Undergraduate Program

Research Opportunities

The Department has many active laboratories for training and research in speech, language, and hearing science as well as communication disorders. Visit the research section overview to learn more about each lab.

Students performing sensory research.


Please visit the online course guide for detailed information regarding the courses offered by the department.

Undergraduate Course Offerings (as of Fall 2017)

Fall Only Spring Only Fall and Spring Spring and Summer
CSD 303 (3 cr)
CSD 315 (3 cr)
CSD 320 (3 cr)
CSD 240 (3 cr)
CSD 424 (2 cr)*
CSD 425 (3 cr)
CSD 318 (3 cr)
CSD 440 (3 cr)
CSD 371 (3 cr)**
CSD 434 (2 cr)
CSD 110 (3 cr)
[elementary social sci](elective)
CSD 201 (3 cr)
[intermediate bio science]
CSD 202 (3 cr)
[intermediate bio science]
CSD 210 (3 cr)
[intermediate bio science]
CSD 424 (2 cr)*

*CSD 424: Sign Language I (2 cr), elective in major, is typically offered in fall semester
**CSD 371 will only be available to seniors, in particular, those applying to graduate school in CSD.
Prerequisite for taking CSD 371: GPA of 3.0 or above in CSD 201/201/240.
Students taking 371: use the observation hours form to get their supervised clinical observation hours validated.
Students not taking 371, and wishing to apply to graduate school in CSD: You will be required to demonstrate 25 clinical observation hours. You can obtain those hours on your own by contacting clinics where the supervisor is ASHA certified and asking if you are allowed to observe and get those hours validated on the form. Students should download the observation hours form and bring the form with them to clinics where they are observing, and have the supervising ASHA certified clinician sign off.

Elective Courses

The department offers the following elective courses:

  • CS&D 110: Introduction to Communicative Disorders, 3 cr
  • CS&D 424: Sign Language I, 2 cr (Fall only)
  • CS&D 434: Sign Language II, 2 cr (Spring only)
  • CS&D 481: Undergraduate Junior Honors, usually 3 cr (Fall only)
  • CS&D 681H: Senior Honors Thesis, 3 cr
  • CS&D 682H: Senior Honors Thesis, 3 cr
  • CS&D 699: Directed Study, 1-6 cr

Independent Study (CSD 699)

Students majoring in CSD and signing up for independent study credit should review the following:

  1. Students can enhance their “Wisconsin Experience” under the mentorship of a faculty member. For more information, see: https://kb.wisc.edu/ls/page.php?id=20133.
  2. Independent study in CSD is intended to provide students with deeper knowledge in specific sub-fields within the CSD. The knowledge gained is not typically provided in individual classes. The purpose of independent study credits is for students to engage with research topics.
  3. Permission of a faculty member is required.
    • For 2 or 3 credits, a student will contact a professor in CSD and ask to either be involved in conducting research in a lab, or conduct an independent reading project during the semester. Each credit requires 3 hours/week commitment.

Recommended Course Sequencing

Sequencing for students beginning major in fall of sophomore year.

Year in School Fall Semester Spring Semester
Sophomore CSD 201
CSD 240
CSD 202
CSD 210 (or Summer)
Junior CSD 303
CSD 315
CSD 318
CSD 440
Senior CSD 320 CSD 425
CSD 371

Sequencing for students beginning major in fall of sophomore year with junior year study abroad (spring semester).

Year in School Fall Semester Spring Semester
Sophomore CSD 201
CSD 240
CSD 202
CSD 210 (or Summer)
Junior CSD 303
CSD 315
Study abroad
Senior CSD 320 CSD 318
CSD 440
CSD 425
CSD 371

Sequencing for students beginning major in fall of sophomore year with junior year study abroad (fall semester).

Year in School Fall Semester Spring Semester
Sophomore CSD 201
CSD 240
CSD 202
CSD 210 (or Summer)
Junior Study abroad
Senior CSD 320
CSD 303
CSD 315
CSD 318
CSD 440
CSD 425
CSD 371

Sequencing for students beginning major in fall of junior year.

Year in School Fall Semester Spring Semester
Junior CSD 201
CSD 240
CSD 202
CSD 210 (or Summer)
Senior CSD 303
CSD 315
CSD 320
CSD 318
CSD 440
CSD 425
CSD 371

Courses Satisfying the CSD Major in L&S

Content Area Requirement Courses Satisfying Requirement
Statistics Stat 301
Stat 311
Stat 371
Psych 210
Soc 360
Psychology Psych 201
Psych 202
Psych 281
HDFS 363
Linguistics Linguis 101
Linguis 103
Linguis 303
Engl 214
Engl 314
Engl 318
German 270
Spanish 321
Spanish 327
Spanish 331
Ethnic Studies Anthro 104
Asian Am 101
Asian Am 102
Asian Am 220
Chicano Studies 201
Gen&WS 200
LIS 202
Hist 227
AfroAmer 275
AmerInd 314
Engl 319
Hist 403
Soc 134
Soc 220
Biological Sciences Bio/Botany/Zoology 151
Anthro 105
Anthro 410
Biochem 104
Biocore 381
Genetics/Zoo 160
Kines 235
Bio/Botany/Zoo 151
Zoology 101

Advising & Declaration

We believe that academic advising is an important aspect of students’ ability to meet the requirements for the major. Our advising sessions will be held weekly or bi-weekly, during which time student will be given input and guidance on how to declare a major, complete the requirements, plan their curriculum, interpret DARS, etc.

