Communicative Disorders FAQ

Will I be a speech-language pathologist or audiologist after receiving my undergraduate degree in communicative disorders? No. You will need to meet additional educational requirements necessary to become an audiologist or speech-language pathologist. The undergraduate communicative disorders program provides basic information regarding communication development and disorders, hearing, disability and rehabilitation and prepares students for entering the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) or the Master of Arts in Communicative Disorders program with a specialization in speech-language pathology. Both of these graduate programs are offered at Northern Illinois University.
What careers am I qualified for with a B.S. in Communicative Disorders?

Students with a COMD baccalaureate degree are qualified for employment in the human services field. Options include:

  • patient advocacy in hospitals
  • special recreation associations within park districts
  • educational programs for individuals with special needs
  • day care centers with young children or older adults
  • job coaching
  • group homes
  • community outreach
See more about careers in speech-language pathology.
Why a degree in communicative disorders at NIU? At NIU’s program you’ll learn about the biological, behavioral, linguistic and social foundations of human communication and communication disorders. You can also do the following:
  • Join a vibrant and active undergraduate student organization, Communicative Disorders Student Association (COMDSA).
  • Actively participate in faculty research laboratories in areas such as: autistic spectrum disorders, voice disorders, neurogenic communication disorders, motor speech disorders, early language development, multiculturalism, phonological disorders and school age language disorders.
  • Prepare for a career in human services areas such as patient advocacy, special recreation associations, educational programs for individuals with special needs, day care centers with young children or older adults, job coaching, group homes and community outreach.
  • Prepare for graduate study in audiology, speech-language pathology, medicine, law or a related field.
Can I participate in research as an undergraduate at NIU? Yes. Undergraduates are welcome in all COMD faculty labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to contact faculty for information about opportunities. Summaries of faculty research interests are available.

Undergraduates in COMD complete honors capstone research projects, work on their own research projects, and assist with faculty research projects.  Find more information about other undergraduate research opportunities on campus and possible funding available through the University Honors Program and/or the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning.
Can I observe at the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic? Yes. Undergraduates can observe at the audiology and/or speech clinics; however, you need to schedule an appointment. Contact the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic to schedule an observation and complete the paperwork and training necessary to observe. 815-753-1481 or

Contact Us

School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders
340 Wirtz Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115