Communication Sciences & Disorders Graduate Programs

Communication Sciences & Disorders Graduate Programs Master of Science (M.S.)

About Communication Sciences & Disorders

Embark on a rewarding career helping individuals with communication and swallowing disorders.

Communication and swallowing are critical parts of daily life. With a master's degree in communication disorders from PennWest California, you will gain scientific insight into in the full range of communication and swallowing disorders that affect individuals from all age groups, and you will learn how to effectively analyze, diagnose and treat these problems.

 This specialized professional training program prepares you for a professional career providing evidence-based clinical services as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in a variety of settings.

Hands-on clinical contact is essential to job success.

All program students complete:

  • Clinical rotations in PennWest California's on-campus Speech and Hearing Clinic.
  • Two different clinical externships at top hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation clinics, or public and private schools in western Pennsylvania.

View the program’s executive summary of the strategic plan.


The Master of Science (M.S.) education program in speech-language pathology at PennWest California (residential) is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700. 

Pennsylvania Western University also offers the MS SLP program at the Clarion and Edinboro campuses that each hold their own CAA accreditation. CAA accreditation for the integrated Penn West MS SLP program is in progress.         

Cohort Model
Build relationships with fellow students and benefit from networking opportunities. You will progress through this program in a five-semester cohort. Cohorts complete an identical core of required courses that are critical to success as an SLP. Each cohort also completes a unique combination of additional courses geared toward the specialized speech-language pathology services needed by diverse patient populations.


Students interested in applying for the Master's in Communication Sciences & Disorders should apply through CSDCAS, a state-of-the-art, online application designed to reduce paperwork, streamline processing, and facilitate ongoing communication between programs and applicants.


Student Outcome Data

Year of Graduation # of Students # Completing on time # Passing Praxis # Employed within 1 year
2020-2021 31 31 (100%)  31 (100%) 31 (100%)
2019-2020 32 31 (96.88%) 31 (96.88%) 23 (96.88%)
2018-2019 24 24 (100%) 24 (100%) 24 (100%)
3-year average   98.96% 98.96% 98.96%


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Degree Benefits

The exceptional benefits of PennWest California's master's degree program in communication disorders prepare you for career success.

  • Close 1:1 mentorship with faculty members, particularly in the University clinical setting.
  • Complete comprehensive courses led by faculty who maintain active clinical practices that ensure real world application.
  • Acquire hands-on, evidence-based clinical experience with instruments and procedures used in communication and swallowing intervention.
  • Over 100 top clinical facilities in the region have contractual relationships with our program.
  • Opportunities to present graduate-level research at local, state, and national conventions.
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Graduate Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be prepared to seek certification as a clinical speech-language pathologist - a career with a diverse range of job settings and high job-growth rates. The vast majority of program graduates find jobs in speech therapy soon after graduation. Our alumni have successful careers working in:

  • Hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
  • Long-term care facilities.
  • Public and private schools.
  • Outpatient clinics and home-care companies.
  • Early intervention programs.
  • Research labs.
  • Corporations and governmental agencies.

Curriculum and Admission Requirements

This 60-credit accredited master's degree program combines comprehensive academic courses and extensive clinical experiences to provide specialized training in all areas of communication disorders.

Fact Sheet about the MSSLP Program, How to apply & Curriculum

What Can I Do with a Communication Disorders Degree?


Meet Elizabeth Straub, M.S. CCCSLP, a speech-language pathologist at McKeesport School District who has served as president of the Southwestern PA Speech and Hearing Association.


Certification and Licensure

Completion of a master's degree in communication disorders is a major step, but not the only one, to become certified in speech-language pathology. In most clinical practice situations, speech-language pathologists are required to possess one or more of the following:

  • A Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) issued by the ASHA.
  • A state license.
  • A state teaching certificate.

Speech and Hearing Club

Join PennWest California's chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association. Membership benefits include networking with communication disorders professionals; traveling to local, state and national conferences; and participating in social, educational and community service activities.

PennWest California students use hearing testing equipment.

Speech and Hearing Clinic

The on-campus Speech and Hearing Clinic provides high-quality professional services to individuals of all ages with communicative, hearing and swallowing needs. Graduate students under the direct supervision of licensed and certified clinical faculty provide clinical services.


Communication Sciences & Disorders Faculty

Nancy Carlino
Assistant Professor

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Dr. Sheri Lake
Assistant Professor

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Dr. Robert Skwarecki

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April Wright
Assistant Professor

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