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 through summer 2023 (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.

Students are urged to consult with an undergraduate academic advisor as soon as they have decided to major in this field. Course sequencing in the major is not flexible. Certain courses are prerequisites to others. 

Declaring the Major

Students in the College of Letters and Science may declare a major in CS&D by sending an email to undergrad@csd.wisc.edu:

  • State that you would like to declare a major in CS&D
  • Include your full name and student ID number

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.

College of Letters & Science Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Complete the University General Education Requirements for Quantitative Reasoning A (QR-A) and Quantitative Reasoning B (QR-B) coursework.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language.
L&S Breadth
  • 12 credits of Humanities, which must include 6 credits of literature; and
  • 12 credits of Social Science; and
  • 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include one 3+ credit Biological Science course and one 3+ credit Physical Science course.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work Complete at least 60 credits at the intermediate or advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience
  • 30 credits in residence, overall; and
  • 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work
  • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
  • 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

CS&D courses

10 courses and 30 credits from:

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 425 Auditory Rehabilitation3
CS&D 440 Child Language Disorders, Assessment and Intervention3
Total Credits30

Courses in Related Areas

18 credits and one course from each of the following areas:


PSYCH 202 Introduction to Psychology3-4
HDFS 262 Development of the Young Child3
HDFS 263 Development from Adolescence to Old Age3


STAT 301 Introduction to Statistical Methods3
STAT 302 Accelerated Introduction to Statistical Methods3
STAT 311 Introduction to Theory and Methods of Mathematical Statistics I3
STAT 371 Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences3
PSYCH 210 Basic Statistics for Psychology3
SOC/​C&E SOC  360 Statistics for Sociologists I4


LINGUIS 101 Human Language3
LINGUIS/​ANTHRO/​FOLKLORE/​INTL ST  211 Global Language Issues3
LINGUIS/​ANTHRO  301 Introduction to Linguistics: Descriptive and Theoretical3
LINGUIS 303 Historical Linguistics3
LINGUIS 237 Language in Wisconsin3
LINGUIS/​AMER IND  371 Survey of North American Indian Languages3
LINGUIS/​ANTHRO  430 Language and Culture3-4
ENGL 214 The English Language3
ENGL 314 Structure of English3
ENGL 318 Second Language Acquisition3
SPANISH 321 The Structure of Modern Spanish3
SPANISH 331 Spanish Applied Linguistics3
SPANISH 327 Introduction to Spanish Linguistics3

Ethnic Studies

AFROAMER/​HIST SCI  275 Science, Medicine, and Race: A History3-4
AMER IND/​ANTHRO  314 Indians of North America3
ANTHRO 104 Cultural Anthropology and Human Diversity3
ASIAN AM 101 Introduction to Asian American Studies3
ASIAN AM/​AFROAMER/​AMER IND/​CHICLA/​FOLKLORE  102 Introduction to Comparative US Ethnic and American Indian Studies3
ASIAN AM 170 Hmong American Experiences in the United States3
ASIAN AM/​SOC  220 Ethnic Movements in the United States3-4
CHICLA 201 Introduction to Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies3
ENGL 319 Language, Race, and Identity3
GEN&WS/​SOC  200 Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer+ Studies3-4
HISTORY/​CHICLA  153 Latina/Latino/Latinx History3-4
HISTORY 227 Explorations in the History of Race and Ethnicity3
HISTORY 403 Immigration and Assimilation in American History3-4
L I S 202 Informational Divides and Differences in a Multicultural Society3
SOC 134 Sociology of Race & Ethnicity in the United States3-4
SOC/​ASIAN AM  220 Ethnic Movements in the United States3-4

Biological Sciences in the major

ANTHRO 105 Principles of Biological Anthropology3
ANTHRO/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  410 Evolutionary Biology3
BIOCHEM 104 Molecules to Life and the Nature of Science 13
BIOCORE 381 Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics3
BIOLOGY/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  151 Introductory Biology5
ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY  101 Animal Biology3

Physical Sciences in the major

BIOCHEM 104 Molecules to Life and the Nature of Science 13
CHEM 103 General Chemistry I4
CHEM 108 Chemistry in Our World5
CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry5
PHYSICS 103 General Physics4
PHYSICS 107 The Ideas of Modern Physics3
PHYSICS 109 Physics in the Arts3


CS&D 110 Introduction to Communicative Disorders3
CS&D 371 Pre-Clinical Observation of Children and Adults3
CS&D 424 Sign Language I2

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all CS&D and major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence2
  • 15 credits in CS&D, taken on the UW–Madison campus

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Communication Sciences and Disorders  Major in consultation with the undergraduate advisor in that department.

