Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

College of Health Sciences

201 Carter Drive
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Dr. Kim, Chairperson
Dr. Koenig, Graduate Coordinator

Programs of Study

The department offers the Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology. The student may choose a thesis or non-thesis track. The program is designed to strengthen the knowledge and skill of the practicing speech-language clinician, to provide the foundation for further graduate study, and to afford an opportunity to complete requirements toward professional certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Attainment of the M.A. degree does not necessarily guarantee recommendation for certification.

Certification Programs

Candidates for the Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology may be recommended for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology issued by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. They may also be recommended for the Pennsylvania Educational Specialist Certificate upon satisfactory completion of required coursework and clinical practicum.

All applicants to one of West Chester University’s graduate programs will be held to the graduate admissions requirements. When applicable, additional requirements for admission into specific department program(s) may be listed below.

Admission Requirements for the M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to a graduate degree program at West Chester University, applicants must do the following:

  • Present an undergraduate background of at least 30 semester hours distributed among the following areas of study: psychology, human development, linguistics, statistics, speech and language development, phonetics, speech disorders, language disorders, hearing disorders, basic speech and hearing science, neurology, acoustic phonetics, and 25 hours of supervised clinical observation
  • Present undergraduate transcripts showing at least a 3.0 overall grade point average (GPA) in their undergraduate degree program and demonstrate at least a 3.0 GPA in courses in speech-language pathology and audiology
  • Demonstrate a reasonable degree of speech and language proficiency which may be measured by a written essay and a personal interview
  • Submit Graduate Record Examination scores for purposes of evaluation and guidance
  • Submit a log of undergraduate clinical practicum, when available
  • Submit two letters of recommendation
  • Submit a 500-word essay describing future goals and how West Chester University can help them achieve these goals
  • Submit a structured vita based on a format described in a document on the department's website

All graduate students are held to the academic policies and procedures outlined in the graduate catalog. Students are encouraged to review departmental handbooks for program tips, suggested course sequences, and explanations of procedures. When applicable, additional policies for specific department programs may be listed below.

Admission to Degree Candidacy

  1. The applicant may apply for degree candidacy after having completed SLP 501 and three additional SLP courses. Application must be made before the student has completed 15 semester hours of graduate work required for the degree.
  2. During the precandidacy period, the applicant must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0.

Degree Requirements for the M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology

  1. Candidates must meet the general University requirements for the master's degree, including completion of all required courses, with an overall GPA of 3.0.
  2. Candidates must complete 36 semester credits of didactic courses and 27 semester credits of clinical practicum courses.  Also, candidates must perform satisfactorily on two objective, summative assessments. The first of these is scheduled toward the end of the first year and the second near the end of the second year of study for full-time students. For part-time students these assessments are scheduled midway through the second and third years of study, respectively. Those who fail an assessment may repeat it once within one calendar year. Candidates who chose to write a thesis are required to respond satisfactorily to questions posed by their committee members during an oral defense. 
  3. Graduate students must be in continuous enrollment. Exceptions may be granted by submitting a written request to the graduate coordinator.
  4. The M.A. requires the completion of at least 400 clock hours of clinical practicum. A minimum of 325 hours must be completed at the graduate level with a grade of B or better. Graduate students must commit to meeting essential functions described in a document available on the department's website.

Approval for Field Experiences

 All students must meet the following criteria in order to start field experience (aka: practicum or affiliation) 

  • Complete (onsite clinical rotations SLP 551 S/L Therapy, S/L Diagnostics and Hearing Diagnostics) with an earned grade of B or better in each section to enroll in an offsite practicum and meet the clinical Knowledge and Skills Assessment (KASA) standards for these clinical rotations.   
  • Attend a mandatory affiliation meeting during the semester before the scheduled field experience held by the Director of Clinical Services in CSD.  
  • Complete and submit Teacher Candidacy paperwork one semester prior to the start of the off-site field experience.   
  • Have proof of current liability insurance. 
  • Update the following clearances with valid dates for the duration of the semester1:   
    • Child abuse history clearance form
    • Request for criminal record check
    • FBI records check
    • TB test 
  • See department webpage and/or handbook for specific programmatic requirements. 

Clinical students will apply for updated clearances a semester prior to practicum and internship. The Office of Candidate Services will notify you when you should apply for clearances.


Elizabeth U. Grillo (2006)

B.M., Indiana University; M.S., Columbia University's Teachers College; Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

Mareile A. Koenig (1990)

Graduate Coordinator, Communication Sciences and Disorders

B.S., M.S., Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., University of Illinois

Jennifer W. Means (2004)

B.S., M.A., West Chester University; SLP.D., Nova Southeastern University

Associate Professors

Sojung Kim (2011)

Chairperson, Communication Sciences and Disorders

B.A., Sung Kyun Kwan University (South Korea); M.A., Ohio University; Ph.D., Arizona State University

Patricia Swasey Washington (2009)

B.A., Rutgers University Douglass College; M.A., William Paterson University; Ph.D., Temple University

Assistant Professors

Timothy Huang (2020)

B.A., National Taiwan Normal University; M.S., St. Cloud State University; Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Reva M. Zimmerman (2021)

B.A., B.S., Ph.D., University of Washington; M.S., University of British Columbia


SLP 501. Foundations of Research in Speech-Language Pathology. 1 Credit.

This course is a survey of research methods in speech-language pathology. The overall goal of this course is to cultivate students' understanding of the scientific method. Through readings, activities, lectures, and discussions, students will learn how research is not only relevant but integral to successful clinical practices/treatments.
Typically offered in Fall.

SLP 511. Child Language Disorders I: 0 To 5 Years. 3 Credits.

Explores disorders of early language acquisition and factors that may place infants and toddlers at risk for normal communication development. Assessment and intervention are examined from the perspective of developmental, behavioral, team-based, and family-centered frameworks.

SLP 512. Child Language Disorders II: School Age - Adolescent. 3 Credits.

This course addresses language disorders at school age, including the impact of oral language impairments on the acquisition of literacy skills by speakers of general American English, speakers of dialects, or English language learners. It also addresses strategies for prevention, identification, diagnosis, and intervention within a model of interdisciplinary collaboration that emphasizes cultural sensitivity and other standards of effective collaboration.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.
Typically offered in Spring.

SLP 515. Adult Neurogenic Speech Disorders. 2 Credits.

This course provides students with fundamental knowledge of the nature, evaluation, and management of acquired motor speech disorders - including the dysarthrias, apraxia of speech, and other neurologic speech disturbances.
Typically offered in Fall.

SLP 516. Adult Neurogenic Language and Cognitive Disorders. 3 Credits.

The course provides a theoretical and practical orientation to the area of acquired neurogenic communication disorders, including aphasia and acquired cognitive-communication disorders associated with traumatic brain injury, right hemisphere damage, dementia, and other neurogenic conditions. It will provide neurological and theoretical bases for the principles of diagnosis and management of persons with acquired communication disorders. Evidence-based management approaches will be presented and discussed along with contemporary models.
Typically offered in Spring.

SLP 521. Assistive Technologies for Communication and Participation. 3 Credits.

This course will provide a broad overview of normal and atypical communication development with a special emphasis on aspects relevant to teachers. Specific importance will be given to the various types of communication disorders, their characteristics, and the impact of high and low level technology, specifically, augmentative and alternative communication systems and assistive technologies to support the child with disabilities in the K-12 classroom. This will be accomplished through a practical, project-based, and interactive online learning environment.
Distance education offering may be available.
Cross listed courses EDA 521, SLP 521.

SLP 523. Voice Disorders. 3 Credits.

Examination of classification, etiology, diagnosis, and therapy for functional, organic, and psychological voice disorders.

SLP 524. Fluency Disorders. 3 Credits.

Consideration of the nature, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of stuttering and related disorders of speech flow. Critical review of pertinent research.

SLP 526. Clinical Articulation Phonology. 3 Credits.

Acoustic and physiological mechanisms underlying speech sound production; theorectical models and evidence-based practices associated with clinical management of disordered speech sound production.

SLP 543. Aural Rehabilitation. 3 Credits.

The purpose of this course is to develop understanding of evaluative and therapeutic interventions used in improving communication ability and for individuals of all ages with hearing loss and their family members.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall.

SLP 545. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 3 Credits.

This course is a three-unit graduate required course. The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of information related to the evidence, strategies, techniques, and issues that are unique to the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The class includes an in-depth review of the assessment process as well as the AAC needs of individuals with developmental and acquired disabilities across the age continuum. Hands-on experience with various methods of AAC strategies and devices will provide a clearer understanding of AAC intervention.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.
Typically offered in Summer.

SLP 551. Graduate Clinical Practicum. 1.5-3 Credits.

Supervised practice in the Speech and Hearing Clinic. Designed to increase diagnostic and therapeutic skills with children and adults who have communication problems.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.
Repeatable for Credit.

SLP 552. Medical Affiliation Practicum. 3-6 Credits.

Supervised practice in an affiliated clinic or school. Designed to increase diagnostic and therapeutic skills with children and adults who have communication disorders.
Pre / Co requisites: SLP 552 requires a prerequisite of SLP 551.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

SLP 553. School - based Affiliation Practicum. 3-9 Credits.

Supervised practice in an affiliated clinic. Designed to increase diagnostic and therapeutic skills with children and adults who have communication disorders.
Pre / Co requisites: SLP 553 requres a prerequisite of B or better in all SLP 551 practica and permission of the department.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.

SLP 560. Seminar In Speech Pathology. 1-3 Credits.

Selected theoretical and clinical areas of speech pathology and related disciplines. Topics vary each semester according to research developments and student needs.
Repeatable for Credit.

SLP 565. Communicative Enhancement for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. 3 Credits.

Within the framework of evidence-based practice, this course addresses the principles and strategies involved in the assessment and enhancement of communication skills needed by individuals with autism spectrum disorders to express their intentions and to meet the communicative demands of the environment. Also considered is the role of communicative enhancement in the prevention of behavior problems and in the design of positive behavior support plans.

SLP 570. School Language/Speech/Hearing Programs. 3 Credits.

Orientation to and observation of the organization, administration, and operation of school speech-language and hearing programs (preschool through grade 12).

SLP 575. Medical Speech Pathology. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to provide graduate students with an introduction to terminology, documentation, types of insurance, and interactions with other medical disciplines, as well as frequently observed disorders, assessments, and interventions associated with pediatric and adult patients in a medical setting(i.e. acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, long term care facilities). The course is also designed to expose the student to the code of ethics and scope of practice within a medical setting as determined by the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA).

SLP 582. Dysphagia. 3 Credits.

This course prepares students to identify anatomical and neurological structures in swallowing, as well as assess, treat, and modify diets for patients with normal and abnormal swallowing patterns.

SLP 590. Independent Study. 1-3 Credits.

Individualized research projects, reports, and/or readings in speech pathology or audiology under faculty supervision.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.

SLP 598. Workshop in Communicative Disorders. 3 Credits.

Contact department for more information about this course.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter.

SLP 610. Thesis. 1-6 Credits.

Contact department for more information about this course.