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FAQs

Admission Questions  

  • If I am interested in either the M.A. or Certificate programs in Professional Communication at La Salle, what is the best way to apply? Apply online using the La Salle University website, as online applicants do not incur a $35 application fee.
  • When can I apply to the Full-Time Program? Spots are competitive for this program.  We recommend having your application complete by May 1 of the year you hope to enroll.  However, be advised that we accept students as soon as their completed application arrives, so the earlier you apply, the more likely your chances of admission.  Scholarships and assistantships are also offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • When can I apply to a Part-Time Program? Anytime, as long as you believe that you are seriously interested in one of our programs. We operate on a “rolling” admission process that means that applicants can submit and have their applications approved at any time during the year.  However, be advised that courses sometimes fill up quickly and it takes some time for your materials to arrive to our office (especially transcripts and test scores).  Please allow at least 4-6 weeks before the start of a term to get your application together.  
  • When can I start a Part-Time Program? There are actually 4 times during the year that a student could begin either the part-time M.A. or Certificate programs in Professional Communication: fall (late August), spring (mid-January) or summer (sessions usually begin in both mid-May and late June/early July).
  • Where are your programs offered? The part-time M.A. and Certificate programs are offered at two sites--in the Communication Center on Main Campus in northwest Philadelphia or at La Salle’s Bucks County Center in Newtown, PA.  The full-time program is offered only at our main campus.
  • Can I complete the part-time program at either site? Yes. Students need to be aware however, that all courses are not offered each semester at each site, so once in the program, they need to take courses that they need for either the Certificate or M.A. programs when they are offered.
  • Do I need to take the GRE or MAT test before beginning graduate studies? No. We believe that the best determination of your ability to succeed in our programs is through our own interview and writing assessment process.
  • What is needed for the M.A. application? (1) the online application through the La Salle University website; (2) a professional resume; (3) if your undergraduate GPA is below 3.25, two letters of recommendation from any combination of academic or professional sources; (3) the official transcript of the applicant sent directly to La Salle by the B.A./B.S. academic institution; (4) have an interview with the graduate director (preferably in person); and (5) an in-person writing assessment. 
  • What materials are required for admission to the Certificate program? Prospective students need to (1) submit an application; (2) submit transcripts from an accredited University, indicating that you have earned a bachelor’s degree; (3) have an interview with the graduate director (preferably in person); and (4) take an in-person writing assessment.
  • What do you look for in an applicant? For all of our programs we look for students who are likely to succeed as students and to benefit personally and professionally as alumni.  For evidence of this, we look at academic background, including your grade point average; professional experience, especially if you have been out of college for a while; recommendations, especially from those who speak to your motivation and ability to succeed in school; and your writing and speaking skill. 

  • What if I don’t meet the GPA requirements? If you fail to meet our g.p.a. standards, but still seem to be a strong candidate, we can admit you provisionally.  That means that you would have to maintain at least a 3.0 g.p.a. in the first two or three courses you take in the program.  Failure to meet this condition means that you would not be able to continue as a student in our program. 

Cost and Financial Aid Questions 

  • What is the tuition rate for each of the programs? Tuition adjustments are usually made in late spring and are applied in the next summer session.  The tuition rate is per credit, and most of our classes are three credits.  The current tuition rate may be found at http://www.lasalle.edu/grad/index.php?section=comm&page=tuition
  • Is there Financial Aid available? Yes. La Salle offers three kinds of financial assistance.  First, the Professional and Business Communication program provides tuition grants.  These awards are available through the program office on a competitive basis, and pay up to 1/3 of the cost of a course for a student.  Second, graduate assistantship awards are also available for superior M.A. students who are available during the week for a work assignment within the department. Graduate assistants typically do not teach, but are used in program administration and promotion.  Finally, the University also participates in a variety of loan programs. Contact the Office of Student Financial Services at 215-951-1070 for information on these.
  • How is billing handled? The Office of Student Accounts Receivable can answer most billing questions.  In general, the University offers a deferred billing system that allows a student to pay for their tuition & fees over the course of the semester rather than all at the beginning. The University also provides an Employer Assisted Deferred Payment Plan that works with most employer tuition reimbursement programs. 

