• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Social Sciences
  • Study Mode: Full Time+Part Time

Bringing together engineers, teachers, practitioners and individuals with communication difficulties, as a multi-disciplinary group, to improve the design and utilisation of AAC technology.

We have an international reputation in the development of Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. The main aim of the course is to provide individuals with psychology, computing, industry or clinical care backgrounds, a tailored research training that will allow them to become more efficient and effective scientist-practitioners in AAC.

Why study this course at Dundee?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to strategies and techniques used by individuals who experience difficulties with communication because they have little or no functional speech. AAC can augment speech or it can provide a replacement 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-centred.

Academics in psychology and computing have collaborated to develop this course. The main aim of the course is to provide individuals with psychology, computing, industry or clinical care backgrounds, a tailored research training that will allow them to become more efficient and effective scientist-practitioners in AAC. This will be achieved through an enhanced understanding of:

  • the psychology of language and communication development
  • the design ethnography of AAC solutions
  • the engineering of AAC solutions
  • the effective evaluation of AAC solutions on an individual and group basis

Please note that this course does not lead to a formal qualification in Speech and Language Therapy.

The course is offered on a full time and flexible part-time basis (exit awards of PGCert and PGDip also available).

Funded Places Available

The University of Dundee is pleased to offer a limited number of fully-funded places to eligible students for this course. This is an initiative from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) designed to support key sectors in the Scottish economy to develop a high-level skills base.

Only those UK/EU students who have been resident in Scotland or the EU for the preceding three years and not for the purposes of study are eligible for this funding.

See Fees & Funding section at bottom of this page for more detail.

What is so good about this course?

This course offers a unique approach to the study and development of AAC solutions because of our emphasis on multi-disciplinary teamwork.

Find out more on the School of Psychology's MSc Augmentative and Alternative Communication course page.

Who should study this course?

This course is aimed at engineers, teachers, practitioners and individuals with communication difficulties, plus anyone who wishes to improve the design and utilisation of AAC technology.

How you will be taught

Learning methods will include oral and written presentations, peer assessments of oral presentations, problem-solving assignments and feedback, and interactive computer assignments.

Some of the exercises will be group-based and will be followed by presentation of the results of the analysis. Learners will be expected to be able to respond adequately to questions relating to the interpretation of the analyses.

One-on-one supervision of a research dissertation by a single tutor is designed to promote continuity in the learning experiences provided.

How you will be assessed

The course will be assessed mainly by coursework.

Each module is worth 20 credits apart from the Research Dissertation Module which is worth 60 credits. The total number of credits awarded is 180 for an MSc course.

What you will study

Core Modules

This module provides a firm foundation to the practical aspects of conducting modern psychological research. By the end of the module, students should be able: to survey, review, and critique the literature; understand ethical issues in research; generate research ideas, evaluate them, and present a coherent case for why a particular research project should be undertaken. Students will get plenty of opportunity to develop their ability and confidence in presenting their work through group presentations, written work and research posters. Assessment is 100% coursework.

This module will introduce approaches to collecting and analysing qualitative data, including: interviewing (open, semi-structured or structured), ethnographic methods, single and multiple case studies, action research, discourse analysis, conversation analysis, textual analysis, content analysis, focus groups, and analysis of audio and video recordings. The class will involve student presentations and much classroom discussion. Formal assessment for this module takes the form of exercises that requires students to demonstrate knowledge about a broad range of methodological perspectives and debates.

Students will undertake a substantial individual research project, jointly supervised by staff from the School of Psychology and School of Computing.  The project will involve a literature review, conception and design of an appropriate experiment, data collection and data analysis. As part of this module students are required to submit an 8000 - 10,000 word dissertation in the form of a scientific article at the end of the academic year (August). In addition, a poster presentation on the progression of the research will occur approximately a month before the submission of the dissertation. A listing of relevant supervisors and possible dissertation topics will be discussed during the MSc Induction Day.

This module will provide an understanding of statistical analyses used in psychological research. Throughout this module we will consider when it is appropriate to run particular analyses, how to run each type of analysis in SPSS and how to interpret the output, and how to clearly present the results of analyses. Depending on the prior knowledge of the students, topics covered include: simple regression, multiple regression (standard and hierarchical regressions), ANOVA, ANCOVA, MANOVA, mediation and moderation analysis, power analysis, and factor analysis. Classes will last two hours combining both lecture and computer workshop methods of teaching.

A mix of coursework and in-class quizzes will be used for assessment, incorporating on-going assessment of concept development (brief in-class quizzes), collaborative learning through group work exercises (research poster), diverse skill development (contribute answers to an online database, www.statisticsrocks.info), and deep-learning and knowledge building (end-of-semester quiz).

Advanced Modules

One advanced module from the following list

Students can work with a supervisor of their choice in a specialised area of Psychological or Computing Research on a one-to-one basis. This typically takes the form of the student operating as a research assistant, assisting with design, running and analysis of an experiment. Students will be expected to familiarise themselves with the appropriate research and theoretical background. A listing of relevant supervisors will be given to you during the MSc induction Day.

