Communication Disorders and Sciences Undergraduate Program

The communication disorders and sciences (CDS) bachelor’s degree is considered a pre-professional degree

student conducting a hearing test to another student

CDS students teaching speech skills to young child

You will have the foundation to pursue graduate studies that will lead to a career as an audiologist or speech pathologist.

We will provide you with:

  • prerequisite course work for graduate work in speech language pathology and audiology
  • scientific and theoretical frameworks for understanding human communication and communication disorders
  • perspectives on communication disorders across the lifespan

With a graduate degree, you can then work with individuals of all ages who are challenged by communication disorders from diverse cultural, linguistic, social, and economic backgrounds.

If you want to pursue graduate work in audiology, you may need to take additional courses in the sciences. You can also take a position as a speech pathology assistant or in an allied field.

What makes our Communication Disorders and Sciences program special?

The cohort model By the time our undergraduates reach their junior year, the cohort has formed.  Most of our CDs majors are headed toward careers in speech pathology, with a small number headed toward audiology.  Our students progress through the program plan together for the next two years, forming a cohesive learning community. Transfer students coming in junior year quickly find friends and study partners in the major.

The classroom and beyond Students learn from specialists across the fields of speech pathology and audiology, many of them working concurrently in research or clinical settings. Beyond the classroom, students engage in a wide range of applied experiences. They may gain clinical experience as a practicum assistant in the HEDCO Clinic or in the local schools, or volunteer at one of Lane County’s many agencies serving children and families. 

Research opportunities At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, eight undergraduates were volunteering in our O-SEE and EDLD labs, with recruitment underway to replace students who graduated last spring. Some students also partner with faculty in linguistics, psychology, and other departments for research opportunities, and Clark Honors College students majoring in CDS find mentors and thesis opportunities through these experiences.



CDS Undergraduate Program Grading Philosophy

The CDS major is a rigorous, pre-professional major which leads to advanced study in speech-language pathology, audiology, and related fields. With that in mind, CDS faculty members work to ensure students gain the scientific, theoretical, and applied clinical knowledge to prepare them for future careers. Grades in the courses serve as one metric to allow graduate programs and employers to evaluate CDS graduates.

Grading Philosophy


Contact information

Bachelor’s Programs

Karen McLaughlin, PhD, CCC-SLP
Director, CDS Undergraduate Studies
Special Education and Clinical Sciences
541-346-2480
cds@uoregon.edu