communication sciences

Undergraduate Program

Students major in communication sciences, with a concentration in communication disorders. Communication disorders students complete 45 credit hours of required courses for the major/concentration. This coursework includes study in communication sciences and disorders, psychology, English/linguistics, as well as statistics and research design.

Following completion of an undergraduate degree, students can pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. A master’s degree typically requires two additional years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree. At CWRU, undergraduate students can apply to participate in the Integrated Graduate Studies program. In this program, a student can complete an undergraduate degree in communication disorders and a master’s degree in communication disorders in five years. Below you will find a recommended sequence of courses for an undergraduate degree in communication disorders. The recommended undergraduate sequence is slightly different for students interested in the IGS program.

A master’s degree is the entry level degree for professional clinical practice in speech-language pathology. Thus, for many students, an undergraduate degree in communication disorders is a pre-professional degree in preparation for graduate study. As such, the undergraduate coursework in the communication disorders curriculum emphasizes the basic processes and acquisition of normal communication in children and adults. Graduate study then focuses on the study of disordered communication.

Many students pursue undergraduate study in communication disorders as preparation for further study or in conjunction with study in other fields. For example, one can combine a major in communication disorders with a major in sociology or psychology or a minor in gerontological studies. For students interested in academic or research careers, investigation in the field of communication disorders is often done alongside investigation of normal human behavior. For example, one might study the word learning of children with normal language as well as children with language impairments.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional organization for speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists are professionals who provide assessment and intervention services to persons with communication disorders. They are employed in a variety of settings including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and private practice. A master’s degree is the entry level degree for practice in speech-language pathology. ASHA issues a professional certification in the fields, the Certificate of Clinical Competence. In most states speech-language pathologists and audiologists must be hold a state license to practice. In addition, many states require that speech-language pathologists employed in the public schools hold some sort of teacher certification or teacher licensure.

The ASHA website provides a wealth of information that can orient students to the professions available to those interested in communication disorders.

This is the suggested sequence of courses - an individual student’s sequence may differ.

Year Fall Spring
Freshman PSCL 101 General Psychology (3) COSI 109 Introduction to Communication Disorders (3)
Sophomore COSI 211 Phonetics and Phonology (3)
COSI 260 Multicultural Aspects of Communication (3)
PSCL 230 Child Psychology (3)
COSI 220 Introduction to American Sign Language (3)
PSCL 282 Quantitative Methods in Psychology (3)
COSI 355. Introduction to Linguistics
Junior COSI 313 Language Development (3)
COSI 325 Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech & Hearing Mechanism (3)
PSCL 375 Research Design and Analysis (3)
COSI 321 Speech and Hearing Science (3)
Senior COSI 352 Introduction to Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology (3)
COSI 370 Introduction to Audiology (3)
COSI 345 Communication and Aging (3)

*COSI 109 is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters. All other COSI courses are offered only one semester per year, as noted above.
*ENGL 301 is offered in alternate years (Spring semester) and thus, may be taken either Sophomore or Junior year.
*Undergraduate students may elect to take 400 or 500 level graduate courses with departmental/instructor permission.

COSI 390 - Independent Study allows students an opportunity to develop knowledge in an area of special interest.
COSI 395 - Honors Program provides students an opportunity to complete an independent research project under the guidance and mentoring of a faculty member in the COSI department.

COSI 109 Introduction to Communication Disorders (3)
Forty-two million Americans have some type of communication disorder. How does a person with a communication disorder cope with the challenges of daily living? This course will examine the characteristics of communication disorders via first hand and fictionalized accounts in books, films, and simulated communication disorders experiences. Topics will include disorders of speech, language, and hearing in children and adults. Effects of communication disorders on families.

COSI 211 Phonetics and Phonology (3)
Theoretical and applied study of the speech sounds of language. The use of the international phonetic alphabet as a tool for characterizing normal and deviant sound patterns. The linguistic structure and function of speech sound systems of both the adult and developing child.

