Communication Disorders Undergraduate Program

Communication Disorders Undergraduate Program Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree

Communication Disorders

Build a strong scientific foundation for a rewarding career.

Learn the science behind communication and the skills needed to improve the lives of individuals with communication and swallowing disorders. A bachelor's degree in communication disorders from PennWest California gives you a broad understanding of speech and hearing processes, as well as the diagnostic and rehabilitation procedures utilized in speech-language pathology and audiology.

This pre-professional undergraduate program prepares you for a wide-range of entry-level jobs, as well as graduate studies in speech-language pathology, audiology,or other professional training programs.

A comprehensive, hands-on education prepares you for success.

  • Receive strong academic instruction from extensively qualified faculty.
  • Observe real clients who are diagnosed with communication disorders and treated in the University's Speech and Hearing Clinic.
  • Participate in a hands-on experience with preschool-age children in the department's Learning and Language Center.
  • Collaborate with graduate students and clinical faculty in a hands-on, client-centered approach to targeting diagnostic and treatment goals for clients attending the University's Speech and Hearing Clinic.
  • Develop familiarity with how to make evidence-based clinical decisions and experience writing objective clinical documentation.

Communication Disorders

Clinical Experience: Clinical Experience: As a communication disorders major, you will experience hands-on clinical contact as part of your bachelor's degree. You will have opportunities to assist in the department's Learning and Language Center preschool program, PennWest California's Speech and Hearing Clinic and the Audiology Clinic

Top Faculty: Our undergraduate professors also teach in PennWest California's communication disorders master's degree program and have decades of real-world experience in clinical settings. They are actively publishing articles and manuscripts relevant to aspects of the field of speech-pathology, and presenting papers at state and national conferences.

Minimum grade-point average required for communication disorders students who wish to go on to graduate school.
The average annual salary for speech therapists is $76,900 per year. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.  
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Degree Benefits

From applicable knowledge to on-the-job skills, discover the many benefits of the bachelor's degree program in communication disorders:

  • Gain a scientific understanding of normal speech, language and hearing.
  • Learn about a vast array of communication disorders.
  • Develop skills to help assess, diagnose and treat communication disorders.
  • Use a wide variety of evidence-based therapeutic instruments and procedures.
  • Prepare for a job as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist with real-world clinical practicums.
  • Assist professors in research projects.
  • Attend regional, state and national professional workshops and conventions.
  • Participate in PennWest California's chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
  • Conduct research to present at the University or at regional, state or national workshops and conventions.
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Graduate Outcomes


A degree in communication disorders leads to many rewarding careers. To work as a certified speech-language pathologist or speech therapist you must complete an accredited graduate program. You can also pursue graduate studies in social work, counseling and special education, or enter the workforce as a speech-language pathology assistant.

Curriculum and Related Programs

This pre-professional bachelor's degree program focuses on comprehensive courses and hands-on clinical experiences to provide a strong scientific foundation in communication disorders and speech-language pathology.

Course Credits
General Education Courses 40 or 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
EDU 350  Supporting English Language Learners (recommended)  OR  Any Public Speaking Course
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
MAT 181 College Algebra (recommended)  OR  Any Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy Course
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
EDU 333  Technology for Teaching and Learning (recommended)  OR  Any Technological Literacy Course
Any American/English Literature Course (recommended)  OR  Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
Any Natural Sciences Course (CMD-approved BIO, CHE or PHY recommended)
3 or 4
Social Sciences
EDU 310  Teaching in a Multicultural Society (recommended)  OR  Any Social Sciences Course
General Education Options
  • PSY 100  General Psychology (recommended)
  • Any CMD-approved Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course
  • General Education Options Courses (two courses approved by adviser; ANT, BIO, CHE, ESP, GTY, PHY, foreign language and linguistics courses recommended)
Required Major Courses 50
CMD 105  Language and Speech Development 3
CMD 108  Nature of Language 3
CMD 203  Phonetics 3
CMD 216  Articulation 3
CMD 220  Comm Across the Lifespan 3
CMD 221  Speech Science 3
CMD 300  Fundamentals of Language Disorders in Children 3
CMD 301  Fundamentals of Language Disorders in Adults 3
CMD 305  Intro to Audiology 3
CMD 306  Acoustics/Psychoacoustics 3
CMD 310  Anatomy and Physiology 3
CMD 320  Assessment of Speech and Language 3
CMD 321  Common Organic Disorders 3
CMD 322  Tech Writing in Health and Ed 3
CMD 450  Intro to Clinical Procedures 3
CMD Clinical Practicum Series:
  • CMD 400  Clinic Pract: Video (1 credit)
  • CMD 401  Clinic Pract: Sp/Hear Clinic (1 credit)
  • CMD 402  Clinic Pract: Learn/Lang Ctr (2-3 credits)
4 to 6
Recommended Related Courses 9 to 11
Any BIO (CMD approved) 3 or 4
Any CHE or PHY (CMD approved) 3 or 4
Any Statistics (CMD approved) 3
Related Electives 9
CMD 350  Sign Language and Braille I 3
ESP 210  Special Education Foundations and Collaboration 3
PSY 208  Educational Psychology 3
Free Electives 10 to 12
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): CMD 450 Intro to Clinical Procedures
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): CMD 321 AND CMD 322
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): BIO, CHE or PHY recommended

Program Notes:

  • 42 credits must be upper division courses (300 or 400 level).
  • Credits associated with developmental courses do not count toward degree
  • 3.0 overall GPA is required to graduate from this major; otherwise, the student will earn a General Education degree.
  • Biology, chemistry, ethics and physics courses must meet current ASHA requirements.
  • Two science courses are required. One biology and one physical science course that addresses either chemistry or physics and meets current ASHA requirements.
    • One of these courses should satisfy the Gen Ed - Natural Sciences requirement.
    • One of these courses should satisfy the Gen Ed - Laboratory course requirement.
  • Student must submit current clearances, checks, etc., prior to academic term in which clinical experiences/observations are obtained, such as CMD Clinical Practicum Series. These include but are not limited to: ACT 24 (Arrest/Conviction), ACT 31 (Mandated Report Training), Act 34 (Criminal Hx), ACT 114 (FBI Fingerprinting), ACT 151 (Child Abuse Hx), HIPAA Compliance and Hand Hygiene Training.
  • Four credits of the Clinical Practicum Series are required (6 credit max) for this degree. Rec: CMD 400 (1-credit), CMD 401 (1- credit) and CMD 402 (2-3 credits). First-year students and those without an overall GPA of 2.0 are not permitted to enroll in the CMD Clinical Practicum Series.
  • Graduate school acceptance is competitive and the completion of this undergraduate program does not guarantee acceptance into this University‚Äôs graduate program in communication disorders.
Related Programs

Master's Degree Program:

Smiling students in a classroom.

Student Speech and Hearing Club

Network with professionals working in speech-language pathology, travel to state and national conferences and participate in social, educational and community service activities. PennWest California's Speech and Hearing Club is a chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

A PennWest California student in a lab wearing headphones.

On-Campus Speech and Hearing Clinic

PennWest California's department of communication disorders manages an on-campus Speech and Hearing Clinic where clients come for speech therapy each week. We also manage an intensive group experience for children in a "preschool-like" environment. All clinical areas are accessible by video monitoring, so program courses can be linked with related clinical experiences.