Communications Disorders and Sciences

  • Student awardees
  • students and faculty at the american speech, language and hearing association november 2019 annual convention in orlando florida

    ASHA Conference, Orlando, Florida

  • images show clients vestiblar testing with diagnostic equipment

    Department of Communication Disorders & Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m trying to decide whether to go to school part-time or full-time. Can you help me decide?

Your faculty advisor can help you think through this decision, but obviously can’t make that decision for you. There are several things to think about:

  • Most of our students have conflicts between responsibilities to their families, employment and school. Over 90 percent of our majors hold a job outside of school and many of our students are parents themselves or care for family members.
  • There is good evidence that employment of more than 10 hours per week degrades student performance, especially among graduate students.
  • Our department’s experience is that many students take on more of an academic load than they can manage with all of the other conflicts in their lives. The result is less than optimal academic performance and higher than necessary burdens of anxiety and stress.
  • When evaluating whether it is better to work part-time or to go to school full-time, consider that once you have a graduate degree and are eligible for licensure and certification, you may make a substantial income. For each semester that completion of the academic program is postponed, it is likely that life-time earnings are being significantly diminished. This is called an “opportunity cost” – losing future earnings to keep a lower-paying part-time job in the present and deferring graduation.
  • Finally, while sympathetic to family and job conflicts, your faculty will not recognize these as reasons to lower our academic and clinical expectations of your performance.

I graduated from UCLA. Why do I have to take the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam?

This examination is a requirement imposed by the Trustees of the CSU. It applies to all graduate students, no matter the undergraduate college or university.

All CSU campuses have some form of this exam as a requirement for the baccalaureate degree. For graduates of CSU campuses other than CSUN, credit for this exam will appear on the transcript or will be provided in a letter. This information needs to be in the department’s student records at the time that the request for Classified status is made. For non-CSU graduates, contact the CSUN Testing Office for dates and times of the exam, as it will need to be taken at CSUN.

Does a grade of D count for undergraduates?

The University recognizes a grade of D and even D- for course credit. The department does not recognize grades below 3.0 (grade of B) in the four “pre-clinical phase” courses for purposes of advancing to clinical privileges.

Does a grade of D count for graduate students?

The University no longer considers a grade below C- as fulfilling a course that is listed on the Formal Course of Study (“Master’s Contract”). Since ASHA uses the University’s grading standards, a grade below C- also would not fulfill one or more KASA requirements for professional certification. Furthermore, the California license board does not recognize credit for courses with grades below C-. If a grade below C- is received, the student should consult with the faculty advisor for implications and plans for requesting permission to repeat the course.

I have been dis-enrolled. Can I get a new permission number and keep my seat in class?

If a student is dis-enrolled, seats in classes are lost. The University does not permit holding a seat for a dis-enrolled student. Once the enrollment status is resolved, the student is eligible to request new permission numbers from the department for any available seats. The faculty advisor should be consulted for a new academic plan.

May I substitute a different faculty advisor?

No, students are distributed among faculty to keep the advisement process orderly, consistent and as accessible for all students as possible. Advisement forms signed by faculty other than the assigned advisor are not recognized for issuance of course permission numbers.

May I take courses in the “clinical phase” without completing all four “pre-clinical phase” courses?

Students may not take any courses in the “clinical phase” without applying and qualifying for clinical privileges, with the following exceptions: After completing CD 410, students may take CD 445 or CD 446 without clinical privileges. Clinical privileges are awarded upon an application that includes a completed application form, three letters of character reference (not from non-family members, persons of equal status in employment, or persons employed by the student), and grades of B or better in all four “pre-clinical phase” courses. The application for clinical privileges should be during term in which the final “pre-clinical phase” course(s) is/are taken.

May I substitute another course for CD 405, 410, 415 or 442?

If a substitution is proposed, it must be recommended by the faculty advisor and approved by the department chair to fulfill the elements of the KASA. In most instances, other courses will not meet the department’s requirements. In particular, CD 361 may not substitute for CD 415; and CD 410 and 442 do not have equivalencies on the CSUN campus.

If a PBU or Open University student receives a grade below a B, can the course be repeated?

Yes, but PBU and Open University students must apply for permission from the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies to repeat a course. This rule on permission also applies to Conditionally Classified and Classified Graduate students as well. Application for permission begins with consultation with the faculty advisor and requires department chair approval before the request is forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies.

I will graduate next Fall. Which Commencement is the one that I walk in?

The University has Commencement once a year in May. Students graduating the prior December, in May, or in the next August are entitled to walk in Commencement. Students desiring to walk in Commencement are screened immediately prior to the ceremony, so it might prove very embarrassing to attempt to walk in a ceremony in which one is not entitled.

What is the 12-unit rule for graduate students?

A conditionally-classified graduate student must complete all of the conditions upon admission (e.g., take and pass first clinic, pass the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam, make-up a deficiency in undergraduate level coursework) prior to having more than 12 units of courses appear on the Formal Course of Study (aka “Master’s Contract). If conditionally-classified, graduate students should consult with their advisors regarding completion of the conditions before grades are on the transcript for more than 12 units of the 30 units required on the Master’s Contract.

What math course qualifies for the ASHA requirement?

Any math course at CSUN that would receive credit toward a degree (i.e., not a developmental math course) or any math course taken elsewhere that CSUN would grant math credit toward a degree. An example of a course that would not qualify at CSUN is a philosophy course in logic taken anywhere or a CSUN math course numbered below 100. Community college math courses will qualify if CSUN accepts them for transfer credit. Undergraduate majors in the department are steered toward Math 140 Statistics, as this class will meet GE requirements as well as the ASHA requirements, as it is helpful for graduate studies.

I am a PBU student. Do I have to complete all 30 units of pre-requisites before applying to the department for graduate school?

Not at present. But, the more department coursework in your major shown on the transcript, the more improved your chances may be for a favorable admission decision. On a year-to-year basis, the department may evaluate whether to re-impose the 30-unit pre- requisite requirement that it used in the past. The best advice is to take all 30 units as quickly as possible.

Why are there courses that I have to take that are not part of the 30 units for the MS degree?

While the University offers the M.S. degree after the completion of specified advanced courses totaling 30 units and satisfaction of the comprehensive exam, other agencies that award professional certification (ASHA), state licensure (California Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology) and state credential (California Commission on Teacher Credentialing), have their own requirements. The full course of study to fulfill all of these requirements is approximately 80 to 85 semester units of combined undergraduate and graduate courses and clinical practica.

Why do I have to take two science courses?

For Speech-Language Pathologists, ASHA increased the science requirement in 2005 to include one course in biological science and one course in physical science. Biological and physical science courses that qualify either must be taken at CSUN or comprise courses taken elsewhere that CSUN recognizes as similar to existing courses at CSUN and acceptable for transfer credit.