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Course content

The Language, Literacies and Dyslexia programme, is aimed at teachers, language teachers, speech and language therapists and other professionals working with children, young people and students in further and higher education at pre-16 and FE/HE education levels who have difficulties with learning literacy skills.

This distance learning masters level programme is essential for practitioners seeking to become specialist practitioners, employable to assess and teach learners with dyslexia and literacy difficulties of school age or in further/higher educationin monolingual as well as bi/multilingual contexts. Successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) level of the course meets the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) criteria in practical assessments and allows students to apply for the BDA professional qualification. 

The University of Birmingham offers three awards at master's level. 

  • First year (Postgraduate Certificate - PGCert) 60 credits
  • Second year (Postgraduate Diploma - PGDip) 120 credits
  • Third year (Masters - MEd) 180 credits

Halfway through the first year of study you will be asked whether you wish to extend your registration to work towards a further award.

Download information on all the postgraduate study programmes in the School of Education (PDF)

Course details

The programme provides a broad and critical perspective of language literacies and literacy difficulties/dyslexia through sociocultural and cognitive research, as well as education policies. It embraces school and further educational demands of literacy skills, the demands of family and social literacy practices, and peer demands of new literacies, such as digital literacies. The programme establishes the fundamental relationship between language and literacy in typical and atypical development. Students study literacy difficulties/dyslexia in contexts of monolingual, multilingual (e.g. FL/SL/AL) and multimodal (e.g. digital literacies).

Studying at a distance means you can work from anywhere, such as in your home or workplace in the UK or overseas. All your studies will be in English and it is a requirement that you practice in an educational context of monolingual, additional English (EAL/ESL/EFL) or other languages. Reference would be made to contexts that are bi/multilingual and multimodal.

Specialist professional practice in dyslexia/specific learning difficulties

Successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) award, meets the specialist professional practice competencies in teaching learners with dyslexia/literacy difficulties at school and FE/HE levels of provision required by the British Dyslexia Association’s ATS/APS, ATS FE/HE accreditation.

Successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) award, meets the specialist professional practice competencies required by the Joint Qualifications Council UK, and the British Dyslexia Association’s AMBDA accreditation, in diagnostic assessment, and intervention/ specialist teaching with learners with literacy difficulties/ specific learning difficulties at school and FE/HE levels of provision. So, the PGDip award will allow practitioners to apply for the BDA’s accreditation (AMBDA, AMBDA FE/HE) depending on their professional qualification – please visit the BDA website http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk for further information. 

For students who follow the AMBDA, AMBDA FE/HE routes, some of the programme and module requirements will be different for study and assessment to develop knowledge and practice in specialist assessment and teaching for learners with literacy needs and difficulties.

The Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) in the School of Education, has a very strong profile in professional development, regionally, nationally and internationally. The tutors who run this programme have national and international profiles in the field of research and practice in language and literacy difficulties and dyslexia. The department also runs a number of other courses in special education which may interest you.

Learning and teaching

At the beginning of each year of study, there is an online induction module to the University of Birmingham programme. This module will give all the necessary information to induct students into the programme so that a residential visit is not required.

The method of learning involves online reading, literature searches, enquiry based learning through activities and discussion with fellow students in your tutor group, and your tutors. Learning is orientated to relating your study to your professional practice. 

Study activities include reading chapters and articles on research and practice, quizzes, online discussion of case studies, tutorials and lectures. Developing studying skills include online searches for research papers, policies and teaching materials, critical reading, problem-solving, and writing skills. There is personal online tutorial support through ‘reflective journaling’ and discussion with your tutor. Regular group monthly tutorials with your tutor group and tutor are held through online conferencing (simliar to Skype).

International students 

We recruit students to the programme from the UK, EU, USA and other countries. Study is through English and students can study literacy difficulties with learners who are learning through EFL or EAL. The programme covers all education phases: primary / secondary, and Further Education /Higher Education. Students are supported in tutor groups with other students who work in the same phase, (where possible in the same region/country) and with a tutor with specialist qualifications in dyslexia and professional experience with learners with dyslexia in the educational phase.


Visit the Language, Literacies and Dyslexia - MEd/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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