Communication Sciences and Disorders Student Working with a Client.

Communication Sciences & Disorders

Get the foundational knowledge and skills you need to become a professional in the field of speech-language pathology, audiology, special education, and other health fields. 

Why Study Communication Sciences & Disorders?

As a communication sciences & disorders major at USD, you will learn to help people with a wide range of communication disorders such as stuttering, hearing loss or problems with swallowing or balance. Here you will take your first steps to becoming a speech-language pathologist or audiologist who assists individuals of all ages with a variety of communication disorders. For those who do not wish to continue to graduate school, the undergraduate program prepares you for careers in laboratory research, administration or clinical assistant work.

Gain the knowledge and clinical experience to go on to graduate school in speech language pathology or audiology or pursue a career in laboratory research, administration, or clinical work as a communication sciences & disorders major at USD.

Degrees & Offerings

Communication Sciences & Disorders (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

A degree in communication sciences & disorders lays the groundwork for careers in speech-language pathology, audiology, special education and other health fields. As a STEM discipline, communication sciences & disorders prepares graduates with skills needed for high-demand professions in the nation and region. 

Our graduate program in speech-language pathology allows students who have earned a bachelor's degree in communication sciences & disorders (at USD or elsewhere) to participate in an advanced track concentration curriculum. This will reduce credits required for an M.A. from the standard 78 credit hours to 60.

Communication Sciences & Disorders

  Vermillion Main Campus

A minor in communication sciences & disorders will help you explore the science behind communication problems, as well as strategies and technologies for treatment. In this program, you have the option to take courses such as Phonetics, Language Development, Speech Science, Hearing Science and more.

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Student Opportunities

As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.
A man signing in American Sign Language.

USD has many student organizations that are housed in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders. You may be interested in joining USD’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, Student Academy of Audiology and American Sign Language Club. Each gives you the opportunity to learn from guest speakers and attend social events. Clubs and organizations allow you to interact with professionals in the field and explore your interests.

Explore Student Organizations

A teacher discussing at a table with students.

As the only public institution in South Dakota offering an undergraduate major in communication sciences & disorders, USD provides you with a comprehensive curriculum, experienced faculty and hands-on experience in an on-campus speech, language and hearing clinic. The presence of an accredited graduate program, an active clinic and research faculty give our undergraduate majors multiple opportunities to be involved with research, clinical observations and experiences, community engagement and service learning.

A women inspecting another in a shop.

Working as a speech-language pathologist or an audiologist requires a graduate degree. Our program prepares students for admittance to graduate school. A communication sciences & disorders degree can also lead to careers in a variety of other fields such as health care, education, science and public policy. Our graduates work with children, adults and elderly populations in schools, clinics and hospitals. Jobs in these fields are located in areas ranging from small rural towns to large cities.

departments & facilities

Our faculty are members of the Center for Brain and Behavior Research, promoting innovative basic to translational research that addresses problems in neurology, neuropsychology and psychiatry.
Faculty standing over half of a mannequin head explaining the inside of the head to two students who are sitting at the table taking notes

Communication Sciences & Disorders

Gain knowledge of communication disorders and their treatment and take part in world-class clinical experiences, outreach activities and research in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know your professors and support staff in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lindsey Jorgensen

Lindsey Jorgensen

Chair-Communication Disorders
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jessica Messersmith

Jessica Messersmith

Associate Dean-Col of A&S


Cochlear Implants
Pediatric Audiology
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kyle Brouwer

Kyle Brouwer

Bio Image for Faculty Member Stacie Carlson

Stacie Carlson

Dir SF SLP Clinic, Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Coral Dirks

Coral Dirks

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jason Fornwald

Jason Fornwald

Bio Image for Faculty Member Shelly Grinde

Shelly Grinde

Bio Image for Faculty Member Elizabeth Hanson

Elizabeth Hanson

Associate Professor


AAC, Motor Speech Disorders
Bio Image for Faculty Member Julie Kelderman

Julie Kelderman



Second Language Acquisition
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jennifer Phelan

Jennifer Phelan

Assist Professor of Practice
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jessica Schneider

Jessica Schneider



Early literacy skills with an emphasis on dyslexia
Bio Image for Faculty Member Mandy Williams

Mandy Williams

Associate Professor
Two Students Talking with their Professor.

Your Learning Matters

Our faculty will give you personalized attention, and our course offerings provide you with individual and small-group support and mentoring. We have a small student-to-faculty ratio which allows students in our program to have access to faculty on a more intimate scale. 
Student Gaining Hands-On Experience Working With a Patient Inside a Clinic.

USD Clinics

USD has clinics in Vermillion and Sioux Falls that give you the ability to observe clinic activities across the entire breadth and depth of speech, language and hearing services from birth to elderly. Our clinics include the USD Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic and the Sioux Falls Scottish Rite Children’s clinic for Speech & Language Disorders. Our clinics offer students the opportunity to observe all stages of a visit from evaluation to treatment and consultation services.

Surprisingly Affordable

USD offers low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as scholarships, financial aid and employment opportunities to help make your education even more affordable.

Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Undergraduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees. 

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.


USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. View our scholarships to see which ones you may qualify for and how you can apply.

Alum success story

Success story Rachel Weineke smiling.
Quickly after starting my freshman year at USD, I knew that I wanted to major in communication sciences & disorders. After declaring my major as an undergraduate, I was warmly welcomed into the program. Because of the intimate class sizes, professors in the program were easily accessible and approachable. With such a positive undergraduate experience, I chose to attend USD to receive my master’s degree. The clinical experiences I had while in the program helped ready me for my current career as a speech-language pathologist working with the geriatric population.

Rachel Wieneke

M.A. Communication Sciences & Disorders '12
B.A Communication Sciences & Disorders '10
Rehab Director, Ebenezer Care Center 
Burnsville, Minnesota


Transfer Agreement

Communication Sciences & Disorders has a program-to-program articulation agreement with Mitchell Technical College in Mitchell, S.D. to transfer block credits toward the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences & Disorders.
This plan may be of interest to students who wish to complete a bachelor's degree along with clinical training to work as a speech-language pathology assistant. Read more about speech-language pathology assistants.

Students may complete the degree through articulation in two ways:

  • Forward Articulation - Successfully complete the technical program first and transfer credits to USD to finish the B.A. or B.S. in communication sciences & disorders.
  • Reverse Articulation - Start at USD in communication sciences & disorders and transfer to the SLP-A program at Mitchell Technical College. Once the technical program is completed you can transfer a block of credits back to USD and graduate the same semester from both institutions.


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