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M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders

About M.S.CSD Program

Program Overview

Location: West Campus, Cullowhee, NC

Min Reqs: 3.0 GPA, bachelor's degree

Full-time, 30 person cohort

App Deadline: Feb 1 for fall term start

Full-Time; 63 Credit Hours

Highly competitive praxis pass rates

Students completing the program will graduate with a Master's of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. We value the unique qualities of faculty, staff, and students in our program, and we strive to create a culture that embraces diversity, inclusion, equity, justice, and belonging. In that line, we serve a unique population in rural Appalachia, improving the communication and quality of life of our neighbors. Our program offers students a variety of clinical sites (e.g., skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, private practice, schools), and students may even have the opportunity to acquire unique placements nationally. (National and international service experiences are also returning to the table for discussion and planning.) We offer several internal scholarships, graduate assistantships, and tuition remissions for exceptional applicants. We believe strongly in the community we have created, and we hope you will consider WCU to earn your master's degree.

Why WCU?

  • The numbers! Our students graduate on-time, they pass the Praxis, and they get jobs.
  • The cost! In-state students can finish this degree for around $25K, and out-of-state students can finish this degree for around $44K. With the financial support we can offer, it gets better. We have tuition remissions, scholarships, grants, and a lot of graduate assistantships. We support our students headed to conferences to present their research, and we write letters of recommendation for external scholarships and awards. WCU has no-questions-asked student emergency funds, and CSD collects donations of scrubs for short-term clinical placements. 
  • The mountains! Your self-care starts as soon as you walk out of the building. The air and the views will already be a calming presence after a long day of classes or clinic. Give yourself the gift of this place during the two years you are doing something really tough.
  • The curriculum! Our graduate classes are offered on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule, so you can expect to be in the classroom from 8:30 to 3:45 on those days. The other three days are reserved for clinical placements. Our faculty and staff appreciate work-life balance, and hope to demonstrate that balance by not requiring much, if anything, in the evening hours.
  • The skills! You can graduate WCU with an additional certification as a Certified Dementia Practitioner! You can graduate WCU with advanced experience in ASD, AAC, and IPE! You can graduate as an experienced bilingual practitioner! You can graduate with experitise in literacy!

Amazing opportunities await you at WCU!

Fall 2025 Admission Cycle

The Graduate School is accepting applications for the Fall 2025 admissions cycle.  Applications are submitted through WCU; that is, WCU does not use an external application platform.  

The Competitive Application

The competitive application will have the following:

  • An overall GPA of 3.5 or higher (4.0 scale) and As/Bs in the six ASHA-required foundational course
  • Three strong letters of recommendation (at least two from former professors; no personal references)
  • Completion of a minimum 25 hours of observation in a variety of settings or with a variety of clinical populations
  • Personal statement (built-into the application) that demonstrates effective professional writing and highlights the unique qualities that you bring to our program and the profession
  • Great news! The GRE is no longer a required component of the application!

Academic Tracks

At WCU, we appreciate the value of diverse educational backgrounds and professional experiences. For this reason, we offer two academic tracks: Traditional and Leveler. In the application process, you will be expected to select one track to which you are committing. Use the decision chart to find the best fit for you. If you match the leveler track at present, please reach out to learn about the distance education prerequisite course sequence offered through our department.

Traditional Track

This course of study is designed for students who meet one of the two requirements below:

  • Earned bachelor's degree in CSD, or
  • Earned bachelor's degree in another field and completion of at least 4 of 6 ASHA foundational courses. (only two prereqs remain)

This track is 5 semesters, with a spring semester graduation.

Leveler Track

This course of study is designed for students who meet both of the two requirements below:

  • Earned bachelor's degree in another field, and
  • Completion of 0-2 ASHA foundational courses. (3 or more remain)

This track is 7 semesters, with a fall semester graduation.

How to Apply

Step 1: Complete Western Carolina University's Graduate School application. (We do not require or accept applications submitted in external application platforms. All materials must be submitted through the Graduate School's application system.)

Step 2: Request official transcripts from all universities from which you have earned college-level academic credit.

Step 3: Select and submit the names of those individuals providing letters of recommendation on your behalf.

  Special Considerations

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

"Language proficiency is the ability to communicate accurately, effectively, and spontaneously in expressive (spoken and written) and receptive (listening and reading) modalities. Widely used tests of English language proficiency that assess skill in each of the four modalities of language (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) include the IELTS, which is based on English as a global language (including English used in North America, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand), and the TOEFL, based on American English." (ASHA, retrieved on August 1, 2023)

According to ASHA's February 2019 Final Report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Language Proficiency, it has been recommended to require a minimum TOEFL Total Score of 105 with at least a 26 on the Speaking and Listening subtests and to require a minimum IELTS Total Score to 7.5, with at least a 7.5 on the Speaking and Listening segments. 

Questions about the Program?

If you have about programs in CSD, contact Dr. Leigh Odom at

Virtual Open House

Tuesday, August 6, 2024: 5-6:30 p.m.

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

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