What degree will I earn by completing the SPHSC major?

Upon successful completion of the SPHSC major, you will be awarded a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences.

What are the prerequisites to apply to the SPHSC major?

You must have completed at least 75 credits, as well as hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50 to be considered for the major. There are no prerequisite courses you must complete before applying.

However, there are several out-of-department courses that majors must complete prior to graduation. We recommend students take as many of these courses as possible before starting the major. Please see our undergraduate curriculum web page for more details.

When is the best time to apply to the major?

The best time to apply to the major is during Spring quarter of your Sophomore year, for admission in Autumn quarter of your Junior year. SPHSC major courses are offered once a year and in a specific sequence. The curriculum is established so students start the major Autumn of their Junior year and complete the requirements by Spring of their Senior year (6 quarters total).

I’m a Junior or Senior. Is it too late to apply to the major?

No. Students can apply to the major at any time as long as they meet the minimum credit and GPA requirements. Please note that your stay at the UW is likely to be extended , if you begin major coursework later than Autumn of your Junior year. You will not be able to fast track the major since SPHSC courses are offered in sequence to allow for completion of prerequisites. After you are admitted to the major, the Undergraduate Advisor will meet with you to determine your course schedule through to graduation.

How do I apply?

Visit the Apply to the Major web page to download the application and learn more about the application process.

When will I hear whether I’m accepted into the major?

The SPHSC department will notify applicants via email within a month of applying to the major.

Is there any flexibility with the SPHSC course schedule?

No. SPHSC majors follow a standard course schedule as courses are offered in sequence to accommodate prerequisites courses in the major. Most courses are offered only once a year.

Students who start major courses late may be able to complete a few required courses during Summer quarter. In general, however, students who start the major late will have their program of study extended.

In addition, students who minor, double major, or double degree in another field often need to extend their program due to course scheduling challenges across departments and majors.

Can I use the UW Course Catalog to create my own SPHSC course schedule?

No. Although the UW Course Catalog lists the all of the SPHSC courses offered in our department, actual course offerings vary year to year according to a number of factors. Students can refer to our SPHSC major course schedules for planning purposes as it contains the most up-to-date information. Student can also use MyPlan.

I know there are no prerequisite courses for the major, but what classes should I take before applying to the major?

The SPHSC Department has several out-of-department course requirements for the major. We strongly recommend that students complete these out-of-department courses before initiating the major. The requirements are:

  1. One 3 - 5 credit college-level Statistics course (excluding Math). We recommend STAT 220 or EDPSY 490. You cannot use any remedial, historical, or methodological Statistics course to meet this requirement (i.e., STAT 111).
  2. One 3 - 5 credit Biological Science course related to human or animal sciences. You do not need a lab. We recommend BIOL 118, Survey of Anatomy & Physiology, or any introductory course in human or animal science (e.g., BIOL 100, anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, human genetics, veterinary science, etc.).
  3. One 3 - 5 credit Physical Science course that is either Physics or Chemistry. You do not need a lab. We recommend PHYS 107, PHYS 110, or CHEM 110 or any other introductory course.
  4. One 3 - 5 credit Social/Behavioral science course in the areas of Psychology, Educational Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, or Public Health (excluding all Linguistics courses).
What should I do if I already completed the out-of-department course requirements?

In addition to out of department courses, you can work on the UW general education requirements, also known as Areas of Knowledge requirements. Use the Requirements Worksheet to help you plan out a course schedule according to the College of Arts and Sciences’ Bachelor’s degree requirements.

Besides coursework, is there anything else I can do to prepare for the major?

Although it is not required, it may be useful to acquaint yourself with the field of Speech and Hearing Sciences by volunteering in SPHSC research labs or clinical facilities that provide speech-language pathology and audiology services. You can use ASHA (www.asha.org) as a resource to locate local clinics, hospitals, and practices where you can inquire about volunteer opportunities. Please note, we are unable to arrange these opportunities for students.

