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 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 have earned a graduate degree 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; G. Harris-Schmidt; D. Mackowiak; 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, which must be completed and returned 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 of GPA of 2.75 in the general education requirements listed on the application, 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 3.0 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 - CSDI 204, 205, 206, 207, 207L, 301, 302, 305, 306, 307, 309 and 370. A grade of C or better must be achieved in all courses in the major.
  3. One course covering language and communication across cultures, chosen from the following: ANTH/SOC 214, COMM 203 or ENGL 241.
  4. Twenty-five (25) hours of clinical observation.

Clinical Methods (CSDI 310) and Clinical Practicum (CSDI 355) are available to students who qualify (B average in courses within the major and a minimum grade of B in CSDI 301 and 306).

Electives may be taken in any areas of student interest. Students will be advised regarding basic biological and physical science, mathematics and social science coursework 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 meet with the department chairperson and plan a course of study, which could include basic human communication processes, communication development and disorders or a general program.