Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

The undergraduate program in speech, language, and hearing sciences (SLHS) introduces concepts basic to human communication and provides opportunities for students to acquire an understanding of normal and disordered speech, language, and hearing processes. The curriculum for the undergraduate degree in SLHS has been designed to fulfill the prerequisite requirements for entrance into accredited graduate programs in speech-language pathology and audiology, but it also provides a strong academic foundation for students with other professional goals.

The undergraduate degree in speech, language, and hearing sciences emphasizes knowledge of:

  • the anatomy of the speech and hearing mechanisms, as well as the processes of speech production, transmission, and reception;
  • the development of language;
  • scientific methods used in investigating speech/language/learning and hearing processes; 
  • the etiologies, manifestations, and treatments of speech/language/learning and hearing disorders; and
  • the role of the professional speech-language pathologist and audiologist, including the scientific traditions of the discipline, and the ethical issues in providing service to individuals with communication disorders.

In addition, students completing the degree in speech, language, and hearing sciences are expected to acquire the ability and skills to:

  • express themselves effectively both orally and in written scientific and clinical discipline-specific reports;
  • critically evaluate literature in the discipline; and
  • analyze the acoustic output of the speech production process auditorily and/or instrumentally.

Course code for this program is SLHS.

Bachelor's Degree Program(s)

Bachelor’s Degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below. Majors must present a minimum of 35 credit hours of course work.

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

  • LING 2000 Introduction to Linguistics—3
  • SLHS 2000 Introduction to Communication Disorders—3
  • SLHS 2010 Human Communication Science—3
  • SLHS 3006 Phonetics or LING 3100 Sound Structure of Language—3
  • SLHS 3106 Hearing Science—3
  • SLHS 3116 Speech Science—3
  • SLHS 4502 Language Disorders: Child and Adult—3
  • SLHS 4512 Speech Disorders—3
  • SLHS 4560 Language Development—3
  • SLHS 4704 Audiological Evaluation—3 
  • SLHS 4714 Audiological Rehabilitation—3
  • SLHS 4918 Introduction to Clinical Practica—2
  • PSYC 1001 (as prerequisite for SLHS 4560)—3

Graduating in Four Years

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences students should meet the following requirements: 

  • Declare the major by the beginning of the sophomore year 
  • Complete prerequisite courses—LING 2000 and PSYC 1001—by the end of spring semester of sophomore year.

Graduate Degree Program(s)

Graduate Study in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

The graduate curriculum in speech, language, and hearing sciences leads to either a master’s or a doctoral degree. The programs in speech-language pathology and audiology are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) and the Colorado State Department of Education. 

Prospective students should read requirements for advanced degrees in the Graduate School section. 

Master’s Degree

There are two areas of focus available at the MA level: 1) MA leading to professional certification in speech-language pathology by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and licensure for the Colorado State Department of Education and 2) research. Within departmental and ASHA guidelines, master’s students with a focus in speech-language pathology devise individualized programs of academic and clinical study that allow them to develop clinical specialities of their choosing. Clinical assignments are initiated in the department on-site Speech, Language, and Hearing Center; later, student input is obtained in making off-campus clinical assignments in educational and medical settings. 

Students with an undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology and audiology can expect to complete the program in two calendar years. Those without such a background are required to make up undergraduate deficiencies, which normally require at least an additional 18 credit hours of courses in speech, language, and hearing sciences and related disciplines. Students must meet standards for both academic and clinical competence, as well as professional conduct. Full-time graduate study is required. Students not seeking clinical certification place major emphasis on speech, language, or hearing sciences under the guidance of their primary advisor and thesis research committee.

Doctoral Degree

There are two areas of focus available at the doctoral level: 1) AuD leading to professional certification in audiology, and 2) PhD with emphasis on research. The PhD program is grounded in research. Supervisory, administrative, instructional, and research activities are provided to acquaint students with problems and concepts at a higher level of professional activity and responsibility.

Wide latitude prevails in planning individual PhD programs. It is expected that students have some professional experience before entering the program, and that they have specific academic or professional goals in mind. PhD candidates must take a four-course sequence in statistics and computer science and four core courses within Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SLHS). Beyond that, student degree plans are individually prepared through the joint efforts of the student and an advisory committee.  Students may also pursue a dual PhD with SLHS and Neuroscience or SLHS and Cognitive Psychology.

The AuD program is a four-year post-baccalaureate program consisting of academic course work, clinical practicum experiences, capstone project, and advanced clinical rotations. Clinical assignments are initiated in the Boulder satellite of the University of Colorado Hospital Marion Downs Hearing Center; later, student input is obtained in making off-campus clinical assignments. The program is designed so students complete all requisite clinical and academic experience for ASHA certification.

In addition, the department offers students the opportunity to pursue an integrated program of study leading to dual doctorate degrees in the field of audiology and speech, language, and hearing science. The PhD/AuD dual degree program trains students in clinical research and clinical practice in audiology. Students in the program gain training that will prepare them to become independent scholars, to teach in higher education, to conduct research, to become certified clinical audiologists, and to gain skills in leadership. The dual degree program allows students to pursue both their clinical training and their research training in a rigorous, intensive, and streamlined program. Students may apply to both programs simultaneously, or may apply to the PhD portion after having been accepted into the AuD portion or may apply to the AuD portion after having been accepted into the PhD portion.