Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get credits for an internship?

Yes. If you would like credits for an internship you’ll need to complete the paperwork through the UMass Amherst Career Services Office.

Can I study abroad and meet the requirements for the Communication Disorders major?

Yes. Please make an appointment with your undergraduate advisor to discuss your academic plans. Here is Dr. Whimal’s email:

Do I need to take a test to be a Speech Language Pathologist Assistant or Audiologist Assistant?

No, a test is not required to work as a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant or an Audiologist Assistant. According to American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), “State laws vary and may differ from ASHA’s guidelines and requirements. Check specific state regulations to determine which tasks are outside the scope of responsibilities for assistants in a particular state.” For instance, individuals seeking licensure as a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant or an Audiologist Assistant in Massachusetts are required to complete an application for each license and pay the applicable fees for each license (please review the first link below).  Also, for an overview on support personnel for Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist, please review the second link below.

Does Communication Disorders offer an American Sign Language (ASL) course?

No, we don't. However, students may take ASL at Hampshire College. Please know that cross-registration is permitted and strongly encouraged. Please speak with one of the advisors regarding your academic plans.

How can I find an internship?

Please check the UMass Amherst Career Services Office. They have hundreds of organizations that our students have worked with.

Is there a minor in Communication Disorders?


I’m trying to register but there is a hold on my account. What is that about?

You are required to meet with your undergraduate advisor to discuss your academic plans before the hold is lifted. Please send Dr. Whitmal an email to schedule an appointment. Here is her email:

What courses outside of Com-Dis should I take?

What are you interested in studying? Do you like art or architecture? Sociology, politics, anthropology? Hard sciences, natural sciences, geosciences? Economics? Religion? We are fortunate to have several world-class departments at UMass Amherst, such as Afro-American Studies, Linguistics, and Kinesiology. Take advantage of being world-class and take a course in one of them. Finally, take a language course(s).

What courses should I take spring of my senior year? / Why aren’t there any required Com Dis Courses spring of the senior year?

There are many options at UMass Amherst for students to take during their last semester. For example, students could take Professor Choe’s AAC course, Professor Kurland’s Cog Bases course, Professor Pham’s SLP-As in the Schools course, or Professor Andrianopoulos' Autism course.

What do Audiologist Assistants do? What do Speech Language Pathologist Assistants do? What is the process to becoming a Research Assistant?

1a. Professor sends email out to students advertising an RA position. Students respond to email and professor selects a candidate.


1b. Student approaches the professor asking to become an RA and professor agrees. Typically this happens because the student is interested in a specific research area and/or has been in professor's class and has done well.

2. Student and professor complete "off-line" form, authorizing student to register for that professor's section of COMM-DIS 496 (Independent study), typically for 3 credits.

3. Ms. Holhut receives the form and clears student to register for that section of 496.

4. Student registers.

What will make me more attractive to graduate schools?

You will need to prove to graduate schools that 1) you have the academic skills to make it in their program, 2) you have the personal and clinical skills to work with other people and to be a good community member (in their program and in your future workplace), and 3) you have “sparkle” — something that makes you stand apart, that makes you interesting. If you can’t figure out what you think is interesting, then it’s hard to convince other people that you are worth taking a chance on, so being bold, trying really new things, getting involved in something that you can demonstrate makes you more academically or socially able — that’s important.