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Speech Sciences

Speech Sciences is the study of the production, transmission and perception of speech. The program, administered by the Linguistics Department, involves interdisciplinary work with courses from Linguistics, Psychology and other related disciplines with the aim of preparing students for graduate work in speech-language pathology or audiology. You will study research methods, language structure, child development and language acquisition, anatomy and physiology, experimental psychology and instrumental phonetics. Coursework focuses on normal language. Work on language disorders is not generally undertaken until the graduate program. 

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than attending academic lectures. Get involved with research and complement your studies with relevant research and applied experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences listed below or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

Speech and Linguistics Student Association

The Speech and Linguistics Student Association (SALSA) represents students from the interdisciplinary fields of Speech Science (Speech/Audiology), First Nations Languages and Linguistics, with members also specializing in Cognitive Systems, Psychology, French, Spanish, Anthropology and many other disciplines. 

Arts Co-op Program

Wondering how your analytical and writing skills might help you build a good career after graduation? Gaining paid, full-time, relevant experience through Arts Co-op will help you explore career options in fields such as non-profit (including social services), government, and the private sector across Canada and abroad. Graduate with at least 3, 4-month work terms, average cumulative earnings of $25,000, career skills and experience, and a network of professional contacts that will give you a competitive edge after graduation. 

Arts Internship Program

The Arts Internship Program gives you the opportunity to use the skills acquired during your studies to discover what you are passionate about, explore industry opportunities, and gain valuable work experience through part- time unpaid work. Internships are available in the social service and non profit sector and will allow you to meet new people and learn new skills in a professional part-time setting.

Go Global

Whether learning a new language or using linguistic theory to analyse a language, studying abroad provides the uniques opportunity to see different cultures; hear different sounds; speak different languages.

Community Based Experience and Learning (CBEL)

Through community-based experimental learning, you can participate in projects driven by community priorities. Get involved in course-related volunteer projects, or create your own CBEL arrangements. Make a difference in your community by having an opinion about language one can share; helping to educate people about the equal validity of all languages; by helping against racism. Challenge yourself in new learning environments to better understand what work you like to pursue.

Using your degree

An understanding of language and linguistic theory requires the development of analytical and logical thinking skills and the ability to approach problems from multiple dimensions. The in-depth study of language and expression gives Speech Sciences students the ability to articulate complex patterns, and synthesize and interpret large amounts of complex data. Speech Sciences students are well positioned to pursue further studies in communication disorders in the areas of audiology and speech-language pathology.

Career possibilities


Audiologists use their experience and knowledge about sound and hearing to help people with hearing impairments by evaluating and diagnosing hearing problems, prescribing treatment and rehabilitation, and focusing on prevention.

Communications specialist

Working in communications requires excellent writing, verbal and analytic skills to convey key messages to target audiences such as customers, employees or the public.

Speech-language pathologist

Speech-language pathologists use their knowledge of language components to assist those with language or speech disabilities and improve their communication skills.

More possibilities:

Adult ESL Teacher
Art/Music Therapist
Audio Metric Technician
Communications Coordinator
Communications Disorders/Speech Assistant
Computational Linguist (speech recognition, artificial intelligence, text-to-speech synthesis, codes and code-breaking)
Dialect Coach
Education Coordinator
Educational Clinician
Elementary School Teacher
English (ESL) Teacher/Tutor/Instructor
E.S.L. Instructor
Infant Development Consultant
Literacy Program Co-ordinator
Recreation Therapist
Rehabilitation Counselor
Research Assistant
Sign Language Interpreter
Special Education Assistant
Speech/Language Coach
Supported childcare worker
Technical Writer

Academic possibilities

A Speech Sciences degree prepares students for further studies in the field as well as:

  • Audiology
  • Speech Language Pathology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Public Health
  • Library, Information and Archival Studies
  • Education

Additional prerequisite course work may be required for some programs.

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