Human Communication Sciences, MSc

Duration: Full-time 12 months, Part-time 24-60 months student with headphones

The aim of this course is to prepare students whose first degree (and/or where relevant, their work experience) is in psychology, linguistics, medicine, modern languages or speech language pathology for independent research in the field of human communications sciences, and/or to return to their place of work as recognised specialists in a given area. Other first degrees or work experience will be considered on individual merit.

Coursework and assessment

Candidates pursue one or a combination of themes in human communication sciences. These include: fundamental speech-language sciences; psychology and psycholinguistics; speech-language pathology/therapy; applied linguistics and bilingualism; research methods and statistics. The courses offered include:

  • Fundamental Speech-Language Sciences
    Anatomy, Physiology, Neurology of Speech, Language and Hearing, Paediatric Neurology, Phonetics, Phonology, Introductory Linguistics, Introductory Psychology
  • Psychology and Psycholinguistics
    Psycholinguistics, Cognitive Psychology, Neuropsychology (with clinical practicum as separate module), Aphasiology, Language Acquisition, Communication in Pyschiatry.
  • Applied Linguistics
    Instrumental Phonetics, Applied Phonology, Grammatical Analysis for school and clinic, Bilingualism, Second Language Acquisition, Computational Linguistics, Social Psychology of Language, Discourse Analysis
  • Speech-Language Pathology/Therapy
    Reading and Writing disorders, Motor Speech Disorders, Normal and Pathological Voice, Stuttering, Carer/Speaker Perspectives on Disability, Alternative/augmentative Communication, Adult Learning Disability

Further modules are also available in other academic schools within the University.

Within each grouping further specialist strands are possible eg childhood or acquired speech-language pathologies in the speech-language pathology section, neuropsycholinguistics as a sub route in the language and psychology section. The selection of modules also provides the possibility to create specialist strands by uniting options from several subsections:

  • a 'speech production' specialisation by combining elements from fundamental speech sciences, speech-language pathology and language and psychology
  • a 'bilingualism and second language learning' specialisation by combining applied linguistics and language and psychology options.

You complete taught modules to a value of 120 credits. This includes a compulsory module on research methods, design and statistics, and a choice from the set of specialist modules described above. You also complete a dissertation (approx 10-12,000 words)of 60 credits

Teaching involves lectures, seminars, tutorials and for certain modules clinical or laboratory based practicals. Assessment varies according to modules and may be through case studies, practicals, essays or multiple choice tests. Some courses are shared with undergraduate students, but all assessments are geared to postgraduate requirements.

Selection for the programme

The intake per year is approximately 10 students. Access to some of the clinical practicum modules is restricted by the availability of places.

For further enquiries about this programme, please contact:

Gillian Cavagan
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 222 7388 (available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday)

PLEASE NOTE: The MSc in Human Communication Sciences is not accepting applications for the 2008-9 academic year. Plans are underway to offer a new MSc in evidence-based practice in communication disorders beginning in September 2008. Details of this programme will be posted on the website as soon as they become available and subject to University approval. Please check back periodically or email us ( to be notified when this information becomes available.