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If you want to help people with voice and communication issues, you could complete a speech and language therapy course. We explain what that means at postgraduate level.
Speech and language therapy provides care for adults and children who have issues with their:
Study a speech and language therapy course, and you’ll gain the skills you need to become a speech and language therapist (SLT). The role requires research, analytical and clinical expertise as well as a passion for helping people with various communication disorders.
Alternatively, you could pursue an in-depth research project in the field of speech and language therapy.
A master’s degree will give you the knowledge and training for a career as a SLT. You'll be taught by speech and language experts, learn in modern facilities and practice on clinical placements with real patients.
As well as developing clinical and lab-based skills, you’ll gain transferable skills such as:
Courses are often approved or accredited by bodies that offer career and development opportunities. This includes:
After completing a training course, you should be able to register with the HCPC and begin practising as an SLT.
Qualification options include masters, doctorates, certificates and diplomas in speech and language therapy. Each has a slightly different focus and style of teaching.
Taught masters speech and language therapy
Most masters speech and language courses are Master of Science (MSc) degrees. They let you earn a pre-registration health qualification in a shorter time than an undergraduate degree. Courses combine academic study and practical experiences. You develop clinical skills while applying evidence-based practice. You don’t always need a relevant undergraduate degree to be eligible for this course.
Research in speech and language therapy
Doctorate degrees are usually a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or the shorter Master of Philosophy (MPhil). They let you study a specialist topic of speech and language therapy in depth. You work with other researchers and can choose to focus on areas like therapy, applied linguistics, or public health and policy.
Certificates and diplomas in speech and language therapy
Postgraduate certificates (PGCert) and postgraduate diplomas (PGDip) are shorter versions of the master’s qualification. They’re useful if you’re already professionally qualified and looking to deepen your expert knowledge.
What are postgraduate degrees
Many graduates work as professional speech and language therapists or pathologists. They work in various health and care settings, such as:
It’s also possible to work as a freelance practitioner or set up a private therapy practice.
Several graduates go onto further study and complete a doctorate degree or work in research.
To qualify for a master’s course, you’ll usually need:
MSc – bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with upper second-class honours (2:1) in any subject
Depending on the course and university, you might need relevant work experience and to demonstrate a strong interest in the area. Health and background checks might also be required such as a DBS, especially if your course involves working with the public.
For other postgraduate courses, you’ll usually need:
Examples of postgraduate speech and language therapy courses in the UK:
Typical module topics or areas you could focus your research on include:
On a taught course (MSc/PGCert/PGDip), you could learn through lectures, practical classes, clinical work, tutorials and group projects. Assessment could be through coursework, presentations, written exams and practical assessments.
On a research degree (MPhil/PhD), you’ll be guided by a supervisor but receive less support than on a taught course. You’ll be assessed on your independent research project (thesis) and accompanying oral exam (viva).
It depends on your chosen course. If you’re studying for an MSc that leads to SLT registration, the course is a full-time, fast-track programme that lasts two years.
Otherwise, courses ar e generally:
Part-time courses can last twice as long.
How to fund your postgraduate degree
Other related subjects you could study include:
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