Student working on speech with a child

Communication Sciences and Disorders is the academic discipline that involves the study of speech, language, communication, and swallowing disorders as well as hearing, balance and related disorders.

The BS Communication Sciences & Disorders program provides the pre-professional foundation for graduate study in speech-language pathology and audiology.

Program Type

Major

Program Format

On Campus
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Communication Sciences & Disorders…

When the ability to communicate is disrupted, every aspect of daily living is affected. As a speech-language pathologist or audiologist, your evaluation and treatment helps clients and their families to improve communication skills and cope with the difficulties of communication disorders.

In audiology, you’ll treat hearing loss with hearing aids and assistive listening devices, and be involved in hearing loss prevention and hearing conservation.

In speech-language pathology, you’ll treat conditions, such as stuttering, delayed language development, aphasia, voice and articulation problems, and swallowing disorders.

Communication Sciences & Disorders student working with a young girl
  • U.S. News and World Report ranks the College of Health Sciences Communication Sciences and Disorders program within the top half of all nationally-ranked programs.
  • You will get hands-on experience through our active student organization that connects with leaders and professionals in the field through educational and networking opportunities.
  • You will have the opportunity to conduct pioneering research with program faculty.

Employment Outlook

Earnings

ASHA’s SLP Health Care 2021 Survey (PDF) reported a median annual salary in 2021 of $80,00 (n=482) for speech-language pathologists employed in medical and nursing-related facilities.

ASHA’s SLP Schools Survey 2020 (PDF) reported a median 9-10 month salary of $66,000, and a median 11-12 month salary of $80,000 for speech-language pathologists employed in school-based settings.

Expected Growth

Employment of speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 25% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Employment of audiologists is projected to grow 13% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 1,800 new jobs over the 10-year period.

Successful Alumni

The College of Health Sciences has over 10,000 alumni. These alumni have taken their health sciences degrees and have excelled in their careers.

Visit our Alumni page and be inspired by where a health sciences degree can take you.

The BS Communication Sciences & Disorders program provides the pre-professional foundation for graduate study.

A career as a speech-language pathologist requires a master’s degree. The UWM MS Communication Sciences & Disorders program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in Speech-Language Pathology. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction also has approved the undergraduate/graduate program in communication sciences and disorders.

A career as an audiologist requires a doctoral degree (AuD or Doctor of Audiology). In Wisconsin, an AuD consortial program is offered by UW-Madison and UW-Stevens Point.

The following courses are prerequisites for admission to the major:

  1. A minimum cumulative UWM GPA of 2.750.
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.00 in COMSDIS 220, 230 and 240, earned the first time.
  3. Completion of 58 credits.
  4. Completion of UWM’s GER for Oral and Written Communication – Part A competency.
  5. Completion of UWM’s GER for Quantitative Literacy – Part A competency.
  6. Completion of an application (PDF) for admission to the major.
  7. Endorsement by the program coordinator of your application.

You will receive written notice of the admission decision. A meeting with your advisor to discuss the program of study is required immediately following admission to the major.

Appeal Procedures

  • If you are refused admission to the major, you may appeal the decision by writing to the department chairperson and enumerating the reasons you believe your case is exceptional and merits additional consideration.
  • If possible, the appeal should be accompanied by written support from one or more of the faculty, and should include documentation of any extenuating circumstances cited in support of the appeal.
  • A committee composed of the entire faculty of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders will consider your appeal for admission to the major.
  • You are notified in writing of the faculty’s decision concerning the appeal.

120 credits are required for the Communication Sciences & Disorders major.

General Education Requirements (GERs)

Electives should be used to meet general education requirements.

