BS in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

The Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences is designed for students interested in studying human communication sciences and disorders. Many students with undergraduate degrees in speech, language & hearing sciences pursue graduate professional training for careers as speech-language pathologists or audiologists. Other students choose a wide diversity of career directions after graduating from the undergraduate program, including, but not limited to, education, research, medicine, public health, and law, or become a speech-language pathology or audiology assistant.

For the undergraduate degree, coursework is taken in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, both within the major and through BU Hub requirements, and in areas related to human communication, such as linguistics, phonetics, anatomy and physiology, and language acquisition. In pre-professional study, students are introduced to the evaluation and treatment of communication disorders. Electives are chosen according to individual interest. Students in this major are eligible to apply for the Sargent College Senior Thesis for Distinction.

Undergraduates should note that employment as a certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist is not possible with only a bachelor’s degree. An advanced degree in speech-language pathology or audiology is required for certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) as well as for licensure in most states. Boston University’s graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology is accredited by the Council on Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). The BU master of science program in Speech-Language Pathology enables students to fulfill the requirements for professional certification from ASHA, as well as Massachusetts state licensure and teacher certification.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Show measurable progress in the basic foundation knowledge that underlies research and clinical work in speech, language, and hearing sciences.
  • Apply hearing science, disability awareness, and audiological testing to an analysis of the effects of hearing loss on a specific individual that includes remediation recommendations.
  • Analyze clinic patients, research lab experiences or other in-depth data to develop skills that can apply directly to their graduate school and/or post-BS employment opportunities.
  • Interpret data from a speaker with a phonological disorder and support their conclusions by justifying the scope of their analyses, using primary journal articles and providing a coherent summary of their thought process.
  • Apply their coursework in an integrative way to situations in a clinical, research and/or other professional setting to complete a project or other duties assigned by the internship supervisor.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Quantitative Reasoning, Communication, Scientific and Social Inquiry, Diversity, Civic Engagement and Global Citizenship, and some elements of the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

A cumulative GPA of 2.0 must be achieved for graduation from the four-year program. Students must complete a minimum of 128 semester credits and grades earned in the major courses (SAR SH) must be C– or better. No more than 16 credits of D will count toward the degree.


Following is a typical four-year curriculum. Each course carries 4 credits unless otherwise noted. Students who enter the SLHS major after the first year are exempt from SAR HP 151 but must complete these 2 credits elsewhere.

First Year

First Semester

  • SAR SH 110 Introduction to Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (previously offered as SAR SH 531)
  • CAS WR 120 First-Year Writing Seminar
  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology
  • SAR HP 150 First-Year Sargent Seminar (0 cr)

Second Semester

  • CAS BI 210 Human Anatomy
  • SAR HP 151 Introduction to Health Professions (2 cr)
  • CAS WR 151, 152, or 153 Writing, Research & Inquiry
  • BU Hub requirements or general elective
  • Optional Hub course or general elective

Sophomore Year

First Semester

  • SAR SH 220 Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism (previously offered as SAR SH 522)
  • SAR HP 252 Health and Disability Across the Lifespan
  • Math (CAS MA 118, 120, 121, 123, course in CAS CS, course in CDS DS, or ENG EK 127)
  • CAS LX 250 Linguistics

Second Semester

  • SAR SH 221 Phonetics
  • SAR SH 230 Language Acquisition (previously offered as SAR SH 524)
  • SAR SH 240 Intro to Audiology (previously offered as SAR SH 535)
  • Physical Science (CAS PY Physics or CH Chemistry)

Junior Year

First Semester

  • SAR SH 340 Aural Habilitation and Rehabilitation (previously offered as SAR SH 542)
  • SAR SH 325 Speech Science (previously offered as SAR SH 523)
  • SAR HP 353 Organization and Delivery of Health Care in the US or SAR elective
  • Cognition/Neuroscience (CAS NE 101; PS 205, 231, 332, 333, 336, or 345; or SH 335 Neurobiology of Language (previously offered as SAR SH 501))

Second Semester

  • SAR SH 350 Clinical Methods* (previously offered as SAR SH 547)
  • BU Hub requirement or general elective
  • BU Hub requirement or general elective
  • BU Hub requirement or general elective

Senior Year

First Semester

  • SAR SH 355 Introduction to Language Disorders Across the Lifespan (previously offered as SAR SH 548)
  • Philosophy, Logic, or Ethics (CAS PH 100, 110, 150, 160, 251, 253, 270, 271, 273, 277, 300, 310, or 360)
  • SAR SH 415 Senior Seminar (2 cr) (previously offered as SAR SH 642)
  • BU Hub requirements or general elective

Second Semester

  • SAR SH 356 Introduction to Phonological Disorders (previously offered as SAR SH 505)
  • CAS MA 113, 115, 213 Statistics or CAS PS 211 Introduction to Experimental Design
  • BU Hub requirements or general elective
  • BU Hub requirements or general elective

*Please note: Junior spring is the best semester for studying abroad; in that case, SAR SH 350 should be taken in the spring of the senior year.

Honors Requirements

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences students are eligible to participate in the Sargent College Senior Thesis for Distinction. This experience provides a thorough understanding of the research enterprise. The thesis will develop your technical writing and oral presentation skills through interactions in the laboratory, writing a final report on your project, and summarizing your research in a final presentation to students and faculty. In addition, the dedication, creativity, and independence honed during your thesis experience will be invaluable in helping prepare you for graduate school. Successful completion of the Sargent College Senior Thesis for Distinction results in the designation “graduation with distinction” appearing on the student’s diploma and transcript.

Further information is available here.