UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Programme Content and Structure

What will I learn?

You will learn to apply knowledge from a range of academic subjects to speech and language therapy practice. Innovative and authentic learning methods develop necessary skills such as team-working, assessment and therapy, self-evaluation. The research-based curriculum promotes strong research skills, enabling you to evaluate and add to the evidence-base for the profession.  The programme will prepare you well for future leadership roles.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, small group tutorials, workshops, supervised clinical placements, practical classes and self-directed learning. Collaborative peer-working features strongly throughout.  A variety of assessment methods is used, including coursework, presentations, clinical vivas, written examinations and practice-based assessment on placement.

You will attend both weekly and block placements from the start of the course working alongside qualified speech and language therapists in a wide range of settings including hospitals, community settings, schools, charities.   Placements are organised such that each student gains a breadth of experience.  You will undertake over 650 hours of supervised clinical practice over the two year course, well above Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy recommendations.

This programme is a full-time course with extended term dates.  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.

During terms 1 and 2, you can expect to have teaching sessions 9am – 5pm for 3 days per week (with 1 hour for lunch), and on placement for another whole day in most weeks.  There is one full day of private study most weeks, which you will need to prepare for your placement and coursework assignments and carry out any additional reading.

Example timetable from a week in year 1, term 1

 MorningLecturesPrivate StudyLecturesLecturesPlacement
AfternoonWorkshopsPrivate StudyTutorialsWorkshopPlacement
Clinical Placements

Clinical placements start in the first term and carry on throughout the programme.  The placements are closely linked to classroom learning.  You will have on-going placements that you attend one day a week over terms 1 and 2 of both years (October to March).  These placements allow you to see changes in clients over a period of time and to develop your skills gradually over a longer period of time, supported by your university clinical tutorials and visiting tutors.  You will also have block placements which you attend between 3 and 5 days per week over a number of weeks. These take place in spring (4-5 week block end of March to mid-May) and in summer (2-3 week block in July).  The block placements are an opportunity to really focus on your clinical and professional skills development, supported by experienced SLTs and college tutors.


The programme comprises twelve core modules. Students register for six modules in year one (totaling 165 credits) and six modules in year two (195 credits, including a 60-credit research project).  Students undertake modules to the value of 360 credits.

Year one core modules
Year two core modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Teaching Staff


Steven Bloch is the programme director of the MSc Speech and Language Sciences and associate professor in the Department of Language & Cognition.  He coordinates the Management of Communication Difficulties 4 module. He is also a speech and language therapist with a background in palliative care, progressive neurological conditions and augmentative and alternative communication. His research interests focus on the analysis of conversation in health and social care settings, particularly communication in end-of-life planning and decision-making. Steven is Editor-in-Chief of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists’ International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders.

Suzanne Beeke is an associate professor with a background in speech and language therapy. She is module coordinator for the MSc Speech and Language Sciences research project, and teaches qualitative research methods including conversation analysis, and academic writing and reading skills. Her research interests include conversation in aphasia and dementia, and the design and evaluation of conversation training for people with acquired communication disorders and their family members. Suzanne led the research project that created Better Conversations with Aphasia, a free online resource for SLTs and people with aphasia, which is also used in teaching.
Wendy Best

Wendy Best is a Professor of Communication Science and Language Therapy and a speech and language therapist.  Wendy co-ordinates the SLAN0012 Research Methods module.  Wendy's primary clinical research areas concern intervention research and in particular linking research and clinical practice.


Carolyn Bruce is an associate professor in the Department of Language and Cognition.  She teaches on the MSc Speech and Language Sciences programme, primarily contributing to lectures on acquired communication disorders.  She is also a speech and language therapist and Director of UCL Communication Clinic, which provides goal-directed intervention for people with chronic aphasia.  Her research interests focus on exploring ways to make life better and more productive for individuals living with aphasia.  She is particularly interested in working collaboratively with people attending the clinic.  Much of her current research is investigating ways technology can be used in aphasia therapy.
Kirsty CatlingKirsty Catling is currently working within the MSc Speech Sciences year B professional studies module.  Kirsty has extensive clinical experience of working with clients experiencing acquired disorders of swallowing and communication.  This includes working with aphasia, cognitive communication disorder (CCD), dysarthria and dyspraxia.  She is also an experienced practice educator and regularly supervises students on placement.  She has worked across the care pathway in this field and has experience of working within the NHS, privately and overseas in New Zealand.  She previously enjoyed working as the lead SLT for Richmond community neuro rehab team.  Kirsty has particular interests in the management of progressive neurological conditions, therapy for aphasia/CCD and supervision and SLT professional development.
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Lesley Cavalli is a part-time Lecturer in the Department of Language and Cognition.  She joined the UCL teaching staff in 1996 and currently leads on the teaching of clinical voice disorders within the MSc Speech and Language Sciences.

Lesley graduated as a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) from UCL back in 1988.  Before starting her clinical career in the NHS she worked for a short time as a Research Assistant, joining the UCL team developing early synthesised speech.  She completed an MSc in Human Communication at City University where she continued her focus on the instrumental analysis of speech and voice.