A CS&D advisor can help with:

  • Curricular planning and course access
  • DARS interpretation
  • Declaration of the major for L&S students
  • Documentation of study-abroad plans
  • Identification, interpretation and application of most academic policies
  • Major and degree requirements
  • Exploration of interests in independent study and research
  • Understanding the differences between paths to the major

School of Education prospective majors should also meet early and often with an academic advisor in Education Academic Services (EAS). Dual advising by the department and EAS is strongly recommended for students who choose the School of Education path.

Advising Resources

L&S Academic Advising Dropk-in Services

Academic Advising in College of Letters & Science can be considered a resource for general education and breadth requirement advising. The walk-in service is intended for students in the College of Letters & Science who are NOT currently assigned to advisors from L&S Academic Advising Services and have questions.

Director of Undergraduate Studies – Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D.

CS&D advising services are to be focused on students who need to declare the major or who have already declared CS&D and need advising in the major.

Learn more about our departmental advising services.

Declaring the Major through the School of Education

If you are a prospective major in the School of Education, apply for admission to the School, with Communication Sciences and Disorders as the designated major. For details, read the School’s application procedures and admission criteria. In effect, admission to the major is implicit in admission to the School of Education.

  • Do not email the undergrad email about this, because we cannot declare your major through CSD if you are in SoE

Declaring the Major through Letters & Sciences

To declare a major in CSD, send an email to undergrad@csd.wisc.edu:

  • State that you would like to declare a major in CSD
  • Include your full name and student ID number

Honors & Distinctions

The Department invites qualified undergraduate majors to apply for Honors or Distinctions in the Major.

Application Deadlines are March 15 & October 15, respective to the given semester.

The Honors program is an undergraduate experience that enables students to conduct independent research in communication sciences and disorders under the direction of a faculty mentor. If you are majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and are not an honors candidate, you may pursue a junior-senior honors curriculum and thereby earn Distinction in the Major.

Applying for Honors

Before you are formally admitted to Honors in the Major, you may enroll in Honors Communication Sciences and Disorders courses, or take a Communication Sciences and Disorders course for Honors, if you are currently in the Honors in the Liberal Arts program, or if you receive consent of the instructor.

You should submit an Application for Honors in the Major as soon as possible after you are admitted into the Communication Sciences and Disorders major, in your sophomore year.

Please contact an advisor to complete the application form. The Communication Sciences and Disorders Academic Programs Committee will review your application and notify you as soon as possible. Acceptance is based on:

  • Demonstrated ability and commitment to scholastic achievement;
  • Academic performance at UW-Madison (a GPA of 3.5 is required, but a higher GPA in the major is expected);
  • Civic engagement, such as volunteer work and extracurricular activities, at UW–Madison and the broader community;
  • Commitment to excellence;
  • Interest in research in some area of communication sciences and disorders;
  • Evidence of broad scholarship, including humanities, mathematics, and sciences.

Obtaining Distinction

In your final semester, after you have completed the requirements for Distinction in the Major, notify the department’s honors advisor of your graduation. Then, upon completion of classes and posting of grades, provide him or her with an unofficial transcript.

The honors advisor will then verify that criteria for Distinction have been met and will inform the Registrar’s Office, who will post Distinction in the Major on the your official transcript.

You do NOT need to complete an honors thesis.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation from faculty members are an important part of your graduate school application.

To help faculty members write a strong letter of recommendation, you will need to provide a packet of materials to each prospective letter writer. Materials typically will include those listed below, but as individual faculty members may require different types of information, be sure to check with each faculty member about what they need from you. Unless otherwise specified, materials should be in paper form. All materials – paper or electronic – should be clearly marked with your name.

You should begin planning letters of recommendation several weeks in advance of the application deadline. Check with each individual faculty member about when they will need materials from you. Please provide all materials to the faculty member in time for your first deadline. Students are strongly discouraged from adding schools after they submit their initial request and asking for additional letters.

Suggested materials to include in your letter of recommendation request packets:

  • A table listing programs to which you are applying, with due dates for each application.For paper applications, the list should include names and addresses to which letters should be sent. For electronic applications, the list should indicate whether the application is through a centralized service such as CSDCAS or the university’s own site.
  • Your overall GPA.
  • Your GPA in the major.
  • Your GRE scores and associated percentile rankings, if available.
  • Information about you that is relevant to your success in graduate school, is not captured in your personal statement or resume, and will help the faculty member write a strong, personalized letter. This should include unique training and experiences such as fluency in other languages, study abroad, military service, PeaceCorps or AmeriCorps, or research experience.
  • A copy of your personal statement. This may be a draft.
  • A recent copy of your résumé.
  • Unofficial transcripts from UW-Madison and any other college or university you attended.
  • For paper applications, a stamped, pre-addressed envelope for each application, and completed recommendation forms if required by that program. In many cases, forms need to be signed by you to waive, or not, your right to review the letter at some time in the future. For electronic applications, you must complete the required identifying fields on the electronic form (e.g., your name; faculty member’s name, position, and address; department name).
  • A photo of you may be helpful, particularly for students from past semesters in large classes.
  • If you have not included essential materials in your request packet, the instructor will not be able to send your letter. Students are responsible for contacting the institution to which they are applying to verify that letters have been received.

CSD Careers

A BA or BS in any liberal arts field share common features and skill sets. Students can apply for jobs in similar fields. Some examples to consider:

  • Psychology
  • Education
  • Special Education
  • Speech language assistants
  • Hearing Aid Technicians/Assistants
  • Advocates for people with disabilities
  • Early childhood education
  • Physicians assistants
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Medical administrative assistants
  • Allied Health Sciences such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy

The college has some great suggestions and also offers a 1 credit course to help students identify career paths: Inter-LS 210: Career Development, Taking Initiative.

Find out about related career events relevant internships and jobs by visiting the Internships & Careers in Healthcare & Human Services Facebook group.