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

Bringing together people from a range of disciplines and practices to interact with individuals with communication difficulties to improve AAC technology design.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

You will conduct a piece of independent research in an area of your choice

Group of students in Psychology department

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, AAC can also support the development of language and natural speech. 

 

Why study this course at Dundee?

Dundee has an international reputation in the development of AAC devices. Academics in Psychology and Computing have collaborated to develop this course, which is inherently multi-disciplinary and user-centred. The main aim of is to provide individuals with psychology, computing, industry, teaching 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
  • evidence-based evaluation of AAC solutions on an individual and group basis

At Dundee, we have specialised equipment, dedicated laboratories and world-class research facilities. These include EEG labs, a variety of eye tracking technologies, 2D and 3D movement tracking systems and offsite fMRI access via the Clinical Research Centre at Ninewells Teaching Hospital. Learn more about our research facilities

What is so good about this course?

Psychology is a small, friendly department which offers focused teaching and research training. This means that we get to know our students and can provide them with the individual support they need throughout their studies. This is evidenced by our ranking in the top 10% of Psychology departments in the UK for student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2016).

Computing at the University of Dundee is truly distinctive, and our commitment to the student experience has seen us rated 3rd in the UK for Computing by the 2016 National Student Survey and 1st in Scotland. Our students have a unique opportunity to collaborate with a broad range of user groups who meet in the purpose-built Queen Mother Building to ensure that technological systems are developed to meet the needs and aspirations of a wide variety of people, including those with severe speech and physical impairments and adults with acquired aphasia.

Our MSc students have their own dedicated social and study areas within the Psychology and Computing buildings. There is an active student Psychology society, which organizes social events. It is easy to meet students from other disciplines (e.g. architecture, engineering, business, geography, law, and politics). This will allow you to situate your learning in a broader context, as well as to make contact with other students who have come from across the world to study in Dundee. 

The AAC course allowed me to get the best of two disciplines: Psychology and Computing, which has led to a huge variety of new knowledge - from designing a PokemonGo App to conducting in-depth qualitative interviews - and has led to some diverse career options. Dundee is really at the forefront of AAC research and the course provides invaluable experience working closely with the people who use AAC devices. The course has taught me more than I could ever imagine and I feel like I have left at the forefront of first class research and part of the ever expanding computing industry.” 

Jenna Lyons

YouTube Poster Image (Cached)

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

How you will be taught

All our assessments are 100% coursework-based, including:

  • essays
  • small seminar-style presentations
  • statistics exercises and quizzes
  • research proposals/reports
  • poster presentation
  • usability design projects
  • research dissertation

How you will be assessed

  • Lectures and seminars
  • In-class group work
  • Workshops
  • Site visit
  • Tutorials
  • Research seminars by invited speakers
  • Training and developmental opportunities (e.g. careers, CVs, presentation/interview skills)

You’ll also take part in the fortnightly meetings of the Straight Talking Group which is an expert user group of individuals using AAC. This group works with researchers to evaluate and develop AAC technology and to support the teaching activities on the course.

What you will study

Core Modules

Organisation

The Module Co-Ordinator is Dr Rachel Menzies

If you want to talk about an aspect of the module or your work on it, please make an appointment to see the lecturer.

If you use email, please include "AC51039 " in the heading.


About the Module

This module explores theory in user experience, including design pattern, human factors, and evaluation methods. You will then work in a team to use design and prototyping techniques, creating a user-focussed solution to a given problem.


Credit Rating

There are 10 SCQF points available on this module.


Module Timetable

WeekTopics Covered
1  
2  
3  
4 Introduction to UX, whiteboard challenge
5 Stakeholders, Scenarios and Personas, Human Factors
6 Design Patterns, paper prototyping
7 Mobile UX
8 Digital and interactive prototyping, Product Design
9  

Assessment and Coursework

Coursework counts for 100% of the final module mark.
The final degree exam counts for 0% of the final module mark.


