Frequently Asked Questions

What is Speech and Hearing Science?

Speech and Hearing Science is an undergraduate major that gives students a conceptual and practical basis from which to apply to graduate programs that prepare speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Spanish is useful for audiologists in that they can work with a broader base of patients and families. For speech-language pathology students, studying Spanish can start them on the road to understanding how to diagnose and treat speech and language problems, in both Spanish and English. Importantly, bilingual native speakers of Spanish with language disorders may experience different types of problems than do monolingual speakers.

Why pair Spanish with Speech and Hearing Science?

Because the nature of child and adult language disorders may be different in bilingual Spanish-English populations and because Ohio State has a strong undergraduate program in Spanish Linguistics as well as a strong undergraduate program in studies of the cultures of Spanish-speaking people, it is an excellent place to learn about both the language and culture of monolingual and bilingual Spanish-speaking populations, as well as about the nature of language disorders and how to diagnose them. For those more interested in audiology than in speech-language pathology, the cultural dimension that relates to appropriate clinical interactions in Spanish could be of particular interest.

Hasn’t OSU always done this? Why is there a double major now?

Ohio State has prepared bilingual candidates for audiology and speech-language pathology (SLP) graduate programs for a long time and we think that they are some of the best prepared in the field. Recently, however, we decided that to ensure that our students have strong Spanish proficiency, which is required by bilingual speech-language pathology MA programs, we should formalize a double major that includes a study-abroad program, preferably during a student’s junior year. If students work hard, and take advantage of this year by listening, speaking, reading and writing in Spanish (and also volunteering in a “logopedia” or “fonoaudiología” clinic), they can return with the ACTFL “Advanced Low” rating that we think is the minimal threshold necessary for working as a bilingual SLP.

But, how will I finish in 4 years, if I do both majors AND a year-abroad?

On our Study Plan page, we lay out a sample 4 year plan that includes both majors and year-abroad. The courses students take abroad must all count for OSU requirements in the Spanish & Portuguese Department and/or meet General Education Requirements. Not everyone will be able to do our double major following this path, and that’s okay. There are other ways to prepare yourself for bilingual speech-language pathology graduate programs and we are happy to talk to you about them, because everyone is different!

Education-abroad for an entire year!!!??!?!? Isn’t that REALLY expensive?

According to our estimates, given the high cost of living in Columbus, it may cost the same, or actually be cheaper, to study abroad for a year than it is to study on main campus, OSU.

I want to be a bilingual SLP or audiologist, but I can’t fit into this double major. Can I still go to graduate programs like this?

Absolutely. There are multiple ways to build proficiency after you graduate, including Spanish Ministry of Education’s Auxiliares de Conversación program. This is a 20 hour per week job for North American college graduates who serve in a Spanish k-12 public school as an English language resource. We have sent dozens of our graduates on this program (some more than once!) and all have had positive experience, and most importantly if they don’t live with other English-speakers, they come back with solid, professional level Spanish. It’s important to remember that deepening your language proficiency when living abroad is an everyday job and requires commitment. Also important to emphasize: the Auxiliares program pays you roughly $1000 per month, which you can live on in Spain. This means that you do not come back indebted, as you would on programs that require you to pay them.

What are these bilingual speech-language pathology programs of which you speak?

We have sent Buckeye undergraduates to bilingual speech-language pathology programs at Indiana University, University of Texas, Austin; University of California, San Diego-San Diego State; Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Marquette University, Temple University, and others (here are some of our alumni, for example). These programs typically include a standard American Speech-Language Hearing Association-accredited monolingual program that adds the bilingual clinical experience and a small number of classes specific to bilingual speech-language pathology. Of course the clinical placements will also include bilingual environments.