Department of Communication
Sciences and Disorders

West Chester University

Dr. Cheryl D. Gunter, Chair
201 Carter Drive, Suite 400
West Chester, PA  19383
Phone:  610.436.2115
Fax:  610.436.3388

Frequently Asked Questions

These questions pertain to WCU's MA Program in Communicative Disorders

Does completion of the graduate program lead to an MA degree or an MS degree, and what's the difference?

The graduate degree offered by WCU's program is the Master of Arts (MA) in Communicative Disorders. Some programs of communicative disorders offer a Master of Sciences (MS) degree. However, the content of the curriculum at the master's level is structured according to the standards defined by ASHA's Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, as indicated above. Therefore, when students graduate from a program that is accredited by the CAA, they are prepared for their Clinical Fellowship Year with the same basic education, regardless of whether the degree is an MA or an MS.

Does WCU's Graduate Program have a Distance Education Component?

No. The Distance Education (DE) component of WCU's MA program has been discontinued. The last students who completed the DE program graduated in August of 2011. Currently, the MA program is offered only in the residential (on campus) format..

What are the average GPA and GRE scores of students who are accepted into the program?

Below are the statistics for students who were accepted into the program in the fall of 2013:


Average Undergraduate Cumulative GPA


Average Undergraduate Major GPA
Average Verbal GRE score
Average Quantitative GRE score


How long does it take to complete the MA Program?

A full-time student can complete the MA in two years, including summers (i.e., 4 academic-year semesters plus 4 summer semesters). Part-time students can complete the program in 3 years (i.e., 6 academic-year semesters plus 6 summer semesters). Full-time and part-time students must be available for day time classes.

Does the Program allow part time enrollment?

The department does accept 3 to 4 part time students during each new academic year. However, part-time students must be available for day time classes.

Individuals who enter the program as part time students may NOT switch to full-time status later in their program.

Individuals who enter the program as full-time students may switch to part-time status.However, once the switch is made, it is not possible to switch back to full-time status or to finish the degree in two years.

What types of courses are included in the curriculum?

The academic coursework can be divided into three components:

  • Required didactic courses in speech-language pathology (33 semester hours)
  • Required clinical courses in on- and off-campus settings (27 semester hours)
  • Elective didactic courses (3 semester hours)

How many credits of coursework are required to complete the program?

The MA curriculum consists of 63 total semester hours representing didactic and clinical courses. Clinical courses are taught on campus in WCU's Speech and Hearing Clinic and off campus at affiliation sites (schools, hospitals/rehabilitation centers). Additionally, clinical courses provide students with the opportunity to complete a minimum of 400 clock hours of clinical work (therapy and diagnostics) in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the post-graduate Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY).

The actual number of credit hours that a specific student will need to complete the curriculum may include more or less than 63 credit hours, depending on the following factors:

  • The number of courses transferred into the program from another institution
  • Academic deficiencies in a student's undergraduate program (e.g., lack of undergraduate coursework in statistics, neurology, lifespan development)
  • Academic deficiencies in coursework required to earn the Pennsylvania Instructional Certificate.

What specific courses are included in the MA Curriculum?


Course Number Course Title Credits
Required Courses (57 semester credits)
SPP 501 Foundations of Research in SLP 3
SPP 511 Language Disorders I (0 to 5 years) 3
SPP 512 Language Disorders II (6-18 yrs) 3
SPP 516 Adult Neurogenic S/L Disorders 3
SPP 523 Voice Disorders 3
SPP 524 Fluency Disorders 3
SPP 526 Clinical Articulation and Phonology 3
SPP 543 Therapy for the Hearing Impaired 3
SPP 575 Medical SLP 3
SPP 582 Dysphagia 3
SPP 551 Graduate Clinical Practicum S/L-1 3
SPP 551 Graduate Clinical Practicum S/L-2 3
SPP 551 Graduate Clinical Practicum - Hearing 1.5
SPP 551 Graduate Clinical Practicum - S/L Dx 1.5
SPP 552 Medical Affiliation Practicum 9
SPP 553 School-Based Affiliation Practicum 9
*Elective Courses (3 hours)
SPP 550 Advanced Diagnostic & Therapeutic Methods 3
SPP 560 Seminar: in Communicative Disorders:(various topics) 1–3
SPP 565 Communicative Enhancement for Individuals with Autism 3
SPP 570 School Language, Speech and Hearing Programs 3
SPP 570 School Language, Speech and Hearing Programs 3
SPP 573 Administration & Supervision of Speech/Hearing Programs 3
SPP 580 Orofacial Anomalies 3
SPP 589 Neuromuscular Disorders 3
SPP 590 Independent Study 3
SPP 610 Thesis 3


* NOTE: With one exception (SPP 565), the availability of these electives is rotated from year to year.

What is the minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) required to remain in the Communicative Disorders graduate program?

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale. This is the minimum standard established by the University for all graduate programs.

What are the requirements for full matriculation?

Students are required to apply for Degree Candidacy after they have completed 12 semester hours of coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Full Time students complete the following courses during this time: SPP 501, SPP 511 and SPP 524 and SPP 526. A complete explanation of the graduate candidacy application process can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

What other Critical Milestones must be completed as part of the MA Program?

Critical Milestones are listed in Tables 8 and 9 of the Graduate Student Handbook, which is available on this website in the drop-down menu under Graduate Program.

Is a thesis required as part of the MA program?

No. However, thesi research is welcome, and students who wish to write a thesis may enroll in thesis hours as their elective courses at specific points during the program.

What are the clinical practicum requirements of the MA Program?

The M.A. degree requires successful completion of supervised clinical practicum in the University Speech and Hearing Clinic and in at least two approved affiliation (off-campus) sites. One of the approved affiliation site will be in a school-based setting and the other will be in a medically-based setting. A total of 400 clock-hours of supervised clinical practicum must be accrued prior to graduation; including a minimum of 325 hours earned at the graduate level. Students receive credit for only those undergraduate practicum hours that they have completed under the supervision of a clinician who holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). The authorized clinical logs requested as part of the application for admission to the M.A. program are used to verify the undergraduate clinical hours that a student has completed.

What are the requirements for earing the PA Instructional Certificate?

Students who complete the MA program may qualify for the PA instructional certification if they choose to complete the requirements established by the PA Department of Education (PDE).

For information about the requirements that must be completed to qualify for the PA Instructional Certification, please visit the College of Education website.


What are the English proficiency requirements for international students whose native language is something other than English?

Given the scope of practice in speech-language pathology, and given that the mission of the Communicative Disorders Graduate Program is to prepare students for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in the United States, oral English proficiency is considered an essential tool. WCU's Graduate Catalogue states that, "Applicants whose native language is not English must submit evidence of satisfactory performance on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education before application forms can be processed." It also indicates that "a score of 550 is the minimum acceptable score (213 for computer-based exam)" Additionally, if a student whose native language is not English is accepted into WCU's Communicative Disorders graduate program, and if there is evidence that this student is having exceptional difficulty with one or more of the tasks required in clinical service delivery (e.g., speech perception, speech/language modeling, comprehending speech or language produced by individuals with disorders, writing clinic reports, counseling families, etc.) then the student will be asked to address these deficits through a remediation plan (e.g., therapy for accent reduction, perceptual training, etc. as needed).