Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders
Imagine a birthday party for a three-year-old child. The room is full of chatter: children asking for more ice cream or complaining that another child took their toy. But one child, who appears to be as healthy as his peers, is silent. He is not playing with others, and his face shows an absence of emotion.
If you study communication sciences and disorders, you’ll learn the cause of this child’s behavior. You’ll also learn how to help him interact with others and break his silence.
Students of communication sciences and disorders study the science behind communication problems and their development. They also learn how to treat children and adults and use what they learn to come up with new strategies and technologies for diagnosis and rehabilitation.
Did You Know?
Most undergraduate programs in this major are preprofessional -- they prepare students to continue their training in graduate programs.
Are You Ready To...?
- Concentrate on your own language skills by studying a foreign language or American Sign Language
- Volunteer for credit at an off-campus hearing clinic or neuroscience lab
- Work with children and adults in the university’s speech and hearing clinic
- Learn the biology of communication
It Helps To Be...
A compassionate problem solver. You should be eager to help people overcome their disabilities but also realize that before you can help them you’ll have to use both creative thinking and technology to find out what’s wrong.
- Does the program accept students as freshmen or must they apply only after the first or second year of college?
- Is it possible to transition directly from an undergraduate to a graduate program?
- Does the undergraduate degree focus more on childhood or adult disorders, or does it cover both?
- Is there a campus chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association?
“I suggest people shadow a speech pathologist or audiologist to get an idea if it’s what they're looking for.” -- Karin, junior, communicative disorders, University of Wisconsin, Madison
In your first years, you’ll learn about the origin, anatomy, and physics of communication disorders. Once you master the basics, you might choose a particular focus. For example, you could concentrate your upper-level course work in audiology. In audiology classes, you’ll learn how you can use speech therapy, hearing aids, lipreading, sign language, and other tools to help people overcome hearing challenges.