Honors in the Major Requirements

To earn Honors in the Major in Communications Sciences and Disorders, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 University GPA
  • Earn a 3.300 in all CS&D and major courses
  • Complete the following courses for Honors earning a grade of B or better in each:
CS&D 481 Undergraduate Junior Honors3
CS&D 681
CS&D 682
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
2 of the following for Honors:6
Speech Acoustics and Perception
Introduction to Audiology
Child Language Disorders, Assessment and Intervention
Total Credits15

Distinction in the Major

Students majoring in communication sciences and disorders who are not Honors candidates may earn Distinction in the Major, provided that they obtain consent of the department honors advisor, achieve a minimum GPA of 3.750 in CS&D and major courses, and satisfy these requirements:

Two courses, taken for Honors
Speech Acoustics and Perception
Introduction to Audiology
Child Language Disorders, Assessment and Intervention
Undergraduate Honors Seminar
Undergraduate Junior Honors



BIOCHEM 104 can meet either the "Biological Science in the Major" or the "Physical Science in the Major" requirement, but not both. Please note that this course will not meet students' L&S Physical Science breath degree requirement.


These courses are considered upper level in the major: CS&D 303CS&D 315CS&D 318CS&D 320, CS&D 371CS&D 424, CS&D 425CS&D 440, CS&D 699

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. Acquire a foundational understanding of basic anatomy and physiology of speech, language, and hearing.
  2. Understand integrative neuroscience foundations of speech, language, and hearing.
  3. Obtain basic knowledge in statistical sciences, linguistics, biological/physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities as related to Communication Sciences & Disorders.
  4. Develop an understanding of speech, language, and hearing disorders and the relationship to foundational aspects of speech, language and hearing science.
  5. Be prepared for graduate school and/or a career in Communication Sciences & Disorders and related areas.

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

Please refer to the Requirements tab in Guide for additional College of Letters and Science Breadth and Degree Requirements as well as Residence and Quality of Work requirements for the major.

First Year
CS&D 2013CS&D 2023
Communication A3Ethnic Studies content area course3
Quantitative Reasoning A4Foreign Language4
Foreign Language4Psych content area course3
Physical Science Content Area Course3Biological Science content area course3
 17 16
Second Year
CS&D 2403CS&D 2103
INTER-LS 2101Statistics content area course3
Quantitative Reasoning B4Communication B4
Literature Breadth3Literature Breadth3
 14 16
Third Year
CS&D 3033CS&D 4253
CS&D 3203CS&D 4403
Linguistics content area course3Social Science Breadth3
Humanities Breadth3Electives6
 12 15
Fourth Year
CS&D 3153CS&D 3713
Electives12CS&D 3183
 15 15
Total Credits 120

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.

A CS&D advisor can help with:

  • Curricular planning and course access
  • DARS interpretation
  • Declaration of the major for L&S students
  • Documentation of study abroad plans
  • Identification, interpretation and application of most academic policies
  • Major and degree requirements
  • Exploration of interests in independent study and research
  • Understanding the differences between paths to the major

Students seeking to pursue graduate study in speech-language pathology or audiology are urged to take CS&D 371 Pre-Clinical Observation of Children and Adults (3 cr) —to earn ASHA observation hours which are required for graduate school admission.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Standard IV-A requires that Communication Sciences and Disorders students planning on continuing to graduate school must complete undergraduate coursework in the following areas: Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences (either Chemistry or Physics), Statistics, and Social Sciences and Behavioral Sciences to be eligible for professional certification. If you have questions about this, please contact undergrad@csd.wisc.edu.

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Please visit our website for details on weekly advising sessions.

L&S career resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.

Information about faculty and staff can be found on the department's website.