A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Transitional Program - Masters

The Master of Science Transitional Program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, with a major in a field other than Speech Language Pathology or communication disorders.  This program requires students to complete foundational coursework during the first year of the three-year program.

Upon completion of the Master of Science Transitional Program, graduates are eligible for the Preliminary Speech Language Pathology Services credential (CA public schools) and the Temporary License in Speech Language Pathology (CA Dept of Consumer Affairs).  They are also prepared to seek employment as a Clinical Fellow, working towards the Certificate of Clinical Competence (through the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association)


This program is accredited by The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech- Language-Hearing Association (www.professional.asha.org) and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (www.ctc.ca.gov).

Any concerns about the program's compliance with accreditation standards may be submitted to: The Council of Academic Accreditation, 2200 Research Blvd, Rockville MD 20850, (301) 897-5700(301) 897-5700, (800) 498-2071(800) 498-2071, (301) 571-0481(301) 571-0481 TTY.

Learning Outcomes

Students meet the following learning outcomes:

Institutional Learning Outcomes

  • Critical Thinking: Students demonstrate critical thinking through examination of ideas and evidence before formulating an opinion or conclusion. 
  • Information Literacy: Students demonstrate the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, utilize, and share information.
  • Oral Communication: Students demonstrate effective oral communication skills in English.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Students demonstrate the ability to reason and develop evidence-based decisions using numerical information.
  • Written Communication: Students demonstrate effective written communication skills in English.

Mission Focused Learning Outcomes

  • Wholeness: Students apply the University philosophy of wholeness into their personal and professional lives.
  • Wellness: Students facilitate healthy lifestyles in self and others.
  • Values: Students integrate LLU’s Christ-centered values in their personal and professional lives.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students demonstrate knowledge of communication disorders and differences and swallowing disorders, and methods of prevention, evaluation, and intervention.
  • Students demonstrate skill in selecting appropriate tools and conducting evaluations with diverse populations and across the lifespan.
  • Students demonstrate skill in conducting intervention with diverse populations and across the lifespan.
  • Students demonstrate interaction and personal qualities consistent with the standards of the profession.
  • Students demonstrate knowledge of school-based speech-language pathology services, including, but not limited to, multiple service delivery models, federal law and state education code, respect for and sensitivity to diverse populations, preparing and conducting IEP.
  • Students demonstrate knowledge of processes used in discipline-related research.
  • Students demonstrate knowledge of counseling principles and practices applied to the practice of speech-language pathology with diverse populations and across the lifespan.


  • Bachelor's degree in a field other than Speech-Language Pathology in communicative disorders.  Note:  Students admitted to the Transitional Master's program must show evidence of having completed a minimum of one undergraduate course in each of the following areas prior to fall quarter of their second year in the program: biological sciences (such as biology, human anatomy, etc.), physical sciences (physics or chemistry preferred), statistics, and the social behavioral sciences (such as psychology, sociology, educational psychology, etc.).
  • Literate personal statement (part of the online application)
  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably academic. (part of the online application)
  • Minimum GPA of 3.3.
  • Interview for applicants who qualify and receive an invitation.
  • Written communication assessment (conducted at the Interview) for applicants who qualify and receive an invitation.
  • Note:  Students are required to take the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) within the first quarter of study.

    Admission decisions

    Regular Admission  Granted to applicants who meet admission criteria, who demonstrate professional potential, who have no undergraduate deficiencies, and who demonstrate the highest academic requirements for admission to the graduate program.

    Note:  The required minimum 3.3 GPA does not guarantee admission.  In most years, the pool of applicants is highly qualified, and applicants will be in competition with much higher GPAs.

    Alternate Status  May be granted to qualified applicants who are not accepted in the first round of admission.

    Denial of Admission  Admission denied because the applicant did not meet one or more of the admission requirements or because the application was incomplete.


    Refer to our school's admissions page to apply online and for further admissions information.

    The application is available online October 1- March 1.  Applications and all supporting information (transcripts, recommendations, etc) must be submitted by March 1.

    Official transcripts of all academic records from colleges, universities and professional or technical schools must be provided.  It is the applicant's responsibility to have the transcripts sent directly to the Loma Linda University.  Transcripts that are hand carried or sent by the applicant are deemed "unofficial" and may delay the application process.

