communications-sciences&disorders

Overview

The major in communication sciences and disorders provides students with opportunities for study in the areas of speech–language pathology, audiology, and the normal aspects of speech, hearing, and language. Most students pursue this major because they hope to practice as licensed and/or certified clinicians in educational and medical/allied-health settings, assisting clients with communicative impairments arising from disease, trauma, predisposition, maladaptive learning, or unknown causes. Professional clinical practice follows completion of a master's degree in speech–language pathology, or a doctor of audiology degree, and involves evaluation and treatment based upon a firm theoretical understanding of normal processes of hearing, and of speech and language formulation, production, and perception.

Some students pursue the undergraduate major as a foundation for a research career in speech, language or hearing sciences. Others pursue the major as a preliminary step toward advanced training in other professional fields (e.g., law, medicine, nursing, special education), or as a liberal arts degree that could lead to a variety of different career paths (Speech–Language Pathologist (SLP) assistant, educational assistant, line therapist).

The major in communication sciences and disorders can be completed through the College of Letters & Science, or through the School of Education. Students select one program to follow, and should be aware that the two programs differ somewhat in their requirements for the major. Moreover, each program (L&S and Education) has its own general liberal studies requirements involving, for example, sciences, math, foreign language, social studies, and humanities. Students should plan to complete many of these general requirements as well as some courses in communication sciences and disorders during their first and second years on this campus.

The department is accredited in speech–language pathology and in audiology by the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA). Therefore, academic courses and clinical practica in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders may be applied toward clinical certification by ASHA (speech language pathology or audiology), and toward state licensure.

Students must consult with an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (1975 Willow Drive, www.comdis.wisc.edu) as soon as a decision has been made to major in this field. Course sequencing in the major is not flexible—certain courses are prerequisites to others and many courses are offered only once a year. CS&D advising services are focused on students who need to declare the major or who have already declared CS&D and need advising in the major. Please visit the department's website for details on weekly advising sessions.

Program Admission Overview

The School of Education’s communication sciences and disorders program currently accepts students during both fall and spring semesters. Prospective applicants typically begin taking the three-course “gateway course” sequence (detailed below) as sophomores.

Entering the SChool of Education

Admission to the School of Education as a "Pre-Professional" Student

New freshmen and transfer students interested in communication sciences and disorders are admitted directly to the School of Education with a “pre-professional” classification. This classification indicates that a student is interested in a program offered by the school, but has not applied and been admitted to the professional program. Students interested in communication sciences and disorders receive the "pre-professional" classification of PRS.

On-campus students wishing to be admitted to the school while working on eligibility requirements and application can apply for admission to the school by completing a Pre-Professional Application. A minimum GPA of 2.5, based on UW–Madison coursework, is required to transfer into the school. This GPA may be modified by the Last 60 Credits rule (detailed below). It is not necessary to be a "pre-professional” student before applying to a professional program.

It is strongly recommended that students interested in a School of Education program meet with an academic advisor in Education Academic Services (EAS), 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall. Students may call 608-262-1651 to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

TRANSFER STUDENTS

Applicants not already enrolled on the UW–Madison campus must be admissible to the university to enroll in a School of Education program. Admission to UW–Madison requires a separate application and admission process. See UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment for application information. Prospective transfer students are strongly advised to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor in advance of their application; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

STUDENTS WITH A PREVIOUS DEGREE

Prospective applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor in advance of their application. Consultations with advisors are available in person or via telephone; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

Applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are admitted to the School of Education as either an Education Special student or a second degree student, depending on their interests and academic background. Admission as an Education Special student indicates that the student has an interest in pursuing certification in a subject area studied during the initial degree; another degree is not awarded for this "certification only" coursework. Second degree students are seeking a second, unrelated degree from the School of Education, which may, or may not, include teacher certification. Candidates for limited enrollment programs must meet all admission eligibility requirements for the program and must compete with the eligible applicants for program admission. More information is available here.

APPLICATION AND ADMISSION

The communication sciences and disorders degree program currently accepts students during both fall and spring semesters. Requirements and selection criteria may be modified from one application/admission period to the next.