Freshman Year

First Semester

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
BIO SCI 202Anatomy & Physiology I4
COMSDIS 210Survey of Communicative Disorders3
HS 222Language of Medicine3
CHS 100New Student Seminar in Health Professions1
Elective2
Total Credits13

Second Semester

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
ANTHRO 102
or SOC 101
Intro to Anthro: Culture and Society3
PSYCH 101Introduction to Psychology3
BIOSCI 203Anatomy & Physiology II4
Electives4
Total Credits14

Sophomore Year

First Semester

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
ENGLISH 205 OR
ENGLISH 207
Business Writing
Health Sciences Writing
3
COMSDIS 230Introduction to Phonetics*4
COMSDIS 250Interprofessional Communication in the Health Sciences3
PHYS 120General Physics I (Non-Calculus Treatment)4
HS 102Healthcare Delivery in the US3
Total Credits17

Second Semester

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
PSYCH 260Child Psychology3
COMSDIS 220Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Language and Hearing Mechanisms*4
COMSDIS 240Normal Speech and Language Development*3
COMSDIS 245Client Diversity in Health Sciences3
ED POL 375Cultural Foundations of Education3
Total Credits16

Junior Year

First Semester

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
COMSDIS 350Clinical Process I: Articulation & Phonology Disorders**3
COMSDIS 380Bases of Hearing Science**3
LING 350Introduction to Linguistics3
KIN 270Statistics in the Health Professions3
Electives3
Total Credits15

Second Semester

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
COMSDIS 351Clinical Processes II: Child Language Disorders**3
COMSDIS 450Bases of Fluency and Voice Disorders**3
HCA 203Human Life Cycle3
ED PSYCH 330Introduction to Learning and Development3
HIST 263 OR
AIS 203 OR
ACT 31
North American Indian History Since 1887

Workshop
3
Total Credits15

Senior Year

First Semester

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
COMSDIS 460Survey of Adult Neurogenic Language and Speech Disorders**3
COMSDIS 470Introduction to Audiology**3
EXCEDUC 600 OR
EXCEDUC 300
Survey of Exceptional Eduction
The Exceptional Individual
3
Electives6
Total Credits15

Second Semester

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
COMSDIS 480Speech Science**3
COMSDIS 490Aural Rehabilitation**3
COMSDIS 520Counseling in Communication Sciences & Disorders**3
COMSDIS 661 OR
CURRINS 537**
The Role of the SLP in Literacy**2
Electives4
Total Credits15

*Course may not be repeated and must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75.

**Course is generally taught only once per year, during the semester listed.

COMSDIS 220, 230, 240 may not be repeated and students must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 in these classes for admission to the major.

By completing the following courses included in this curriculum, you have met a subset of the requirements toward Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for School Certification in Speech-Language Pathology: ED POL 375 (or ED POL 500 or ED POL 530), ED PSY 330, COMSDIS 661 (or CURRINS 343), EXCEDUC 300 (or EXCEDUC 600), and HIST 263 (or AIS 203, or Act 31 – 1 Day Workshop).

To schedule an advising appointment, call 414-229-2758 or visit Northwest Quadrant Building B, Room 6425.

You are also encouraged to meet with a Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders faculty member to discuss the requirements and challenges of a career as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. Seniors should meet with your advisor to review your final year of study and discuss opportunities for graduate study.

You can also contact your advisor in your student center in PAWS.

When should I meet with my advisor?

You are encouraged to meet with your advisor at least once per semester to ensure timely progress to graduation.

  • Enrolling for spring semester?
    Schedule an appointment with your advisor in October or November.
  • Enrolling for fall semester?
    Schedule an appointment with your advisor in March or April.

You are also welcome to schedule an appointment with your advisor at any time to discuss academic challenges, career opportunities or any other questions.

How can my advisor help me?

The College of Health Sciences boasts professional academic advisors who understand the challenges of balancing academics, work, family and the social aspects of college life. Advisors partner with you to:

  • Explore your academic and career interests
  • Plan the sequence of your courses
  • Prepare for course enrollment
  • Access tutoring and other academic support
  • Identify opportunities for campus involvement
  • Connect you to campus resources
  • Plan for graduation
Portrait of Adam Follmer
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of John Heilmann
  • Associate Professor. Communication Sciences & Disorders Graduate Program Coordinator, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Sabine Heuer
  • Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders Program Director, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Shelley Lund
  • Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Bethanne Mazurczak
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Portrait of Barbara Pauloski
  • Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Contact

MacKenzie L Kougl, MS
Academic Advisor
414-229-2758
mlkougl@uwm.edu

Barbara R. Pauloski, PhD, CCC-SLP
Program Coordinator
414-229-6719
pauloski@uwm.edu