About the Major in Human Communication Sciences
Human Communication Sciences (HCS) majors are passionate about making a difference in people’s lives and enjoy learning about how to help children and adults to overcome difficulties in hearing, speech, language and learning.
Most HCS students go on to medical school or to graduate programs in health/science fields such as speech language pathology, audiology, neuroscience, psychology, and dentistry. Others begin work immediately in research laboratories or for health-related businesses. The major requirements give you the flexibility to choose courses that best fit your academic and career goals.
Good Courses for First Year Students
Start by taking the required introductory course for the major:
- CSD 110 Intro to Hearing and Speech Science
Additionally, the HCS major has specific requirements for math and science distribution classes; beginning with those as soon as possible is also a good idea (see the section on distribution requirements below).
Distribution requirements are satisfied by the liberal arts classes that all students in the School of Communication must complete to receive a bachelor’s degree. There are three categories of distribution requirements: Math/Science/Technology; Individual and Social Behavior; and Humanities and Fine Arts. HCS majors must take:
18 units of credit outside the department, including:
- 5 distribution courses in the School of Communication’s science, mathematics and technology distribution area, including:
1 course in Statistics, chosen from CSD 304, Psych 201 or Stat 232
1 course in Neurobiology, chosen from CSD 202, Psych 212, Biol Sci 302 or Neuro Sci 202
1 course in Mathematics
1 course in Animal-related Biology
1 course in Physics or Chemistry
Note: Either the biology or the Physics/Chemistry course must have a lab component
- 3 in the School’s Individual and Social Behavior area
- 3 in the School’s Humanities and Fine Arts area
If you have questions about which math or science classes are appropriate for you, you can contact the relevant department advisor regarding placement. The HCS advisor, Jeanette Ortiz, is also able to provide general guidance.
AP and IB Credit
AP credits cannot be applied to the Human Communication Sciences major, but they may apply to distribution requirements (see SoC Table). If your credit is not yet posted, have your scores sent from the College Board to the Registrar’s Office for processing.
Once your AP/IB credit is posted to your transcript, it can be applied to your distribution requirements as follows:
- One AP/IB credit in each of the three areas: Math/Science/Technology; Individual and Social Behavior; and Humanities and Fine Arts
- An additional six AP/IB credits may apply as additional distribution classes
- A final credit may count as an elective
- The maximum total number of AP or IB credit that may apply is 10
Contact the HCS Undergraduate Advisor, Jeanette Ortiz at firstname.lastname@example.org. SoC students can make an appointment via advising.northwestern.edu. Non-SoC students can make an appointment by calling 847-491-7214.