Speech, language and hearing sciences is the study of human communication and its various disorders. At CU Boulder, the focus is on building a firm foundation to understand the sciences of human communication, audiology and speech-language pathology, resulting in careers related to the fields of disabilities, healthcare and education.
In addition to learning in the classroom about normal and disordered communication, students will observe graduate students and professionals engaged in clinical work with individuals exhibiting speech, language, learning and hearing problems.
Speech, language and hearing sciences majors acquire a background in human communication that includes the production and understanding of speech and language. They also gain real-world experience from healthcare professionals.
The major also provides a strong foundation in science while allowing students to develop analytical and interpretive skills, become an effective communicator, work effectively in a team, and understand human nature and culture. These skills are springboards to a wide variety of careers and will prepare students for a lifetime of continuous learning.
The undergraduate major in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder includes coursework in three general areas:
- Characteristics, causes, and treatment of disorders that impact speech, language, and/or hearing (e.g., stuttering, head injury, deafness, autism, learning disabilities, etc.);
- The science behind human communication (e.g., the anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanisms, acoustics of sound, etc.); and
- Language, specifically the typical development of language in children and language disorders caused by atypical development, head injury and stroke.
As well, the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences consistently ranks well nationally, with their work in Speech-Language Pathology ranking in the top 25 programs, and Audiology ranking #17, in the most recent US News and World Report rankings.
The Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences is nationally recognized in several areas of research, including audiology and hearing sciences, communication development, speech-language pathology and communication interventions.
For the undergraduate students pursuing a degree in speech, language and hearing sciences, there are a number of research opportunities beyond just class work:
Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences is an excellent major for students interested in obtaining future employment in agencies that serve people who have a disability. Additionally, it provides the appropriate undergraduate background for students interested in continuing onto graduate school in speech pathology, audiology, and/or special education.
Careers relevant to Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences that typically require a B.A. degree include:
Work settings with a variety of different positions relevant to the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences B.A.:
Careers relevant to Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences that require a graduate degree or other further training:
Career Services offers free services for all CU Boulder degree-seeking students, and alumni up to one year after graduation, to help students discover who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there. They are the bridge between academics and the world of work by discussing major and career exploration, internship or job searching, and graduate school preparation.
According to the 2019-20 College Salary Report by PayScale Human Capital:
At CU Boulder, Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences graduates earn less than the nationwide average of comparable majors as reported by PayScale. CU Boulder alumni in this discipline earn an estimated annual salary of $63,768 based on a pool of 272 alumni who graduated between 1989 and 2018. This amount is also lower than the average for all CU Boulder graduates with a bachelor's degree, according to a survey by Esmi Alumni Insight of 25,000 alumni who graduated during that same stretch.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 2016-2026 job growth for speech-language pathologists with a master’s degree will be 18 percent, compared to the 7 percent average for all jobs; job growth for audiologists with a doctoral or professional degree in audiology will be 20 percent.