Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders contributes to the liberal education of the student by providing learning experiences about the nature, development, and effective use of human communication. A goal of this department is to prepare students with a basic foundation in communication sciences and an introduction to the field of human communication disorders.

An undergraduate major in communication sciences and disorders is offered in the department, leading to a broad-based bachelor's degree in human communication, its development, and its disorders. Coursework in the major introduces students to the anatomical, physiological, neurological, psychological, developmental, linguistic, and acoustic bases of speech and language behavior. Upper level courses introduce students to the nature, assessment, and management of several communication disorders. The undergraduate major provides a foundation for students who intend to complete graduate study in speech-language pathology or audiology, who are considering further study in related areas, such as education, special education, or counseling, or who are preparing for other careers in the public or private sectors.

Students who choose to prepare for graduate study in speech-language pathology, audiology, or other areas of special education, and who demonstrate strong academic capability, may engage in observation and clinical practicum in the on-campus Ludden Speech and Language Clinic, which serves persons of all ages with communication disorders. Student practicum experiences are directly supervised by faculty who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists, who must hold a graduate degree in their field, practice in a variety of settings: public schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, university clinics, special education and early childhood centers, and private practice. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders also offers a master of science degree in speech-language pathology. Information on this program is available in the graduate catalog.

Graduates of the B.A. program in communication sciences and disorders will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of biological and physical sciences as they apply to the development of speech, language, and hearing processes.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of basic human communication processes and normal development in the areas of speech, language, and communication.
  3. Demonstrate a basic understanding of speech and language disorders and how these may warrant clinical intervention.
  4. Demonstrate basic knowledge of contemporary professional issues, as well as current research in the field of speech-language pathology.
  5. Demonstrate competence in critical thinking and in oral and written language skills.


W. Sennett, Chair; C. Szymanski, Graduate Program Director; P. Klick, Clinic Director; M. Alfano; E. Cherullo; K. Czarnik; D. Mackowiak; K. McShane; S. Schellinger; M. Schmitt.

Procedure for Admission to Department

Application to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders must be made in writing after a student has completed 9 credit hours of required courses in the major. Students are to request an application from their faculty advisor and return the completed form to the department chairperson. Students are admitted into the major based on a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the first 9 credits in the major, a minimum overall GPA of 3.2, and the successful completion of a written language sample and an oral speech, language, and voice evaluation. Applicants are expected to demonstrate those qualities of communication and personality necessary to relate effectively with children and adults who have communication disorders. Faculty will review the application, and the department chairperson will notify the applicant of the results. Students who are preparing for graduate study must achieve and maintain a GPA of 3.2 for courses in the major prior to admission to Clinical Methods (CSDI 310) and Clinical Practicum (CSDI 355). Students registered for Clinical Methods and Clinical Practicum must submit to a federal criminal background check, facilitated by the Office of Teacher Education and Certification, and present current CPR certification.

Degree Requirements for the Major Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders

To qualify for a bachelor of arts degree in communication sciences and disorders, a student is required to satisfactorily complete the following courses:

  1. General Education Curriculum.
  2. Required Courses in Communication Sciences and Disorders: 32 credit hours. A grade of C or better must be achieved in all courses in the major. All courses are 3 credit hours except CSDI 207L: Speech Science Lab and CSDI 370: Senior Seminar.
    • CSDI 204: Introduction to Communication Disorders
    • CSDI 205: Phonetics
    • CSDI 206: Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanisms
    • CSDI 207: Introduction to Speech Science
    • CSDI 207L: Speech Science Lab (1 credit)
    • CSDI 301: Phonology 
    • CSDI 302: Stuttering Theories and Therapy
    • CSDI 305: Development of Language in the Young Child
    • CSDI 306: Language Disorders in Children 
    • CSDI 307: Introduction to Audiology
    • CSDI 309: Neural Bases of Speech, Language, and Swallowing
    • CSDI 370: Senior Seminar (1 credit)
  3. One course covering language and communication across cultures, chosen from the following:
    • ANTH/SOC 214: Language, Culture and Society
    • COMM 203: Intercultural Communication
    • ENGL 241: Language and Linguistics 
  4. Twenty-five (25) hours of clinical observation.

CSDI 310: Clinical Methods and CSDI 355: Clinical Practicum are available to students who qualify (a minimum course average of 3.2 within the major and a minimum grade of B in CSDI 301: Phonology and CSDI 306: Language Disorders in Children) and who receive permission from the department.

Electives may be taken in any areas of student interest. Students will be advised regarding basic coursework in biological and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and statistics required for certification at the state and national levels.

Transfer Students

Requirements for transfer students are the same as for non-transfer students, as listed above.

Minor Programs

All students who wish to complete a speech pathology minor must complete, with a grade of C or better, CSDI 204 and an additional 15 credit hours of CSDI coursework. Students interested in a minor must meet with the department chairperson and plan a course of study, which might include a focus on basic human communication processes or on communication development and disorders.