    Please use the following address when sending transcripts:

    Loma Linda University
    Admissions Processing
    11139 Anderson St.
    Loma Linda CA 92350


    1. All documents must be received by March 1 for fall quarter admission.
    2. Department admissions committee review applications beginning the second week of March.
    3. The admissions committee selects applicants for Interview and sends its recommendation to the School of Allied Health Profession's Admission Committee.
    4. Applicants selected for interview are notified in late March.
    5.  Interviews and on-site Written Communication Assessment- TBA.
    6. Department Admissions committee makes final admissions decisions.
    7. Applicants are notified of status three to four weeks following interview and final review of the application.

    The Program

    Full-time students who enter the program with an undergraduate degree in a field other than communicative disorders will complete the program in eleven quarters of coursework.  Students go through the program as a cohort, entering in fall quarter.  The first year consists of a full schedule of courses.  In the summer following the first year, students are required to take clinical practicum.  In the second and third years, including the summer following the second year, graduate courses are taught in the late afternoon/early evening, and on one Friday morning per month.  All students are required to take clinical practicum (usually one morning or afternoon per week) each quarter.  In the winter and spring quarters of the third year, students complete their full time public school placement and medical externship placement.

    Please note:  Students who are admitted to the Master of Science-Transitional  Program may be required to go out of state for medical externship and or public school placement during the last two quarters of their program.   This advance notice is given so that students will be prepared financially.

    All students are eligible for graduate assistantship, which permits students to work on campus or in local programs.  Otherwise, students may be able to hold part time jobs a few mornings per week, provided they do not interfere with clinical assignments, classes, or preparation/assignments.  Students are not permitted to work on waivers in the public schools.  Violation of this policy may be considered grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

    Degree Requirements

    Candidates for the master's degree are expected to:

  • Meet academic and professional standards of excellence.
  • Exhibit the highest quality work in the classroom and in the clinic and as a graduate assistant.
  • Demonstrate excellence in follow through, completing all assignments and commitments in the agreed-upon time frame.
  • Show initiative and support for volunteer and extracurricular professional and student organizations.
  • Exhibit interaction and personal qualities consistent with professionalism.
  • The program of study consists of completing required graduate-level courses, and supervised clinical practice.
  • A minimum of one quarter in residence as a graduate student.
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3 in the first year in order to move forward into the second year of the program.
  • In the second and third years, maintain a minimum GPA of B (3.0) with no course grade below a C (2.0) on all work for the master's degree.
  • A minimum of 45 quarter units of foundational courses including: CMSD 514, 515, 520, 521, 522, 529,  533, 536, 537, 538, 538, and 577 completed.
  • A minimum of 45 quarter units of upper level graduate credit, including: CMSD 511, 512, 523, 525, 535, 545, 554, 564, 575, 576, 584, 587, 598, 679, 682, 684, 685, 688, 697; AND the following: CMSD 567 (2 units) CMSD 586 (1 Unit) CMSD 596 (1 unit) CMSD 588 (8 units) CMSD 597 (8 units) CMSD 687 (4 units) and religion (min 3 units) which must be taken on LLU Campus.
  • Evidence of having completed 400 clock hours of supervised clinical practice including 25 clock hours of observation (375 clock hours of direct client/patience contact with 325 of these hours at the graduate level.)
  • California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST).
  • Completion of the Graduate Portfolio.
  • Completion of Instrumentation competencies.
  • Completion of a research project.

 The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing requires that all students in the credential program take the CBEST.  This must be taken before entering the graduate program, or before the end of the first quarter.   When students are admitted to the master's program in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Loma Linda University, they are automatically accepted into the credential program.

The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is a measure of reading, writing and mathematics proficiency and is required by law for anyone applying for a credential in the public schools of California and Oregon.  This test is given by National Evaluation Systems, Inc,. Box 340880, Sacramento, CA 95834-0880, 916-928-4001.  Additional information may be found at www.cbest.nesino.com.

Students must give their original "Passing Score" card to the Department's Administrative Assistant.  The test can be repeated as often as necessary, but must be passed before the applicant can be recommended for the credential.  Currently the CBEST test result is good for life.

