Undergraduate Curriculum
Overview of Major

The Bachelor of Science degree program in Speech and Hearing Sciences (SPHSC) provides students with foundational knowledge in the science of human communication and its disorders, and combines basic science and clinical application. The curriculum prepares students for graduate study in SPHSC but is also appropriate for students planning to study other academic disciplines such as psychology, special education, nursing, dentistry, occupational or physical therapy. By studying both normal and disordered communication, students can develop the ability to think critically, independently and humanely about our society.

Speech & Hearing Sciences Major

The SPHSC major is completed over six quarters, typically beginning Autumn quarter of the student’s Junior year. While the department accepts applications to the major during Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, anyone starting the major later than Autumn quarter of the Junior year will need to extend their UW program of study and graduation timeline.   

All students accepted into the SPHSC major will first complete a set of core SPHSC courses. Upon successful completion of these foundational courses, students are then placed into one of two major pathway options:

  • Option 1: SPHSC General Academic. This major pathway is primarily for students interested in pursuing other academic disciplines such as education, medicine, dentistry, physical or occupational therapy, or biological and social sciences. However, it is also appropriate for students intending to pursue graduate study in SPHSC who do not meet the GPA requirements for Option 2 (see below), or who wish to complete fewer courses/credits due to a double major or double degree.
        
  • Option 2: SPHSC Communication Disorders / Pre-Professional. This major pathway is for students who achieved a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher in their SPHSC core courses and who wish to pursue graduate level study in speech-language pathology or audiology, or a doctoral degree to pursue a career in research/teaching.

Importantly, both major pathways prepare students for graduate study in speech and hearing sciences. See below for more details on these options.

Academic Progress Requirements for the Major

In accordance with UW and College of Arts and Sciences policy, students must meet the following requirements to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences:

  • Maintain a 2.00 minimum cumulative GPA for all coursework done in residence at the UW

  • Achieve a 2.00 minimum GPA in the SPHSC major at the time of graduation

Additionally, the SPHSC Department has separate progress requirements for students enrolled in the major:

  • To be placed in Option 2: Communication Disorders / Pre-Professional, students must have earned a 3.00 minimum quarterly GPA in the core SPHSC courses. Students with an overall GPA lower than 3.00 will only be eligible for Option 1: General Academic major pathway.
      
  • Students admitted into the Option 2 pathway must also maintain a 3.00 quarterly GPA throughout their enrollment in Pre-Professional coursework or they will be moved to the Option 1 pathway.

Introductory Coursework / Pre-Major

There are no prerequisite coursework requirements to apply to the SPHSC major. However, we strongly suggest that students address most, if not all, of the following degree requirements in advance of entering the major.

  1. University of Washington baccalaureate degree requirements. All students should fulfill the UW College of Arts and Sciences graduation requirements, which include requirements related to scholarship, total credits, and general education coursework.
     
  2. Out-of-department coursework requirements. All SPHSC majors are required to complete specific coursework outside the SPHSC department. These courses should be completed prior to beginning the major.

    • Statistics Coursework
      Students must complete at least one 3 - 5 credit college-level Statistics course. Students cannot use any remedial, historical, or methodological statistics courses to meet this requirement (e.g., STAT 111). We recommend STAT 220 or EDPSY 490.
       
    • Biological Science Coursework
      Students must complete at least one 3 - 5 credit biological sciences course related to human or animal science. The course does not need a lab component. We recommend BIOL118, Survey of Anatomy & Physiology, or any introductory course in human or animal science (e.g., Biology 100, anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, human genetics, and veterinary science).
       
    • Social/Behavioral Science Coursework
      Students must complete at least one 3 - 5 credit course in the social and behavioral sciences. Acceptable courses are at the 100-level or above in the areas of Psychology, Educational Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, or Public Health.
       
    • Physical Science Coursework
      Students must complete at least one 3 - 5 credit physical science course in either Physics or Chemistry. The course does not need a lab component. Acceptable courses are at the 100-level or above. We recommend PHYS 107, PHYS 110, or CHEM 110.

