The field of Communication Sciences and Disorders is involved in the study of the normative processes underlying speech, language, and hearing abilities, as well as the effects of disorders and/or differences in any of these areas on communication function. Professionals in the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology are responsible for the evaluation and treatment of individuals with communicative disorders. They work with children and adults in education and health care systems, including public schools, early intervention centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private practice offices.
The Department offers a wide range of academic programs, including Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree options. The degree programs at UMass Amherst include education in the normal processes of communication, the nature, features, and characteristics of communicative disorders, and the clinical processes of evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and counseling. The undergraduate degree program prepares students for entry into professional degree programs at the graduate level either here or at other institutions of higher education. Clinical skills are developed in the department's professional degree programs through coursework and practicum experiences that prepare students to work with individuals with communication disorders from culturally and linguistically diverse populations across the lifespan. In addition, graduate students may also pursue a research degree that prepares them for research-intensive careers, including academia.
Our award-winning faculty has decades’ worth of experience educating students in the classroom and in clinical settings, and in preparing future generations of clinicians and researchers in the field. Faculty have expertise in a variety of areas, including aphasia; speech perception and comprehension; autism spectrum disorders; language delays, differences, and disorders; aging and hearing loss; binaural and spatial hearing; and hearing technology (cochlear implants and hearing aids). Faculty research is supported by research grants from the NIH.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) establishes the national standards for entry into professional practice. Students graduating from the Department’s professional degree programs do so having met the academic and clinical practicum requirements for national certification as a Speech-Language Pathologist (CCC-SLP) or Audiologist (CCC-A). Students graduating from our Speech-Language Pathology program are also eligible for initial licensure as a Teacher of the Speech, Language, and Hearing Impaired – All Levels. The Department’s Master of Arts degree program in Speech-Language Pathology and its Doctor of Audiology degree program are fully accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA).