Is This Career Right for You?

  • Are you interested in the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar?
  • Do you like working with, communicating with, and teaching people?
  • Are you a problem-solver and enjoy thinking creatively?

Prerequisite Courses

An undergraduate degree in speech-language sciences, audiology, or communication disorders is the most common pathway into audiology and speech-language pathology graduate programs. Many programs, however, do not require this degree prior to beginning their professional program and encourage students to major in whatever best suits their interests, while allowing room to complete the pre-requisite courses. Professional schools in the communication sciences and disorders professions are seeking well-rounded, compassionate, creative, bright, service-minded individuals. You must develop and demonstrate personal attributes that will enable you to be an effective healthcare provider.

Your academic preparation is still extremely important. The courses listed below meet the requirements for most dental schools, however, there is variability among school policies.

You are responsible for verifying the prerequisites for each of the schools that interest you.

Additionally, most programs require grades of at least C or higher for all prerequisites. If you do not receive satisfactory grades in required courses, we highly recommend you retake to ensure mastery of content and competitiveness of application.

There is a lot of variability and nuance when it comes to pre-requisites. OPHA's Pre-Health Advisors can assist you in determining what courses you need to be most competitive and for which schools.


At CU Boulder, there are multiple options to fulfill this requirement. Additional biology courses may be required depending on the professional program.

  • General Biology 1 (EBIO 1210), 3 credits, OR Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology (MCDB 1150), 3 credits
  • General Biology 1 Lab (EBIO 1230), 1 credit
  • General Biology 2 (EBIO 1220), 3 credits, OR Principles of Genetics (MCDB 2150), 3 credits
  • General Biology 2 Lab (EBIO 1240), 1 credit OR one of the following first-year biology labs:
    • From Dirt to DNA: Phage Genomics Lab (MCDB 1161), 2 credits
    • Drug Discovery Through Hands-on Screens (MCDB 1171), 2 credits
    • Biological Probiotic/Drug Discovery Through Hands-on Screens (MCDB 1181/IPHY 1181), 2 credits
    • Drug Discovery Through Hands-on Screens 2 (MCDB 2171), 2 credits

Addtionally, many optometry programs require:

  • Introduction to Human Anatomy (IPHY 3410), 3 credits and lab (IPHY 3415), 2 credits
  • Human Physiology (IPHY 3430), 4 credits and Physiology Lab (IPHY 3435), 2 credits
  • Principles of Genetics (MCDB 2150), 3 credits

Additional courses in biology may be required on a school specific basis and even if not required, they can, most often, enhance your application.

Physical Sciences

Most programs require at least one class in Physics or Chemistry. Labs are not always required. The following can be considered:

  • General Chemistry 1 (CHEM 1113), 4 credits OR
  • General Physics 1 (PHYS 2010), 5 credits, lab is included

Math and Statistics

Many programs require a pre-calculus course that includes algebra and trigonometry.

  • Precalculus (MATH 1150), 4 credits

One semester of statistics is typically required. Choose one of the following:

  • Psychological Science 1: Statistics (PSYC 2111), 4 credits 
  • Introduction to Statistics (IPHY 2800), 4 credits -  no longer offered
  • Introduction to Data Science & Biostatistics (IPHY 3280), 4 credits 
  • Introduction to Statistics (MATH 2510), 3 credits

Behavioral or Social Sciences

Most programs require some coursework in psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health. The following can be considered:

  • General Psychology (PSYC 1001), 3 credits OR
  • Developmental Psychology (PSYC 3684), 3 credits OR
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 3303), 3 credits OR
  • Introduction to Sociology (SOCY 1001), 3 credits OR
  • Ethics and Social Issues in U.S. Health and Medicine (SOCY 1022), 3 credits OR
  • Sociology of the Helping Professions (SOCY 2080), 3 credits OR
  • Principles of Anthropology 1 (ANTH 1030), 3 credits OR
  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 2100), 3 credits

Communication and Linguistics

Most programs require some coursework in speech and language development, hearing science, phonetics, and/or speech science. CU Boulder may not have courses in these specific areas. If you are unable to take courses in these areas, many programs may ask that you simply take a few courses with their program before starting or take them during your first year within the program. It could be beneficial to take courses in communication and linguistics, like, The Study of Words (LING 1010) or Introduction to Linguistics (LING 2000). There are many upper-level courses in linguistics that assist in enhancing your application.

Other Desired Traits and Experiences

It can be very beneficial to shadow professionals in comunication science and disorder fields before applying. This experience can not only help you in determining if this is the career choice for you, but will aid in making your application competitive.

Updated June 2022