Undergraduate Catalog 2023-2024

Communication Disorders, Bachelor of Science (595P, 595)

Department website: http://www.wku.edu/communicationdisorders

Program Coordinator

Brittney R. Vickous, brittney.vickous@wku.edu, (270) 745-4210

The B.S. (Bachelor of Science) education program in Communication Disorders at Western Kentucky University prepares students academically for graduate study in speech-language pathology, audiology, or related areas.  A master's degree is required for national certification in speech-language pathology and a clinical doctorate is required for national certification in audiology.  Licensure is also necessary in Kentucky but other states have various mandates for practicing professionals.  All coursework follows guidelines recommended by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 


Speech-Language Pathology career opportunities are expected to grow faster than average through the end of calendar year 2022. This is due to several factors including an aging baby boomer population with increased possibilities of oncoming neurological disorders with accompanying speech, language, swallowing, and hearing impairments. Employment opportunities are also increasing due to improving survival rates of premature infants and trauma and stroke patients in need of assessment and intervention. Additionally, federal legislation guarantees services to all children with disabilities. Private practice opportunities will also increase due to the increase in contracted services with schools, nursing care/rehabilitation facilities and hospitals.

Program Requirements (58 hours)

A baccalaureate degree requires a minimum of 120 unduplicated semester hours. More information can be found at www.wku.edu/registrar/degree_certification.php.

Students who began WKU in the Fall 2014 and thereafter should review the Colonnade requirements located at: https://www.wku.edu/colonnade/colonnaderequirements.php.

The major for students in Communication Disorders (reference number 595P prior to being accepted to the program and reference number 595 after being officially accepted to the undergraduate program) is a pre-professional program that requires 58 hours in the specialization areas of speech-language pathology and audiology. All courses follow guidelines recommended by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Prior to selecting Colonnade courses, you must obtain approval from your Communication Sciences and Disorders Department academic advisor to ensure selected courses meet requirements set forth by ASHA.

The undergraduate program prepares students academically for graduate study in speech-language pathology, audiology, or related areas. A master’s degree is needed for national certification in speech-language pathology and an audiology doctorate is needed for audiology. Majors in Communication Disorders are encouraged to apply for graduate programs by December of their senior year, including to the Western Kentucky University Master of Science program in Speech-Language Pathology. Licensure is also necessary in Kentucky but other states have various mandates for practicing professions following the Master of Science program.

Those interested in a Major in Communication Disorders should have sophomore status, be officially admitted to WKU, and submit:

  1. Most recent transcript (including the Fall semester grades) documenting a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0; and
  2. A completed application, (including the Essential Functions and Technical Standards documentation) for official admission to the program (found on departmental website); and
  3. CD 280, CD 290, and CD 347 are prerequisite courses for admission to CD 595 major.

Applications for admission into the undergraduate major are accepted until February 15. Students admitted during March of any given year will begin major coursework during the fall semester following admission. Due to the clinical practicum component of this major, enrollment to the undergraduate program is limited.

Additional required courses may be used to fulfill both Colonnade and Communication Disorders program requirements.

Specialization Areas
CD 280Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders3
CD 290Guided Clinical Observations1
CD 347Science of Speech and Hearing3
CD 348Introduction to Clinical Research and Writing in Communication Sciences and Disorders3
CD 405Applied Phonetics3
CD 478Clinical Issues and Treatment in Speech Language Pathology3
CD 481Speech and Language Development3
CD 482Audiology3
CD 483Introduction to Disorders of Articulation and Phonology3
CD 484Speech Anatomy and Physiology3
CD 485Introduction to Assessment in Communication Disorders3
CD 486Language Disorders3
CD 487Aural Rehabilitation3
CD 488Augmentative Communication Systems3
CD 489Communication Disorders in Aging3
CD 490Connecting with Nonverbal Communicators3
CD 491Management of Communication Disorders in the School3
CD 492Neuroanatomy in Communication Sciences and Disorders3
Students must complete 6 hours of internship
CD 495Clinical Internship6
Total Hours58

Additional Required Courses

Select one of the following:3
Introductory Statistics
Biostatistics in the Health Sciences
Social Statistics
Other advisor approved course
Chemistry or Physics3-4
Acoustics of Music and Speech (or any CHEM course)
Psychology or Psychological Science3
Introduction to Psychology (or any PSYS course)
BIOL 131Human Anatomy and Physiology4
ENG 300Writing in the Disciplines3
Total Hours16-17

All undergraduate students are required to complete supervised clinical clock hours working with people having communication disorders. Students will be required to undergo criminal background checks and provide proof of a recent physical examination, professional liability insurance, and a tuberculin skin test prior to beginning any clinical experiences, which must be updated annually. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all university requirements are met to participate in clinical experiences. Students may be responsible in part or in full for any costs incurred to meet such requirements.

Finish in Four Plan

First Year
COMM 145 (F-OC)3ENG 100 (F-W1)3
PSY 100 or PSYS 100 (F-SB)13HIST 101 or HIST 102 (E-SB)3
MATH 183 (F-QR)13CD 28023
Arts and Humanities (E-AH)3CD 29021
BIOL 131 (E-NS, SL)14CD 34723
 Minor/General Elective or World Language (if needed)3
 16 16
Second Year
ENG 200 (F-AH)3ENG 300 (F-W2)13
CHEM ### * (any Chemistry course) or PHYS 1303Connections: Social & Cultural (K-SC)3
Minor/General Elective3Connections: Local to Global (K-LG)3
Minor/General Elective3Connections: Systems (K-SY)3
Minor/General Elective3Minor/General Elective3
 15 15
Third Year
CD 4053CD 4833
CD 4813CD 4853
CD 4823CD 4863
CD 4843CD 4873
CD 3483CD 4783
 15 15
Fourth Year
CD 4903CD 4883
CD 4913CD 4893
CD 4923CD 4953
CD 4953Minor/General Elective3
Minor/General Elective3Minor/General Elective1
 15 13
Total Hours 120

These courses are required as part of the curriculum requirements for the major.


Prerequisite courses before program admission.

Colonnade: For more details and courses offered in the Colonnade General Education program visit the website.

World Language Requirement:  Language Proficiency of novice-high before completing 60 credit hours is required (or completion of 2nd level of a language).  Two credits (or equivalent) of a single world language in High School satisfies this WKU requirement.