Aims

To provide experience of the research process through tasks such as developing a research question, constructing hypotheses, learning about new methodologies, carrying out data collection, analysing and presenting findings in written form.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Students will be required to complete 90 hours (45 hours for the 10 credit module) of research time.  Assessment will be based on a laboratory logbook documenting their experiences and a 2,500 word (maximum) research report. Students will be expected to attend initial seminars before starting their research hours.

The course offers an analysis of reading development and disability from a biological, cognitive and behavioural point of view.

Developmental dyslexia will be examined in relation to current understanding of word recognition and literacy acquisition. We will also consider the implications of this research for practical educational questions concerning the definition, assessment and treatment of reading difficulties.

The class meets for lectures and seminars. Students research each topic and prepare either an oral presentation or a written summary for each seminar as a basis for the discussion of theories, methods and results in a small-group setting. These methods aim to strengthen critical thinking about research findings in this area and to develop spoken and written presentation skills.

There are two essay assignments which comprise the assessment for the module. Each essay (maximum 2,500 words) contributes 50% of the final mark for the module.

Topics normally include: theories of reading development; definitions of dyslexia; core features of dyslexia; individual variation and subtypes; acquisition of phonological skills; genetic influences on reading and dyslexia; brain structure and function in relation to reading development and dyslexia; magnocellular deficit theory; intervention and remediation.

This option will place human behaviour in the context of our evolutionary history. It will cover natural and sexual selection pressures on, for example, group behaviour, sexual attraction, mate choice, altruism and parenting. It will address contemporary issues in evolutionary psychology including debates around methodology and interpretation of findings from modern populations.

The aim of the option is to enable students to situate behaviour and psychology in the context of evolutionary history. To achieve this, students will develop an understanding of the evolutionary processes that shape behaviour and of the methods employed in such research. More broadly, the option will allow students to develop critical thinking skills by evaluating the application of evolutionary theory to behaviour.

Indicative content (subject to some change):

  • evolutionary processes (Natural and sexual selection)
  • sociality (Why do we form social relationships? Which relationships do we invest most heavily in?)
  • Mate choice (What demands govern our choice of sexual partners?)
  • Attraction (Why are we attracted to particular faces, body types and olfactory cues?)
  • Intelligence (How can evolutionary processes explain individual- and species-level differences in intelligence?)
  • Mating strategies (Are humans really monogamous? Are we unique in this?)
  • Evolutionary medicine (Are there adaptive benefits to health problems such as depression and schizophrenia?).

Teaching methods

The option will be delivered through 12 2-hour sessions that will be spread between semesters 1 and 2. It will be taught through a combination of traditional lecture material (largely in the first session(s)) followed by seminar-type discussions and debates based on key readings. There are two essay assignments which comprise the assessment for the module.  Each essay (maximum 2,500 words) contributes 50% of the final mark for the module.

Recent National reviews have highlighted the need for better training in the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). The aim of this course is to enhance the career prospects of existing and prospective practitioners in AAC.

You should hold, or expect to hold a first or second class honours degree in Psychology, or a relevant area such as Computing, Engineering, Education or Speech & Language Therapy.

 EU and International qualifications


English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 6.0
Reading 6.0
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0

 Equivalent grades from other test providers

 

English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting 2017/18
Scottish and EU students £5,950 per year of study
Scottish and EU applicants for this course may be eligible for a SFC fully-funded place
Rest of UK students £5,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Overseas students (non-EU) £14,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants

Scottish Funding Council (SFC) Funding

This is an initiative from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) designed to support key sectors in the Scottish economy to develop a high-level skills base, the University of Dundee is pleased to offer 60 fully-funded places to eligible students across ten taught postgraduate programmes.

Eligibility

Only those UK/EU students who have been resident in Scotland or the EU for the preceding three years and not for the purposes of study are eligible for this funding.

Funding

This funding covers the full tuition fee cost for your chosen programme of study.  You can study one year full time or two years part time on selected programmes.

How to apply

There is no formal application to complete, when you apply for your chosen programme please indicate on the UKPASS application form that you would like to be considered for the SFC funded places.   If you have not indicated this scholarship on your UKPASS application if you meet the eligibility criteria your application will automatically be assessed for this funded place.

Funded places will be awarded competitively to applicants with the strongest applications in the judgement of the programme leaders. This will principally be based on a student's prior academic performance, but equivalent work experience may also be taken into account. 

You apply for this course via the UCAS Postgraduate (UKPASS) website which is free of charge. You can check the progress of your application online and you can also make multiple applications.

You'll need to upload relevant documents as part of your application. Please read the How to Apply page before you apply to find out about what you'll need.

  Degree Course Code
Apply NowAugmentative & Alternative Communication MScP051224

Course Contact

Dr Lynne Duncan
Social Sciences
l.g.duncan@dundee.ac.uk
+44 (0)1382 384629