Speech Pathology & Audiology

Program Details

The field of speech pathology & audiology (SPA) focuses on understanding the anatomy, physiology, and cognitive and linguistic skills needed for successful communication as well as the assessment and treatment of communication disorders. Students interested in SPA are usually planning for careers as speech-language pathologists or audiologists.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) assess and treat communication and swallowing difficulties across the lifespan from newborns to the elderly. An SLP might work in a public school with children who have language disorders due to Down syndrome or autism. SLPs also work in hospitals with adults who have had strokes and need treatment to improve their speech and swallowing abilities.

Audiologists assess and treat hearing and balance disorders. Like SLPs, audiologists work with clients across the lifespan from providing treatment to young children who have received a cochlear implant to older adults who use hearing aids to assist with age-related hearing loss.

A major in SPA leads to a Bachelor of Science degree. Within the major, students take classes in American Sign Language; the scientific bases of speech, language, and hearing; phonetics; child language development; and the assessment and treatment of speech, language, and hearing disorders. Across classes, students develop the critical thinking and communication skills needed to be successful professionals.

Special Opportunities in Speech Pathology & Audiology

During the senior year, students who have at least a 3.0 grade point average in the major have the opportunity to complete clinical practica in both speech-language pathology and audiology in our on-campus WIU Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. While clinical experiences at most universities are reserved for graduate students, Western prides itself in providing seniors the opportunity to gain hands-on clinical experience at the undergraduate level.

Students in SPA can join the Western Illinois University Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (WIUSSLHA) and the National Student Speech- Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA). WIUSSLHA members engage in volunteer, fundraising, and social activities, all of which help develop leadership skills. Each year, students in WIUSSLHA travel to the Chicago area for the annual convention of the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Additional Resources


Audiologists assess and treat hearing and balance disorders, and work with clients across the lifespan from providing treatment to young children who have received a cochlear implant to older adults who use hearing aids to assist with age-related hearing loss.

Possible Speech Pathology & Audiology Career Paths

This degree field ranks among the top 10 professions in providing jobs for the 21st century. Our graduates pursue careers as:

  • Speech Language Pathologist (a.k.a. Therapist) in Schools or Professional Medical Settings
  • Audiologists
  • Private Practitioners
  • Administrators in Government
  • Administrators and Faculty in Higher Education
  • Consultants
  • Diagnosticians

Certification as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist requires a graduate degree. An undergraduate degree in SPA at Western is the first step in this career path. Due to an increasing elderly population and an emphasis on providing services to children with special needs, speech-language pathology and audiology are consistently rated as fast growing professions with high job satisfaction.

Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for detailed program information and course descriptions.

Bachelor of Science—Communication Sciences and Disorders

All students seeking the Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders must complete I, II, III, IV, and V below, and the foreign language/global issues requirement for the major#. The minimum semester hour requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h.

  1. University General Education Curriculum: 43 s.h.
  2. Core Courses: 45 s.h.
    CSD 100, 121, 210, 212, 311, 312, 381, 383, 385, 386, 390, 472, 481†, 482, 494
  3. Any Approved Minor*: 16–20 s.h.
  4. Open Electives*: 11–15 s.h.
  5. Other: 14 s.h.
    1. PSY 100
    2. STAT 171
    3. One of: BIOL 100, 101, 204; ZOOL 200
    4. One of: PHYS 100, 114, 115, 311; CHEM 101, 102, 150, 201, 202
    NOTE: 3 s.h. of Category A and 10 s.h. of Categories B–D may count toward the University General Education Curriculum requirement.

# The foreign language/global issues graduation requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following: 1) a designated foreign language requirement [see Foreign Language/Global Issues Requirement]; 2) a General Education global issues course; 3) any major’s discipline-specific global issues course; or 4) an approved study abroad program.

† CSD 481 fulfills the Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) graduation requirement.

* Categories III and IV must provide a minimum of 31 s.h. A range of semester hours is listed for each of these categories because the breakdown depends on the student’s choice of minor.

Contact Information

Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology

Amanda Silberer, Chairperson
Location: Memorial Hall 302
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1955

Speech Pathology & Audiology Website

Communication Sciences & Disorders Directory

College of Fine Arts & Communication (COFAC)

Mr. William Clow, Dean
COFAC Email:
Location: Browne Hall 115
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1618

COFAC Website

Speech Pathology & Audiology Advising

Kate Pohlpeter
Memorial Hall 245
Phone: (309) 298-3529

Memorial Hall