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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Background Course Requirements

Background course requirements for incoming AuD graduate students:

Students may be accepted into the AuD graduate program with or without an undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD).  There are no formal prerequisite course requirements for admission into the program.  However, those students who lack specific background undergraduate coursework will have additional requirements to complete either before or during the graduate program.   
Evidence of at least one course in each of these four areas is required.  These courses are typically completed as part of an undergraduate curriculum.  If not completed then, they must be completed by the end of the graduate program (may be taken for undergraduate credit.) Examples of appropriate courses in each of these four areas are listed below. ONLY courses taken through an accredited college/university for credit will be accepted. Coursework from massive open online courses (MOOCs) are not accepted. Examples of MOOCs include, but are not limited to: Educause,, edX, Coursera, and Khan Academy.

Course area

Accepted/strongly recommended courses

Examples of courses not generally accepted

Biological Science

Courses in human biology including human anatomy & physiology, micro/macro-biology, cellular biology, or other similar human biology topics strongly preferred.

Nutrition, plant biology, botany, &cultural anthropology. CSD Courses not accepted.


"Statistics" required in the course title.
Stats from psychology/social sciences or mathematics departments accepted.

Regular math courses

Physical Science

Physics, chemistry, organic/biochemistry

Speech science or hearing science from a CSD department unacceptable; earth science, meteorology, astronomy, geology, forensic science, materials sciences

Behavioral Science

Psychology, sociology, anthropology, cognitive neuroscience accepted. Other social science courses addressing human / societal behavior may be acceptable.

Health, wellness

Students entering the AuD program:

Students entering the AuD program are not required to have any undergraduate background courses in CSD; however, the 92 credit AuD curriculum does not include courses that are needed to fulfill the prerequisite skills and knowledge of life sciences, physical sciences, behavioral sciences, and mathematics (see above) and the following basic ASHA knowledge and skills areas:

  • Normal development of speech and language
  • Manual communication (American Sign Languaage)

If these courses have not been completed at the undergraduate level, they may be taken during the graduate program.  Addition of these courses may increase the number of total credits and the length of the program. One of these courses (3 credits) can be counted as an elective in the AuD program.  See the section below on determination of fulfillment of these background course requirements.

Additional background courses which are highly recommended for all AuD students include:

  • Anatomy & Physiology of Speech and Hearing Mechanism
  • Hearing Science/Acoustics
  • Speech Science
  • Basic/Introductory Clinical Audiolgy

Students who do not have these background courses, and enroll directly into CSD 661 Advanced Clinical Audiology and other first semester courses, are expected to complete background work on their own in conjunction with the required full load of courses.  Please be aware that this places a significant burden on the student – particularly those who do not have a strong science and math background.   
Some students are more comfortable taking the full range of prerequisite coursework.  Those students may wish to take these courses at their undergraduate institution or online prior to beginning graduate study.  As each case is different, you will want to contact the department to discuss your particular situation.

Determination of fulfillment of background course requirements and course equivalency:

Any courses previously taken for undergraduate (or in some cases graduate) credit will be evaluated by the faculty advisor to determine course equivalencies and fulfillment of ASHA knowledge and skills requirements.  No credit is transferred for fulfillment of the background requirements described above, as they are not part of the graduate program.  Rather, competencies will be marked as fulfilled or unfulfilled following this review.
Applicants should understand the following regarding the review of background course requirements:

  • Courses must be taken at an accredited college or university and official transcript documentation of each course is required.
  • All courses must be a minimum of 3 credits and a passing grade must have been obtained. Courses for which grades of D+, D, D-, F or Fail appear on the transcript will not be accepted.
  • Course descriptions, syllabi, and other materials may be required to demonstrate that a given course fulfills the requirement, which is determined by the faculty of the graduate programs.
  • Courses within Communication Sciences and Disorders programs may not be counted to fulfill general education requirements in biological or physical sciences.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) credit may be accepted; however AP credit must be recorded on the student’s official undergraduate transcript(s).