Criteria for Program Admission

Eligibility for consideration requires:

  • Fifty-four (54) or more transferable semester credits (junior standing) completed by the end of the semester prior to admission. Students can first apply during the semester that they will be completing 54 or more credits.
  • A cumulative grade-point average of at least a 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale) based on all college-level coursework attempted (as modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule; see below). Grade-point averages are calculated from both Madison campus coursework and coursework taken at any other colleges or universities.1
  • Completion of the "gateway courses," CS&D 201 Speech Science (3 cr), CS&D 202 Normal Aspects of Hearing (3 cr), and CS&D 240 Language Development in Children and Adolescents (3 cr). If any "gateway" courses were taken on another campus, then the first three Communication Sciences and Disorders courses taken at UW–Madison become the "gateway" courses.
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA across CS&D 201, CS&D 202, and CS&D 240 the first time these courses are attempted. If any "gateway" course was taken on another campus, students must earn a minimum 3.0 GPA on the first three communication and sciences disorders courses taken at UW–Madison. Note that "gateway" courses may not be repeated for the purpose of raising the student's "gateway" course GPA.
  • A cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0 on all major coursework completed to date, excluding CS&D 110 Introduction to Communicative Disorders.
  • Minimum scores on the test submitted to meet the Basic Skills Requirement (see details below).
  • Completed program application (see details below).
1

 A comprehensive cumulative GPA of all college-level, transferrable coursework attempted on both the UW–Madison campus coursework and coursework taken at any other colleges or universities may be calculated for the exclusive purpose of establishing an applicant’s eligibility for consideration. Both the comprehensive cumulative GPA and the comprehensive cumulative GPA based on a student’s last 60 credits may be calculated. See Last 60 Credits Rule (detailed below). If admitted, students must earn the minimum cumulative GPA for UW–Madison coursework established by their program and the School of Education each semester after admission.

Last 60 Credits Rule

Two grade point averages will be calculated to determine candidates' eligibility to programs. GPAs will be calculated using

  • all transferable college level coursework attempted, and
  • the last 60 credits attempted.

The higher GPA of these two will be used for purposes of determining eligibility. If fewer than 60 credits have been attempted, all credits will be used to calculate the GPA. Graded graduate coursework will also be used in all GPA calculations. ("Attempted" coursework indicates coursework for which a grade has been earned.) More information on this rule is available here.

Application Procedures

  • Submit completed program application form(s), transcripts, and all other related application materials specified on the School of Education's Apply to a Program page. Official transcripts from all other colleges or universities attended are required. Applications cannot be processed unless a complete academic record is presented for consideration. 
  • Complete the Basic Skills Requirement.
    • All prospective Communication Sciences & Disorders students must submit test scores to the School of Education to be eligible for professional program admission. Students may use their ACT, SAT, or GRE scores, or they may take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Test (formerly the Praxis I/PPST). These tests meet Wisconsin's basic skills test requirement. For more information see the document Academic Tests for Prospective Teachers.

Criminal Background Investigation

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is required by law to conduct a background check on each applicant for a Wisconsin educator license. This check is intended to determine if the applicant has engaged in any behavior that endangers the health, welfare, safety or education of PK–12 pupils. Local school districts also will conduct criminal background checks routinely on students prior to the start of in-classroom field work. Admitted applicants who have a positive background check should confer with the Academic Dean’s Office (Room 139 Education, 1000 Bascom Mall) about the potential impact of this on field placements and licensure.

Results of criminal background checks may be shared with other agencies when required by state code, or with a cooperating school or other agency in which the student has been assigned to complete field experiences. Criminal background checks may also be run on students by school districts. Students should be aware that criminal background checks may be initiated by other agencies or organizations when they are seeking employment or a professional license. Field site administrators have the right to determine the appropriateness of a student placement.

An individual who is deemed ineligible to participate in field or clinical experiences based on the results of their background check may not be able to complete the requirements for their degree or certification. Students with questions about these processes should contact the academic dean in Education Academic Services.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

Program Structure

The School of Education’s bachelor of science degree in communication sciences and disorders is one path toward eventual clinical practice, though a graduate degree is required for licensure. Thus, students must plan on graduate studies if they intend to pursue Wisconsin State licensure. Not all students eligible for admission to the undergraduate degree program can be accepted to the master’s degree program on this campus. Many students obtain their undergraduate degrees from UW–Madison and complete their master’s degree and licensing requirements at another institution.

