Communication Disorders Graduate Programs

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

About Communication Disorders

Embark on a rewarding career helping individuals with speech-language pathologies.

Communication and swallowing are critical parts of daily life. With a master's degree in communication disorders from California University of Pennsylvania, 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 Cal U's on-campus Learning and Language Center Preschool Program and Speech and Hearing Clinic.
  • Clinical rotations in speech diagnostics and audiologic screenings.
  • 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 department's five year strategic plan.


Top Accreditation
The Master of Science (M.S.) education program in speech-language pathology at California University of Pennsylvania 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. 

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.

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Student Outcome Data

Year of Graduation

# of Students

# Completing on time

# Passing Praxis

# Employed within 1 year



24 (100%)

24 (100%)

24 (100%)



24 (100%)

24 (100%)

24 (100%)



24 (100%)

24 (100%)

24 (100%)

3-year average






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Degree Benefits

The exceptional benefits of Cal U'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.
 Communication Disorders - Master of Science (M.S.)

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 Cal U'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.

Students work with a patient in the learning and language clinic.

Learning and Language Center

The Learning and Language Center Preschool Program is a laboratory school under the direct supervision of faculty in the communication disorders program. Both graduate and undergraduate students complete a clinical practicum in the preschool program and work directly with the children.

Cal U 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 Disorders Master of Science (M.S.)

This 59-credit accredited master's degree program combines comprehensive academic courses and extensive clinical experiences to provide specialized training in all areas of communication disorders.



Course Credits
CMD 600 Research and Professional Practice in SLP 3
CMD 701 Language Disorders in Adults 3
CMD 702 Language Disorders in Children 3
CMD 703 Fluency Disorders 3
CMD 705 Voice Disorders 3
CMD 707 Phonology and Articulation 3
CMD 708 Neurology 3
CMD 712 Clinical Practicum in University Clinic 3
CMD 713 Speech Diagnostics 3
CMD 715/716 Clinical Externship (Available to all students in good standing)  3 (x2)
CMD 718 Advanced Audiology for the SLP 3
CMD 765 Dysphagia
CMD 766 Traumatic Brain Injury  3
CMD 772 Augmentative and Alternative Communication  3
CMD 785 Seminar in Speech Pathology 3
Clinical Practicum in Various Settings* 3 (x2)
Rotating Required Elective 3
RES 829 Research Project 2
Total 59

*Choose from: CMD 711 Learning and Language Center, CMD 712 University Clinic and CMD 714 Audiology


Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular)  

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.25 or higher
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • Three letters of recommendation from someone who can attest to your ability in the field  (waived for Cal U CMD undergraduates)
  • GRE Scores
  • 2-3 page personal essay regarding your decision to pursue a master's degree in Communication Disorders
  • International Graduate Applicants

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements.  Those admitted conditionally based on missing document/s or pre-requisite courses, have up to a maximum of two semesters to satisfy these requirements:
    • Unofficial transcripts
    • Deficiencies in Pre/Co-requisite courses (up to two maximum terms to satisfy foundation course requirements)

Pre/Co Requisite Courses

  • Applicants may remove deficiencies in the following foundation courses at Cal U or another accredited institution prior to regular admission or after conditional admission:
    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Articulation/Phonology
    • Introduction to Audiology
    • Introduction to Communication Disorders
    • Phonetics
    • Speech and Language Development
    • Speech Science

Applicants without a degree in communication disorders will need to complete a minimum of 36 undergraduate credits in communication disorders prior to being considered for graduate admission; 21 of these pre/co-requisite credits must cover the areas listed above.

Admission Deposit
Admission to this program is highly competitive.  Students admitted to the program are required to submit a non-refundable $250 deposit.  The deposit is due to the university within two weeks of the student accepting the University's offer of admission.  When the deposit is not received by the due date, the offer of admission will be withdrawn and offered to another applicant.  Please click here to pay this deposit.

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

  • Submit unofficial transcripts and other documents by mail (using the address above),
    email ( or fax (724-938-5712)

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187

Communication Disorders Bachelor's Degree

Communication Disorders Bachelor's Degree Program

An undergraduate degree program for students interested in building a strong scientific foundation in communication disorders and speech-language pathology.



Communication Disorders Faculty

Dr. Ralph Belsterling
Associate Professor

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Nancy Carlino
Assistant Professor

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Dr. Denise Joseph
Associate Professor

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Dr. Samantha Procaccini
Associate Professor and Clinical Director

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Dr. Robert Skwarecki

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April Wright
Assistant Professor

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