Speech and Language Sciences MSc

This is a rewarding clinical training programme as well as a challenging academic degree. The core subject is speech and language pathology and therapy. Students consider approaches to the investigation and management of clients with communication and swallowing problems. They learn about working with clients and others professionals in health care and education. Learning for this programme is supported by UCL language sciences academics as well as practicing speech and language therapists.

Successful completion results in recommendation for membership of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and eligibility to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). HCPC registration is mandatory for all UK employed speech and language therapists.

We should like to remind prospective applicants to use the contact email address outlined in the Contact section rather than emailing academic staff directly.

Start date:
 September 2016


Objectives and Outcomes

Students develop the skills and knowledge base required to practice competently as speech and language therapists, together with the tools necessary to assess and critically appraise theoretical and applied research. They gain the evaluation and research skills required to assess their own practice, models of service delivery and client's performance.

Why Study at UCL?

The Division of Psychology & Language Sciences undertakes world-leading research and teaching in mind, behaviour, and language.

Our work attracts staff and students from around the world. Together they create an outstanding and vibrant environment, taking advantage of cutting-edge resources such as extensive laboratories for research in speech and language, perception, and cognition.

Successful completion of this MSc results in recommendation for membership of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and eligibility to apply to the Health Professions Council (HPC). HPC registration is mandatory for all UK NHS employed speech and language therapists.

Who is the programme for?

The programme is suitable for students with a relevant academic background who have had extensive work experience with a speech and language therapist or with clients with communication difficulties, and have a good understanding of the role of a speech and language therapist in at least one clinical setting.

Core purpose and values of the programme

Core purpose

The core purpose of the training course is to produce speech and language therapists trained to a high standard in academic, clinical and research domains, enabling them to meet the standards described by the HCPC Standards of Education and Training and Standards of Proficiency and the accreditation criteria of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, and to qualify them for work within the National Health Service (NHS).


The values of the Course are aligned with those set out in the following codes: 

· the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics

· the RCSLT Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

· UCL Student Disciplinary Code

· the NHS Constitution

The values embodied in these codes are reflected at all stages and in all domains of the programme – in its application processes, in the content and delivery of the teaching programme, in clinical placements and in the professional and personal support offered to trainees.

The NHS constitution sets out some core values which can be summarised as follows:

· putting clients first and involving everyone who is relevant to their care

· speaking up in the client’s interests when things go wrong

· affording respect and dignity to clients, their families and fellow professionals, valuing them as individuals and respecting their aspirations and commitments

· offering resources to the benefit of the whole community and ensuring that people are not excluded or discriminated against

· offering high-quality, safe and effective care

· offering care that is compassionate and responsive to the needs of clients, their families and carers

· improving health and well-being and people’s experience of the NHS


1. The Course has a pluralistic ethos: it aims to expose trainees to a variety of approaches. This is designed to ensure that trainees can respond flexibly to the demands that will be made of them in a rapidly changing NHS.

2. The Course aims to promote strong links between theory and practice and is organised to ensure that the clinical, academic and research components of training are well integrated. Reflecting this concern:

a) Diversity in teaching methods is encouraged, matching the method to the material to be taught.

b) Skills teaching is integrated within the academic programme, along with the use of experiential teaching methods.

c) Trainees are encouraged to adopt a hypothesis-testing approach to their work and to adopt a thoughtful and critical approach to the use of research evidence concerning the effectiveness of interventions.

3. The Course endeavors to enable trainees to achieve high standards of clinical competence. To ensure high quality and relevance to the field, teaching is organised by a mixture of academic staff and speech and language therapists, many of whom have a national reputation in their fields.

4. The Course aims to promote good practice in teaching and research across a wide range of specialties, and to ensure that teaching is of the highest quality.

5. The Course tries to ensure that trainees can practice effectively and equitably in the context of the diversity that characterises clinical populations in London. The promotion of equal opportunities in the selection of trainees and in teaching is an important feature of the Course philosophy, and a theme of the programme.

6. The Course aims to ensure that trainees develop a professional role that is both active and collegial, and hence a capacity to understand the roles and approaches of professional colleagues, and an ability to maintain good working relationships which promote the psychological well-being of clients.

7. The Course aims to foster an awareness of, and a responsiveness to, the needs of service users and carers, both through its teaching and by encouraging trainees routinely to consult with service users in order to understand their perspectives and needs.

8. As is consistent with the learner-led model of teaching appropriate for students at this level of training, the Course aims to be responsive to feedback at all levels of its organisation. The Course aims to ensure that its systems of assessment and evaluation of trainees also accord with best practice in this area and that trainees are involved in the assessment process.

