts. The Graduate School will have any transcripts submitted previously on file (however, it is always best to double check with their office to be certain they do have them). You will need to send any updated transcripts.  You must apply again to both The Graduate School and the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department but you will not be required to pay the application fee again if you sign back in to the application which you will be prompted to do. Our admission requirements changed for applications beginning 2012 so be certain you review and submit all of the above information.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 11/28/23