Education

Best Communication Sciences and Disorders Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Communication Sciences and Disorders programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Communication sciences and disorders is the study of human communication and its disorders. Communication sciences and disorders programs can prepare students for a variety of careers in speech-language pathology, audiology, and communication disorders.

Communication sciences and disorders programs offer a broad overview of human communication, covering topics such as speech production, language development, and hearing science. Students in communication sciences and disorders degree programs learn about the different disorders that can affect communication, and how to diagnose and treat those disorders.

How to Choose the Right Communication Sciences and Disorders Program

When choosing a communication sciences and disorders program, there are many things to consider. The first step is to research programs and find ones that fit your interests and career goals. Once you have a list of potential programs, you can start to narrow down your choices by considering factors such as cost, location, and time to degree.

The cost of a program can vary depending on the school and the type of program. In-state students often pay a lower tuition rate than out-of-state students, and some schools offer scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of tuition. Location is another important factor to consider. Some students prefer to stay close to home, while others want to be in a city with more internship and job opportunities. The time to degree can also be a deciding factor. Some programs offer accelerated tracks or part-time options for students who want to graduate sooner.

Once you have considered all of these factors, you can start to narrow down your list of potential programs. Research the curriculum of each program to make sure it aligns with your interests and career goals. You should also look into the graduation requirements, such as internships and final projects, to make sure you are comfortable with them. Finally, check the accreditation status of each program to make sure it meets your standards.

Best Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders Programs

The best programs for Communication Sciences and Disorders ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC

The Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Appalachian State University provides students with the academic preparation and clinical exposure necessary for graduate study. Academic requirements include 46 semester hours of major coursework, 3 hours of major electives and 15 hours in an academic interest area. The coursework focuses on normal development of speech, language and hearing processes as well as associated disorders.

In the last year of the program, students participate in clinical experiences at Appalachian’s Charles E. and Geneva S. Scott Scottish Rite Communication Disorders Clinic, BCHS Interprofessoinal Clinic, or other community-based settings. These clinical experiences are designed to give undergraduate students exposure to individuals with communication disorders.

Rank 2
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

The Bachelor of Health Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from University of Florida provides students with the foundational skills necessary for understanding speech, language and hearing processes. The majority of students pursue graduate or professional training after earning their BHS in Communication Sciences and Disorders, but the degree also prepares students to work in a variety of settings immediately after graduation.

Rank 3
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from University of Wisconsin provides students with a foundation in the areas of speech, language, and hearing, as well as the normal aspects of these functions. Students also have the opportunity to take courses in statistics, linguistics, and other sciences that relate to communication disorders. Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared to enter a master’s degree program in speech-language pathology or a doctor of audiology program.

Rank 4
University of Redlands
Redlands, CA

The University of Redlands offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The department also offers a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The department values a strong liberal arts foundation to develop thinking skills and communication abilities. The course of study in the department is designed to develop excellence in academics and clinical practice.

Rank 5
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY

The Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Syracuse University is a broad-based program that prepares students for graduate study in speech-language pathology and audiology, or other related fields in health, education, and science. The program provides students with a foundation in the nature of human communication and disorders of communication, along with the opportunity to participate in clinical experiences in the Gebbie Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic.

Rank 6
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Western Washington University is a multidisciplinary program that prepares students for a career in speech-language pathology or audiology. The program provides students with a solid foundation in the latest scientific theories and research, as well as hands-on experience in assessing and treating patients with communication disorders. Students also have the opportunity to minor in subjects such as psychology, public history, or exceptionality and disability.

Rank 7
Abilene Christian University
Abilene, TX

The Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Abilene Christian University is an online pre-professional program that prepares students for the rigors and advanced content of graduate study in fields such as speech-language pathology or audiology. The program covers topics such as speech, language and hearing development, the role and function of communication, physiology and anatomy perspectives, and common disorders and assessment techniques. The flexible online format accommodates busy working adults, and the Locked-In Tuition program guarantees that students will pay the same price for their entire degree.

Rank 8
Murray State University
Murray, KY

The Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from Murray State University is a four-year pre-professional degree program that prepares students for graduate study in speech language pathology or audiology. The program offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts degree, with the primary difference between the two being the foreign language requirement for the BA degree. Both degrees include 47 hours of study in the Communication Disorders field, and students are not required to declare a minor.

Rank 9
Maryville University of Saint Louis
Saint Louis, MO

The Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Maryville University of Saint Louis is a 128-credit hour program that prepares students to work with patients of all ages who have communication disorders. The curriculum covers topics such as speech and hearing science, language and speech acquisition, speech development and disorders, clinical methods and management, and audiology.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders Program

Students in a bachelor’s in communication sciences and disorders program can expect to take classes focused on the anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanism, as well as the development and disorders of speech, language, and hearing. The program will also cover topics such as research methods, ethics, and professional issues.