9. The Course aims to foster an enthusiasm for learning and an openness to questioning, in teaching, in clinical practice and in research. Trainees are encouraged to follow up their interests and to develop personally over the two years of training.

10. The Course aims to make research an integral part of training by developing trainees’ capacity actively to make use of available research, and equipping them with the skills to contribute to the evidence-base of the profession.

12. The Course aims to be responsive to its purchasers (Health Education North Central and East London) and to Speech and Language Therapy services in the London region who offer supervision to trainees and employment to graduates from the course.

13. It is widely recognised that speech and language therapy training can be stressful and the course endeavours to ensure that good sources of support are available to trainees. As is consistent with the general course philosophy, no one approach is favoured, but rather a variety of systems are offered.

The standards set out above are those by which the Course wishes to be judged. The measure of our success is our capacity to enable trainees to develop personal and professional competences congruent with our aspirations, and to become effective practitioners who can apply their skills for the benefit of service users and carers and go on to shape clinical practice and research in the future.


Degree Structure

Students undertake modules to the value of 360 credits.

The programme comprises twelve core modules. Students register for six modules in year one (totalling 165 credits) and six modules in year two (195 credits, including a 60-credit research project).

Core Modules Year One
  • Professional and Clinical Studies I
  • Management of Communication Disorders 1: Language and Cognition (developmental)
  • Management of Communication Disorders 2: Speech and Hearing
  • Linguistic and Psychological Perspectives
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Research Methods 1
Core Modules Year Two
  • Professional and Clinical Studies II
  • Management of Communication Disorders 3: Language and Cognition (acquired)
  • Management of Communication Disorders 4: Speech, Swallowing and Voice
  • Brain, Mind and Health
  • Research Methods II
  • Research Project

  • There are no optional modules for this programme.

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 8,000–10,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops, supervised clinical placement work, practical classes and exercises. A variety of assessment methods are used. As well as coursework, practicals, clinical vivas and examinations, students are engaged in ongoing assessment as part of their professional and clinical development.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Speech and Language Sciences MSc


Director of Studies in SLT: Carol Sacchett

Programme Director: Rachel Rees

Practice Education Lead: Janet Wood

Teaching Administrator: Anna Casey

Teaching staff (NB: staff may occasionally be absent for a term or more on research or other leave)

  • Steven Bloch
  • Caroline Brodie
  • Carolyn Bruce
  • Stefanie Bucher
  • Kathleen Cavin
  • Bronwen Evans
  • Paul Iverson
  • Suzanne Jago
  • Lorna Halliday
  • Merle Mahon
  • Alexandra Perovic
  • Kate Shobbrook
  • Kriszta Szendroi
  • Jyrki Tuomainen
  • Yoshiyuki Yamamoto



For UK and EU students, tuition fees for this programme are normally paid in full by the Department of Health.

Information about bursaries can be found on the NHS Student Grants Unit website, at www.nhsstudentgrants.co.uk

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

UCL Scholarships

For information on general scholarship opportunities, please select the link below:


Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Please note: Candidates must hold at least an upper second-class Bachelor's degree at the time of applying.

Before you submit your application, please download and fill out the following document and attach to your application as a supporting document. This will help us assess your relevant work experience. Summary of Work Experience Form

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Special. Only the IELTS is accepted. Applicants must obtain an overall grade of 8.0 with a minimum of 7.5 in each of the subtests.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

How to apply

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for students with a relevant academic background who have had extensive work experience with a speech and language therapist or with clients with communication difficulties, and have a good understanding of the role of a speech and language therapist in at least one clinical setting.

Application deadlines
All applicants
6 November 2015

Candidates are not normally accepted without interview. Interviews take place in January each year, for entry in the following August/September.

What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
  • why you want to study Speech and Language Sciences at graduate level
  • why you want to study Speech and Language Sciences at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this rigorous programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

You will also need to demonstrate knowledge of the values of the NHS Constitution.

Deadline for Applications

Online applications for entry in 2016 is now open, with a deadline of 4pm on Friday 6th November 2015. Completed applications, including references, should be submitted by the deadline. This applies to all applicants, including EU and overseas.

To apply, visit http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply



Most graduates work as speech and language therapists with adults and children with a range of communication and swallowing problems; these include children with speech and language disorders, people with physical disabilities, children with a cleft palate, clients who have had strokes or head injuries, cancer patients or people with progressive diseases, clients with voice disorders or those who stammer, people with severe learning difficulties and those with specific learning difficulties. Some therapists work in hospitals, some work in community health centres, some are involved in domiciliary work, connected to a school, or work in specialist centres.


If you have further queries please contact msc-sls-admin@langsci.ucl.ac.uk

Open Days

We have one open event in the summer term every year.


