SPCHSCI 713 : Anatomy and Physiology for Speech Language Therapy


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Anatomy and physiology of speech, language and hearing, including the respiratory, phonatory, articulatory, auditory and peripheral and central nervous systems underlying spoken communication. Application of this knowledge is through manipulation of human models and supported computer laboratories.

Course Overview

This introductory course in the neuroscience of speech, language, swallowing and hearing provides a foundation in the necessary basic neurosciences for graduate studies in speech and language therapy. The course requires some basic knowledge of human biology and human anatomy, particularly anatomy of the brain. However, because of the varied backgrounds of students, the material presented will increase in complexity over the semester as each new topic is covered. 
The course is taught through a combination of weekly lectures, tutorials and labs at the Grafton Campus. Labs are designed to supplement lecture content and provide practical experience including brain anatomy, cranial nerve examination and an introduction to audiology methods. It includes 3 hours of lectures, 2 hours of tutorials or labs each week as well as an opportunity to observe an operation being carried out at Starship Children's Hospital.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Differentiate the anatomical and physiological components of the brain and nervous system associated with speech, language and hearing (Capability 1, 2 and 5)
  2. Identify and evaluate the cranial nerves and their functions (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Identify and describe the structures and function of the larynx and pharynx pertaining to the production of voice and protection of the airway (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Differentiate and explain the structure and function of the muscles of the face, mastication and deglutition (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)
  5. Describe the structure and function of the outer, middle and inner ear related to the process of hearing (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  6. Describe and explain the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous system related to speech and language (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Coursework 25% Individual Coursework
Coursework 25% Individual Coursework
Test 50% Individual Test
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6


This course is supported by the Tuākana in Science Programme, which began almost 30 years ago and facilitates the success and wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific students. The foundation of the Tuākana Programme is the tuākana-teina principle an integral relationship in which older or more expert tuākana (traditionally brother, sister or cousin) guides a younger or less expert teina (traditionally younger sibling or cousin). This is a reciprocal relationship which fosters safe learning and teaching environments. 
The Tuākana Programme values manaakitanga (kind and caring interactions), tautoko (support), mana (reciprocal respect), ako (learning and teaching), whanaungatanga (relationship, kinship, sense of family connection) and hononga (connection).
We encourage all Speech Science students to engage in the Tuākana Programme through shared tutorial support with your classmates.
Read more here:

Key Topics

1. Introduction to anatomy, physiology and genetics 
2. The nervous system
3. The vascular system
4. The pharynx
5. The larynx
6. Anatomy of swallowing
7. Neuroanatomy of speech and language
8. Auditory anatomy
9. Auditory physiology
10. Central auditory system

Special Requirements

Students must  pass this course before being eligible to progress to semester 2 of the MSLTPrac degree.
The observation of an operation at Starship Children's Hospital is optional. Students should not feel any pressure to undertake this observation if they do not wish to. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a 2 hour tutorial or lab, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and up to 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs/tutorials to complete components of the course.

Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials and labs will not be available as recordings.
The course will include live online events including group discussions/tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for the test.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

This course is not available to offshore students and students who have been exempted from in-person attendance.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

The following texts are not required, but are good resources for background reading:
  • Seikel, J.A., King, D.W. & Drumright, D.G. (2016). Anatomy and Physiology for Speech, Language and Hearing. (5th ed.). New York: Cengage Learning
  • Bear, M.F., Connors, B.W. & Paradiso, M.A. (2006) Neuroscience. Exploring the Brain. (3rd ed.). Baltimore, Maryland: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
  • Bhatnagar, S.C. (2002). Neuroscience for the Study of Communicative Disorders. Baltimore, Maryland: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Following student feedback last year, we have changed the weighting of the assessment to more accurately reflect the number of classes related to that content. The final assessment is now worth 50% whereas it used to be worth only 25%.  

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 11/11/2021 10:54 a.m.