The School of Education undergraduate degree provides students with a conceptual background in the field of communication sciences and disorders and includes five categories of coursework:

  • Liberal studies courses expose students to a broad range of academic disciplines. The university-wide General Education requirements also encourage this breadth of study.
  • Major coursework offers in-depth study of foundations for clinical practice.
  • Discipline-related coursework supports the major coursework.
  • Education coursework examines many aspects of the educational enterprise, including child development and learning, societal expectations of schools and instruction, and teaching methods. 
  • Elective coursework is taken to meet the minimum of 120 credits required for the degree.

The School of Education’s bachelor of science degree in communication sciences and disorders is one path toward eventual clinical practice, though a graduate degree is required for licensure. Thus, students must plan on graduate studies if they intend to pursue Wisconsin State licensure. Not all students eligible for admission to the undergraduate degree program can be accepted to the master’s degree program on this campus. Many students obtain their undergraduate degrees from UW–Madison and complete their master’s degree and licensing requirements at another institution.

School of Education Liberal Studies Requirements

All students are required to complete a minimum of 40 credits of Liberal Studies coursework. This requirement provides an opportunity to do some academic exploration beyond the scope of the major. Students take courses in areas of particular interest and also have an opportunity to sample the wide selection of courses offered across the university. Coursework is required in humanities, social studies, science, and cultural and historical studies. Some elective coursework is also needed to reach the required number of credits.

The School of Education’s Liberal Studies Requirements automatically satisfy most of the University General Education Requirements outlined above, including ethnic studies, humanities/literature, social studies, and science. Students pursuing most School of Education degree programs may also complete Communication Part B, Quantitative Reasoning Part A, and Quantitative Reasoning Part B through courses required by their degree program. If a student cannot complete a General Education Requirement within the curriculum of their chosen School of Education program, academic advisors can offer suggestions for courses that meet the requirement and augment the student’s primary area of study.

A basic outline of the liberal studies is included below. Students must consult the detailed version of the requirements for information about course selection and approved course options.

Humanities, 9 credits

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Literature
  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities Electives

Social Studies (Social Science)

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits. Teacher certification programs, Athletic Training, and Kinesiology; Exercise and Movement Science have unique requirements in this category.

Science

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Biological Science
  • Physical Science
  • Laboratory Science
  • Science Electives

Cultural and Historical Studies

All students must complete three requirements (9 credits) met by separate courses. Any of these courses can also be used to meet the Humanities or Social Studies (Social Sciences) requirements if it has the relevant breadth designation.

  • Ethnic Studies
  • U.S./European History
  • Global Perspectives

Complete Liberal Studies Electives to total 40 Credits.

Major Requirements

Complete all the courses listed below. At least 15 credits of upper level major coursework (courses number 300–699) must be taken in residence on the UW–Madison campus for graduation.

Students must complete the three "gateway" courses—CS&D 201, CS&D 202, and CS&D 240—to be eligible for admission. Prospective applicants typically begin taking the three-course “gateway” sequence as sophomores. A grade point average of 3.0 or better must also be earned across these three courses the first time these courses are attempted.

CS&D 201 Speech Science3
CS&D 202 Normal Aspects of Hearing3
CS&D 210 Neural Basis of Communication3
CS&D 240 Language Development in Children and Adolescents3
CS&D 303 Speech Acoustics and Perception3
CS&D 315 Phonetics and Phonological Development3
CS&D 318 Voice, Craniofacial and Fluency Disorders3
CS&D 320 Introduction to Audiology3
CS&D 371 Pre-Clinical Observation of Children and Adults3
CS&D 425 Auditory Rehabilitation3
CS&D 440 Child Language Disorders, Assessment and Intervention3

Discipline-Related Coursework

The communication sciences and disorders program requires both major and related coursework. Related coursework is mandatory, but not considered part of the major or calculated into the major grade point average. This coursework may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements, if appropriate.