Most bachelor’s in communication sciences and disorders programs require students to complete an internship in order to gain practical experience working with clients. In addition, many programs also require a capstone project or thesis in order to graduate.

Prospective students should be aware that a bachelor’s in communication sciences and disorders is a pre-professional degree and does not lead to licensure or certification. However, the degree can provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a career in the field, as well as to apply to graduate programs in communication sciences and disorders.

Common Communication Sciences and Disorders Courses

The curriculum for a communication sciences and disorders degree program will typically include a mix of general education requirements, major core classes, and electives. The courses below are some examples of what students might take during their undergraduate studies.

Speech and Language Development

This course covers the typical and atypical development of speech and language skills in infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children. Emphasis is placed on the impact of family, culture, and society on speech and language development. Topics include the assessment and diagnosis of speech and language disorders, the role of the speech-language pathologist in intervention and prevention, and current research in the field. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of typical and atypical speech and language development, and be able to apply this knowledge to the assessment and diagnosis of speech and language disorders.

Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism

This course covers the anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanism, including the ear, the auditory and vestibular systems, and the speech production mechanism. Emphasis is placed on the relationship of structure to function in each system, and on the clinical applications of this knowledge. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanism, and apply this knowledge to the diagnosis and treatment of communication disorders.

Phonetics

This course covers the production of speech sounds in English and other languages. Emphasis is placed on the physical characteristics of speech sounds, the International Phonetic Alphabet, and phonetic transcription. Upon completion, students should be able to produce all English speech sounds and transcribe them using the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Fluency Disorders

This course covers the nature, prevalence, etiology, assessment, and treatment of fluency disorders. Emphasis is placed on the application of current research to the diagnosis and treatment of stuttering in children and adults. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the latest research to the diagnosis and treatment of fluency disorders.

Language Disorders in Children

This course covers the nature, assessment, and intervention of language disorders in children. Emphasis is placed on the development of receptive and expressive language skills, the impact of language disorders on academic achievement, and effective intervention strategies. Upon completion, students should be able to apply knowledge of typical and atypical language development to assess and treat language disorders in children.

Career Options for Communication Sciences and Disorders Graduates

Graduates of Communication Sciences and Disorders programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including education, healthcare, and social services. They may also work in fields such as speech therapy, audiology, and research.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work with patients who have trouble speaking or swallowing. Many SLPs work in schools, where they might provide therapy and other services to children with speech disorders. Others work in hospitals, nursing homes, or private practices, where they might treat patients with aphasia (a language disorder) or dysphagia (a swallowing disorder). SLPs also work with people who have accents or who want to improve their public speaking skills.

Audiologist

Audiologists are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat hearing, balance, and other ear-related problems in patients of all ages. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and patients’ homes. Audiologists conduct hearing tests, prescribe and fit hearing aids, and provide other treatments for hearing loss and balance disorders. They also work with patients to help them adjust to hearing loss and learn how to use their hearing aids.

Hearing Instrument Specialist

Hearing instrument specialists are trained to work with patients who have hearing loss. They help patients select the right hearing aid, fit and adjust the hearing aid, and provide counseling on how to use and care for the hearing aid. They also provide patients with information on how to cope with hearing loss and adjust to life with a hearing aid. Hearing instrument specialists typically work in private practices, hospitals, and clinics.

Communications Disorders Professor

Communications disorders professors teach students at the undergraduate and graduate levels about speech, language, and hearing disorders. They may also conduct research on these topics, publish their findings in academic journals, and present their work at conferences. Communications disorders professors typically have a Ph.D. in their field and several years of experience working in the field as speech-language pathologists or audiologists.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of disabilities, from mild to severe. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with cognitive, emotional, physical, and developmental disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as communication, self-care, and social skills. Special education teachers work in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, hospitals, and residential treatment facilities.

Insights From a Communication Sciences and Disorders Graduate

Abbey Stevenson is a Speech-Language Pathologist at NYU Langone Health. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Abbey has over 3 years of experience working with children and adults with speech and language disorders.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Communication Sciences and Disorders degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Abbey Stevenson: I think the most important thing I did was to get involved in research. I worked on a few research projects with my professors and presented my findings at a national conference. This not only helped me to hone my skills as a researcher, but it also showed potential employers that I was passionate about the field and that I was willing to go above and beyond in my studies.

I would also recommend doing an internship or externship in the field that you’re interested in. This will give you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and to network with professionals in your field.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in a Communication Sciences and Disorders career?

Abbey Stevenson: A person who is successful in a Communication Sciences and Disorders career is someone who is passionate about helping others improve their communication skills. They should be patient, detail-oriented, and have excellent communication skills themselves. They should also be able to work well independently and as part of a team.

ClimbtheLadder: What was the most challenging course you took? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

Abbey Stevenson: The most challenging course I took was Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Language Mechanism. There was a lot of material to learn in a short amount of time, and it was all very detailed. My advice to students who are about to start this course is to make a study schedule and stick to it. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your professor or classmates.

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