BA, Communicative Disorders and Sciences

If you want to give the gift of communication as a human right for all and positively impact lives through a career in speech-language pathology or audiology, then you should major in Communicative Disorders and Sciences (CDS). California faces among the worst shortages in the nation of speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Both these dynamic professions enjoy an excellent future outlook as noted on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Speech-language pathologists identify, evaluate, and treat infants, children, youth, and adults with speech, language, hearing, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders and audiologists identify, diagnose, and treat persons with hearing and balance disorders.

Program Overview

Initial Eligibility and Requirements

The requirements to apply to SJSU and the California State University system vary depending on whether you're applying as a freshman or transfer. For more information, visit the SJSU Admissions Freshman CSU Eligibility Requirements webpage or Transfer CSU Eligibility Requirements webpage. Additionally, to apply to CDS:

  • Students begin the program with their cohort when they reach junior level standing
  • CDS applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.7; CDS students typically have at least a 3.0 GPA
  • CDS core curriculum is a two-year course of study, beginning in the Fall semester only
  • Students must have 60 or more units completed in order to take SJSU Studies courses and Written Communication II (Area Z) 100w

Curriculum and Roadmaps

Our coursework provides a foundation in speech, language, hearing sciences, and in foundational principles for assessing and treating persons with communication disorders. Whereas the BA in Communicative Disorders and Sciences forms the basis for future graduate-level coursework in speech-language pathology or in audiology, a BA degree in CDS is not sufficient to work as a speech-language pathologist or an audiologist. State and national standards require a Master's Degree and completion of a Clinical Fellowship to practice as a speech-language pathologist, and a clinical doctoral degree (AuD) to practice as an audiologist.

  • University requirements - 38 units
  • Major preparation - 15-18 units
  • Major requirements - 42 units
    • Core courses - 36 units
    • Practicum - 6 units
  • University electives - 22-25 units

View our course roadmap [pdf] to successfully complete the course requirements for this program. For more details about the courses and options for this program, visit the SJSU Catalog website.

Not all undergraduate students enroll in clinical practicum courses EDSP 177 and EDAU 177. If you do not, please plan to meet with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Marcella McCollum, to complete a course substitution form.

Clinical Observations

The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD) have set educational and training standards which apply to all accredited training programs in communicative sciences and disorders. It is their recommendation that guided clinical observation hours should generally precede direct contact with clients, and that prospective graduate students should observe master clinicians in varied settings (i.e., schools, private practices, hospitals) and include observations of both assessment and intervention of children and adults with speech, language, and swallowing disorders. Examples of guided observations may include but are not limited to the following: 

  • debriefing of a video recording with a clinical educator who holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP)
  • observing a clinical case via a simulation platform like SimUCase
  • discussion of therapy or evaluation procedures that had been observed
  • debriefings of observations that meet course requirements
  • written review of the observations

Individuals entering the graduate program in CDS are required to complete 25 hours of observations. Individuals in the undergraduate program in CDS will complete at least 10 hours of guided observation. Many students will complete these requirements through completion of EDSP 176 and our clinics. Learn more about our Guided Observation Policy and Procedures on our Student Forms webpage.

Steps to Apply

To become a CDS Major, follow the instructions below based on your class level:

Students With Less Than 60 Units

Make an appointment through Spartan Connect and select "Change of Major/Minor" as the service reason.  The Lurie College Success Center Advisor will provide you with the link to the application for changing your major.

Students With 60 Units or More

Schedule an academic advising appointment with Marcella McCollum. Be prepared to provide official or unofficial transcript(s) from all prior colleges and universities.

Graduation and Beyond

After completing 90 units, CDS students must complete the online application. Please view the CDS Seniors - how to apply for graduation online for instructions.

If there are discrepancies on your record, make an appointment to see Marcella McCollum, the CDS Undergraduate Program Coordinator. 

Graduate School and Career Paths

A graduate degree is required for professional practice in speech-language pathology  and a Doctor of Audiology (AuD), a clinical doctorates, is required for professional practice as an audiologist. Learn more about our MS in Speech Language Pathology and Doctor of Audiology programs.

If you do not pursue a graduate degree in either audiology or speech-language pathology, our BA in Communicative Disorders and Sciences is a solid degree that provides you a strong foundation in applied science to pursue a wide variety of career options, such as graduate study in:

Our BA in Communicative Disorders and Sciences degree allows you to seek employment as a school audiometrist, an SLP-assistant (or SLPA), a rehabilitation aide or teacher's aide, or a coach or tutor for children or young adults with communication disorders. Students are encouraged to talk with CDS department faculty as well as with staff at SJSU Career Center to consider other employment options.

Additional Resources

For information about financial aid opportunities, internship and job opportunities, research opportunities, and more, visit our Student Resources webpage.