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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)
  • 3.5 GPA for the last 60 credit hours of college coursework
    • There must be a minimum of 60 credit hours with a letter grade.
    • Only courses with a letter grade will be used. (Pass/Fail grades not included.)
    • Please Click Here to see an explanation of how to calculate your GPA in our Frequently Asked Questions.
  • 12 Prerequisite Courses
    • WKU offers a Pre-SLP Program beginning each summer for students who lack any prerequisite coursework.
    • The 12 prerequisite courses are composed of 8 core courses and 4 basic science courses.
    • 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 or GMAT IS required for admission into this program.
    • 143 on the new scoring system (350 on the old scale scoring system) for the Verbal portion.
    • 3.5 score for the Analytical Writing portion.

Application Process

1. Apply for admission

  • Visit the WKU Online Admission Page for more information.
    • A Step By Step Guide for completing the application process: Application Tutorial
    • 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: online fulltime OR parttime.

2. Submit Required Materials:

    • Request ALL official transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions you have attended.
    • You must send all transcripts from the institutions where you completed the coursework, regardless of whether it appears on another transcript as transfer credit.
    • 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. 
      • 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.
    • 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
    • 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 for admission into the Speech-Language Pathology program.

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. 
  • This year we are adding a video component to the departmental application process.  Instructions for creating the video are found on the departmental applications.
  • 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 2018 admissions is February 1, 2018 Midnight (12:00am) 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: Dysfluency
  • SLP 507: Aphasia
  • SLP 508: Voice Disorders
  • SLP 509: Speech Science
  • SLP 511: Neurology for Speech and Language
  • SLP 512: Seminar in Phonology
  • 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 2014, then you would come to campus in the Summer 2015
    • There is no other option for this.  It is a requirement of the program that you come to our campus for this internship.
  • 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.
  • 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

Program Advisor for Full-Time Students: Dr. Richard Dressler
Email: richard.dressler@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-6280
Click here for more information

Program Advisor for Part-Time Students: April Hardison
Email: april.hardison@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-3289
Click here for more information

Program Coordinator for Pre-SLP 
Dr. Jo Shackelford
Email: jo.shackelford@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-4306
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.

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

 Last Modified 8/28/19