Speech Pathology and Audiology (B.S.)

Undergraduate students at Western Michigan University have the option of working on an academic major in speech pathology and audiology or an academic minor in speech and hearing processes.

Students must apply for admission into the speech pathology and audiology major.  Applications are due in February for admission for the next fall, and students must complete the application form.  Undergraduate students interested in audiology should consider the accelerated doctoral program that is offered through the School of Interdisciplinary Health Services.

Students typically apply for admission during their sophomore year and begin the major in their junior year.  Courses in the department that are open to Pre-Majors include SPPA 2000: Communication Disorders and Sciences, SPPA 2030: Normal Language Acquisition, and SPPA 2040: Phonetics (and Phonetics Lab).

Bachelor of Science

Completion of the undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in speech pathology and audiology prepares the student for the graduate level education needed to work in either field. A master's degree in speech-language pathology or a doctoral degree in audiology is the entry-level requirement for certification as a professional.

In the first year of study, students focus primarily on the basic university educational requirements for the granting of a bachelor's degree. Examples of coursework that may be taken beginning at the start of the freshman year are:

  • Introductory level courses in animal biology, mathematics, statistics and physics.
  • Linguistics and technical compositional writing.
  • Basic psychology and at least one additional psychology course, such as abnormal psychology or child psychology.

Once students are admitted to the undergraduate program, they will take introductory coursework in speech, language and hearing. The capstone course, Special Studies in Speech-Language Pathology, meets the University graduation requirements as a writing intensive course.

Videotaped and live observation experiences are a required part of the undergraduate program. Opportunities are provided for supervised clinical practicum experiences at the undergraduate level in the Van Riper Language, Speech and Hearing Clinic. Observation of clinical activities precedes actual participation in clinical assignments. Early and frequent advising by the department undergraduate advisor is necessary because coursework, both inside and outside of the department, is sequential, with many prerequisite requirements.

Typical course sequence

Fall semester—year one

  • SPPA 2030:  Normal Language Acquisition (three credits)
  • SPPA 2040:  Phonetics (three credits)
  • SPPA 2041:  Clinic Laboratory (three credits)
  • SPPA 3580:  Introduction to Audiology (three credits)

Spring semester—year one

  • SPPA 2050:  Speech Anatomy and Physiology (three credits)
  • SPPA 2051:  Speech Anatomy and Physiology Lab (one credit)
  • SPPA 2060: Hearing Science (three credits))
  • SPPA 3510:  Phonemic Disorders (two credits)
  • SPPA 3540:  Language Disorders - Child (three credits)
  • Clinical Observation

Fall semester—year two

  • SPPA 3580:  Introduction to Audiology (three credits)
  • SPPA 5530:  Stuttering and Other Fluency Disorders (three credits)
  • SPPA 4590:  Special Studies in SPPA (three credits)
  • SPPA 4000:  Clinical Practicum (by permission only; based on strong GPA in SPPA coursework)
  • Clinical Observation

Spring semester—year two

  • SPPA 5010:  Speech Science (three credits)
  • SPPA 4560:  Rehabilitative Audiology (three credits)
  • SPPA 4000:  Clinical Practicum (by permission only; based on strong GPA in SPPA coursework)
  • SPPA 5801:  Pediatric Audiology (elective, three credits)

Further information about the undergraduate curriculum appears in the University undergraduate catalog.

Honors program

Students admitted to the undergraduate major who are members of the Lee Honors College and who meet the academic requirements listed below are eligible to join the honors program for undergraduate majors in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology. The academic requirements include:

  • Completion of a minimum of 40 semester hours
  • A minimum university GPA of 3.5.

Further information and specific requirements of the departmental honors program are available through the departmental honors advisor.

Continuance policy

Student undergraduate majors in Speech Pathology and Audiology must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.8 to remain in the program.  Students whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.8 will be placed on departmental probation and will have one semester to raise the cumulative GPA to at least 2.8.  Students who fail to achieve at least a 2.8 cumulative GPA after one semester will be dismissed from the program.

Student undergraduate majors in speech pathology and audiology must earn a grade of 'C' or higher in each required speech pathology and audiology course.  Students may repeat one course one time to raise a grade; no more than two registrations in the same SPPA course will be permitted.  Students who do not earn a grade of at least 'C' upon repeating a course will be dismissed from the program.