The undergraduate program in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (SLHS), leads to a Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (SLHS). It fully prepares each student for graduate study in speech-language pathology or audiology, or to start working right away as a speech-language pathology assistant.

SLHS student works with a child at the Thompson Center for Autism

Become an SLHS major

Students interested in declaring the BHS in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences must have completed 30 hours of college credit and have a 3.0 GPA. To declare the major, students should meet with an academic advisor for SLHS.


The BHS in SLHS is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the scientific bases of speech, language, and hearing; the different types of communication disorders; and the various kinds of diagnostic and therapeutic methods utilized by speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Undergraduate students in the SLHS department at MU benefit from:

  • A low student-faculty ratio: Faculty in the SLHS department are easily accessible and they encourage student questions and interaction outside of the classroom.
  • A well-established student organization: MU’s chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association benefits from strong membership, providing opportunities for leadership and professional development.
  • Practical, hands-on experience: Seniors may serve as student clinicians in the Combs Language Preschool and/or the Accent Expansion Program. Undergraduates may participate in research labs maintained by the SLHS faculty.
  • Success in graduate school: Graduates of our BHS program are well-prepared for graduate studies and enjoy high acceptance rates at top universities across the nation. A master’s degree is required for professional practice in speech-language pathology, and a professional doctorate is required for professional practice in audiology.

Speech-Language Pathology Assistant career path

Speech-language pathology assistants (SLPA) work under the supervision of licensed speech-language pathologists (SLP). Demand for SLPAs is particularly high in public schools. Many schools, especially in rural and underserved areas, are experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals to serve students with communication problems.

The SLPA career path might be perfect if you:

– are passionate about helping people with communication problems;
– want to enter the workforce right away to minimize student loan debt;
– are interested in working in schools and beginning on the career ladder comparable to a first-year teacher (in Columbia, Missouri, that is just over $40,000/year); or
– would like to have a chance to become gainfully employed before considering a graduate degree.

Find more information about the SLPA career path on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s website:

Course work

Students may major in SLHS and take limited SLHS coursework during their freshman and sophomore years at MU, but do not officially enter the BHS degree program until they are eligible to declare the major. In addition to the general education requirements established by the University of Missouri, SLHS majors must complete a minimum of 42 hours of coursework in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (plus elective courses to bring total credit hours to 120).

Advising worksheet

Students may use the BHS in SLHS advising worksheet as a guide, but advising through the College of Health Sciences Student Services is highly recommended.