Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Preparatory Certificate Program

Students whose undergraduate degrees are in fields other than communication disorders need to complete prerequisite courses before applying to the MA program in Communicative Disorders with an emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology. Students wishing to take these prerequisites at Cal State LA must apply to the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Preparatory Certificate Program.

The Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Preparatory Certificate Program requires the completion of a minimum of 13 courses (39-semester units). These 13 courses are required prerequisites to the MA Program in Communicative Disorders with an emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology at Cal State LA.  Click here for a complete list of required coursework.

The Certificate can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Therefore students usually complete the program in 1½ to 3 years, depending on the course load.

Admission to this Graduate Program takes place once a year (Fall admission only).

Requirements for admission to the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Preparatory Certificate Program include:

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree and
  • A minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in the most recent 60 semester units. 

These are minimum criteria only and do not guarantee admission to the program.

Students wishing to apply to the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Preparatory Certificate Program must complete an online application through Cal State Apply.  Admission to this Graduate Program takes place once a year (Fall admission only). The Office of Admissions and Recruitment offers various application tips; we recommend you visit their website as well.  Here are a few tips from our department if you are applying to Cal State LA’s Master’s Prep Certificate Program:

  • The Cal State Apply application for Fall 2024 admission opens on October 1, 2023.
  • When creating your Cal State Apply profile, select “Second Bachelor’s Degree and Beyond (e.g. Master’s Teaching Credential, Certificate, Doctoral)” and check “Certificate” as your Degree Goal.  
  • The Cal State Apply application has four parts: (1) Personal Information, (2) Academic History, (3) Supporting Information, and (4) Program Materials.  All sections must be completed. 
    • Academic History – Colleges Attended:  Please make sure to list all colleges/universities attended, including community colleges.  For every college listed in this section, you must also upload an unofficial transcript to the Program Materials section.  
    • Academic History – Standardized Tests: This section allows for the submission of ACT, GMAT, and GRE scores; however these scores are not required for this program.  Please select “I Am Not Adding Any Standardized Tests”.  NOTE: International students may have to submit other test scores.  Please contact the Office of Admissions and Recruitment for details.
    • Supporting Information – Experiences: Please select “I Am Not Adding Any Experiences”.
    • Program Materials: This part has three tabs: Home, Questions, and Documents.  Please make sure you follow the instructions in each tab. 

For example, within the Documents tab, you will be asked to upload a Letter of Intent and unofficial transcripts.  Please remember that you must upload an unofficial transcript for every college listed in the Academic History section of your application.  And the Home tab will tell you what you need to do after submitting the Cal State Apply application, such as where to send official transcripts.   

  • Please make sure to follow the Admissions Office instructions regarding official transcripts.  The Admissions Office handles official transcripts.  Our department, the Department of Communication Disorders, only views and handles unofficial transcripts. 
  • Letter of Intent details:
    • Writing Prompt: Explain your reasons for pursuing a career in Speech-Language Pathology, and tell us why we should accept you into our graduate Certificate program.
    • Formatting requirements: 1 – 2 pages, double-spaced, 12pt Times New Roman

Cal State Apply Fall 2024 Deadline: March 15, 2024

If I am a current student at Cal State LA, do I have to re-apply to the University through Cal State Apply?

Even though you are a current student, you still need to submit the application through Cal State Apply. Contact the Admissions office for questions about submitting transcripts.

How long does this program take to complete?

That depends on how many units you take per semester.  Students have the choice of taking three, four, or five courses per semester, therefore the length of the program can vary from 1½ to 3 years.

What is the cost of this program?

The total cost of the program depends on how many semesters are needed to complete all the courses, which depends on the number of courses taken per semester.  Depending on the course load, it typically takes three, four, or five semesters to complete the program.

The tuition and fee amount per semester for graduate students during the 2023-2024 academic year is $4,123.11 for students taking 6.1 units or more (tuition and fees are less if taking 0-6 units, but most students take at least three classes per semester, which is nine units).  This equates to a total cost of $12,369.33 if the program is completed in three semesters, $16,492.44 if the program is completed in four semesters, and $20,615.55 if the program is completed in five semesters.  A tuition increase has been approved, so please go to Student Financial Services for the most recent listing of Tuition and fees for Graduate programs. 