What is the deadline for applying for this programme?

The deadline for applying for the 2015 intake has now passed. Please do not attempt to send in an application for 2015 as we will not be able to consider it. Late applications are not accepted for this course - please do not ask. 

The deadline for applying for entry in 2016 is 4pm on Friday 6th November 2015. Applications must be completed, including transcripts, summary of work experience and references by the same deadline

What type of work experience do you look for?

As well as academic experience we do look for candidates who have done work experience/voluntary work with a speech and language therapist or with clients with communication difficulties. Good places to ask are: your local PCT, schools, charitable organisations such as Stroke association, Parkinson’s disease association, Headway, Autistic society.

Why do I need experience of speech and language therapy and/or with people with communication difficulties?

In order to understand the demands of the course and, ultimately the profession you plan to enter, you must obtain experience working with individuals who have communication difficulties and an understanding of the role of a SLT.

The course is intense and you must have confidence and comfort in working with clients who have difficulty communicating.  You must also have a good understanding of the role of a Speech and Language Therapist in one or more clinical setting.

How much experience do I need to have of speech and language therapy and/or with people with communication difficulties?  What type of experience should this be?

All applicants must demonstrate relevant work experience. This work can be paid or voluntary and can be full-time or part-time. It should have been completed within the previous 24 months.

A minimum level of relevant work experience would be at least 25 days of work with clients with communication difficulties, plus observation of a speech and language therapist at work and/ or time spent talking with a SLT (for example at an open day). Many candidates invited for interview have completed 6-12 months of suitable work experience, including regular contact with a SLT.

It is of course not only the number of days, but the quality of the experiences and the way in which you have thought about what you have seen and reflected on the experience that you will demonstrate in your application.

How long should my personal statement be?

We advise to use the 3000 characters provided, alternatively one side of A4 no smaller than point 12 in your chosen font. Overlength statements will not be read.

My undergraduate degree is in an unrelated area can I apply?

Yes. We have students who have successfully completed the course with undergraduate degrees in many different subjects, including archaeology, law, anthropology, and geography. You can apply if you hold any UK honours degree at a 2.1 or above, or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution.

If you are applying with a qualification from overseas, please look at the UCL website for international students for information on equivalent qualifications.

What is the start date for this programme?

The start date is usually the first week of September depending on the academic calendar.

Will there be any open days for this programme?

There is an Open Event in the summer term.

Due to limits on staff time it is only possible for applicants to visit Chandler House on days when there is a planned information session or open day.

Do I have to have an interview for the programme?

Yes. We interview shortlisted applicants during January. You must be available to interview in January if you wish your application to be successful.

How many applications do you normally receive?

We have approx 400 applications each year for approx 50 places on the course.

Are there some suggested readings for applicants?

Yes please click here for suggested introductory readings

How many days a week will I need to come into college?

You must be able to commit 5 full days a week for this programme.  Where possible the timetable is arranged to allow private study days but the timetable varies throughout the year.  To view a sample timetable please click here.

Are there any options for studying this programme part-time?

No. Due to the nature of this course there are no options for part-time study.

I am a single parent will I be able to fit studying for this programme around my childcare responsibilities?

It would be very difficult to undertake this programme if you are a single parent with no support. You must be able to commit 5 full days a week plus study time in the evenings.

It will be difficult for me to get two academic references.  Is it possible to send non-academic references?

We prefer to have academic references where possible but if you have been out of education for some time you can send two non-academic references e.g. from work or a work placement.

I am a mature applicant and I don’t have a degree but I have relevant experience can I apply?

If you do not hold an honours degree at a 2.1 or above you are not eligible to apply for the course.

I am still studying my undergraduate degree can I apply?

We do not accept applications from applicants who have not yet completed their undergraduate degree. You must hold an honours degree with a 2.1 or above at the time of applying for the course. It is good to have found out about the programme in advance as you can use the time between now and applying to strengthen your application.

I am an international applicant but I have been living in the UK for many years will I have to pay overseas fees?

Your fee status will be determined by the UCL Admissions Office depending on your length of stay in the UK and your residency status. It is often not possible to determine your fee status until the Admissions Office receive your application form and copies of your passport and any other documents needed to make a formal assessment of your fee status.

The international office website which may have information on sources of funding for international student

What is the starting salary for a Speech and Language Therapist?

An NHS Band 5 Speech and Language Therapist receives a salary of £21,478 with an additional London weighting of 20% (approx £4,000 per year) for inner London, 15% (approx £3000 per year) for outer London and 5% (approx
£900) for the fringe of London. This information was correct as of July 2014 but is subject to change.

If you have further queries please contact msc-sls-admin@langsci.ucl.ac.uk