Required Course
RP & SE 300 Individuals with Disabilities3
Select a statistics course; the following are recommended:3-4
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Basic Statistics for Psychology
Statistics for Sociologists I
Statistical Methods Applied to Education I
Humanities3
Select one of the following:
Structure of English
English Language Variation in the U.S.
Human Language
Introduction to Linguistics: Descriptive and Theoretical
Ethnic Studies3-4
Select one of the following:
Cultural Anthropology and Human Diversity
Introduction to Asian American Studies
Introduction to Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies
Problems of American Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Ethnic Movements in the United States
Science3-4
Select one of the following:
Principles of Biological Anthropology
General Physics
Physics in the Arts
Women and Their Bodies in Health and Disease
Animal Biology

Education Coursework

Development3
Select one of the following (minimum 3 credits):
Human Development in Infancy and Childhood
Human Development in Adolescence
Developmental Psychology (Effective fall, 2017, Psych 560 was changed to 460)
Learning
ED PSYCH 301 How People Learn (minimum 3 credits)3
Educational Policy Studies
ED POL 300 School and Society (minimum 3 credits)3
Literacy, including Reading
CURRIC 305 Integrating the Teaching of Reading with Other Language Arts3
Additional Education Coursework3
Select 3 credits in School of Education electives. Required School of Education courses may not be applied toward this requirement.

Elective Coursework

Select additional coursework to reach the minimum of 120 credits.

GPA and Other Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements

Requirements below are based on UW–Madison coursework.

  • 2.75 minimum cumulative grade point average. This may be modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule.
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average in all major coursework
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average in all upper-level (300–699) major coursework
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average in all education coursework
  • Major Residency. Degree candidates must complete at least 15 credits of upper-level major coursework (300–699) in residence on the UW–Madison campus.
  • Senior Residency. Degree candidates must complete their last 30 credits in residence on the UW–Madison campus. Practicum work is considered part of the 30 credits.
  • 40-Credit Rule. Students may not count more than 40 credits from one department within the 120 degree credits needed for graduation. For example, if 42 credits of coursework have been completed from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the student will need 122 credits to graduate. CS&D 110 does not count toward the 40 credits.
  • 120 credits required for graduation.

Degree Audit (DARS)

At UW–Madison, a DARS report is used to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree. This degree audit identifies the requirements that have already been completed, and also those that remain unsatisfied. A DARS report can offer suggestions about appropriate courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning process. 

Students can access DARS reports through their Student Center in My UW–Madison. Go to the Academics tab and find DARS on the dropdown menu.

DARS also has a "what-if" function. This feature makes it possible to request a DARS report as if pursuing another program or major on campus. It is an excellent tool if considering a new or additional area of study. School of Education students in a pre-professional classification such as Pre-Elementary (PRE) should request a "what if" DARS report of their professional program of interest.

DARS is not intended to replace student contact with academic advisers. It creates more time in an advising appointment to discuss course options, research opportunities, graduate school, or issues of personal interest or concern to students.

DARS is the document of record, i.e., certifying document of degree completion, for program areas in the School of Education.

Additional Information Regarding Certification

The master's degree is required to be certified to work in a public school program in Wisconsin and most states. The major in communication sciences and disorders prepares graduates to function competently and independently in public school programs, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, birth-to-three programs, or clinics. The bachelor of science degree is earned in the School of Education, and the master's degree is earned in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Student teaching and other professional education courses will be taken while earning the bachelor's and master's degrees. Not all students who apply for admission can be accepted into the master's degree program.

For detailed information about the master's program, see the CS&D website.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Ability to successfully integrate subject knowledge and pedagogy knowledge flexibly in authentic situations through field experiences with secondary students under the supervision of highly qualified, experienced teachers and university supervisors.
  2. Students will be prepared for recommendation for initial licensure in the state of Wisconsin and beyond in accordance with state standards.

Communication Sciences and Disorders Advising

Students must consult with an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (1975 Willow Drive, www.comdis.wisc.edu) as soon as a decision has been made to major in this field. Course sequencing in the major is not flexible—certain courses are prerequisites to others and many courses are offered only once a year. CS&D advising services are focused on students who need to declare the major or who have already declared CS&D and need advising in the major. Please visit the department's website for details on weekly advising sessions.

Students not yet admitted to the program should also consult with advising staff in Education Academic Services (EAS), see below.

General School of Education Advising

All undergraduate students in the School of Education are served by three offices devoted to academic and/or career advising. Each student in the School of Education is assigned at least one advisor and is encouraged to meet with the advisor on a regular basis. Students will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor when admitted to the professional component of their degree program. Departmental advisors provide more in-depth knowledge of the major and of courses offered by the department.