Is Financial Aid available for this program?

No, this certificate program is not eligible for financial aid.

When classes are typically offered?

Classes are offered at all times of the day, mostly Monday through Thursday.

Are classes offered online or in a more traditional, face-to-face setting?

While we do offer some classes online, the majority of our classes are offered face-to-face at Cal State LA.  Some courses are also offered in a hybrid format, which is half face-to-face and half online.

Can I choose which classes to take each semester?

Yes, within certain constraints.  Some classes in the program are prerequisite to other classes in the program, so some classes have to be taken in a certain order.  If you are accepted into the program, you will meet with the program director one-on-one to plan out your schedule.

Must I go through your preparatory program in order to apply to your Master’s program, or may I complete the prerequisites elsewhere?

The prerequisites for our Master’s program can be taken elsewhere.

Can I take the courses through Open University instead of taking them through the certificate program?

If you are not a currently matriculated Cal State LA student, you can petition through the ComD Department to take courses through Open University. However, we only allow students to take courses through Open University after the first day of classes if there is still space, which there often isn’t.  Please visit the Open University website for more details.

Is this program geared toward working professionals?

While many of our classes are offered at 4:30 pm or 6:00 pm, we cannot guarantee that each class will be offered at those times every semester.  Therefore, it may become difficult to complete the program if you are only available after 4:00 pm.

How can I get a head start?

There are four basic science courses that are not included in this certificate program, yet are prerequisite to all SLP Master’s programs.  These courses are often referred to as ASHA Basic Science Courses (Biological, Physical, and Social/Behavioral Sciences, and Statistics). If you have not completed them already, you may take these courses prior to starting the certificate program.  Otherwise, they will be added to your certificate program coursework.

What courses meet the ASHA Basic Science Requirements?

Biological Sciences: Biology is the study and characterization of living organisms and the investigation of the science behind living things.  Courses in the following areas would meet this requirement: anatomy, biophysics, cell, and molecular biology, computational biology, ecology and evolution, environmental biology, forensic biology, genetics, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biosciences, natural science, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, neurobiology, physiology, veterinary science, and zoology.

Physical Sciences: Physical Science is an encompassing term for the branches of natural science that study non-living systems.  ASHA now requires a course in chemistry or physics to meet this requirement.

Social/Behavioral Sciences: Social/behavioral science is the branch of science concerned with society and human behaviors.  Courses in the following areas would meet this requirement: psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health.

Statistics: A stand-alone course in statistics is required.  Any course with statistics as the primary topic may be used to meet this requirement (the course does not need to be from a math department).  Research methodology courses in communication sciences and disorders may not be used to satisfy this requirement.

NOTE: You cannot use Communication Disorders courses to meet any of these requirements unless the course meets a University GE requirement.  If you are unsure if a particular course meets these requirements, please send an email to [email protected] including the course title and catalog description.

Do you hold any information sessions or open houses?

We currently do not have any scheduled, but if you are interested in an open house, please email [email protected] (subject line: Open House - Certificate Program) and we will contact you if one is scheduled.

How many students are accepted each year?

Each annual cohort consists of 40 to 60 students.

How is GPA calculated?

We calculate your GPA using only the most recent 60 units of coursework.

What can I do with this “certificate”?

After completing this program, you will be eligible to apply to most Master’s programs in Speech-Language Pathology, here or elsewhere.

Many schools differ in the courses and/or units they offer for their certificate programs. How do I know which certificate program will make me eligible for most MA programs?

Because all MA programs in Speech-Language Pathology are organized differently, it is difficult to design a certificate program that would meet the prerequisite requirements of all of them.  What you will find is that most certificate programs meet most of the prerequisite requirements of most of the Master’s programs, with some of the certificate programs accomplishing this better than others.  In general, the more units that are required the more likely it is that the courses in the program will meet more of the prerequisite requirements of more of the programs.  The certificate program here at Cal State LA was designed with this in mind, which is why it requires more units than many other programs.