Speech and Hearing Science professionals evaluate, diagnose, and treat individuals with speech and hearing disorders, such as disorders of communication, the voice, swallowing, and cognition. The undergraduate major in Speech & Hearing Science (SPHS) is a pre-professional degree for speech language pathology and/or audiology. Students in the program complete courses in phonetics, anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing, language science, pediatric and medical speech-language pathology, hearing disorders and evaluation, and psychometrics (measuring mental abilities and processes). Electives in allied fields -biology, physics, and psychology, for example- are also required, along with 25 hours of field experience observing treatment practices for speech, language, and hearing. Students who complete this program earn a BS in Speech and Hearing Science and are then prepared to enter graduate programs in the field: a master's degree is required for professional practice in speech-language pathology, and a doctor of audiology (AuD) is required for professional practice in audiology.
The Student Experience
A number of labs are available to students to assist them in their research and other academic needs, such as the Early Childhood Communication Lab or the Phonology and Cleft Palate Lab. If you want to network and meet fellow students in the program, you can join the Communication Sciences and Disorders Student Advisory Committee.
Because professional practice in the speech and hearing sciences requires master’s or doctoral degrees, most students continue on to graduate school after completing their undergraduate degree. Once a graduate degree is completed, students may become licensed Speech-Language Pathologists or audiologists, working in their own practices or serving in clinics, schools, and hospitals. Students who do not wish to enter graduate school immediately may still find employment in the speech and hearing sciences, as medical or research assistants or as staff in speech and language centers or clinics.