Core Curriculum

Core Curriculum
During their first year, students take a series of graduate-level courses and carry out laboratory rotations that serve as the basis for selection of a dissertation advisor. A faculty Academic Advisor is assigned to each first year class to assist in course selection.  Students must complete six core courses with flexible additional requirements. The required courses are:
 
G1 Fall: 
SHBT 200: Acoustics, Production, and Perception of Speech
SHBT 201: Biology of the Inner Ear
SHBT 301qc: Speech and Hearing Lab Visits
 
G1 January:
SHBT 203: Anatomy of Speech and Hearing
 
G1 Spring:
SHBT 202: Clinical Aspects of Speech and Hearing; 
SHBT 205: Audition: Neural Mechanisms, Perception & Cognition
 
The five Core courses are normally taken in the first year of study and must be completed by June of G2 year. Students who earn at least three A's and two B’s in the core courses automatically pass the Core requirements. Students who fail to meet this criterion may be assigned a remedy at the discretion of the Curriculum Committee. Successful completion of the Core component is a prerequisite for taking the Oral Qualifying Exam.
 
Additionally incoming G1 students attend a Summer Boot Camp and Orientation which is typically offered over the last two weeks of August as the students arrive on campus. The camp is designed to introduce the students to the program with orientation led by SHBT and DMS administrators and provide basic information on topics relevant to the core curriculum, such as auditory neuroscience, acoustics, processing and visualization using Matlab, genetics of hearing, signals and systems and phonetics and phonology. 

Course Descriptions

SHBT 200: Acoustics, Production and Perception of Speech  
Directors: Sunil. Puria, Heidi. Nakajima, and Satra. Ghosh
Teaching Fellows (2020): Gabriel Alberts and Jeanne Gallée
Reviews the physical processes involved in the production and propagation of sound, and acoustics related to hearing. Particular attention is paid to how the acoustics and mechanics of the speech and auditory system define what sounds we are capable of producing and how we sense sound. Introduces acoustic theory of speech production, digital speech processing, and neural mechanisms of speech production and perception. Exposes students to applications including automatic speech recognition, and speech disorders. The material is taught through lectures and recitations, weekly problem sets, discussions of classic papers and take-home laboratory assignments.
 
SHBT 201: Biology of the Inner Ear 
Director: M.C. Liberman
Teaching Fellow (2020): Christopher Buswinka 
Surveys the normal structure and function of the peripheral auditory system, as well as the mechanisms and consequences of sensorineural hearing loss. The material is presented through lectures, discussions of the primary literature, written assignments and laboratory exercises. Topics include inner ear development and regeneration; functional anatomy and cell biology of the inner ear; stria vascularis and the endolymphatic potential; cochlear mechanics; mechano-electric transduction by hair cells; outer hair cell electromotility and the cochlear amplifier; otoacoustic emissions; synaptic transmission; stimulus coding in the auditory nerve; efferent control of cochlear function; damage and repair of hair cell organs; sensorineural hearing loss; the molecular biology of the ear in normal hearing and disease; and genetic hearing loss.
 
SHBT 203- Anatomy of Speech and Hearing 
Director: Barbara Fullerton
Teaching fellow (2021): John Lee
Anatomical dissection of the head, neck, and thorax in human cadavers with an emphasis on structures important for speech and hearing. Lecture topics include the thorax and respiration; structures of the neck, including the larynx and pharynx; the anatomy of the face and jaw; the oral cavity; the cranial cavity; the eye; and the ear. Basic neuroanatomy of the brain is covered, along with cranial nerves and major fiber tracts. Head and neck radiographic imaging is introduced to bridge the gap between gross anatomy and clinical case analysis.
 
SHBT 205- Audition: Neural Mechanisms, Perception and Cognition
Director: Anne Takesian
Neural structures and mechanisms that mediate audition, combining perspectives from neurophysiology, psychoacoustics, cognitive neuroscience, and cognitive science. The material is presented via a combination of didactic lectures and laboratories, directed readings, student-led discussions of primary literature, and critical literature reviews. Topics include auditory masking and frequency selectivity, temporal coding, sound localization, neural maps, coding transformations across the auditory system, learning and plasticity, the role of feedback, cochlear implants, effects of hearing impairment on neural representation, musical pitch, speech perception, auditory scene analysis, attention, and auditory working memory.
 
SHBT 202- Clinical Aspects of Speech and Hearing 
Director: Ramon Franco
Teaching Fellow (2021): Leo Zekelman
An extensive exposure to clinical approaches to speech and hearing disorders as practiced by physicians, audiologists, speech clinicians, rehabilitation specialists, pathologists, and bioengineers. The course includes a series of didactic lectures, as well as extensive observations of patient care in clinic and operating room. Clinical and surgical experience includes observations of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in otology, laryngology, audiology, voice and speech clinic, and vestibular neurology.
 
Additional Required Coursework
 
SHBT 301qc: Speech and Hearing Laboratory Visits
Director: Bertrand Delgutte
Teaching Fellow: Jacob Alappatt
This Year 1 course consists of blitz talks from SHBT faculty from various affiliated research laboratories. Each session lasts approximately one hour and includes presentations and demonstrations by both faculty and their trainees of ongoing research projects and approaches. The course familiarizes first-year students with the breadth of research opportunities available through Program faculty and helps them choose mentor(s) for research rotations and, ultimately, dissertation research.