Can I observe clinical professionals before applying to the major?

Yes, but we strongly recommend that students wait to observe until they are accepted into the major, as it is very difficult for non-SPHSC students to secure observational experiences. If you would like to shadow or observe a clinical professional in the community, please note that many Seattle-area schools, hospitals and clinics may not be able to accommodate you because of existing commitments to graduate students fulfilling practicum requirements. Also note that any observation hours you acquire prior to admission to the major will not count toward completion of the 25 clinical observation hours’ requirement. You are only allowed to work toward this requirement after you have been admitted to the major. Students who have friends or relatives working as speech and hearing professionals may be able to secure observational experiences prior to applying to the major, but most students should plan to wait.

As a SPHSC student, can I volunteer in the SPHSC Department or Clinic?

No. Unfortunately, there are no volunteer positions available in the department or clinic.

I heard that I need to observe clinical services in order to become a certified professional. Can I observe in the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic?

Yes. There is a clinical observation requirement of 25 hours for students planning to attend graduate school for speech-language pathology and work as a certified SLP. Students who are admitted to the major have access to the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic to complete all of these required observations. Observations cannot be completed in the clinic, however, until students are officially accepted into the major.

Note that there is no clinical observation requirement for certification in audiology, although completion of audiology observations is strongly recommended for anyone planning to attend graduate school in this field. These observations can also be completed in our clinic.

For more information on observing in the clinic, visit our clinical observations web page.

What are the SPHSC core courses and do I have to take them all?

The SPHSC major requires students to complete eight core courses. These courses provide a foundation in speech and hearing sciences and are completed during the first 3 quarters of the major. Visit our undergraduate curriculum web page for a complete list of the courses.

Majors must take all of these courses, with one exception. Majors who have successfully completed Linguistics 200, 203, or 400 may obtain permission from the Undergraduate Advisor to waive out of SPHSC 303 Language Science.

What are the SPHSC Option 1 and Option 2 pathways and how do they differ?

There are two pathway options in the major; Option 1: General Academic and Option 2: Pre-Professional. The primary difference between Options 1 and 2 is related to the number of required courses and credits. Both options prepare students for graduate study in speech and hearing sciences.

Option 1 requires 22 credits and is tailored to students with a double major/degree or who plan to attend graduate study in a field outside speech and hearing sciences. The credit requirement provides students with more space in their undergraduate schedule to complete the requirements for multiple areas of interest.

Option 2 requires 31 credits and involves more upper division coursework in the treatment and evaluation of hearing disorders. Additionally, Option 2 requires students to maintain a quarterly GPA of 3.0.

Do I get to choose between Option 1 and Option 2?

Not typically. After completing the eight SPHSC core courses, majors are placed into one of the major options by the department based on their GPA and interests.

Students who plan to become a professional SLP or audiologist, and who achieved a GPA of at least a 3.0 in their SPHSC core courses, will be automatically placed in Option 2. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement will be automatically placed into Option 1.

The only students who have a choice are those planning to pursue a double major/degree. These students may choose between Options 1 and 2 depending on their credit preference. However, the 3.0 GPA prerequisite for Option 2 still applies.

Is there a GPA requirement to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in SPHSC?

Yes. In accordance with UW and College of Arts and Sciences policy, students must meet the following requirements to receive a B.S. in SPHSC:

  • Maintain a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA for all coursework done in residence at the UW
  • Achieve a 2.0 minimum GPA in the SPHSC major at the time of graduation

Additionally, the SPHSC Department has a separate academic progress requirement for all students enrolled in the Option 2: Pre-Professional major. Students enrolled in this option must maintain a 3.0 minimum quarterly GPA in the SPHSC major. Students who do not meet this requirement will be moved to the Option 1: General Academic major pathway.

Is it possible to work as an independent clinical practitioner with my Bachelor’s degree in this field?

