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Language Sciences (with specialisation in Sign Language and Deaf Studies) (MSc/PGDip/PGCert)

Course Content

Course content

This specialisation in Sign Language and Deaf Studies is unique amongst existing Master's degrees in including components in the psychology and linguistics and neuroscience of deafness and sign language, taught by staff at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre. Students also have the opportunity to study introductory British Sign Language.

About this degree

Students take a set of core modules and then specialise in linguistics, psychology of language, and/or interpreting. In selecting the modules for specialisation, students are able to take full advantage of the breadth of expertise in language research in the UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two mandatory modules (45 credits), four specialisation modules (60 credits), one optional modules (15 credits) and a research project (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) consisting of two mandatory modules (45 credits), four core modules (60 credits), and one optional module (15 credits) is also offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate of four mandatory modules (60 credits) is also offered.

Core modules

  • Introduction to the Brain and Imaging
  • Research Methods: Principles, Skills and Applications
  • Specialisation modules
  • Students take four specialisation modules (or three if they already hold BSL CACDP Level 1 or equivalent).
  • Introduction to British Sign Language
  • Deafness: Cognition and Language
  • Linguistics of Sign Languages
  • Introduction to Deafhood

Optional modules

Students then select one optional module from all those offered within the Division of Psychology & Language Sciences, subject to availability and agreement with the Programme Director (students who already hold BSL level one or equivalent select two). Recommendations include:

  • Foundations of Linguistics
  • Historical and Social Context of Interpreting
  • Interaction and Language Management of Interpreting 
  • Introduction to Children’s Language Development
  • Multimodal Communication and Cognition
  • Sociolinguistics

Not all modules will run every year, some modules may require a minimum number of registered students.


All students undertake an independent research project in an area of language science which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, small-group teaching and a virtual learning environment. Some modules also involve workshops or practical classes. Student performance is assessed through coursework, examinations and the research dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Language Sciences (with specialisation in Sign Language and Deaf Studies) MSc


The majority of students who graduate from Language Sciences MSc programmes go on to further study or research. Recent graduates have gone on to PhD study in UCL, and other UK and overseas institutions. Others have gone to work in related industries, for example in speech technology industries, cochlear implants manufacturers, and in education. The skills that the MSc develops - independent research, presentation skills, and statistics - are transferable and very highly sought outside of academia.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The division undertakes world-leading research and teaching in mind, behaviour, and language. Staff and students benefit from cutting-edge resources including extensive laboratories for research in speech and language, perception, and cognition.

Opportunities for students to work with world-renowned researchers exist in all areas of investigation. The division offers a supportive environment including numerous specialist seminars, workshops, and guest lectures.

The Language Sciences MSc provides the opportunity for in-depth study of one or more areas of the Language Sciences. The programme is an 'umbrella degree', with a number of specialisation strands that follow a common structure.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences

83% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Visit the Language Sciences (with specialisation in Sign Language and Deaf Studies) (MSc/PGDip/PGCert) page on the University College London website for more details!




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