MSc in Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Augmentative and Alternative Communication refers to strategies and techniques used by individuals who experience difficulties with communication because they have little or no functional speech. AAC can support (i.e. augment) speech or it can provide a replacement (i.e. is an alternative) for spoken communication. In addition to supporting expressive communication, AAC can also support the development of language and natural speech. The development of effective AAC aids is inherently multi-disciplinary and user-centered. Often these aids have to be tailored to the needs of specific individuals and the challenge is to provide tools that will allow the user to develop their communication skills in as naturalistic way as possible whatever their stage of language development. The aims of this interdisciplinary course are to provide individuals with a psychology, computing, industry or clinical care background with a better understanding of the latest developments in: 1) the psychology of the development of language and communication; 2) the design ethnography of AAC solutions; 3) the engineering of AAC solutions; and 4) the effective evaluation of AAC solutions on an individual and group basis. However, the over-arching aim of the course is to provide individuals with sufficient research training to allow them to become effective scientist-practitioners.


Semester 1 (Sep-Dec)

  • Research Foundations (20 credits)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (20 credits)

Semester 2 (Jan-Mar)

  • Advanced Quantitative Methods (20 credits)
  • Computing Research Frontiers (20 credits)
    - consisting of short sub modules on specific AAC topics

Flexible Options Semester 1/2

Depending on experience, background and interests, students may select additional advanced topic modules, a practicum or additional statistics modules up to a maximum of 40 credits.

The advanced modules on offer vary from year to year, a typical list relevant to this course is shown below:

  • Eye Movements and Cognition (20 credits)
  • Current Issues in Psycholinguistics (20 credits)
  • Reading Development and Disability (20 credits)
  • Language and the Mind (20 credits)
  • Multimedia Audio (20 credits)
  • Human Computer Interaction (20 credits)
  • Research Practicum (10 or 20 credits)
  • Introductory Statistics and/or Intermediate Statistics (10 credits each) (Sem1)

Research Project (Oct-Aug)

  • Research Dissertation (60 credits) – dissertation activities comprise of Initial Literature Review, Research Project and Research Report

The exact timing of the Dissertation Research Project and the Research in Practice will vary from student to student depending on their specific course choices and will be negotiated in such a way to ensure a balanced workload over the year.

Entry Requirements

For entry requirements and funding options please see the online prospectus page

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