COSI 220 Introduction to American Sign Language I (3)
This course offers basic vocabulary training and conversational interaction skills in American Sign Language. Syntactic and semantic aspects of American Sign Language will be addressed.

COSI 260 Multicultural Aspects of Human Communication (3)
Introduces intercultural/interracial communication by discussing specific communication principles and by putting theory into practice by exploring differences in perception, and verbal and nonverbal communication messages. Course emphasizes relationship between communication, race, culture; nature of race and culture; and how they influence the communication process. Various theories and approaches to study of intercultural/interracial communication will be discussed, along with significant concepts, processes and considerations. Practical outcomes of intercultural/interracial encounters also will be discussed.

COSI 313 Language Development (3)
Language acquisition theory and stages of development of syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and phonology in children. Contributions of biological, social, cognitive, and environmental factors to process of language development. Information on language variation in multicultural populations. Recommended prerequisite: Child Psychology

COSI 321 Speech and Hearing Science (3)
The course will focus on the aspects of normal speech productin and perception and hearing perception. The purpose of this course is to provide a foundation in normal aspects of oral communication that will prepare students for advance study in the assessment and management of disorders of speech and hearing perception. Topics to be covered include motor speech control, aeromechanics, basic acoustics, phonatory acoustics, speech and hearing acoustics, psychoacoustics, and speech and hearing perception. Recommended Preparation: COSI 325

COSI 325 Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing Mechanisms (3)
The course will focus on normal anatomy and physiology of the body systems involved in the processes of speech, language, hearing, and swallowing including the following: the auditory, respiratory, phonatory, articulatory, resonatory, and nervous systems. In part, the course material will be presented in a problem-based learning format. That is, normal aspects of human anatomy and physiology will be discussed in the context of the disorders that affect the processes of human communication and swallowing.

COSI 345 Communication and Aging (3)
The normal and abnormal psychobiological changes that occur during aging and their effects on communication are addressed, as are communicative interaction styles, disordered communication, and rehabilitation practices. Graduate students are given an opportunity to incorporate information from their own disciplines in a special project, where appropriate. Offered as COSI 345 and COSI 445. Counts as SAGES Departmental Seminar.

COSI 352 Introduction to Clinical Practice (3)
Clinical assessment and teaching procedures as well as the role of research/theory in clinical practice. Procedures to observe, measure, analyze communication skills. Practical application through case studies. Students complete 25 hours of observation of speech/language assessment and intervention. Prereq: COSI 211 or COSI 313.

COSI 355. Introduction to Linguistics. (3)
This course provides an introduction to linguistics, with application to clinical assessment, diagnosis and therapy of language disorders. In particular, the course provides an introduction to theory and methods of linguistics: universal properties of human language; phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic structures and analysis; nature and form of grammar.

COSI 370 Introduction to Audiology (3)
Disorders of hearing, assessment of hearing; including behavioral and objective measures; intervention strategies; and identification programs. Offered as COSI 370 and COSI 470. Prereq: COSI 325.

Additional Required Courses Outside the Program:

The following courses are required courses that are offered by other departments in CWRU. Coursework in psychology provides an orientation to basic human development and behavior, an essential foundation in an applied field such as communication disorders.

PSCL 282 and PSCL 375
These courses provide students with the knowledge necessary to participate in the research process as well as to be a consumer of research. Professionals in communication disorders must keep abreast of current research so as to provide state-of-the-art services to individuals with communication disorders. Increasingly, undergraduate students have opportunities to participate in research and to consider careers in research.

ENGL 301
This course provides students with a basic foundation in language science, crucial information to understanding language acquisition (COSI 313).

PSCL 101 General Psychology
Introduction to methods, research and theories of psychology. Basic findings from such areas as psychophysiology, sensation, perception, development, memory, learning, psychopathology, and social psychology.

PSCL 230 Child Psychology
Basic facts and principles of psychological development from the prenatal period through adolescence.

