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Speech, Language and Communication Needs in Schools: Advanced Practice - MSc

Course Description

Fostering critical reflection, specialist knowledge, and joint professional practice between school-based professionals supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.

Who is it for?

This course is suitable for school-based professionals who provide support for children with speech, language and communication needs.

It is designed for students looking to gain high level knowledge and analytical skills, share their professional experience and perspectives and access current research in their field.

Students will be aiming to raise their profile as a specialist and leader in speech, language and communication needs in the school setting.


The MSc in Speech, Language and Communication Needs in Schools is jointly run by City, University of London and UCL Institute of Education. It brings together speech and language therapists, teachers and other graduate school-based practitioners for collaborative study. The programme is designed to enable students to:
-Understand and critically reflect on research and professional practice across both education and health.
-Develop high level knowledge of educational contexts and children’s language, social, emotional and behavioural development and needs.
-Enhance students’ understanding of research methods and skills.
-Complete a research project in a chosen area under expert supervision.
-Enjoy stimulation and fresh thinking in a community of fellow students, practitioners and research experts.
-Gain recognition as a specialist in the field.

Teaching and learning

Modules are facilitated by experienced clinicians, teachers and leading researchers, using a variety of direct and interactive methods. Some modules take place in large groups supplemented by small group discussion or laboratory sessions that provide hands-on experience of statistical analyses. Specialist modules take place in small groups combining lecturing with student-led discussion and workshop activities often drawing on participants' professional experiences. Moodle, the virtual learning environment at both institutions, provides an online platform for sharing module information and interactive learning. These methods support and are supported by self-directed study.


Modules are assessed through a diverse range of assignments that may include essays, literature reviews, oral presentations, poster presentations, case studies, and data analyses. Assessments require critical evaluation of the research on key issues; selective application of theory and research to a particular setting, group or individual in the student's experience; understanding of research methods; and skills in statistical analysis.


The taught programme comprises:
-Four core modules
-Either one elective module worth 30 credits or two elective modules each worth 15 credits
-A research dissertation.

Teaching takes place in three 10-week terms: autumn, spring and summer. Students will normally take one module per term part-time or two modules per term full-time.

Each module runs over 3-5 whole days, 10 evenings or 10 half days. In addition, students will be expected to spend approximately half a day a week reading around the taught sessions, preparing for discussion, or completing short exercises. Students have up to one year to complete the research dissertation.

Core modules
-Concepts and Contexts of Special and Inclusive Education (30 credits)
-Social, Emotional and Behavioural Development (30 credits)
-Language Learning and Development (15 credits)
-Foundations of Research Methods and Applied Data Analysis (15 credits)

Elective modules - Elective modules are chosen from many available at both institutions and timing depends on module choice. Popular electives at UCL IOE include:
-Literacy Development (30 credits)
-Developmental Language Impairment (30 credits)
-Child and Adolescent Mental Health (30 credits)
-Reading and Spelling Difficulties (30 credits)
-Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) (30 credits)
-Autism: Research and Practice (30 credits)

At City, University of London:
-Cognitive Communication Impairments (15 credits)
-Developmental Language Impairment (15 credits)
-Dysphagia and Disorders of Eating and Drinking (15 credits)
-Child and Adolescent Mental Health: Early Identification and Assessment (15 credits)
-Promoting Child and Adolescent Psychological Development (15 credits)

Career prospects

This MSc qualification raises graduates’ profile as a specialist and leader in speech, language and communication needs in the school setting. It is an advantage for teachers and clinicians seeking higher grade specialist and managerial posts.

Graduates are also eligible to apply for a research degree (MPhil/PhD) and some research posts.

Please note that this MSc does not lead to professional qualification as a speech and language therapist or teacher.

Visit the Speech, Language and Communication Needs in Schools: Advanced Practice - MSc page on the City, University of London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

SHS International Excellence Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

The School of Health Sciences (SHS), together with the University, has identified Postgraduate Programmes as a priority area for strategic expansion and part of this incentive is to increase the number of international (non-EU) students studying one of the Schools MSc programmes.We are therefore offering a number of SHS International Excellence Scholarships of up to £2,000 for students starting one of our MSc programmes in September 2016 and January 2017.Scholarship awards are confirmed on a rolling basis as applications are received, and you can expect to hear from us whether your scholarship application is successful when you are offered a place on the programme. Decisions will be final and made by a panel led by the Associate Dean of Postgraduate Studies. The award will be deducted from the September 2016 tuition fee instalment of a full-time student. For part-time students, half the amount will be deducted from the September 2016 tuition fee, and half from the September 2017 tuition fee.

Value of Scholarship(s)



This scholarship will be awarded to international postgraduate students showing academic and/or clinical/professional excellence, who are registered full or part-time, on one of the MSc programmes offered by the School of Health Sciences. It is only available to students applying for the full MSc programme (not the PG Cert or PG Diploma). Students cannot be in receipt of more than one scholarship/bursary.

Application Procedure

Applicants will automatically be considered for the scholarship on applying for their course.Awards are competitive and will be awarded for academic and clinical excellence as well as for exceptional innovation in enterprise as evidenced within your personal statement.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent qualification and either: a professional qualification in teaching or Speech and Language Therapy; OR, at least two years' experience in an educational setting working with children with speech, language and communication needs.

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Recipient: City, University of London
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