Program Course Listings

University Catalog course listings.  Look for courses with CMSD prefixes.

Clinical practicum

Students in the Master of Science -Transitional Program begin clinical practicum during the first quarter of the second year (summer between the first and second years).  All students are expected to enroll in clinical practicum each quarter during of the entire program.

Graduate students are eligible for clinical practicum provided they:

1.  Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA; no course below a C (2.0)
2.  Have provided the Department with documentation of current CPR Certification.
3.  Have provided the Department with the CA CTC Certificate of Clearance
4.  Have provided the Department with evidence of having taken the CBEST.

The Clinical Coordinator assigns students to clinical sites.  All students rotate through the clinical sites as assigned, and are expected to be enrolled in a clinical practicum each quarter.

  • In the summer following their first year, students are assigned to clinical practicum.
  • In their second year, students are assigned to one clinic per quarter.  Each of these clinics consists of approximately 1/2 day per week per quarter, with additional time spent in preparation and supervisory conferences.  All first-year graduate students rotate through Educational Fieldwork I.  (one quarter each)
  • Additional clinical experiences may include:  Autism; fluency; ESL/Accent Modification; Phonology.
  • In their third year, students who successfully complete the clinical assignments in the second year are eligible for CMSD 597 Medical Fieldwork 11, completed during the Spring quarter and CMSD 588 and CMSD 588 Educational Fieldwork II, completed during the winter or spring quarter.
  • Students who are admitted to the Transitional Master of Science program may be required to go out of state for one or both of the last two quarters of their program.  This advance notice is given so that students will be prepared financially.

Praxis Exam

The Praxis examination (administered by a national testing service) is a multiple-choice exam designed to evaluate students' broad based knowledge across the disorders, and is required for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), for the CA License in Speech-Language Pathology, and for the CA Speech-Language Pathology Services Credential in the public schools.  It is a nationally standardized and publicly administered test.  A passing score of 600 must be achieved, and the test may be taken multiple times.  Information about the Praxis Exam may be obtaining by going to: www.ets.org/praxis.

As practice for this exam, students in their second year are required to take the Praxis at the end of the spring quarter.   The Department provides a preparation workshop, which all students are required to attend.  Students in their third year and former students who have not passed the Praxis may also join the preparation workshop.

Student progress review

Each student's progress in the Master of Science - Transitional Program is reviewed quarterly and on completion of the first year. Written feedback is provided, along with recommendations for remediation, if needed. A minimum GPA of 3.3 must be maintained in the first year in order to enroll in the upper level graduate courses.  In addition, the graduate advisor meets with each cohort twice annually, as a group, and at least once a year with each student, individually.


LLU graduates (former students or Clinical Fellows) who do not achieve a passing score on the Praxis Exam may take any courses and or seminars offered by the department, free of charge, in order to refresh knowledge or remediate areas of concern.  These individuals may also join the preparation workshop free of charge.
Students who need to retake a course may do so at half tuition. The need to repeat a course may cause a significant delay in completion of the program. Students who fail to meet expectations in clinical practicum will receive a grade of Unsatisfactory, and will be required to repeat the practicum. For each student who fails to meet expectations, an individual remediation plan is developed, with input from the student and any or all of the following: the graduate program director, the clinical coordinator, the clinical instructor, the course instructor. The remediation plan must specify tasks or competencies, timelines, and criteria for successful outcome. 


Graduate Assistantships are available to graduate students and transitional master's students through the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.  Students typically work 6 to 8 hours per week for three (3) quarters, or 4 to 6 hours per week for four (4) quarters. Advantages of working as a graduate assistant include flexible hours and exposure to different aspects of the profession.

Graduate assistants work in a variety of local settings and responsibilities vary considerably, ranging from clerical to assisting in teaching, research, and administration. Graduate Assistantship placements are assigned by the department Administrative Assistant.

Graduate students who wish to apply for an assistantship must apply through the Department Administrative Assistant prior to the start of the quarter.
Contact information

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
School of Allied Health Professions
Loma Linda University
Nichol Hall Room A506
Loma Linda CA 92350

Department phone: (909) 558-4998
Fax: (909) 558-4305
Email: cmsd@llu.edu