BA, Communicative Disorders and Sciences

Do you want to give the gift of communication as a human right for all and positively impact lives?

Are you considering a career in speech-language pathology or audiology? 

California faces among the most significant shortages in the nation of speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Speech-language pathologists identify, evaluate, and treat infants, children, youths, adults and elderlies with speech, language, hearing, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders, and audiologists identify, diagnose, and treat persons with hearing and balance disorders. Both professions enjoy an excellent career future outlook (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA).

Join us and major in Communicative Disorders and Sciences (CDS) for a fulfilling journey towards your aspiration. 

Program Overview

  • Official Title: Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders and Sciences
    • Undergraduate degree designation is changing from BA to BS starting fall 2024. 
  • Format: Cohort
  • Units: 120 units
  • Start date: Fall semester
  • Application deadline: Visit the SJSU Admissions Freshman Deadlines webpage and Transfer Deadlines webpage

Admission 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 Writing in the Disciplines course (100w)

How to Apply

To become a CDS Major, follow the instructions below:

To become a CDS major, you must apply to declare the major with the University by first meeting with an academic advisor in the Student Success Center.  Please make an appointment through Spartan Connect, and select "Change of Major/Minor" as the service reason.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain basic human mechanisms and processes including anatomy, physiology, and neurobiology of speech, language, hearing, and swallowing.
  2. Distinguish between characteristics of human communication differences and disorders across the lifespan.
  3. Describe common clinical approaches, evidence-based practices and interprofessional collaboration in speech-language pathology and audiology.
  4. Articulate essential elements of equitable and inclusive educational and healthcare services.
  5. Apply knowledge, skills, and dispositions to ethical and culturally responsive practice with diverse populations.

Curriculum and Roadmap

Curriculum. The coursework provides a solid foundation in the science of speech, language and hearing and the clinical principles of working with and advocating for diverse individuals with communication disorders. The undergraduate program in CDS forms the basis for future graduate study, which is required to become a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. Degree units are listed below:

  • 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. See CDS Roadmap Assistance for course options. Visit the SJSU Catalog for more details about individual courses.

Guided Clinical Observations

To become a certified Speech Language Pathologist, 25 hours of guided clinical observation must be completed in the undergraduate or graduate program and should generally precede direct contact with clients or patients.

Most CDS undergraduate students complete 10 or more hours of guided observation through completion of EDSP 176 and our clinics. Learn more about CDS Guided Observation Policy and Procedures.

Clinical Practicum

The program offers two clinical practicum courses (EDAU/EDSP 177) with limited space. Students who do not enroll in clinical practicum courses will enroll in Approved Clinic Substitutions (see CDS Roadmap Assistance for course options) and submit a substitution form.


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 Dr. Marcella McCollum at, the CDS Undergraduate Program Coordinator. 

Career Pathways

A master's degree is required for professional practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist, and a clinical doctoral degree (Doctor of Audiology, AuD) 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.