UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


MSc Language Sciences - New students

MSc Language Sciences - Reading

There is no assumed prior reading for MSc Language Sciences, but some students find it reassuring to prepare or at least have access to material ahead of time.

Some taught modules might draw from a specific set of books, whereas others might be based around current research in the area and discuss several published articles. 

Let's take a look at some of the mandatory modules all students will attend, and where you can find information on reading for these and other modules.

Research Methods

All students on MSc Language Sciences will attend PALS0002: Research Methods, this is the module which new students ask about most and where preparation can be the most beneficial.

Students should have already received an email with some preparatory reading for PALS0002: Research Methods.  If not it can be found online here. We have made several suggestions for books and websites which you might find useful.

PALS0002: Research Methods starts from an introductory level, so there is no need to be worried about it, but preparation will help if you are concerned about it.

Other mandatory modules

PALS001 Introduction to the Brain and Imaging the Brain is also attended by all MSc Language Sciences students.  This is another module where, although there is a steep learning curve, the module begins at an introductory level.  Students might benefit from reading:
WARD, J. (2015) The Student's Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience (3rd). Psychology Press
DIAMOND, C & SCHEIBEL, A. (2000) The Human Brain Colouring Book. Collins

Neuroscience, Language and  Communication students (and others) may also attend PLIN0047: Syntax.
HAEGEMAN, L. (2005) Thinking Syntactically. Wiley-Blackwell
PINKER, S. The Language Instinct. Various editions
Can help provide an introduction for these modules.

PALS0005: Neuroscience of Language is taught in term 2, attending PALS0001 will help prepare you for this module and give you an idea of what reading might be needed in-between.

Common optional and elective modules

PALS0003: Rehabilitation of Acquired Neurogenic Communication Difficulties is a popular optional module for MSc Language Sciences students. For this module it would be helpful to have some knowledge about specific aphasia symptoms and clinical issues that present challenges for people living with the condition and professionals working with them in rehabilitation. Below are the titles of three books on the subject and one article.

As the course comprises five topics: 1) brain recovery post stroke, 2) auditory processing, 3) single word naming, 4) sentence processing and 5) reading and writing, it would make sense to read the chapters in the books that focus on these topics.

COPPENS, P. & PATTERSON, J. (eds) (2017) Aphasia rehabilitation clinical challenges. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning. 616.8552 COP
PAPATHANASIOU, I.  & COPPENS, P. (eds) (2017) Aphasia and related neurogenic communication disorders (2ndedn). Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.  616.8552 PAP
VARLEY, R. (2011). Rethinking aphasia therapy: A neuroscience perspective. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 13(1):11-20. DOI: 10.3109/17549507.2010.497561
WHITWORTH, A., WEBSTER, J. & HOWARD, D. (2014) A cognitive neuropsychological approach to assessment and intervention in aphasia (2ndedn). Hove: Psychology Press.  616.8552 WHI (also available as e-book).

PALS0004: Conversation Analysis is a popular first-term option. Students may benefit from reading "Talk: the Science of Conversation Analysis" by Elizabeth Stokoe.

Everything else

UCL provides online reading lists for modules, this is especially useful where a module takes advantage of multiple published sources.  The ReadingLists@UCL system allows you to search for an individual module and get links to UCL library resources for that module.

You should also find that, if a module draws on a specific core textbook or source, it will be listed in the Module Information Sheet once published online.

Both ReadingLists@UCL and the Module Catalogue are updated over the summer period, so you should find more information becomes available at each of these sources as we get closer to the beginning of term.

Once you have enrolled you will have access to all UCL libraries and online library services. We are lucky that Chandler House is home to the Language and Speech Sciences (LaSS) Library which has a great team of librarians.

As part of your programme induction in the first week of term you will have a tour of the library as well as be shown how to use the services the library offers.  There'll be more information about how to book your place on a library induction (and a more advanced literature searching session) in the next Language Sciences News email.


If you have any questions about module selection before you arrive you can contact the Programme Administrator (p.buchanan@ucl.ac.uk, 020 7679 4274)