Communication Sciences and Disorders

What is Communication Sciences and Disorders?

Communication Sciences and Disorders includes two disciplines, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, which have developed out of a concern for people with communication disorders. Many people easily talk with family, friends, and colleagues every day. Although we often take language, speech, and hearing for granted, these processes are extraordinarily complex. Furthermore, anyone at any age can be affected by illness or injury that will impair the ability to talk or hear. In fact, one out of every six Americans has a communication disorder. Each one can be helped in some way by a speech-language pathologist, audiologist, or speech, language, and hearing scientist.

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Communication Sciences and Disorders at Western

Grounded in the latest scientific theories and research, Western's Communication Sciences and Disorder (CSD) students learn to assess and treat persons with communication disorders – from infants to the elderly. Students use state-of-the-art lab equipment and analysis procedures as they study sound, speech, language, and hearing.

CSD includes two disciplines, speech-language pathology and audiology. The academic and clinical curriculum at the undergraduate level includes a wide range of courses and clinical practicum opportunities. Students study normal communication processes including language development, speech, acoustics, hearing science, anatomy and physiology, and disorder studies in language disorders, phonological disorders, and hearing disorders. Students also have the opportunity for observation through the on-campus hearing, speech-language, and aural rehabilitation clinics, which see more than 800 clients from the community.

Communication Sciences and Disorders faculty are active in augmentative and alternative communication research, brain injury research, cochlear implant rehabilitation research, and scholarship of teaching and learning.

Explore Courses

CSD 352 - Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Mechanisms 

CSD 354 - Speech and Language Development in Children 

CSD 356 - Phonetics and Phonology 

CSD 470 - Acquired Disorders of Language and Cognition in Adults 

Internships and Scholarships

The Communication Sciences and Disorders Department values service learning, offering clinical observations and services through the Western Washington University Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. Faculty train students in clinical preparation, present nationally and internationally, are involved with a variety of research topics, and lead a global service learning trip to Guatemala. Student internships and other service learning opportunities within the local and broader communities are encouraged. 

Recent Student Internships:

  • Madigan Army Medical Center
  • Edmonds School District

Organizations and Clubs

Students also have the opportunity to get involved with Western’s National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA) club. 

The CSD major is incredibly multidisciplinary and yet maintains a direct focus on communication. I’ve been able to study human development, embryology, the physics of sound, anatomy, and physiology of the speech mechanism, and the list goes on. I have been exposed to a well-rounded curriculum from passionate professors.

Adolpho Dominguez IV
CSD Student

What can you do with a Communication Sciences and Disorders major?

With the changing makeup of our population comes the need for speech-language-hearing professionals who are skilled in working in a complex and diverse society. For people with the proper education and flexibility, employment prospects are excellent, and the ability to contribute positively to people’s lives is limitless. 

The undergraduate education prepares students to pursue a graduate degree. A master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology or a clinical doctorate degree in Audiology and certification at the national level are required to engage in professional practice. 

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • Duke University: Nursing 
  • Washington State University: Speech and Hearing Sciences (MA) 
  • Western Washington University: Speech-Language Pathology (MA)
  • Western Washington University: Doctorate in Audiology (AuD)

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Advanced Audiology: Office Manager/Audiology Assistant
  • Eastmont School District: Speech Pathologist
  • Family Care Network: Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Support
  • Providence Health Services: Registered Behavior Technician
  • Yakima Valley Hearing and Speech Center: Speech-Language Pathology Assistant

Communication Sciences and Disorders careers

  • Speech-Language Pathologist 
  • Speech-Language Scientist 
  • Government/Industry Consultant 
  • Audiologist 
  • Hearing Scientist 
  • Clinic Administrator

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