Enrollment and Advising Questions for Part-Time Students 

  • Can I take one course per semester? Yes. Actually, over half of the students in the program average a course a semester and one during the summer sessions. Working professionals who also have family responsibilities may find this “slow and steady” approach the best way to complete their programs. It would be a very rare student who would be able to handle more than two courses per semester.
  • How many credits can you take in a semester? To a large degree the answer to this question will be dictated by the time the student has to do their coursework (reading, writing, researching, etc.) and balancing that work with other responsibilities that they may have. Most students take one course a semester. Very good students who have less in the way of outside responsibilities may be able to handle two. In general, only International students or those not employed full-time should consider doing more than two courses per semester.
  • How long will it take me to complete my program? The answers to the previous two questions dictate the answer to this one.  Generally, a Certificate student who takes two courses a semester, including the summer, can finish in a calendar year.  A Master’s student taking two classes per term can finish in about two years. 
  • How do the Certificate Program course requirements work? The Certificate program requires 18 credits or 6 courses. There are three required courses—COM 601 (Professional Communication Ethics), COM 602 (Effective Presentations), and COM 603 (Strategies for Professional Writing)—and then the student selects three of our elective courses to complete the 18-credit Certificate. No transfer courses are allowed in the Certificate program. 
  • If I want to enter the M.A. program after the Certificate program how can this be accomplished? The process for transferring into the M.A. once the Certificate is completed is quite simple. (1) Your g.p.a. in the Certificate Program must be at least a 3.0 (B) and (2) You need to write a letter to the Graduate Director requesting the transfer at least one semester before you intend to start the M.A. If these two items are “present” transfer into the M.A. program is automatic.
  • How many of my Certificate courses would transfer in to the M.A. program? All of them. Of course, there would be an additional six courses (18 credits) required to complete the M.A. But students in the Certificate program can use all of their credits within the M.A. program.
  • What is the “Practicum”?  Is it like an Internship? No, the practicum is not a graduate-level internship.  The Practicum requires a project that will be supervised both by a La Salle faculty member and also a  workplace supervisor. The goal is to integrate classroom knowledge to address a workplace or organizational communication need.  Students propose, execute, and evaluate the project, then present their results at the end of the term.  Typically the practicum project involves conducting original research in order to address the organizational need. Because the projects often have a significant impact on an organization, they are generally done in a student’s workplace.  However, if this is not possible, students have arranged to complete their practicum with organizations with which they’re familiar.  Students completing the practicum are not considered to be “interns.”  Rather, they are professionally trained experts creating a significant project for an organization.  
  • Are transfer credits accepted? Yes. The program may accept up to six credits from another accredited institution of higher learning as long as: (1) the courses are at the graduate level; (2) the course has some relevance to the student’s professional interests and goals; (3) the course grades are at least a 3.0 “B” level and (4) the student has forwarded directly to the graduate program office an official transcript from the other graduate institution.  Students also have the option of taking up to six credits in another La Salle University Graduate Program and applying those credits to the Professional and Business Communication degree.  Please consult with the Graduate Director before registering for a class you would like to transfer into the program. 

International Student Questions 

  • What additional documents do I have to submit for admissions? In addition to the documents referred to under the section on admissions, international students must submit their scores from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and a Certificate of Financial Responsibility for Graduate Students.  The TOEFL provides us with important data about your ability to communicate in English with your instructors and fellow students.  The University requires the Statement of Financial Responsibility Form, in order to begin the process of issuing an I-20 form, one of the steps to obtaining a student visa. 
  • What is an acceptable TOEFL score? We generally look for scores at or above 550 (paper based test), 213 (computer based test), or 79 (internet based test). 
  • My transcripts are from a foreign university in a foreign language.  May I send them to you? No. All transcripts from international universities—even if the language of instruction was English—must be evaluated, course by course, by World Education Service (WES) before they are sent to our office.  You may find more information about their service at http://www.wes.org/students/index.asp.  The evaluation report may be sent directly to the Professional Communication program.  If the transcripts are sent to us without being evaluated by WES, we will return them to you, thus delaying our review of your application.   Please note that we will only admit students who have completed the equivalent of a 4-year bachelor’s degree. 
  • What resources are available for international students? La Salle provides a variety of services for students from other countries, including on-campus graduate student housing and information about living in Philadelphia.  Visit the Multicultural and International Studies Office at http://www.lasalle.edu/students/dean/ulife/mcis/index.php
  • As an international student, when should I apply for admission to La Salle? Because of the length of time it takes to secure a visa and make arrangements to move to Philadelphia, students should have their application materials submitted no later than two (2) months before the start of the semester they wish to enroll in.  Please note that we cannot admit an international student until all the application materials have been received. 

Career and Professional Development Questions 

  • Does La Salle provide job search assistance to graduate students? La Salle provides both formal and informal services to help graduate students manage their career.  La Salle’s Career Services office helps job-seekers in a variety of ways, from resume feedback to career counseling.  The office’s website (http://www.lasalle.edu/students/dean/career/web/) provides access to a range of job-hunting resources.  The Communication Department also maintains a job-hunting web site (www.lasalle.edu/~msmith/jobs.htm).  Finally, faculty and fellow students often receive job tips, or actively recruit their classmates for open positions.
  • Are there opportunities to network with other professional communicators?One of best resources in the program is your classmates.  Many have formed personal and professional networks that have lasted well after graduation.  More formally, the program is in close contact with the Philadelphia chapters of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA).  The Director regularly emails a calendar of upcoming networking events to help you strengthen your professional ties. 
  • Is there any connection to La Salle’s International Professional Communication programs? Yes.  La Salle offers the MA in Professional Communication in Prague.  Students in this programscome from all over the world, and take their classes in an Executive format (2 weekends per month).  Students from our program in the Philadelphia area are allowed to take one class internationally, presuming they meet certain requirements.  This means you could get an international educational experience in about two weeks.  For more information, contact the Director. 

For additional information…

Please contact our office at 215-951-1155 or by e-mail at comm@lasalle.edu with your complete preferred mailing address and we will send information and a program brochure to you. Information on the program can also be found at our web site http://www.lasalle.edu/admiss/grad/profcomm/
Pamela Lannutti, Ph.D.

Pamela Lannutti, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director

Professional and Business Communication
Department of Communication
1900 West Olney Avenue - South Campus
Philadelphia, PA 19141 USA
Phone: 215.951.1935
Fax: 215.951.5043
E-mail: lannutti95@lasalle.edu


La Salle University reserves the right to alter or change this information
at any time, without notice.

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