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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 work as a licensed and certified clinical speech-language pathologist or audiologist, assisting clients with communication impairments arising from acquired neurological conditions, developmental conditions, genetic conditions, or unknown causes. Professional clinical practice follows completion of a master's degree in speech–language pathology, or a Doctor of Audiology degree. 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., medicine, nursing, special education), or as a liberal arts degree that could lead to a variety of different career paths (speech–language pathology 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. Moreover, each program (L&S and Education) has its own general liberal studies requirements. 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.

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 the School of Education Student Services office, 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall. Students may call 608-262-1651 to schedule an appointment with an advisor.


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 advisor in the School of Education Student Services office in advance of their application; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.


Prospective applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office 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.


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 Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Production (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.
  • Completed program application (see details below).
  • Note: In previous years, applicants to teacher education programs were required to submit scores from one of the following exams: ACT, SAT, Praxis I/PPST, Praxis Core, or GRE. Under emergency rules announced by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, no applicants need to submit scores for any exam as a component of their application to this program. The exam requirement was officially removed by the School of Education on November 15, 2017.

 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 materials specified on the School of Education's Undergraduate Admissions 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. 

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.

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 and Kinesiology have unique requirements in this category.


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.

Program Structure

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.

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 Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Production3
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.

Note: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) standards now specify that a course in each of the following areas is required for ASHA certification.

  • Biological sciences
  • Physical sciences (chemistry or physics)
  • Statistics
  • Social/behavioral sciences
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
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
Sociology of Race & Ethnicity in the United States
Ethnic Movements in the United States
Select one of the following:
Principles of Biological Anthropology
General Physics
Physics in the Arts
Gender, Women, Bodies, and Health
Animal Biology

Education Coursework

Select one of the following (minimum 3 credits):
Human Development in Infancy and Childhood
Human Development in Adolescence
Child Development
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)

UW–Madison uses “DARS” to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree, including any additional majors and certificates. A DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) report shows all the requirements for completing a degree and, against courses that are planned or completed, shows the requirements that have been met, and those that are unmet. A report can offer suggestions about courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning and enrollment process. Students can access a DARS report in the Course Search & Enroll app or Student Center via My UW.

DARS also has a "what-if" function. This feature makes it possible to request a DARS report as if pursuing another program, major or certificate. 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), or Pre-Kinesiology should request a "what if" DARS report of their professional program of interest.

More information on how to request a DARS report is available on the registrar’s website.

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 used as the document of record for degree program, major and certificate completion in the School of Education.

Additional Information Regarding Certification

A Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology (Communication Sciences and Disorders) is required to work as a public school speech-language pathologist in Wisconsin, and most states. The Master's degree prepares graduates to function competently and independently in public school programs, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, birth-to-three programs, or clinics. At UW-Madison the Bachelor of Science degree can be earned in the School of Education and the Master's degree is earned in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, part of the College of Letters & Science. 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 Communication Sciences & Disorders Guide page and the departmental 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.
  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: Sample Four-Year Plan

This four-year sample graduation plan is designed to guide your course selection throughout your academic career; it does not establish a contractual agreement. Use it along with your DARS report and the Course Guide to create a four-year plan reflecting your placement scores, incoming credits, and individual interests. Consult with an academic advisor to develop a personalized plan of study and refer to the Guide for a complete list of requirements. You will likely revise your plan several times during your academic career here, based on your activities and changing academic interests.

Communication A (fall or spring semester)3Communication A (fall or spring semester)3
Quantitative Reasoning A3CS&D 201 or 2023
Liberal Studies course work9-12Ethnic Studies (from discipline-related course list)3
 RP & SE 3003
 Liberal Studies course work3-6
 15 15
CS&D 202 or 2013CS&D 2103
CS&D 2403Statistics (from discipline-related course list)3
Choose one of:3Liberal Studies or General Elective course work9
Quantitative Reasoning B3 
Science (from discipline-related course list)3 
 15 15
CS&D 3033CS&D 3183
CS&D 3153CS&D 4403
CS&D 3203ED POL 3003
Linguistics (from discipline-related course list)3CURRIC 305 (also meets Communication B)3
Liberal Studies or General Elective course work3Liberal Studies or General Elective course work3
 15 15
Liberal Studies or General Elective course work12CS&D 3713
ED PSYCH 3013CS&D 4253
 School of Education Elective3
 Liberal Studies or General Elective course work6
 15 15
Total Credits 120

Communication Sciences and Disorders Advising

Students must consult with an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (Goodnight Hall, 1975 Willow Drive) as soon as a decision has been made to major in this field. Course sequencing in the major is not flexible—certain courses are requisites to others, and many courses are offered only once a year. Please visit the department's website for details on advising and advisors.

Students should also consult with advising staff in the School of Education Student Services office, see below. Current students can schedule a Student Services appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW.

School of Education Advising

Dedicated to supporting and promoting student success, the School of Education Student Services staff is here to assist students with the adjustment to college, understanding their degree and career goals, and connecting to resources.  ESS supports prospective and current School of Education students in all programs through:

  • academic and career advising
  • mentoring and advocacy for underrepresented and international students
  • requirements monitoring
  • interpreting academic policy
  • and more!

Students in the School of Education are encouraged to make Student Services a vital part of their academic and employment journey.

To schedule an appointment: Current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW. Appointments can also be made through email at, by calling 608-262-1651, or in person.

Career Advising in the School of Education

The School of Education Career Center provides students with the knowledge needed for connecting their classroom experiences with real-world application. Through individual appointments, events, and online resources, the Career Center provides students and alumni with the tools needed to be successful in their career development. From building resumes, conducting job and internship searches, developing interview skills, and negotiation strategies, the Career Center provides a foundation for developing the essential skills for the ever-changing world of work.

Students can set up their profile on Handshake, the campus online career management system, to find open internships, jobs, and career events. In addition to Handshake, there are many other job search sites to consult, such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and some that are industry-specific. Students majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders have searched for titles such as Speech Therapist, Audiologist, Genetic Counselor, Communication Specialist, Children's Hearing Specialist, Health Specialty Teacher, and Behavioral Technician. (Some of these positions may require advanced training or degrees.)

Current School of Education students can make an appointment with a Career and Internship Advisor by logging into Starfish from the MyUW dashboard and selecting a day and time that works best with their schedule.

School of Education Alumni can schedule an appointment by completing the appointment request form.

For more information, visit the School of Education Career Center website or reach out at

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