Undergraduate Advising and Academic Dean's Office—Education Academic Services (EAS)

139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall; 608-262-1651
www.education.wisc.edu/soe/academics/undergraduate-students/academic-advising

Education Academic Services (EAS) is the undergraduate dean's office for students in the School of Education. Staff members interpret school regulations, policies, and program requirements; take exceptions around requirements and deadlines; advise current and prospective students; monitor students having academic difficulties; coordinate field placements; facilitate the program admissions process; and maintain the official files of students in the school.

Students should meet with an advisor during their first semester on campus (if not before) and are encouraged to meet with an advisor at least once a semester. This is particularly important during the freshman and sophomore years. Appointments may be arranged by calling or visiting the office.

EAS advisors answer questions and provide guidance to current and prospective students. They consult with and refer students to faculty members and departmental advisors. Once a student is admitted to a professional program within the School of Education, he or she will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor. Advising then becomes a partnership, with EAS and OURR advisors continuing to help students with course selection, degree progress monitoring, academic difficulties, and interpretation of policies and procedures.

Program advisors help students select and plan a program of study in the major, negotiate issues within the department, and, in the case of certification programs, follow the students' progress through their professional courses. These divisions are flexible, and students are encouraged to consult with all advisors who can help with a situation or answer a question.

OURR: Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention (Student Diversity Programs)

105 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-8427 or 608-262-1651
www.education.wisc.edu/sdp

The UW–Madison School of Education is committed to promoting equity and increasing diversity in its programs. OURR staff work collaboratively with Education Academic Services and campus and community partners to support underrepresented students interested in majors in the School of Education.

OURR staff perform outreach, recruitment, and advising on behalf of the School. OURR staff also support current students with their personal and professional growth, their transition from high school to college, financial aid, and career exploration.  

OURR works to build a network of students and graduates who may strengthen, transform, and lead their communities through education, service, and other contributions. Students are invited to visit OURR staff at 105 Education Building—stop in, or call one of the numbers listed above to set up an appointment.

School of Education Career Center

L107 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1755
http://careercenter.education.wisc.edu/

Need assistance with any of the following? 

  • Exploring career options linked to School of Education majors
  • Seeking a major that incorporates individual passions, interests, and values that will help one reach specific career goals
  • Researching graduate schools and preparing application materials
  • Beginning a job search and learning where to start and what to do
  • Seeking assistance with developing a résumé, a cover letter, or interviewing skills
  • Networking and connecting with potential employers

The Career Center provides resources and individual consultations to assist students in reaching their career goals.  A plethora of resources can be found on the Career Center website:

  • Explore career possibilities for specific majors in Investigate Career Options. This section of the website provides tools for clarifying a student’s personal criteria for success, linking specific career options to majors, and identifying steps for career/major selection.  It includes strategies for making the most of a student’s academic and student experience.
  • Confirm major and career decisions.  Gain hands-on experience in the career field of study.  Assess the perceptions of selected career and major options for accuracy.  Develop professional and soft skills.  The Test Drive and Confirm Career Choice section provides strategies for acquiring real-world experience.
  • Preparation is critical for entering one’s next career phase.  Learn about graduate school requirements and the application process.  Develop promotional materials for employers and/or graduate schools and obtain feedback and suggestions for enhancing them.  Acquire materials that support one’s applications.  The Prepare and Connect section provides offers additional details.
  • Implement helps students plan for the future.  Attend recruiting events.  Apply for graduate school or for job opportunities.  Practice interviewing skills.  Interview.  Negotiate job and graduate school offers.

Personalized career assistance is available through individual appointments with consultants in the Career Center.  To schedule an appointment visit, http://bit.ly/CCAppt.

Informational workshops and career-related events are conducted each semester.  The schedule of these events can be found on the center’s website.

The Career Center coordinates teacher recruitment fairs each fall and spring semester and collaborates with career centers across campus to provide campus-wide career fairs at the beginning of each semester. 

Information about faculty, staff, and other contributors to the program can be found on the Curriculum and Instruction or Communication Sciences and Disorders departmental websites.

Information about scholarships, academic and career advising, study abroad opportunities, student diversity services, and other resources for students in the School of Education can be found on the school's Resources page.