Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (B.S.)

Undergraduate students at Western Michigan University have the option of working on an academic major in speech, language and hearing sciences or an academic minor in speech and hearing processes or in American Sign Language studies.

Students must apply for admission into the speech, language and hearing sciences major. Applications are due in February for admission the following 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 to the undergraduate program during their sophomore year and begin the major in their junior year. Courses in the department that are open to Pre-Majors include SLHS 2000: Communication Disorders and Sciences and SLHS 2030: Normal Language Acquisition.


Completion of the Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences can prepare the student for the graduate level education needed to work in either profession. A master's degree in speech-language pathology or a doctoral degree in audiology is the entry-level requirement for certification as a professional. Students may use this major to obtain academic coursework required for work as a speech-language pathology assistant, support personnel for speech-language pathologists.

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 as follows:

  • 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 sciences. The capstone course, SLHS 4590 Special Studies in Speech-Language Pathology, meets the University graduation requirement as a writing intensive course in the major.

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 direct participation in clinical assignments. Early and frequent advising by the department’s College of Health and Human Services advisor is necessary because coursework, both inside and outside of the department, is sequential with many prerequisite requirements. The course of study may be lengthened when prerequisites are not met.

Typical course sequence

Fall semester—year one

  • SLHS 2030:  Normal Language Acquisition (three credits)
  • SLHS 2040:  Phonetics (three credits)
  • SLHS 2041:  Phonetics Laboratory (one credit)
  • SLHS 2070:  Clinic Laboratory (three credits)
  • SLHS 2080:  Introduction to Audiology (three credits)

Spring semester—year one

  • SLHS 2050:  Speech Anatomy and Physiology (three credits)
  • SLHS 2051:  Speech Anatomy and Physiology Lab (one credit)
  • SLHS 2060:  Hearing Science (three credits))
  • SLHS 3510:  Phonemic Disorders (two credits)
  • SLHS 3540:  Language Disorders - Child (three credits)
  • Observation in the Charles Van Riper Language, Speech and Hearing Clinic, for one-half of the cohort.

Fall semester—year two

  • SLHS 2080:  Introduction to Audiology (three credits)
  • SLHS 5530:  Stuttering and Other Fluency Disorders (elective, three credits)
  • SLHS 4590:  Special Studies in SPPA (three credits)
  • SLHS 4000:  Clinical Practicum in the Charles Van Riper Language, Speech and Hearing ClinicObservation in the Charles Van Riper Language, Speech and Hearing Clinic, for the remaining one-half of the cohort.

Spring semester—year two

  • SLHS 5010:  Speech Science (three credits)
  • SLHS 4560:  Rehabilitative Audiology (three credits)
  • SLHS 4000:  Clinical Practicum in the Charles Van Riper Language, Speech and Hearing Clinic SPPA 5801:  Pediatric Audiology (elective, three credits)

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


Students admitted to the undergraduate major who are members of the Lee Honors College and/or who meet the academic requirements listed below are eligible to join the honors program for undergraduate majors in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. 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 undergraduate advisor.


Student undergraduate majors in speech, language and hearing sciences 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, language and hearing sciences must earn a grade of 'C' or better in each required course. Students may repeat one course one time to raise a grade; no more than two registrations in the same SLHS 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.