FAQs about CSD's Graduate Programs

Q. How many master's degree students are in the program?
A. Each year, about twenty-five to thirty students in speech-language pathology enter the graduate program.
Q. How many doctoral students are in the program?
A. Each year, about two to three students in speech-language pathology enter the doctoral program. Generally, there are about eight doctoral students in the program.
Q. Does Penn State have an Au.D. program?
A. No. Penn State does not currently offer an Au.D. program.
Q. Who supervises clinical practica?
A. The clinical faculty and some academic/research faculty provide supervision. All supervisors are ASHA-certified and hold Pennsylvania licenses.
Q. What is the emphasis of the graduate program?
A. At the master's level, the program emphasizes clinical and research education. At the doctoral level, emphasis is placed on research education.
Q. Can I specialize in a specific area, such as working with an infant population?
A. 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 often enroll in additional electives, complete their research papers or theses and in general can complete their externships in a specific area of interest.
Doctoral students must develop specific areas of interest in their overall educational programs.
Q. Do graduates of the program find employment?
A. Over the past ten years, Penn State graduates have had little difficulty finding employment. In fact, many graduates secure employment before they leave the graduate program.
Q. How well do Penn State students do on the ASHA CCC Test?
A. In recent years, 100 percent of Penn State graduates have passed the ASHA CCC Test on their first try.
Q. Is the Penn State program approved by ASHA?
A. Yes. The academic program has been accredited by the ASHA Council of Academic Affairs since 1964.
Q. Where do Penn State students obtain practicum experiences?
A. 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 (fall, spring, summer and the next fall semester). Once the academic program is completed and a student has at least 200 hours of CCC-supervised practica, he or she is ready for an externship practicum. The externship is done off campus and is a full-time experience lasting between twelve and fifteen weeks.
Q. Who determines the externship sites and where are the externship sites located?
A. The externship sites are determined by the externship supervisor in conjunction with the student. Sites are selected in reference to the student's interests. The majority of externship sites are in Pennsylvania, with the exception of a few grant-related sites. All externship supervisors are ASHA certified.
Q. What is the availability of financial assistance for a Ph.D. student?
A. For the past ten years, half-time graduate assistantships based on merit have been awarded to full-time Ph.D. students. Reappointment to an assistantship is based on availability of positions and the quality of student's performance. If a student is under-performing in their assistantship, processes will be followed as outlined in the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin.
Q. What is the availability of financial assistance for a master's degree student?
A. 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 provided by the college is not consistent from one year to the next, and Ph.D. students are given priority. This means the bulk of these assistantships are awarded to Ph.D. scholars. 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.
Q. What is the tuition at Penn State?
A. 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.
Q. Does Penn State have housing for graduate students?
A. Yes. Information about housing at University Park can be found at http://housing.psu.edu/. Various options exist for on-campus graduate and family housing as well as services for off-campus student support.
Q. Where can I obtain information about State College?
A. The Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau is a great resource for the Penn State area including hotels, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, activities, recreation, events and more. They are located convenient to campus at 800 East Park Avenue, State College, PA 16803 and can be reached by calling 814-231-1400 or 800-358-5466.
Q. Is an interview necessary for admission?
A. 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 calling 814-865-0971.
For doctoral admission, an in-person or conference phone call interview is required with the graduate faculty.
Q. Are GRE scores necessary for admission?
A. Yes.
Q. Does Penn State accept international students?
A. 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 international@psu.edu or 814-865-6348.
Q. Who do I contact about student loans, aid, and work-study?
A. The Penn State Office of Student Aid, 314 Shields Building, University Park, PA 16802; 814-865-6301.
Q. When do semesters start and end?
A. 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.
Q. Is there a comprehensive examination at the end of the master's degree program?
A. 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 ASHA CCC examination prior to graduation, although it is not a requirement for graduation.