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M.S. in Speech Language Pathology


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The Master of Science in Communication Disorders is designed to prepare professional speech pathologists to meet the needs of the communicatively impaired in hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities, and schools. This program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is designed to meet the academic and clinical requirements of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), leading to national certification and state licensure. 


The Communication Disorders Department at Western Kentucky University (WKU) was established in 1975 and was a ccredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 1993.

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.

The minimum requirements for acceptance are as follows:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Application and Fee for both the WKU Graduate School and Dept. of Communication Sciences & Disorders for the SLP program.
  • Official copy of Transcript(s)
  • 3.0 GPA for the last degree earned or the degree in progress. 
    • Please Click Here to see an explanation of how to calculate your GPA in our Frequently Asked Questions.
  • 8 Prerequisite Courses
    • If your undergraduate (bachelor's) degree is in communication disorders, speech-language pathology or speech and hearing sciences, we do not look at your individual prerequisites.

    • If your undergraduate degree is in another field, we do look at your undergraduate coursework to ensure you've had all eight prerequisites.  On our departmental application, we provide a worksheet which lists all the prerequisites, including the 4 basic sciences required by ASHA, and we ask that you fill that out for the faculty to review. 

    • If there is any question about any of your prerequisite coursework, a faculty member will contact you for more information.  A full syllabus for each course in question will most likely be requested. 

    • WKU offers a Pre-SLP Program beginning each summer for students who lack any prerequisite coursework.
    • Generally, the Pre-SLP coursework will require one academic year to complete prior to beginning the graduate program.
    • Click to Download the Pre-SLP Brochure
  • Essay
  • References
  • The GRE IS required for admission into this program.
    • GRE must have been taking within 5 years of application date. 
    • 143 on the new scoring system (350 on the old scale scoring system) for the Verbal portion.
    • 3.5 score for the Writing portion.
    • *If an applicant does not meet ALL 3 of 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.

Application Process

1. Apply for admission

  • Visit the WKU Online Admission Page for more information.
    • There is a $65 application fee.
  • Complete the WKU Domestic and International Graduate Application
    • Under Planned Course of Study Section, Choose:
      • Category of Study >>> Masters
      • Planned Course of Study >>> Speech-Language Pathology (0466) (T)
      • Choose a Group>>> Comm Disorders: Distance Learn

2. Submit Required Materials:

  • OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS
    • Request ALL official transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions you have attended.
    • You must send all transcripts, regardless of whether it appears on another transcript as transfer credit.
    • If you apply before completion of Fall 2020 coursework, please be sure to have your updated transcripts showing your Fall 2020 grades sent to the WKU Graduate School no later than the application 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 transcript must be forwarded from the college or university registrar electronically or directly to the Graduate School. 
    • Send your official transcripts from each college attended to Graduate Admissions. 
      • The Graduate School

        Western Kentucky University

        1906 College Heights Blvd #11010

        Bowling Green, KY 42101-1010

        Phone (270) 745-2446 Email: graduate.school@wku.edu

      • You may request electronic transcripts through the National Student Clearinghouse. This speeds up the admissions process considerably. If your school is not listed with the Clearinghouse, please contact them directly to see if they have another process in place for electronic submissions or request that an official copy be sent by mail.
  • GRE SCORES
    • Submit an official GRE score report taken within the last 5 years.
  • ESSAY 
    • 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
    • Essay Information may be emailed to graduate.school@wku.edu
  • REFERENCES
    • List of 3 references and contact information.
    • Reference form can be found HERE.
    • Your references will be contacted as needed via email for further information
    • Do not send letters of recommendation. (Letters will not be considered or kept on file by the department.)
    • Reference form may be emailed to graduate.school@wku.edu

3. Apply to the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders.

It is solely the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all steps are completed accurately and that all materials are received prior to the deadline for application.

  • Click on the appropriate application form below and complete the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department Application.
  • Be sure to open the form with Adobe Reader to fill it out and please use Internet Explorer or Firefox to submit. 
  • Youtube Video:  a video introduction is required as part of the departmental application.
    • Detailed instructions for creation & submission of the video and the submission link are found on the departmental application. 
  • Print out the completed form and sign by hand, then scan OR Sign the form digitally (instructions for digital signatures HERE)
  • Save form to your computer.
  • Completed forms are submitted via email as an attachment to csdapplications@wku.edu

Deadlines for Admission Applications & Transcripts

  • Fall Semester: Deadline for Fall 2020 admissions is February 3, 2020 11:59 pm CST
  • Spring Semester: Not offered at this time.

For additional information visit the SLP Graduate Admission and Application Requirements page.

Sixty semester hours are required for both the thesis and non-thesis option. The research tool requirement (3 hours) may be met by successful completion of SLP 500: Research Methodology in Communication Disorders (or equivalent). Additionally, the student must complete at least 400 clock hours of clinical experience by graduation.


