UCL Graduate degrees


Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) MA

This leading programme in the field of dyslexia prepares teachers to critically evaluate and develop evidence-based practice to become specialist teachers and assessors of learners with literacy difficulties. This programme is recognised by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) for Approved Teacher Status (ATS) Approved Practitioner Status (APS) and Associate Member of the BDA (AMBDA).

Key information

Programme starts

September 2019

Modes and duration

Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years

Students are encouraged to take this demanding programme over 3 years in flexible/modular mode. Students who apply for a government loan will need to complete the full MA in just two years.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 15 October 2018
Close: 2 September 2019

Tuition fees (2019/20)

UK/EU: £4,720 (PT)
Overseas: £9,820 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate part-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.


Please note that whilst this course is accredited by the BDA, the BDA is not responsible for the day to day running of the course. Any feedback or queries should therefore be addressed directly to the Programme Leader at UCL Institute of Education.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university in a relevant subject, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required. A minimum of two years' teaching experience is also a requirement and ideally, appropriate experience of working with children with literacy difficulties. Students will need access to pupils under the age of 16 with literacy difficulties to teach and assess. Students will need DBS clearance for modules two and three and the research report. (There is an additional charge of approximately £65 if you need to obtain DBS clearance.)

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: Good

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.

Visa information

This programme is not suitable for international students on a Tier 4 visa.

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

Select your country:

About this degree

Students will gain an understanding of how learners typically develop literacy skills and what happens when difficulties occur. Students will learn how literacy difficulties can be identified and how to develop an individualised support programme. As part of this programme students will administer standardised tests (in their own educational setting) and teach (in similar settings) learners with literacy difficulties.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (150 credits) and a research report (30 credits).

Compulsory modules

All modules are core to this qualification

  • Understanding SpLD (dyslexia)
  • Evidence-Based Practice SpLD (dyslexia)
  • Assessment of SpLD (dyslexia)
  • Research Design and Methodology
  • Research Report

Optional modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Visit the UCL Institute of Education website for more information, including module descriptions, which can be seen by clicking on the module title.

Research project/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a research report of 6,000 to 7,000 words. The report is written over the course of the final year with support from a supervisor (days and times TBC by prior arrangement).

Teaching and learning

We encourage students to study over 3 years via Flexible Modular mode. If you choose to take a government loan, you will need to complete your studies in 2 years. This programme is delivered via face-to-face daytime lectures and evening sessions at UCL Institute of Education. It is assessed by coursework assignments, recordings of administering assessments and teaching pupils, plus a research report. The Dyslexia Modules are generally taught on Wednesdays, and Research Design and Methodology on Tuesday evenings every Autumn term.


Students are required to work with children and young people under the age of 16  to demonstrate core competencies of the programme. Additional learners under 18 are allowed.


Students must find and have access to pupils: we do not find placements for students. Approximately 30 hours of teaching Intervention is required and students will need to find 3 pupils they can assess.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


Part-time students may apply for the UK Government Postgraduate Loan.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Centenary Masters Scholarships

Deadline is 5 April 2019
Accommodation plus tuition fees (1 year)

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


Graduates of this programme are currently working within a broad range of areas. Some are working as specialist teachers of children with SpLD (dyslexia), while others have jobs as specialist teacher assessors; many combine both. Graduates can also be found working as headteachers, special educational needs co-ordinators, local authority advisors, university lecturers, disability advisors and in research roles.


Successful completion of the programme will allow students awarded the ATS/APS to support learners with dyslexia (up to the age of 18 years), and with the AMBDA qualification to undertake diagnostic assessments and support learners with dyslexia.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme is taught by a range of leading researchers and professionals in the field of dyslexia. It uniquely offers a rigorous academic programme combined with professional practice qualifications fully recognised by the British Dyslexia Association and UCL Institute of Education, an internationally recognised university.

Critical engagement with current research and evidence-informed practice, supported by professionals and researchers, will enable the participant to reflect on their learning and enhance workplace practice.

Professional practice is supported by a team of AMBDA specialists. It will provide the understanding, knowledge and skills required to teach and assess children and young people with literacy difficulties.


Please note that whilst this course is accredited by the BDA, the BDA is not responsible for the day to day running of the course. Any feedback or queries should therefore be addressed directly to the Programme Leader at UCL Institute of Education.

Department: Psychology & Human Development

What our students and staff say

Student view

"I found the Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) programme very rewarding: it challenged me to think about my teaching in new ways and I learnt so much that I wish I’d known earlier in my teaching career. The assignments were the perfect balance of academic knowledge and practical application, which really helped to reinforce my understanding of the theories of reading development and how this can be used to support students who are struggling with reading. I loved getting to study alongside lots of other teachers who all had different knowledge and experience. The course lecturers and supervisors were incredibly supportive and knowledgeable, always able to answer questions and giving guidance for assignments and doing it all with a smile!"

Catherine Trinder

Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia)

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Application and next steps


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

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

This programme is suited to experienced teachers, teaching assistants or others with a minimum of two years' relevant experience, with an interest in working with learners with literacy difficulties, and/or wishing to have the ATS, APS or AMBDA qualification that enables them to become specialist teachers or practising assessors.

Application deadlines

All applicants
2 September 2019

Applicants must complete the SpLD application pupil access form and upload it with their application. 

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) at graduate level
  • why you want to study Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging 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.

Contact information

Page last modified on 4 June 2019 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing