UNIVERSITY CATALOG: 2020-2021

Program: M.S., Communicative Disorders

Program Description

The master’s degree is the professional entry-level requirement for employment as a speech-language pathologist. Completion of the baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in Speech-Language Pathology enables students to satisfy the academic requirements for:

  1. License in all states to practice in medical, rehabilitative or private practice settings.
  2. Education credentials in all states for employment in public schools.
  3. Professional certification by the Council for Clinical Certification ASHA.

The department’s curriculum is conducted through classroom instruction, online instruction and experiential learning, including intensive student participation in the clinical programs of the CSUN Language, Speech and Hearing Center. Advanced graduate students obtain additional clinical experience through placement in the department’s affiliated medical centers, professional practices and public schools.

This program is available through one of the CSUN academic colleges or through The Tseng College. The program offered through The Tseng College is entirely funded by student fees and is offered in the cohort format.
Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU, and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., Social Security number or taxpayer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. The CSU will not refund tuition, fees or any associated costs to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements. Information concerning licensure and credentialing requirements is available from the department. See Notice to Students: Licensure and Certification for more information.

Program Requirements

A. Requirements for Admission to the Program

Potential graduate students must apply simultaneously and separately to the University and to the department. Those who meet both University and department minimum requirements will be considered by the department in a competitive process for admission as conditionally classified or classified graduate students.

Graduate applicants who meet the University minimum requirements but do not meet the department’s minimum requirements may be offered an opportunity to enroll in undergraduate prerequisite courses in either a Pre-Communication Disorders and Sciences status or a seat in a specific course(s) through Open University. These opportunities are limited by the enrollment capacity of the department for currently matriculated students. The Pre-CDS and Open University are intended to assist students in meeting the minimum admission requirements of prerequisite courses for the department’s graduate programs (see below). Courses in the master’s degree program itself are restricted to graduate students in classified or conditionally classified graduate status. Students with a baccalaureate degree in a major other than Communication Disorders and Sciences are not enrolled in a second baccalaureate degree in this field. Students having a baccalaureate degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences or equivalent may not pursue a second baccalaureate degree in the department. Potential Pre-CDS and Open University CDS students should discuss options with a department advisor as access to Pre-CDS and Open University status may change according to University admission policies.

An applicant to the department’s graduate program who currently is in Pre-CDS status will need to apply to the department, but not again to the University, for consideration for admission to the graduate program once the minimum admission requirements have been fulfilled.

Application Materials

Department materials and detailed instructions for application to the graduate programs may be obtained from the department office; information is also accessible through the department’s homepage. The department requires that applicants must use the department application form and the forms for letters of recommendation. Completed department application materials must be returned directly to the department.

B. Minimum Requirements for Consideration for Department Admission

The following requirements must be met:

  1. Completion of a B.A. degree.
  2. Completion of approved undergraduate courses in Communication Disorders and Sciences, including the specific course prerequisites described below.
  3. Submission of the department graduate application.
  4. Submission of three letters of recommendation on departmental forms.
  5. Submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT).

It is understood that some of the required academic and/or clinical courses may be in progress at the time of application, but that they would be completed before the anticipated starting date.

Students with an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences from a university other than CSUN may have minimal deficiencies in meeting the above requirements and may be considered for admittance as a conditionally classified graduate student. If admitted, the applicant must complete all identified conditions by the time that 12 units of graduate-level coursework have been completed in adherence to the University’s policies and will not be allowed enrollment in subsequent graduate coursework until all conditions have been fulfilled. Eligibility should be discussed with a department academic advisor.

C. Prerequisites for Admission to the Graduate Program and Advancement to Classified Graduate Status

Emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology

1. Admission to Graduate Program
State-Side Graduate Program
  1. Overall, applicants must possess 30 semester units (including courses in progress) of qualifying coursework in Communication Disorders and Sciences to include:
    1. 12 semester units of basic communication sciences, including CD 405, CD 410, CD 415 and CD 442 or the equivalent.
    2. 3 semester units in diagnostic methods, including CD 469A or the equivalent.
    3. 9 semester units of coursework in the management of communication disorders and sciences, including CD 450, CD 451 and CD 462 or the equivalents.
    4. 6 semester units of courses in basic audiometry and auditory rehabilitation, such as CD 445 and CD 446 or the equivalent.
  2. Applicants requesting to substitute equivalent coursework must submit transcripts, course descriptions and course syllabi for evaluation. Students admitted to the graduate program with the above completed coursework are admitted as conditionally classified.
Distance Learning Graduate Program
  1. Admission criteria to the Distance Learning self-support program is the same as for the state-side graduate program. Overall, the applicant must possess 30 semester units (including courses in progress) of qualifying coursework in Communication Disorders and Sciences, to include:
    1. 12 semester units of basic communication sciences, including CD 405, CD 410, CD 415 and CD 442 or the equivalent.
    2. 3 semester units in diagnostic methods, including CD 469A or the equivalent.
    3. 9 semester units of coursework in the management of Communication Disorders and Sciences, including CD 450, CD 451 and CD 462 or the equivalents.
    4. 6 semester units of courses in basic audiometry and auditory rehabilitation, such as CD 445 and CD 446 or the equivalent.
  2. Applicants requesting to substitute equivalent coursework must submit transcripts, course descriptions and course syllabi for evaluation. Students admitted to the graduate program with the above completed coursework are admitted as conditionally classified.
  3. Distance Learning Master’s Program Automatic Admission: Students who meet the following criteria and apply to the CSUN Distance Learning master’s degree program will be automatically admitted into the master’s degree program upon completion of the Certificate of Preparation for Advanced Studies in Speech-Language Pathology (Pre-SLP):
    1. GPA: CSUN Certificate of Pre-SLP program GPA of 3.85 or higher.
    2. One of the following test scores:
      1. GRE score of 1080 or higher (verbal plus quantitative reasoning scores).
      2. GRE score of 301 or higher (verbal plus quantitative reasoning scores) in the revised GRE scoring.
      3. MAT score of 417 or higher.
    3. Recommendations: Positive letters of recommendation from the Certificate of Pre-SLP faculty.

Students who have completed the CSUN Certificate of Pre-SLP who do not meet these automatic admission criteria may still apply to the master’s degree program and will be evaluated for admission within the regular pool of applicants.

2. Advancement to Classified Graduate Status
  1. Prior to completion of 12 units of graduate degree-granting coursework, students must attain classified status by completing any and all outstanding qualifying coursework. In addition to the 30 units listed in the Admission to Graduate Program section, additional qualifying coursework includes:
    1. CD 480 and CD 485 or the equivalents.
    2. CD 500.
    3. 25 supervised observation hours (CD 469O or the equivalent) and completion of all prerequisite sequences for graduate level practica (CD 465 or equivalent).
    4. Basic science requirements as identified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (one college-level course in the biological sciences, one college-level course in either physics or chemistry, one college-level course in the social sciences, one college-level course in inferential statistics). (Note: These areas of study must involve courses taken at CSUN or courses that are eligible for transfer to CSUN.)
    5. Passing score on the CSU Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam.
  2. Statement of consulting academic advisor for final determination of eligibility of courses for classified status.

D. Requirements for the M.S. Degree

Once admitted to the department’s graduate program, a student must attain classified graduate status, submit a department-approved plan of study (i.e., the master’s degree formal program) to the Graduate School for review and approval, satisfactorily complete all courses on the plan and pass a final, comprehensive examination. It is noted that for state licensure, professional certification and state education credentials, additional graduate courses are taken as part of the course of study. A thesis option is available that fulfills a portion of the final, comprehensive examination requirement. Students who are interested in writing a thesis must consult the department’s graduate coordinator for option criteria prior to submission of a department-approved master’s degree formal program.

1. Required Courses (36 units)

Core Curriculum (18 units)

CD 500 Background Leveling in Communication Disorders and Sciences (3)
CD 501 Interviewing and Counseling in Communicative Disorders (3)
CD 502 Research in Communicative Disorders (3)
CD 552 Language Disorders II (3)
CD 558 Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology of Speech, Language and Hearing (3)
CD 674 Pediatric Audiology (3)

Speech-Language Pathology Emphasis (34 units)

CD 651 Advanced Study of Articulation and Phonological Disorders in Children (3)
CD 659 Neurogenic Disorders of Cognition and Language (3)
CD 660 Structural and Neurogenic Speech Disorders (3)
CD 661 Voice and Disorders of Voice (3)
CD 662 Seminar in Developmental Language Disorders (3)
CD 663 Adult and Pediatric Swallowing/Feeding Disorders (3)
CD 668 Advanced Diagnostics in Speech-Language Pathology (3)

Clinical Practica

CD 566 Clinical Practicum in Speech Pathology II (2)
CD 567 Clinical Practicum in Speech Pathology III (2)
CD 672A Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology I (3)

One of the following practica:

CD 672C Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology II (6)
or SPED 544CD Student Teaching in Language, Speech and Hearing and Audiology (6)

2. Culminating Experience (3 units)

One of the following:
  1. Comprehensive Examination: Successful completion of a comprehensive written examination covering speech and hearing science, speech-language pathology and audiology; student must register for CD 697.
  2. Thesis: Successful completion of an acceptable thesis and its oral defense, along with successful completion of a comprehensive written examination in areas of speech and hearing sciences, speech-language pathology and audiology in the areas not covered by the thesis topic; student must register for CD 698.

Note: Students in Tseng College cohorts may register only for CD 697.

Total Units Required for the M.S. Degree: 55

State Licensure and ASHA Certification

State licensure and ASHA certification in Speech-Language Pathology require student clinicians to obtain experiences through direct client contact. State licensure and ASHA certification also require that student clinician competencies associated with client contact experiences are appropriately supervised and regularly evaluated. Direct client contact hours required for state licensure and ASHA certification in Speech-Language Pathology are obtained primarily through enrollment in the following practica within the formal program (department advisement is required for individual needs of students):

CD 566 Clinical Practicum in Speech Pathology II (2)
CD 567 Clinical Practicum in Speech Pathology III (2)
CD 672A Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology I (3)
CD 672C Advanced Clinical Practice in Speech Pathology and Audiology II (6)*

*Or equivalent.

Special Notes for Practicum Experiences

Department standards may be found in the Clinical Handbook, which is updated each year by the clinic coordinator of the Language, Speech and Hearing Center (LSHC). The Clinical Handbook includes descriptions of department standards relating to student medical clearances, background clearances, potential certification requirements (e.g., CPR, fire safety), contractual obligations for availability/attendance for on-campus practica, as well as off-campus practica, required advancement in skill competencies, and required adherence to variables related to professionalism and ethical conduct.

Students are assigned to practica based on variables such as students’ academic schedules, preparation from academic coursework and availability of practica sites. The department will not consider it a priority to secure a second clinical experience option for any student who has declined a practicum assignment when a first and reasonable clinical practicum experience has been secured and offered to that student.

If a student has begun a leveled practicum assignment and is then moved into a remediation plan, that student will be required to re-enroll in the same level of practicum assignment in the next available semester. Additionally, the department does not guarantee re-entry into clinical assignments to any student when a clinical experience has begun and the student is subsequently moved into a remediation plan.

Clinical practica provide students with experiences in which knowledge and skill competencies are expanded through (a) client populations across the lifespan, (b) client populations from culturally/linguistically diverse backgrounds, and (c) client populations with various types and severities of communication and/or related disorders, differences and disabilities (see 2020 Standards and Implementation Procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology). Appropriate expansion of students’ clinical and professional skill competencies are closely supervised and evaluated as students advance through leveled practica.

“Competency for entry level into the profession” is not based solely on having accumulated contact hours. As leveled practica become more challenging, students are expected to advance in development of clinical skill competencies through new experiences with clinical populations as well as in response to input from supervisor assessments and evaluations. Students must obtain passing evaluations of each skill competency assessed within practicum experiences in order to pass the overall practicum evaluation.

When verifying applications for ASHA Certification and California Licensure, the department clinic coordinator will rely on supervisory reports of student skill competencies in all completed leveled practica for areas of assessment, intervention and/or management, counseling/educational services and professional conduct. The department chair will not recommend graduation/awarding of the degree to any student who has not passed all practica evaluations. Additionally, the department chair will not sign state licensure paperwork for any student who has not passed all practica evaluations.

Special Notes

The most current entry standards for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Certification of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech-Language Pathology were issued January 1, 2020. The ASHA CCC in Speech-Language Pathology requires 75 semester units, which includes units from undergraduate-level preparation coursework combined with a minimum of 36 graduate-level semester units in specified areas that directly relate to the Certification of Clinical Competence.

Regarding the Application for State Licensure and ASHA Certification

The department and the University do not confer a license to practice nor professional certification. The graduating student must apply for a license to the appropriate state agency having jurisdiction over the intended practice and must apply to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for certification. It is emphasized that practice without a license is a violation of state law, unless the employment is within specified exempt settings. Applications for licenses and certifications must meet requirements that are in force at the time of application, which may differ from the requirements at the time when a student enrolled in the program or when a student graduated. The department provides ongoing advisement to enrolled students regarding the requirements and processes for licensure and certification.

Contact

Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences
Chair/Graduate Coordinator: Patricia Seymour
Monterey Hall (MH) 301
(818) 677-2852 (VOICE)

Online Program
Master of Science in Communicative Disorders
Graduate Coordinator: Sherry Foldvary
(818) 677-2880

Staff: Diana Cabral
(818) 677-2822

Staff: Odette Arman
(818) 677-6648

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Demonstrate appropriate comportment and knowledge of professional standards:
    1. Show professional and ethical behavior with superiors, clients and colleagues in clinical settings.
    2. Demonstrate understanding of professional practice patterns and ethical standards.
  2. Demonstrate cultural sensitivity and knowledge of the effects of cultural difference on communication.
  3. Demonstrate professional entry-level knowledge and clinical application of:
    1. The theories and models underlying typical and atypical speech, language, cognition, auditory and swallowing processes, as well as changes associated with normal aging.
    2. Diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for speech, language, cognition, swallowing and auditory disorders across the lifespan.
  4. Integrate theoretical knowledge with clinical experience and application of research literature in clinical practice in order to problem-solve clinical cases.