She currently also works at Great Ormond Street Hosptial where she is the Lead SLT in Voice Disorders and Joint Head of SLT Services.  Specific areas of clinical interest include psychogenic voice disorder, paradoxical vocal fold dysfunction and congenital and acquired paediatric ENT pathology, together with a focus on instrumental voice analysis and functional outcomes for the patient.


Michael Clarke is an associate professor and speech and language therapist.  Michael co-ordinates the module SLAN0007 Research and Evidence-based Practice.  His primary clinical and research interests concern children who have little or no functional speech and are provided with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools.  His current research is focused on developing and testing conversation-based language interventions for children who use AAC, and exploring ways to assess language and learning in children who cannot engage with standardised assessments due to physical disability.

profile photo of Janet Collier

Janet Collier works part-time as a lecturer on the MSc Speech and Language Sciences, and also continues to work as a highly specialist speech and language therapist in an NHS acute hospital setting with adults with acquired neurological disorders and other conditions affecting communication and swallowing.  She coordinates the Professional Studies 2 module in Year B, and contributes also to the practice education programme. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Speech Pathology and Therapy and a Masters degree in Research in Clinical Practice, funded by the National Institute for Health Research.  Janet is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Michael Dean is a speech and language therapist and lecturer in the Department of Language and Cognition. His role in the MSc Speech and Language Sciences course includes lectures on cognitive neuropsychology and sentence processing and therapy, professional studies tutorials and workshops, and research project supervision. He works in the UCL Communication Clinic, with a caseload of adults with acquired communication difficulties (mainly aphasia) and as a practice educator to students on placement in the clinic. Before joining UCL, Michael worked in the NHS, in adult in-patient neurological rehabilitation with some experience in more acute settings. Prior to training as an SLT he completed postgraduate and postdoctoral research in cognitive psychology.
Bronwen Evans
Bronwen Evans is an associate professor in Phonetics. She teaches modules in Phonetics and Sociolinguistics across a number of degree programmes and has research interests in sociophonetics, studying how speakers and listeners use and adapt to variation in the speech signal, and second language learning. She is currently involved in a number of funded projects using methodologies from behavioural psychology and neuroscience, and as a result of having a son who tells her that she doesn't say the word 'bath' properly, has become particularly interested in understanding how children develop the ability to use accent variation in speech processing.
Jennie Grassly

Jennifer Grassly is a lecturer in the Department of Language and Cognition and her role on the MSc Speech and Language Sciences involves coordinating the module SLAN0009: Management of Communication Difficulties 3: Language and Cognition (acquired).  This module addresses aphasia, cognitive communication disorder and dementia and covers theory, assessment and intervention approaches.  Jennifer also has a role in teaching and assessment in SLAN0008: Professional Studies.

Jennifer qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2000 and has spent her career working with adults. Initially she worked across a range of adult client groups including ALD, voice and acute but for the last 10 years she has focussed on working with adults with neurological conditions. In 2013, she joined the Bucks Community Neurological Rehabilitation Service working as part of an interdisciplinary team.



Lucy Pepper

Lucy Pepper is a speech and language therapist and lecturer in the Department of Language and Cognition. She coordinates the Professional Studies 1 module in Year A and contributes to the practice education programme.

Alex Perovic is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics. She teaches clinical linguistics on the MSc Speech and Language Sciences and coordinates the Linguistic and Psychological Perspectives module in Year A. Her research focuses on the development of syntax and pragmatics in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and Specific Language Impairment, in English and cross-linguistically.  Alex supervises undergraduate and graduate research projects on topics related to language acquisition in typical and atypical development, in English and other languages.
Rachel Rees is a lecturer in the Department of Language and Cognition and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  She regularly contributes to advances in education practices in the Faculty of Brain Sciences. She worked as a speech and language therapist in the NHS for 20 years, specialising in deafness.  Her research interests include the use of Cued Speech to develop deaf children’s language and literacy skills and a psycholinguistic approach to speech assessment, publishing work in these areas.  She is a member of the UK and Ireland Specialists in Specific Speech Impairment Network.

Kate Shobbrook is a Lecturer in the Department of Language and Cognition and Year A coordinator on the MSc Speech and Language Sciences. She also coordinates and teaches on the Management of Communication Difficulties 1 module. Kate qualified as a speech and language therapist in 2002.  She works with children with speech, language and communication needs, with particular interest in Developmental Language Disorder.  She has worked in a variety of settings, including special and mainstream schools, language resource bases and community clinics.  Kate is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Christina Smith is associate professor in Language and Cognition and an SLT specialising in swallowing and swallowing disorders. She teaches this topic area and also works with adults with acquired swallowing difficulties as part of her NHS job. Christina’s research interests are in swallowing and motor speech disorders and she uses a variety of research methods. Christina is the Admissions Tutor for the MSc Speech and Language Sciences.

Jane Warren trained as a neurologist in Australia before relocating to the UK and undertaking a PhD in language neuroscience. She is a lecturer in the Department of Language & Cognition. She teaches anatomy, physiology and neurology on the MSc Speech and Language Sciences and coordinates the Brain, Mind and Health module in year B. Jane’s research focuses on the functional organisation of brain regions supporting language processes in healthy individuals and in people with acquired language disorders. Her current research centres on investigation of higher-order aspects of language comprehension in healthy and aphasic populations.