RU Courses and ASHA Requirements

Back in September, I wrote a post about the speech and hearing-related courses offered at Rutgers. However, those are not the only courses you may need as you prepare for a career in the speech and hearing sciences.

As of 2014, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) also requires those that want to be certified speech-language pathologists to demonstrate knowledge in the following areas:

  • Biological Science
  • Physical Science
  • Statistics
  • Social Science

You demonstrate this knowledge by taking at least one course in each of the above subjects, typically at the undergraduate level, as many graduate programs require you to have completed these classes prior to starting grad school. ASHA also stipulates that “research methodology courses in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) may not be used to satisfy the statistics requirement,” and “a course in biological and physical sciences specifically related to CSD may not be applied for certification purposes to this category unless the course fulfills a university requirement in one of these areas.” Unfortunately for us, that means that our Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism class doesn’t count.

Anyway, if you are like me, the thought of taking a physics or chemistry (or stat, or bio) class – especially at Rutgers – is truly terrifying. We’ve all heard the horror stories of the D- class average in general chemistry, or the time-consuming calculus prerequisites you need to simply enroll in general physics. It’s enough to make one want to give up on their grad school dreams for good!

Ok, so I’m exaggerating. But the added pressure of unduly challenging math and science classes, when you are already trying to complete core curriculum and major+minor requirements, can be very stressful.

Don’t worry though, because there ARE math and science courses at Rutgers that are designed specifically for students who (usually) don’t plan to pursue careers that deal with these subjects, but who want to (or need to) learn the basics. Another bonus: almost all of these don’t require any prereqs!

Below, I’ve provided a short list of these Rutgers courses and their descriptions for each of the math and science topics that ASHA wants us to know about. As of the posting date, all of these courses will be available for you to enroll in for the Spring 2017 semester. Of course, you will still want to consult your prospective graduate programs to see which courses will and will not count towards ASHA certification, just to be sure.

Biological Science (course must cover human or animal biology)

  • Biology, Society, and Biomedical IssuesDiscussion of current topics and issues in human health and medicine, from a biological perspective.
  • Genetics, Law, and Social PolicyPrinciples of human and behavioral genetics and their legal, ethical, and social implications. Topics include genetic screening, counseling, and engineering; reproductive regulation; human behavior genetics.
  • Human GeneticsIntroduces the student to human genetics, from the micro level to the macro level.
  • Essentials of Human ReproductionAnatomical and physiological bases of human sexuality; biological and cultural aspects of sexual differentiation and psychosexual development, contraception, venereal disease, and sexual lifestyles.
  • Brain, Mind, and BehaviorHonors course discussing the interrelationship between the brain, the mind, and behavior.

Physical Science (physics or chemistry courses)

  • Concepts of PhysicsConcepts of physics and astronomy in their scientific, social, historical, and current technological context, with no mathematical problem-solving. How the physical universe works, from mechanics and the solar system to relativity, quantum behavior, and the Big Bang. Contributions of scientists from Aristotle, Galileo, and Newton through Einstein, Bohr and up to the present time.
  • Impact of ChemistryRelation of chemistry to human life, culture, and everyday decisions. Case studies used to illustrate chemical principles and examine issues of current concern, such as global warming, drug testing, ozone depletion, and heavy-metal poisoning.
  • Chemistry of Life  – Topics chosen from the fields of organic chemistry and biochemistry including proteins, DNA, RNA, and chemical origins of life. Emphasis given to nature of chemical and biochemical discoveries and the social responsibility of scientists.

Statistics (stand-alone statistics courses)

  • Statistics I  – Principles and methods of statistics, including frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and dispersion, simple probability, sampling, regression and correlation analysis, curve fitting, chi-square analysis, test of significance.
  • Intro to Stat for BusinessTopics include descriptive statistics, probability, random variables, sampling distributions, principles of hypothesis testing, and one and two sample T-tests.
  • Basic Stat for ResearchAs applied in fields other than statistics; treats research projects dependent on the use of observed data from planned experiments. Includes inference methods in estimation and hypothesis testing and general linear models.
  • Quantitative Methods in PsychologyQuantitative methods used in psychological research. Regular exercises required.

I have organized this list into a more detailed google doc, which you can view here:

The doc also has some basic Social Science classes you can take at Rutgers that may fulfill ASHA requirements.

If you know about any other introductory courses in these subjects at Rutgers, let me know in the comments below!


  • *All course descriptions are taken from the respective departmental websites, the Rutgers course catalog, and/or degree navigator. Consult department websites for more detailed information*