New course explores the science of human communication

17 September 2018

UC has launched a new course all about the science of everyday communication – what is it, why it matters and how to do it well.


CMDS114: The Science of Human Communication is delivered by UC’s Department of Communication Disorders. It starts in February 2019 and is a first semester level 100 course.

Course coordinator Professor Megan McAuliffe says it is ideal preparation for students going into speech language therapy and will also appeal to students in other areas of science; or those studying the arts, education, business or law.

“Basically, any degrees where communication is important.”

Prof McAuliffe says the course covers all the things that are fundamental to communication – from the anatomical and physical processes behind it to how to do it well, what happens when things go wrong and how these issues can be mitigated.

“Excellent communication is vital to succeed both at university and as a professional and there was nothing like this on offer at UC or across New Zealand. Hence the course was developed,” she says. “Originally this course was developed to provide foundational knowledge in human communication science for students intending to go into the Bachelor of Speech-Language Pathology, however we quickly realised this kind of course may be beneficial to students with a range of interests.”

‘The Science of Human Communication’ covers communicative processes, professional communication and differing academic perspectives of communication. Students will examine how we communicate, how that is influenced by our culture, the neural and cognitive processes underpinning communication and how communication is affected by external contexts such as noise and stress. They will also investigate how communication differs across groups – such as children, older adults and those with communication difficulties. Students will receive exposure to the different academic disciplines that examine communication, and the scientific methods they employ – as well as gaining valuable skills and practical strategies to enhance their own written and spoken communication while at university and in their professional careers.

While not a requirement of any majors, the course is recommended for students intending to go into the Bachelor of Speech-Language Pathology (Hons) and is broadly applicable to undergraduate students across UC.

For course details, visit the CMDS 114 course page.

For further information, please contact:

Professor Megan McCauliffe, Course Coordinator
Phone: +6433694549 | Email: megan.mcauliffe@canterbury.ac.nz