No. Within the field of speech and hearing sciences, a graduate degree is required to practice as an independent clinical professional in speech-language pathology or audiology, and to conduct research in the field. A master’s degree is required to practice as an SLP, a clinical doctorate is required to practice as an audiologist, and a PhD is required for a career in research and teaching.

It is possible, however, to work as a speech-language pathology or audiology assistant (often called paraprofessionals) with a Bachelor’s degree. These positions can be found in the public schools, clinics, and hospitals/rehabilitation settings. Our degree is not intended to specifically prepare you for those types of positions, but some graduates do pursue this career path and are eligible for employment. Additional information about SLP and audiology assistants can be found on the ASHA web site.

How do I become a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or audiologist who is certified to practice as a clinical professional??

To become a certified SLP you need to:

  1. Obtain a master’s degree in speech-language pathology (2 year program)
  2. Obtain a passing score on the national Praxis exam in speech-language pathology
  3. Complete a post-graduation, mentored Clinical Fellowship with an ASHA-certified professional (36 weeks, full-time employment)
  4. Obtain a license or school credential, in accordance with your state’s requirements
  5. Obtain your Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA*

To become a certified Audiologist you need to:

  1. Obtain a doctoral degree in audiology (3-4 year program), which includes a year-long mentored Externship with an ASHA-certified professional
  2. Obtain a passing score on the national Praxis exam in audiology
  3. Obtain a license or school credential, in accordance with your state’s requirements
  4. Obtain your Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA*

* The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) awards clinical certification in the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology. Visit ASHA’s certificationpage to learn more. Certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is optional, but most professionals obtain this certification as it is required for licensure and insurance reimbursement in most states.

How can I best prepare myself for graduate study in speech and hearing sciences?
  1. Consider the elements of the graduate application- Graduate programs will likely assess your application according to a variety of factors. Admissions committees typically request and evaluate applicant grades, GRE scores, undergraduate coursework/transcripts, relevant experiences in the field, and letters of recommendation. The strength of a student’s application is directly related to strength of each of these components.
  2. Evaluate your academic achievements–The courses required for SPHSC majors are designed to give you the foundational knowledge needed for graduate study and your performance in these courses will be important to graduate programs. To apply to the UW Graduate School, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last 90 graded quarter credits, and other graduate programs will likely have similar admission requirements. When evaluating your academic progress, it’s important to assess whether your coursework approximates the 3.0 benchmark; particularly the SPHSC, statistics, and science coursework. To be considered for highly ranked graduate programs, such as the ones at the UW, your grades should be above the minimums. Most programs publish entrance statistics for prospective students to view in evaluating the strength of their applications (see S. Program Statistics and AuD Program Statistics).
  3. Volunteer- Volunteering in a clinical setting or with individuals with disabilities or disorders, is another good way to prepare for graduate study. Clinical graduate degree programs consider community service in admissions. Consider volunteering at a hospital, clinic, or school to gain experience working with individuals with communication disorders and the professionals who assess, diagnose, and treat them.
  4. Participate in Research- If you are interested in research, particularly as a career, take advantage of opportunities to volunteer or work in research laboratories and/or complete independent study for credit. Doctoral degree programs will see such experiences as a reinforcement of your interest in a research career. As an undergraduate major, you can register for SPHSC 499 independent study credits under the supervision of faculty. If you meet the qualifications to enroll in the departmental Honors Program, you can also conduct research and receive Honors credit for successful completion of your work. Use our directory to ascertain faculty areas of expertise and contact them to request to work with them.
  5. Participate in SPHSC student organizations and activities- Being active in the department can also be helpful. One way to do this is to become a member of the UW National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) or the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA).
How do I find out more about job prospects for SLPs and audiologists?

Although no one can predict economic conditions, many demographic factors indicate that employment opportunities for speech-language pathologists and audiologists will continue to be plentiful. Please review our department’s M.S. and Au.D. Program Statistics web pages for data about our students' specific post-graduation employment.

For other information about employment and the current job market for clinical professionals: