Speech and Hearing Sciences

Speech and language therapists and audiologists make a significant contribution to Scotland’s health and social care sectors, which include the NHS, social services, schools, day centres, the voluntary sector and private practice.

Why QMU?

At postgraduate level, the subject area of Speech and Hearing Sciences at QMU offers a range of options for students seeking professional registration and for those who are already practising professionals. Pre-registration courses are designed for graduates who wish to be educated to master’s level in order to qualify as either a speech language therapist or audiologist. A range of modules are also available for qualified audiologists, speech and language therapists, teachers of the deaf or other professionals who wish to advance their practice, and these may contribute to postgraduate awards. Our new MSc BSL/ English Interpreting (Post-Reg) is an opportunity for experienced BSL/ English interpreting practitioners to achieve a recognised academic qualification that includes a focus on specialist areas of interpreting practice.

Speech and Hearing Sciences at QMU offers prospective students a small and friendly environment for learning, and our professionally-relevant courses are designed to meet the changing needs of students, employers, and society. The presence of audiology, BSL/English interpreting and speech and language therapy courses within the same subject area is unusual in the UK, but has significant potential benefits, given the complex interplay between the biological, psychological, social and cultural factors that underlie communicative behaviour. Students on pre- registration courses are supported by a multi-professional staffteam, facilitating an understanding of the links between hearing, speech and communication.

Speech and Hearing Sciences at QMU have an excellent reputation for our educational provision, research and clinical work in speech, language, audiology and communication. Our aims are to:

  • educate speech and language therapists and audiologists to the high standards required by each profession, by providing a learning environment that encourages all students to reach their full potential;
  • pursue research excellence in speech, language and hearing disorders, with the goal of improving quality of life for individuals with impaired communication;
  • maintain a high profile in the professional and wider academic community, and
  • enhance our reputation as a recognised centre of excellence for teaching, interdisciplinary research and clinical practice.

Our approach to learning and teaching

Our learning and teaching approaches are developed using the following underpinning core values in relation to student-centred education:

  • Learning is embedded in the principles of equality; valuing and capitalising on the individual diversity of students and the richness of their knowledge and experience.
  • Learning is a continuous lifelong process for both students and educators.

A focus on the processes of learning is fundamental to our learning and teaching approaches. It is expected that students entering any of the offered courses will already have well-developed learning skills and a high level of motivation, so that they will be able to build on previously established skills, experiences and knowledge. Staff will aim to facilitate an independent, autonomous approach to learning, while providing a supportive but challenging learning environment, together with constructive evaluation and feedback about student performance. This is achieved through the provision of a facilitative environment, which encourages reflection, and sharing of knowledge and experiences as a basis for personal and professional growth, along with use of the humanistic and adult learning theories that promote valuing and respect of others, relevance of learning and recognition of emotional aspects of learning.

Students will be able to engage in a range of learning and teaching methods, in a way that suits each student’s individual learning style. Assessment is an integral part of the learning process and is designed to encourage an analytical approach to practice, which draws on a deep understanding of theoretical principles and critical evaluation of available evidence. The emphasis is on active learning approaches which encourage deep learning.

In summary, the courses are designed to allow progressive development and integration of practical skills, intellectual development and theoretical knowledge.

Industry links

Our Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre (CASL) provides a focus for our research and knowledge exchange. The main aim of the Centre is to support clinically -relevant research which will assist in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of communication disorders.

QMU has an international reputation for outstanding research in the area of speech sciences and communication. The Research Centre draws together the research and clinical expertise of both audiology and speech and language therapy, and ensures that these benefit the wider community. Researchers are currently exploring the application of high speed ultrasound to the management of communication disorders, and the use of mobile phone technology to support vocal health. Socially relevant research topics also include the management of hearing problems in care home settings, and the relationship between language impairment and social inclusion in young offenders.

The Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre builds on years of pioneering work achieved in the area of speech sciences. At QMU, much of the work has focused on developing technologies, in collaboration with engineers and computer scientists, which provide visual images of the tongue and its movement inside the mouth during speech.

Our success in this area was demonstrated in the 2014 REF exercise (a UK-wide evaluation of research quality and impact); CASL’s research was rated 2nd in the UK and 1st in Scotland for the proportion of work classed as worldleading or internationally excellent (92%).


We have fully-equipped clinical environments for both speech and language therapy and audiology. A suite of clinic rooms, situated around a clinic reception area, provides accommodation for clinical activities and research. There are two speech science laboratories. One is used primarily for undergraduate and postgraduate student laboratory work, and has an adjacent recording studio. The second laboratory is primarily for research purposes and contains specialist speech science equipment. The audiology suite consists of purpose-built test rooms, sound-proof booths and includes a full range of audiological equipment, supporting the development of clinical skills within the university environment before going out on clinical placement.

Find out more information on how to apply for a course at QMU.