PSCL 282 Quantitative Methods in Psychology
Introduction to the theory and application of basic methods used in the analysis of psychological data.

Elective Courses in Communication Disorders
Students can elect to take any of the following courses:

COSI 302 Instrumental Measurements in Speech Sciences. (3)
This course will provide hands on experience on techniques for instrumental measurements of speech and voice parameters, for applications to assessment and diagnosis of speech and voice disorders, to linguistic analysis of speech parameters (prosodic and segmental), and to speech production modeling. In particular, instrumental measures of voice parameters will be carried out by Electroglottography; evaluation of Voice Range Profile and of perturbation of frequency (jitter) and amplitude (shimmer) of the laryngeal waveform, by dedicated KayPentax software (Visi-pitch and Voice Range Profile) and by Praat software; spectrographic analyses will be carried out by Praat software, and articulographic measurements will be performed by an AG200 Electromagnetic Articulograph. Nasalance will be measured by a KapyPentax nasometer. Emphasis on use rather than theory. All instrumentation is available at the Case Speech Production Lab. Recommended preparation: COSI 211, COSI 321/421, and COGS 203, or bases in phonetics, linguistics and speech science; also Physics and Engineering instrumentation courses are good preliminaries to this course. Offered as COSI 302 and COSI 402.

COSI 357 Acquired Neurogenic Communication Disorders. (3)
This course is designed to provide knowledge about the theoretical foundations, etiologies, and characterizations of acquired language-based and cognitive-communication disorders in adults. The organization of the course is designed so that we will discuss communication disorders typically associated with left hemisphere lesions (e.g., aphasia), right hemisphere lesions (e.g., RHD), frontal lobe lesions (e.g., traumatic brain injury) and mesial temporal lesions (e.g., dementia). This course is intended to provide students with a framework for considering communication disorders of diverse medical etiologies rather than specific impairment types. The course is meant to provide information that can be used as a foundation for a clinically applied course in acquired language disorders. The course will focus on critical thinking, professional presentation (both oral and written), and critical consumption of research. Recommended preparation: Instructor consent for COSI 457 only. Offered as COSI 357 and COSI 457. Prereq: COSI 109.

COSI 395 Honors Program (3)
Supervision in carrying out an independent research study in the student's area of interest. Offered every semester. Any student majoring in communication sciences (COSI) may take this course to fulfill the capstone requirement; qualified students may take this course to fulfill the capstone requirement AND to graduate with honors. During their Junior year, qualified COSI majors are encouraged to apply to the department's Honors Program, which leads to a B.A. with Honors. The program's purpose is to provide students with an intensive, supervised research experience in areas of their choice. The program consists of PSCL 375 and COSI 295 and begins in the junior year, when students receive instruction in research design and methodology. This provides the foundation for students to work under close supervision with a department faculty member during the senior year. At the end of the semester, the research project is written in scholarly form, and presented for consideration of graduation with Honors. Junior majors with a minimum 3.25 average in COSI major courses are a 3.0 overall GPA may apply. The Honors Program requires a great deal of work, and only students with a serious interest in behavioral sciences should apply. Counts as SAGES Senior Capstone. Prereq: (STAT 201 or PSCL 282) and PSCL 375.

COSI 390 Independent Study (1-6)

Individual study, under the guidance of a faculty member, involving specific programs of reading, research and special projects.

ANTH 306 Anthropology of Childhood and the Family
BIOL 150 Human Anatomy and Physiology for Health Science Students
EDUC 304 Educational Psychology
ENGL 379 Topics in Language
ENGL 317 Business and Technical Writing
ENGL 310 History of the English Language
PHIL 385 Philosophy of Language
PSCL 290 Adolescence
PSCL 317 Health Psychology
PSCL 344 Developmental Psychopathology
PSCL 350 Behavior Genetics
PSCL 353 Psychology of Learning
PSCL 357 Cognitive Psychology
PSCL 370 Human Intelligence
PSCL 382 Psychological Measurement
PSCL 393 Experimental Child Psychology