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University of Pittsburgh    
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Apr 15, 2021
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Communication Science, BA

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The Department of Communication Science and Disorders offers an undergraduate major in Communication Science.  The degree program focuses on the anatomical, physiological, and psychological foundations of communication, as well as, the basic structure of language and the process of speech and language development. The degree program is also designed to develop critical thinking skills including the ability to evaluate scientific information. 

This major is particularly appropriate for students considering graduate study and a career in Audiology or Speech-Language Pathology. The degree program is also excellent preparation for professional or graduate programs in education-related or health-related fields, as prerequisites can be taken while completing the Communication Science major.  

Specialized advising is available to students at the freshman and/or sophomore year level. Interested students should contact the Interim Director of Undergraduate Education in Communication Science and Disorders, Dr. Cheryl Messick at

Admission Requirements

Students are eligible for admission to the Communication Science program after successful completion of 60 credits including the following Prerequisite courses and Additional Requirements, other admission criteria and an application. Applications will be viewed when approximately 45 credits are completed and 15 credits are in process.


Prerequisites (30 credits)

  • English Composition (ENG 0200 or higher)  - 3 credits.
  • Writing Intensive (W)* - 3 credits.
    • *May be combined with another requirement (e.g., literature, global issues, philosophical thinking or ethics).
  • Oral Communication (COMMRC 0500, 0520) - 3 credits.
  • Mathematics (MATH 0031 or higher) - 3 credits.
  • Statistics (STAT 0200, 1000) - 3 - 4 credits.
  • Introduction to Psychology (PSY 0100) - 3 credits.
  • Biological Science - a course in human biology (BIOSC 0815, 0150) or human anatomy and physiology (BIOSC 0805, 0041).
  • Physical Science - a course in Physics (PHYS 0091, 0110, 0174) or in Chemistry (CHEM 0110 or higher) - 3 credits.
  • Open Selection: At least six credits from any of the following content areas: Diversity; Philosophical Thinking or Ethics; Global Issues; Social Science; Cross Cultural; or English/American Literature - 3 credits.


Additional Requirements

  • Lifespan/Human Development (PSYED 0005 or REHSCI 1245 preferred; PSY 0310 allowed) - 3 credits
  • Cognitive/Neurological Foundations (PSY 0405, 0410, 0421, 0422, 0505, 0510; NROSCI 0080, 0100) - 3 credits
  • Social Science or Quantitative & Formal Reasoning (HPS 0610, 0611, 0621, 0685, 0010 or LING 1050; this requirement is in addition to Statistics prerequisite) - 3 credits
  • @English/American Literature - 3 credits
  • @Global Issues, Diversity, Cross Cultural or Study Abroad courses - as coded by Dietrich School of Arts & Science - 6 credits
  • @Philosophical Thinking or Ethics - any course coded  by Dietrich School of Arts & Science in this category - 3 credits
    • @ courses used in Open Selection prerequisite category count towards these additional requirement credits


Application Procedures

For admission, an application with all transcripts from universities/colleges attended and a personal essay is required by March 15. Resumes are strongly suggested.  A letter of recommendation is NOT required.  A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 is required (3.0 GPA or higher is strongly preferred).   

University of Pittsburgh Freshman Guarantee 

An entering freshman may qualify for a guarantee into the graduate programs in Audiology or Speech-Language Pathology.  For consideration for the Freshman Guarantee, indicate an intended field of study as Pre- Communication Science on your application when applying as a freshman (at regional campuses, choose corresponding codes). Qualifying students admitted in the Fall of 2019 (2201) will meet the following criteria:  SAT scores of 1410 (combined Critical Reading and Math) or an ACT Composite score of 30.  Students must also be in the top 10% of their high school graduating class.

The student must have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.6 when applying to the Communication Science program at the start of the spring semester of sophomore year level. At the time of application to the graduate program, guaranteed students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or better and a GPA of 3.75 in the core communication science major courses. Additionally, guaranteed students must achieve a GRE ranking in the 50th percentile or higher for the Quantitative and Verbal sections and a 3.5 on the Analytical Writing section.  A full application must be submitted on time.

Early Decision for Graduate Programs  

Students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Communication Science from the University of Pittsburgh are eligible to apply Early Decision to either the graduate program in Audiology or Speech-Language Pathology. Information about the application process and applicant qualifications are available in the CSD Advising Office.

Communication Science Curriculum

SHRS requires a minimum of 120 credits for graduation.  

For specialized advising at the freshman and/or sophomore year level, students should contact the Interim Director of Undergraduate Education in Comunication Science and Disorders, Dr. Cheryl Messick at

Core Curriculum Requirements (41 credits)

Most of the core courses in Communication Science degree program are taken after admission at the junior year level.  Four of the core courses are available at the freshman and sophomore year level. These four courses can also be completed as part of the Communication Science degree program  at the junior year level.  Several core courses have prerequisites resulting in a sequence of courses.  The course sequence is represented in the example Plan of Study.  Interested students should be aware that the core courses or sequence of courses may change.


Courses Available to Freshman and Sophomore

The following courses are available to students at the freshman and sophomore year level. These courses can also be completed during the Communication Science degree program at the junior year level if not completed prior to admission.

Plan of Study

This plan of study identifies the sequence of core courses offered in the Communication Science degree program.  A course schedule for each semester is completed with any remaining Prerequisites Requirements or Additional Requirements, minor or certificate courses, or other elective courses.​  Students are required to have an individual advising appointment every semester and to confirm their registration.

Related Area / Minors and Certificates / Directed or Independent Studies

No additional related area is required for this undergraduate degree.

Many students are able to complete certificate programs or minors in addition to the major requirements in Communication Science. In recent years, students have attained certificates in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine, Latin American studies, American Sign Language, and Children’s Literature and minors in Education, Neuroscience, Linguistics, Social Work and Sociology, among others. These are only a few of the many certificate programs and minors available at the University of Pittsburgh.

In some locations, employment within an educational setting requires additional courses for certification. Students considering work in educational settings should consider enrolling in education courses (i.e.,   IL 1257 - TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS ) as electives. Students can consult with the CSD Advising Office for more information.

Students should consult with Dr. Cheryl Messick (, Interim Director of Undergraduate Education in Communication Science and Disorders, about the possibility of pursuing a directed or independent study with a member of the faculty, as a formal approval process is required.


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