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Graduate Program FAQs

The Penn State Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) is considered one of the premier programs in the United States for training health care professionals and consumers of research in speech-language pathology and audiology. The Department offers an undergraduate program in CSD and a graduate training program in Speech-Language Pathology (M.S. and Ph.D.).

FAQs about Penn State and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Does Penn State have an Au.D. program? icon-olus-circle

No. Penn State does not currently offer an Au.D. program.

Does Penn State accept international students? icon-olus-circle

Yes. International students (non-U.S. residents) should complete the regular application procedures. In addition, students with questions concerning information about a student visa, deposit, minimum TOEFL score requirements, etc. should contact the Penn State Office of Global Programs at or 814-865-6348.

Who should I contact about student loans, aid, and work-study? icon-olus-circle

The Penn State Office of Student Aid, 314 Shields Building, University Park, PA 16802; 814-865-6301.

When do semesters start and end? icon-olus-circle

The fall semester typically begins in late August and ends around the second week of December. Spring semester starts the second week of January and ends around the first week of May. There are three summer sessions with various start and end dates. Detailed academic calendars are available on the Registrar's website.

What is the tuition at Penn State? icon-olus-circle

The tuition at Penn State varies for Pennsylvania residents and out-of-state graduate students. The current tuition schedule is available online. CSD graduate programs are located on the University Park campus. Tuition rates are subject to change. The Bursar's Office manages student accounts related to tuition and billing.

Does Penn State offer housing for graduate students? icon-olus-circle

Yes. Information about housing at University Park can be found at Various options exist for on-campus graduate and family housing as well as services for off-campus student support.

Where can I obtain information about the surrounding area of State College? icon-olus-circle

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau is a great resource for the Penn State and surrounding areas including hotels, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, activities, recreation, events and more. 

FAQs about the Master of Science (M.S.) Degree Program

Admissions and Funding

How many master's degree students are in the program? icon-olus-circle

Each year, about twenty-five students in speech-language pathology enter the graduate program.

Are GRE scores required for admission? icon-olus-circle

For students applying to the M.S. Program for Fall 2021 admission, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are optional. Applicants may submit scores, but they are not required for admission.

Do I have to complete all prerequisite courses to be admitted to the M.S. program? icon-olus-circle

An applicant may be admitted without having completed all prerequisite courses, but must take the courses before beginning graduate coursework, adding a year to their program of study.

Applicants who are unable to complete the prerequisite courses during their undergraduate studies are strongly encouraged to enroll in post-baccalaureate or “leveling” courses, which are offered in-person or online by many reputable institutions.

Is an interview necessary for admission? icon-olus-circle

An interview is not required for admission to the master's program. However, if you would like to visit our facilities and meet with our faculty and graduate students, this can be arranged by contacting the graduate program assistant.

What is the availability of financial assistance for an M.S. student? icon-olus-circle

Funding for masters students is limited at Penn State. The department receives a limited number of assistantships from the College of Health and Human Development. The number of assistantships may vary from one year to the next, and Ph.D. students are given priority. Funding through departmental assistantships will be available for M.S. students if there are assistantships remaining. There is no application process for this funding. All admitted students are considered. Final funding decisions are made by the department head.

Academics and Clinical Training

What is the emphasis of the M.S. program? icon-olus-circle

At the master's level, the program emphasizes clinical and research education. 

Can I specialize in a specific area, such as working with an infant population? icon-olus-circle

Master's students must complete the general academic requirements for certification and graduation, including the course work, 375 supervised clinical practicum clock hours, and 25 observation hours. Master's students complete their research papers or theses in a specific area of interest, and sometimes choose externships to gain deeper experience with a particular population.

Where do Penn State students obtain practicum experiences? icon-olus-circle

All students enroll for practica and diagnostics in the on-campus Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic as well as two approved off-campus practicum sites while they are completing their academic programs. Once the academic program is completed and a student has at least 200 hours of CCC-supervised practica, they are ready for an externship practicum. The externship is done off-campus and is a full-time experience lasting between twelve and fifteen weeks.

Who supervises clinical practica? icon-olus-circle

The clinical faculty and some academic/research faculty provide supervision. All supervisors are ASHA-certified and hold Pennsylvania licenses.

Who determines the externship sites and where are the externship sites located? icon-olus-circle

The externship sites are determined by the externship coordinator in conjunction with the student. Sites are selected in reference to the student's interests and availability of positions. The majority of externship sites are in Pennsylvania, but a few students are placed in neighboring states. All externship supervisors are ASHA certified.

Is there a comprehensive examination at the end of the M.S. program? icon-olus-circle

No. Master's students must complete either a master's research paper or a master's thesis. A faculty committee assists students in their selection of a research paper or thesis. In addition, students typically take the Praxis exam prior to graduation, although it is not a requirement for graduation.

Is the Penn State program accredited? icon-olus-circle

Yes. The academic program has been accredited by the ASHA Council of Academic Affairs since 1964.

How well do Penn State students do on the Praxis exam for certification? icon-olus-circle

In recent years, 100% of Penn State master's level graduates  have passed the Praxis exam on their first attempt. View our Student Outcome Data for details.

Do graduates of the program find employment? icon-olus-circle

Penn State graduates have little difficulty finding employment. In fact, many graduates secure employment before they leave the graduate program. View our Student Outcome Data for details.

FAQs about the Doctoral (Ph.D.) Program

How many doctoral students are in the program? icon-olus-circle

On average, about three to four students in speech-language pathology enter the doctoral program each year. Generally, there are about 15 doctoral students in the program.

What is the emphasis of the Ph.D. program? icon-olus-circle

At the doctoral level, emphasis is placed on research education, and developing depth of knowledge in specific areas of interest.

What is the availability of financial assistance for a Ph.D. student? icon-olus-circle

Typically, half-time graduate assistantships based on merit are awarded to full-time Ph.D. students. Reappointment to an assistantship is based on availability of positions and the quality of student's performance. 

Are GRE scores required for admission? icon-olus-circle

For students applying to the Ph.D. Program, GRE scores are required (must have been taken within the past five years) and should be submitted electronically directly to the Graduate School using code 2660.

Is an interview necessary for admission? icon-olus-circle

For doctoral admission, an in-person or virtual interview is required with the graduate faculty. If you would like to visit our facilities and meet with our faculty and graduate students, this can be arranged by contacting the graduate program assistant.