Undergraduate students in the speech-language-hearing sciences program are introduced to the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology through foundational coursework in communication systems, development, and disorders. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists work professionally in the habilitation and rehabilitation of children and adults (from infants to senior citizens) with a wide variety of speech, language, and hearing problems including:
- developmental delays in speech and language acquisition
- language learning disabilities
- articulation and phonological disorders
- voice problems
- fluency problems
- speech and voice problems related to laryngectomy
- communication disorders incurred as a result of stroke (aphasia), head injury, or neurological disorders
- communication problems related to conditions such as cleft palate, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism and pervasive development disability, and childhood neurological disorders
- disorders of hearing in children and adults
Although students may work in health care settings in various positions, most continue their education in a professional program in speech-language pathology or audiology. The undergraduate program provides the academic foundation and clinical exposure to prepare students to pursue a graduate degree. It is important that students consider this since most graduate programs require at least a B average for acceptance. Typically, students continue their academic and clinical training in a master's program in speech-language pathology or in a doctoral program in audiology. For more information on the graduate program in speech-language pathology, visit the graduate section or the graduate catalogue.
Coursework in the major typically begins in the freshman year with introductory courses on normal and disordered communication. Following the introductory courses, students enroll in a variety of courses including those that address the anatomical structures and functions as well as the normal development of speech and hearing. In addition, the disorders of speech, language, and hearing are addressed for both pediatric and adult populations. In the senior year, students may qualify for a clinical placement in speech pathology or audiology that will grant them direct clinical experience. All students complete a capstone clinical/ethical seminar preparing them for entry into a graduate program. Seniors whose academic achievements distinguish them may be elected into Loyola's chapter of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association's Honor Society.
Some courses contain experiential components including service-learning, clinical observations, and field experience. Many of these experiences are conducted through the Loyola Clinical Centers, located in Baltimore and Columbia, Maryland. There are also a myriad of off-campus settings used for observation, service-learning, and/or course-related field experiences. These settings include general and specialized school programs; child and adult rehabilitation centers; and acute and chronic care hospitals such as Sinai Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Maryland General Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital, United Cerebral Palsy, Mt. Washington Pediatric Center, and the Kennedy Krieger Institute.