Courses used to fulfill these requirements must have the following attributes:

  • They must be taken outside the Speech & Hearing Sciences or Communication Disorders department
  • They must appear by name and number on your official college transcript with a final grade
  • They can be taken for a numerical grade, credit/no credit, pass/fail, or satisfactory/unsatisfactory, but students must achieve a passing grade (i.e., numeric grade of at least .7, “credit”, “pass”, or “satisfactory”)

In lieu of specific courses, these requirements may also be satisfied by Advanced Placement credit or International Baccalaureate credit. However, students must have transcript record of these credits. CLEP or DSST examinations for credit are NOT accepted for these requirements.

*While pass/fail or satisfactory/nonsatisfactory grading are an option, we advise students to earn numeric grades for the majority of these classes in order to present a competitive application to graduate programs in speech-language pathology or audiology.

Required Coursework / SPHSC Major

Core Courses

Once accepted into the major, all students must successfully complete the following set of core Speech & Hearing Sciences courses These courses are typically taken during the first three quarters of junior year. Visit the UW Course Catalog for additional course information.

SPHSC 250: Human Communication and Its Disorders 5 credits
SPHSC 261: The Nature of Sound 4 credits
SPHSC 302: Phonetics   3 credits
SPHSC 303: Language Science* 3 credits
SPHSC 304: Dev. Aspects of Communication 5 credits
SPHSC 320: Anatomy and Physiology of Speech 5 credits
SPHSC 371: Hearing Disorders 3 credits
SPHSC 461: Introduction to Hearing Science 5 credits
*Students may substitute SPHSC 303 with LING 200, 203, or 400 with prior permission of the undergraduate Advisor. In addition, students may not take SPHSC 303 to fulfill department requirements if they have already taken LING 400.

Major Options

After successful completion of the SPHSC core courses, students are then placed into one of the following two pathways where they complete the associated coursework listed below.

Option 1: SPHSC - General Academic

The coursework in Option 1 provides students with a comprehensive overview of the discipline of human communication and its disorders. Students must complete a minimum of 22 credits from the list of courses below. This option is appropriate for:

  • Students interested in pursuing other academic disciplines such as education, medicine, dentistry, physical or occupational therapy, or biological and social sciences.

  • Students completing a double major and/or double degree, who intend to pursue graduate level study in speech and hearing sciences but wish to complete fewer credits.

  • Any student who does not meet the minimum GPA requirement of 3.00 required for Option 2.
SPHSC 305: Speech and Language Disorders 5 credits
SPHSC 308 (W): Social-Cultural Aspects of Communication 3 credits
SPHSC 405: Diagnosis of Speech and Language Disorders 3 credits
SPHSC 406 (W): Treatment of Speech and Language Disorders 4 credits
SPHSC 425: Speech, Language and the Brain 4 credits
SPHSC 445: Models of Speech Processing 3 credits
SPHSC 462: Hearing Development 3 credits
SPHSC 499: Independent Study 6 credits maximum
(W) – Denotes SPHSC courses that satisfy the UW additional writing requirement. Students in the College of Arts & Sciences must complete at least 10 credits of writing-intensive “W” courses, in addition to 5 credits of English composition.

Option 2: SPHSC - Communication Disorders / Pre-professional

The coursework in Option 2 provides students with a more in-depth overview of the discipline of human communication and its disorders, particularly in the areas of evaluation and treatment of hearing loss. Students must complete all of the courses listed below, for a total of 31 credits. This option is appropriate for any students who wish to pursue graduate level study in speech and hearing sciences; either a clinically oriented degree leading to professional certification in speech-language pathology or audiology, or a doctoral degree to pursue research/teaching.

Please note - Eligible students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 in their core SPHSC coursework to move into Option 2. Students must also maintain a quarterly GPA of 3.00 while enrolled in this pathway. Students failing to maintain the minimum quarterly GPA will be moved to Option 1 by the department.

SPHSC 305: Speech and Language Disorders 5 credits
SPHSC 308 (W): Social-Cultural Aspects of Communication 3 credits
SPHSC 405: Diagnosis of Speech and Language Disorders 3 credits
SPHSC 406 W: Treatment of Speech and Language Disorders 4 credits
SPHSC 425: Speech, Language and the Brain 4 credits
SPHSC 445: Models of Speech Processing 3 credits
SPHSC 471: Basic Audiometry 5 credits
SPHSC 481: Management of Hearing Loss 4 credits
(W)–Denotes SPHSC courses that satisfy the UW additional writing requirement. Students in the College of Arts & Sciences must complete at least 10 credits of writing-intensive “W” courses, in addition to 5 credits of English composition.