Speech & Hearing Science

What Is It?:

Speech and Hearing Science offers a broad background in the biological, behavioral, linguistic, and social foundations of human communication and interpersonal relations for students who intend to pursue careers or graduate education in various fields related to human communication, human resources, and health. 

For more information, please visit the Department of Speech and Hearing Science.

Concentrations:

  • Audiology: Audiologists work with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing disorders. They identify and provide treatment to hearing impaired children and adults, which may include fitting and dispensing hearing aids to their clients.
     
  • Cultural-Linguistic Diversity: Encourages students to examine ways that individual communication differences, including disorders, interface with sociocultural systems, institutions, and practices. Students will take courses in theory and research methods to explore ways in which sociolinguistic differences shape development, socialization, and identity. This concentration is intended to help provide students with knowledge related to cultural-linguistic differences (race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, neurodiversity) that is needed to serve an increasingly global society concerned with human rights and responsibilities. 
  • Neuroscience of Communication: Provides an interdisciplinary understanding of the neurological systems that underlie human communication. Students will study the biological basis of communication in order to understand brain-behavior correlates of typical and disordered speech, language, and hearing function. This concentration is intended to help prepare students for health and science-related careers, including medicine and neuroscience. 
     
  • Speech-Language Pathology: Speech-language pathologists diagnose and treat individuals with speech, language, and swallowing disorders. They work with clients of all ages, including children and adults, and provide a variety of services. They assist children who are delayed in their acquisition of speech and language or who demonstrate communicative disorders. They work with both children and adults who have speech and language difficulties, such as stuttering. Speech pathologists also work with adult communicative disorders, as well as voice problems caused by illness or disease or that are surgically related.

Undergraduates who plan to focus on concentrations in either speech-language pathology or audiology have the opportunity to begin observing and participating in the delivery of a full range of clinical services to communicatively impaired individuals as part of a pre-practicum experience in their senior year through the Department’s Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology clinics.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • SHS 120—Children, Communication, & Language Ability
  • SHS 170—Introduction to Human Communication Systems & Disorders

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Rehabilitation counselors
  • Audiologist
  • Fundraising
  • Sales
  • Occupational therapist
  • Child-care worker
  • Group home staff
  • Residential counselor
  • Sales representative
  • Camp counselor

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Audiology support personnel
  • Communication aide
  • Educational audiologist
  • Behavioral management technician
  • Mental health technician
  • Psychiatric aide
  • Social service assistant
  • Account representative
  • Community outreach worker
  • Life skills counselor
  • Gerontology aide
  • Occupational therapist technician
  • Youth worker
  • Business consultant
  • Project manager
  • Consumer educator
  • Literacy aide
  • Rehabilitation aide
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Interpreter
  • Event coordinator
  • Human resources coordinator
  • Research assistant
  • Patient advocate
  • Fundraiser
  • Personal assistant

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Applied Health Sciences Student Council: Educates students of the various academic, social, and professional opportunities available. Promotes enhanced interaction between students, alumni, staff, in addition to organizations within the college of Applied Health Sciences.
    • National Student Speech Language Hearing Association: Devoted to information about the field of Speech and Hearing Science, service projects, and building a community.

Related Skills:

  • Knowledge of human communication processes and disorders of speech, language, and hearing
  • Familiarity with the services provided by a science-oriented helping profession
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively in group discussion, oral presentations, and in writing
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills
  • Understanding of human development and behavior
  • Ability to use and understand statistical techniques

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Speech and Hearing Science, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Speech and Hearing Science.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Speech and Hearing Science.  These organizations include American Academy of Audiology and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Speech and Hearing Science, visit Undergraduate Programs.