Required Core Courses (40 hours)

  • SLP 500: Research Methodology in CSD
  • SLP 501: Early Intervention in Speech Language Pathology
  • SLP 502: Motor Speech Disorders
  • SLP 504: Seminar in Child Language
  • SLP 506: Fluency Disorders
  • SLP 507: Aphasia
  • SLP 508: Voice Disorders
  • SLP 509: Speech Science
  • SLP 511: Neurology for Speech and Language
  • SLP 512: Speech Sound Disorders
  • SLP 513: Cognitive Linguistic Disorders
  • SLP 514: Dysphagia
  • SLP 515: Rehab Audiology
  • SLP 579: Professional Issues (1 credit hour)

Clinical Courses (8 Hours)

All coursework is completed online with the exception of the Clinic Internship and Externship courses below.

  • SLP 588: Clinical Methods in Speech-Language Pathology
  • SLP 590: Clinical Internship
    • We refer to this course as Summer Bootcamp and require that you come to our campus for approximately 6 weeks (typically the end of June and entire month of July) the summer following the fall you begin the program. 
      • For example, if you begin the program in Fall 2020, then you would come to campus in the Summer 2021.
    • There is no other option for this.  It is a requirement of the program that you come to our campus for this internship.
    • This clinical internship is required before you can begin clinical externships in other locations.
  • SLP 591: Clinical Externship (prerequisites: SLP 588 and SLP 590)
    • Students will enroll 3 times at 2 credit hours each or 2 times at 3 credit hours each.
    • Students are responsible for locating and securing their own externship placement sites.

For more information on the clinical experience portion of this program visit the Internship and Externship pages.


Elective Courses (9-12 hours)

In addition to courses outlined above, students must complete 9-12 approved elective credit hours.

  • SLP 518: Advanced AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication Modalities)
    • If a student demonstrates competency in this area from an undergraduate course then the student is not required to complete this course.
    • However they must complete a 3 credit elective in place of this course

Please note the following as you plan your program of study:

  • Students may transfer up to 12 hours from another graduate program to fulfill program requirements (if courses meet transfer requirements).
  • Applicants 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. 
    • Externships CANNOT be completed in California nor will contracts be sought for placements there.
      • Exception given students who are already employed as an SLP-A. 
      • California residents can be accceptined into the program, but will need to locate and attend an approved externship site outside of the state. 
    • Distance Learning cohort students will not be permitted to seek placements within 160 miles of Bowling Green, Kentucky including the metropolitan areas of Louisville, KY, Lexington, KY, and Nashville, TN.
      • Students living within 160 miles of Bowling Green who are employed as Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLP-A) and wish to use their employment as an externship placement may use this as their school site(s).
      • Students will still need to complete the medical placement outside of the 160-mile radius from Bowling Green.
  • For additional information visit the M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology page.

General Eligibility

Financial Aid includes grants and loans for educational purposes. The government requires the student to file a form online to the government agency for this purpose which is called FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov  to apply. Once that form is completed and filed, the student will receive an email from WKU about the status. All financial aid comes through the WKU Student Financial Aid office and they communicate mostly through email. The email will explain all the grants and/or loans that are available to the student and how to receive the money.

Nearly all students are eligible for some form of financial assistance. In fact, over 90% of the students who applied for financial aid in recent years received an award offer. Every effort is made to assist you and your family in obtaining the resources necessary to meet the difference between the total cost of attending Western Kentucky University and your ability to contribute toward your education.

If you would like to apply for financial assistance (loans, grants, scholarships, veteran's benefits) the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov. Please refer to the Financial Aid Guide for additional information and complete instructions.

Please keep in mind, student must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to qualify for financial aid. For additional information on receiving, and keeping your financial aid, please refer to the WKU Financial Aid website to review the complete policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress atwku.edu/financialaid/sap.php.


Eligibility for On Demand

On Demand courses may also be covered by financial aid if the student has met basic eligibility requirements and has a current FAFSA on file. Students must fill out an On Demand Agreement found on the WKU Financial Assistance website. Students receiving financial aid must complete their course(s) in the current semester. For more information please contact the Student Financial Assistance office at (270) 745-2755.


Veterans and Active Military

All college courses offered by On Demand have been approved for veterans and other persons eligible under the provisions of the GI Bill. Each student must assume the responsibility for submitting the proper forms to assure payment of appropriate entitlements. Please contact the Veterans Coordinator in Student Financial Assistance.

Academic Department

Department Chair: Dr. Richard Dressler
Email: richard.dressler@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-6280
Click here for more information

Program Coordinator for Pre-SLP 
Students: 
Brittney Vickous
Email:brittney.vickous@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-4210
Click here for more information  


WKU Online

Email: learn.online@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-5173
Toll-Free: (888) 4WKUWEB / (888) 495-8932
Website: wku.edu/online 


The Graduate School

Email: graduate.school@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-2446
Website: wku.edu/graduate  

For more information about the program, fill out the form below.



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 Last Modified 7/23/20