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Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Communication Science degree program and the field.

About the Professions of Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology

What is a speech-language pathologist?

A speech-language pathologist is a professional who identifies, helps prevent, diagnosis, and treats a wide range of disorders affecting functions such as speech, language, hearing, communication, social interaction, and swallowing.

What is an audiologist?

An audiologist is a professional who identifies, helps prevent, diagnosis, and treats a wide range of disorders affecting functions such as hearing and balance.

How is the career outlook for speech language pathology and audiology?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for speech-language pathologists is expected to increase by 18% within the years of 2016 to 2026. Additionally, the Bureau predicts a 21% increase in demand for audiologists within this same time frame. 

After graduation, can I get a job as an Audiologist or Speech-Language Pathologist with my bachelor’s degree?

No, a graduate level degree is entry level for both career fields. Speech-language pathology requires a master’s level degree and audiology requires a doctoral degree (AuD). The undergraduate curriculum has been specifically designed to prepare students for graduate study. This occurs because not only must speech-language pathologists and audiologists have a graduate level degree but also pass a national test and complete a Clinical Fellowship Year to be certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and to obtain a state license to practice speech-language pathology or audiology.

Can I get a job with an undergraduate degree in Communication Science?

Many positions require a bachelor’s degree as entry level. You can compete for these positions, since you meet the qualification of having a 4-year degree. A wide range of employment opportunities are available, and graduates may find positions in fields such as social and human services. Your degree can help you secure a wide variety of positions given some personal creativity and persistence.

Where can I locate more information about careers in audiology and speech-language pathology?

Our national organizations include the American Speech Language Hearing Association and the American Academy of Audiology. In addition, each state has professional organizations such as the Pennsylvania Speech Language Hearing Association and the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology .

Common Questions About the Undergraduate Communication Science (CS) Program

What courses should I take if I want to explore Communication Science as a possible major?

At the University of Pittsburgh, courses such as Introduction to Speech-Language Pathology and Introduction to Audiology are courses you can take if you are interested in learning more about the CS major and its respective fields. These courses are available to all undergraduate students at the University.

How many credits and how long does it take to complete the CS undergraduate major?

The CS degree program is composed of 41 credits, and most students begin the CS major at the junior year level. The minimum credit requirement for all students graduating from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is 120 credits. Typically, the CS major takes 2 years (or 4 academic terms – fall, spring, fall, spring) to complete depending in part on the student’s completion of required general education and related courses.

Do I have to take major courses in any special order?

Yes. The program is structured to build upon prior coursework and major courses are taken in a specified order. 

Can I study abroad?

Yes! Students are encouraged to explore opportunities to enrich their learning outside of the CS program. Students who desire to study abroad for a semester should do so before entry into the CS program; after entry to the CS program, students can study abroad during the summer between junior and senior year levels. Learn about our SHRS Study Abroad Program in Ireland.

Can I complete a certificate or a minor?

Yes! Students are encouraged to complete minors and/or certificates to explore additional areas of learning. Students can discuss the completion of minors and certificates with an academic advisor to incorporate the course requirements with the CS plan of study.

Are research opportunities available to undergraduates?

Yes! Research is critical to advancing the state of the science in all of the disciplines within SHRS. Participation in research can help complement your classroom learning. Learn more about research opportunities here.

What is the typical class size?

The typical class size fluctuates between 70 to 80 students.

Are CS courses offered in the summer?

No. Courses are only offered during the fall and spring term.

Do you offer courses online?

No. Online courses are not offered.

Can a CS course count as a general education requirement?

Unfortunately, CS courses do not count towards general education requirements at the University of Pittsburgh. CS course do fulfill requirements for the CS major.

Can I take graduate level courses at the undergraduate level?

No. Graduate level courses are restricted to students admitted to our graduate level degree programs.

Do I have an academic advisor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders?

Students who are accepted into the CS program will be assigned an academic advisor. An academic advisor meets one-on-one with students each term to create individualized plans of study. Additional group meetings may be planned to discuss specific advising events such as graduate school applications.

Specialized advising is available to students at the first-year and/or sophomore year level. Interested students should contact the Director of Undergraduate Education in Communication Science and Disorders, Dr. Janice Vance (jvance@pitt.edu).

Should I be concerned about my overall GPA and GPA in the major?

Yes. Graduate schools programs in the field of Communication Science and Disorders are competitive, and generally higher GPAs increase the likelihood of acceptance. Students should evaluate their GPA at the end of each term and meet with their advisors about any concerns.

About Admissions

How and when should I apply for the CS major?

Students apply early in the spring term of their sophomore year. The application deadline is February 15. Application information can be found here.

What are the specific application requirements for the CS program at Pitt?

A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 (based on 4.0) is required for admission. Students may be admitted provisionally, based on the recommendation of the Interim Director of Undergraduate Education in Communication Science & Disorders, Dr. Cheryl Messick.

Students are required to submit a resume, an official transcript, and a personal essay addressing. Admissions information can be found here.