Communication Sciences and Disorders (Bachelor of Science)
Communication Sciences and Disorders aims to achieve two primary goals: (1) to provide students with basic knowledge about the development and structure of typical and disordered human communication across the lifespan, and (2) to give students the opportunity to enhance their own abilities to learn and communicate effectively.
Through course work and research opportunities as well as observation of therapy, students gain expertise in the uniquely human endeavor we call “communication". The primary topics presented at the undergraduate level focus on the form and structure of speech and language, and how these skills are learned, produced, perceived, and understood. In recent years, exciting research from such sources as brain imaging and computer technology has enhanced our understanding of speech, language, and communication and our ability to remediate disorders in these areas. Students learn about current developments and how they impact the field of communication sciences and disorders.
As they begin to study Communication Sciences and Disorders, students are introduced to the discipline through a series of courses dealing with linguistics, cognitive science, and the typical processes of speech, language, and hearing. These courses deal with the physical, neurophysiological, cognitive, and linguistic bases of normal speaking, hearing, and language use; the acoustics of sound and of speech; the development of language in children; and how communication develops from infancy to adulthood.
During their junior or senior year, students focus on the principles of assessment as they apply to the study of human communication and its disorders. In this course, they participate in directed measurement projects as they learn to critically evaluate communication and the assessment tools used by practitioners in the field.
Outside of the classroom, those students who show interest are encouraged to pursue research through collaboration in ongoing faculty research. Ongoing areas of faculty research encompass normal and disordered communication throughout the lifespan and include the following topics:
- Interaction patterns in families contributing to the development of stuttering and its effective prevention and treatment
- The nature and treatment of autism
- The use of eye-tracking technology to examine the visual attention allocation strategies of individuals with autism spectrum disorders
- The development of psychometrically sound measures of social cognition
- The role of temperament in stuttering
- Speech disorders in children with neurodevelopmental syndromes
- Typical and atypical changes in communication and cognition associated with aging and central nervous system disorders
- The assessment and treatment of communication challenges following traumatic brain injury
Students are exposed to clinical resources in the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology —two closely related areas. Special opportunities include guided observations in the Eleanor M. Luse Center for Communications and access to selected graduate disorders courses prior to graduation.
A minimum of 120 credits and a GPA of 2.50 are required for the Communication Sciences and Disorders major. This degree provides a good foundation for graduate work in other fields such as psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, or medicine, given some extra undergraduate preparation. In addition, individuals with a bachelor’s degree can consider a future career as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. (Note: a B.A. in Communication Sciences is not an option for students who enter UVM after the 2010-2011 academic year.)
Working as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) requires a master’s degree, clinical certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and state licensure. Positions in audiology are now requiring a professional doctorate, the Au.D. or scholarly Ph.D.
Employment opportunities for fully qualified speech-language pathologists and audiologists exist in daycare centers, public schools, medical centers, nursing homes, and private practice. The profession is a growing one with excellent opportunities for future employment.
Employment as a pre-professional is possible in many settings without the master’s degree. Many students, even those firmly committed to the idea of eventually doing graduate work, take interim jobs upon graduation as speech-language assistants in schools or medical centers or as audiology assistants.
A possible curriculum in Communication Sciences and Disorders:
|LING 080 - Intro to Linguistics||3||NH 050 - Applications to Health||1|
|PSYC 001 - General Psychology||3|
|CSD 094 - Development of Spoken Language||3|
|Physical Science Course||3/4|
|CSD 101 - Speech and Hearing Science||4|
|NH 120 - Health Care Ethics||3|
|STAT 111 or STAT 141 - Basic Statistical Methods||3|
|BIOL 004 - Human Body (lab recommended)||3/4|
|LING 165 - Phonetic Theory and Practice||3|
|PSYC 161 - Developmental Psychology||3|
|LING 164 - Structure of English Language||3|
|CSD 262 - Measurement of Comm. Processes||4|
|CSD 271 - Intro to Audiology||3|
|CSD 208 - Cognition and Language||3|
|CSD 272 - Hearing Rehabilitation||3|
|CSD 281 - Cognitive Neuroscience||3|
|CSD 284, CSD 285 or CSD 299||3||3|
|TOTAL CREDITS: 120|
Distribution courses include the following: Fine Arts (three credits); Foreign Language (six to eight credits); Literature (three credits); Humanities (six credits).