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M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders

About M.S.CSD Program

Program Overview

Location: Cullowhee, Main Campus

Prerequisites: 3.0 GPA, required courses

Full-Time, 30 Person Cohort

App. Deadline: Feb. 15 - Fall Admit Only

63 Credit Hours, 21 Months to Complete

100% praxis pass rate and employment

Virtual Open House

Saturday, November 14th: 10am-Noon

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University,  understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

Register Today

The Speech Language Pathology graduate program is a highly competitive, full-time program made up of a 30 person cohort. The application deadline for all students in Feburary 15, as cohorts begin in the Fall of each year. 


CSD graduate student working in the clinic


At the time of matriculation, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree and completed all ASHA pre-requisite courses (a biological science course, a chemistry or physics course, a social science course, and a statistics course).

The competitive applicant will have the following:

  • a strong grade point average (e.g. > 3.3 for both overall and in pre-requisite courses)
  • high CASPer score
  • 3 strong letters of recommendation
  • excellent communication skills

How to Apply: 

Step 1

Applicants must complete Western Carolina University’s Graduate School application and pay the application fee.



Step 2

Applicants must create an account through CASPer and take skills assessment through the CASPer system.

The CASPer Test - Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics

All applicants applying to the Speech Language Pathology graduate program at Western Carolina University are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer), to assist with our selection process for the 2020-2021 Application Cycle.

CASPer is an online test which assesses non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program, and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.

 In order to take CASPer, you will be responsible for securing access to a laptop or desktop computer with webcam and audio capabilities. You will require the following for both account creation and taking the test:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Valid email address
  • Working webcam
  • Working microphone
  • Reliable high-speed internet connection

Please go to to sign up for the Professional Health Sciences test (CSP-10101), under your specific country (USA), and reserve a test using your government-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly; as there may be updates to the test schedule.

 You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times based on the admissions timeline and requirements. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test, and you must select Western Carolina University Speech-Language Pathology for distribution before the posted Distribution Deadline. Likely, there will be no additional tests scheduled, but the most up to date information can be found by browsing the Test Dates and Times on

 To account for identity verification and payment processing timeline, ensure that you register for your test at least three days before your preferred test date and time. Last-minute bookings are not recommended. If you require testing accommodations for CASPer, you will need to submit the Accommodations Request Form signed by you and your qualified professional 3 weeks in advance of your desired test date. More information regarding CASPer accommodations can be found through this CASPer link.

Please direct any inquiries on the test to Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen on the website to speak to a live agent.

The CASPer test is comprised of 12 sections: 8 video-based and 4 word-based scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of 3 probing questions in 5 minutes or less. Halfway through the test, there is an optional 15-minute break.  The test typically takes between 75-90 minutes to complete. Each of the 12 responses are anonymized and scored by a unique rater, giving a robust and reliable impression of your personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required, however you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with the test format via the System Requirements Check and 12 section practice test prior to taking CASPer.  Additional helpful resources are available free of charge at and

CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it.

 *Additionally, for this admissions cycle we ask that you complete Casper Snapshot, an extension of the Casper Test to provide us with a better understanding of your communication skills and personal attributes. Casper Snapshot is a short video response tool where you will be asked three standardized questions and be given two minutes to read and respond to each question. It should take you no longer than 10 minutes to complete. You can complete it at any time after reserving your CASPer test date and before January 12, 2021.  You can learn more about Snapshot at the Casper site.


For a more detailed look at the CASPer test, please see this video.

Application Deadline

The application deadline is February 15th. All application materials must be submitted to WCU Graduate School by that date.

Application Requirements

All of the following application materials must be submitted through WCU application portal.

Applications Must Include:

  • Official college/university transcripts from all previous coursework
  • Completion of ASHA prerequisite courses (biological science, chemistry or physics, social science, statistics) - we accept students with out of field degrees so specific prerequisite CSD courses are not a requirement prior to being accepted
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • An official score on CASPer exam (this is provided directly to Western from CASPer following applicant testing/scoring) and completion of CASPer Snapshot
  • Submission of response to written prompt (provided as part of the application through WCU)

Speech Language Pathology practice requires certain aptitude, abilities, and skills to ensure success and client safety. Students accepted into the program must attest to meeting these essential functions.

Information for International Applicants

Citizens of other countries, whose degrees are not from U.S. institutions, must have their transcripts and full course descriptions translated into English and evaluated by a recognized credential evaluation service such as World Education Services. International applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must submit a minimum score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (Internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and provide a statement of financial responsibility.

Course Sequence

  • To see a typical course sequence if you are interested in completing a thesis and have an undergraduate degree in CSD  - choose this link 
  • To see a typical course sequence if you have a degree in CSD and are not interested in completing a thesis in graduate school click this link 
  • If you have a degree in another field click this link to see your typical course sequence.

Application Contact Information

If you have questions about the application process and status of your application, you may contact Dr. Tracie Rice (

If you have questions about improving your application to reapply in the future, you may contact Laura Trivette (

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