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Undergraduate Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences

Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences Undergraduate Overview

Ohio University's nationally recognized undergraduate program in Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences offers students a well-rounded undergraduate education. Our curriculum emphasizes both the scientific and humanistic aspects of practice, with a strong emphasis on communication abilities, scholarship, professionalism, service and multicultural engagement. The curriculum integrates a sequence of arts and sciences coursework with courses designed to provide a sound understanding of normal human communication processes and an introduction to speech-language pathology and audiology. Students also have multiple opportunities to observe clinicians in practice and to engage in service learning throughout the community.

Mentored research experiences are available for interested students, and some select the Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences senior thesis option. Additionally the Honors Tutorial College Program in Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences is available to highly qualified students. For more information, visit the Honors Tutorial College.

The program encourages students to think clearly and objectively, preparing them to solve problems as professionals through effective interpersonal and research skills. Advisers are Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences faculty who guide students regularly in curriculum and career planning. A high percentage of Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences majors complete the program successfully in four years. Undergraduates leave well-prepared for graduate study, which is required for certification and employment in audiology or speech-language pathology.

Many students choose the Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences major because they enjoy the intellectual stimulation and intrigue of integrating studies across a vast array of disciplines and academic interest areas. Some select the major because they enjoy its balance of art with science. Most are attracted to a sense of service and contribution to people with disabilities and communication problems in general.

The Certificate in Experimental Study of Language also offers interested students the opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision. For more information, visit the Certificate Program Blog.

The HSLS Professional Deaf Resources Liaison Certificate provides an opportunity for all undergraduate Ohio University students interested in furthering their understanding of American Sign Language (ASL), as well as, the history, community, and culture of individuals who are deaf. The program provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills in ASL to become allies to the deaf community. The curriculum provides a firm underpinning for entry into a career for students who seek collaborative employment experiences with the deaf community in fields such as health and human services, education, social services, community service agencies, vocational rehabilitation, etc.

Why Choose This Program?

A unique feature of our undergraduate program is a sequence of preprofessional courses designed to give each student a sound understanding and orientation to the profession. Undergraduate students gain observation experience through multimedia and at Ohio University Therapy Associates.

Students can broaden their perspectives and diversify their career choices through certificate programs in gerontology, health policy and teaching English as a second language, as well as minors in psychology, linguistics, interpersonal communication, business, social sciences, physics, biological sciences and foreign languages.

Certificate Programs Offered through Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences

Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences offer several certificate programs that allow students to broaden their horizons and explore unique, specific areas of practice. Follow the links below to learn more.

Extracurricular Activities

Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences majors tend to be highly engaged in their studies and extracurricular activities:

  • The Ohio University chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association provides enriching social, service and career-development opportunities.
  • The Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences Undergraduate Research Club facilitates student involvement in research and provides students hands-on experiences in the cutting-edge research laboratories of the Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences faculty.
  • Many Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences majors engage in service activities in the community related to people with disabilities in general and communication disorders in particular. 
  • For more information on Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences student organizations, visit the student organizations page.

Career Opportunities

Students who go on to earn graduate degrees in speech-language pathology or clinical doctorate of audiology degrees have fantastic career possibilities. As with most health care professions, demand for speech-language pathologists and audiologists is projected to increase significantly into the 2020s. Both areas are among the highest paying in the allied health professions.

Professional contexts for clinicians include public and private schools, early enrichment programs, hospitals, rehabilitation agencies, private practice, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, retirement centers and universities. Clinicians work with people of all ages, from newborns through elderly people.

Audiologists address a wide range of issues related to hearing and auditory processing and are involved in helping people adapt to hearing problems through hearing aids, cochlear implants and a vast array of other technologies as well as social, educational and work-related strategies.

Speech-language pathologists diagnose and treat a vast array of problems, including difficulty with speech articulation, literacy, swallowing and language production and understanding. They address diverse problems, from stuttering to developmental language and speech delays to intelligibility problems due to accents. They work as team members with individuals with such life affecting conditions as developmental disability, stroke, acquired brain injury, cancer, diabetes, dementia, autism, Alzheimer's and HIV/AIDS.

Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences majors are encouraged to consider whether a commitment to graduate school is in line with their educational goals. Of course, some graduating with a Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences major decide to pursue graduate studies in other areas. And others decide not to attend graduate school at all. In any case, the Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences major provides a solid educational background from which to pursue careers in a vast array of fields requiring a strong interdisciplinary education.

Many Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences majors with exceptional academic potential and a special sense of curiosity are excited about ample opportunities for research and teaching careers in hearing, speech, and language sciences. Throughout the United States and in many other countries, the field is in direct need of professors and researchers who hold the Ph.D. Career possibilities for academic professionals in this field are tremendous. Students who might consider doctoral studies and research engagement in the future are encouraged to seize opportunities to gain research experience during their undergraduate program at Ohio University.

Our Faculty

Hearing, Speech and Language Science's faculty is a diverse, energetic, dedicated and productive group of professionals that works closely with students in a positive and encouraging environment. Academic faculty members hold advanced degrees from an impressive array of prestigious institutions, and each has an active research laboratory.

Clinical faculty members are senior clinicians with many years of experience in diverse areas that directly complement their mentoring of Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences students. External funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the American Speech-Language Hearing Foundation and other agencies support Hearing, Speech and Language Science research and educational programs. For more information on faculty and staff, visit the Faculty Directory and Staff Directory.

Our Alumni

Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences graduates tend to be highly successful in admission to graduate school or in alternative educational and career pursuits. Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences graduates include numerous successful clinicians, researchers, authors and academic and clinical administrators.