Assignments

Marking criteria are provided on My Dundee for all assignments so that you know what we are looking for when we are marking your coursework. Please ensure that you refer to these when completing assignments.

TitleWeek GivenWeek DueEffort Expected (hours)Value (%)
Design report 5 7 50 50
AAC essay 8 12 50 50

Resources

All course material is available on My Dundee. This includes copies of lecture materials, practical exercises, and assignments. The reading list for this module can be accessed from My Dundee and provides recommended materials for completing the module.

Organisation

The Module Co-Ordinator is Dr David Flatla

If you want to talk about an aspect of the module or your work on it, please make an appointment to see the lecturer.

If you use email, please include "AC52013" in the heading.


About the Module

This module explores key concepts in Human Computer Interaction through practical tasks and critical evaluation of the research literature. This includes elements of the history and development of HCI, mobile HCI, situational impairments, review of published research papers, and a quantitative experiment to assess the quality of an interface.


Credit Rating

There are 20 SCQF points available on this module.


Module Timetable

WeekTopics Covered
1 History of HCI
2 Presentations
3 Interaction Elements
4 Quantitative Methods
5 Experimental Design
6 Data
7 Statistical Analysis
8 Mobile HCI & Situational Impairments
9 Current Trends in HCI
10 Revision
11 Revision
12 Revision

Assessment and Coursework

Coursework counts for 50% of the final module mark. 
The final degree exam counts for 50% of the final module mark. 


Assignments

Marking criteria are provided on My Dundee for all assignments, so that you know what we are looking for when we are marking your coursework. Please ensure that you refer to these when completing assignments.

TitleWeek GivenWeek DueEffort Expected (hours)Value (%)
Presentation 1 2 20 20
Paper Discussion 3 5 10 10
Experiment Report 5 9 20 20

Reading List

All course material is available on My Dundee. This includes copies of lecture materials, practical exercises, and assignments. The reading list for this module can be accessed from My Dundee and provides recommended materials for completing the module.

Organisation

The Module Co-Ordinator is Dr. Rachel Menzies

If you want to talk about an aspect of the module or your work on it, please make an appointment to see the lecturer.

If you use email, please include "AC52044" in the heading.


About the Module

Research Frontiers is a final year module which runs in the second semester. In this module, you will be exposed to highly focused areas of leading edge research in computing. You will gain a detailed understanding of computing research topics, which developing transferable skills connected with approaches to research and advanced development.

AC52044 is a 10 credit module. It consists of two blocks; from which you will select topics to study. You will select a total of two units, one from the first block and one from the second block.The topics available will be indicated to

The topics available will be indicated to you in a presentation at the end of semester 1. These will be drawn from the research expertise within computing.Note: For students on the MSc Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Note: For students on the MSc Augmentative and Alternative Communication programme, you will take (Block 1) Assistive Technology and (Block 2) Augmentative and Alternative Communication.


Credit Rating

There are 20 SCQF points available on this module.


Module Timetable

WeekTopics Covered

1

Block 1

2

Block 1

3

Block 1

4

Block 1

5

Block 1

6

Block 2

7

Block 2

8

Block 2

9

Block 2

10

Block 2

11

 

12

 


Assessment and Coursework

Coursework counts for 100% of the final module mark.
The final degree exam counts for 0% of the final module mark.


Assignments

Marking criteria are provided on My Dundee for all assignments so that you know what we are looking for when we are marking your coursework. Please ensure that you refer to these when completing assignments.

Assignments will be made available within each option. The total coursework mark for each option is worth 50% of your overall grade.


Resources

All course material is available on My Dundee. This includes copies of lecture materials, practical exercises, and assignments. The reading list for this module can be accessed from My Dundee and provides recommended materials for completing the module.

This module provides a firm foundation to the practical aspects of conducting modern psychological research. By the end of the module, you should be able: to survey, review, and critique the literature; understand ethical issues in research; generate research ideas and evaluate them. 

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.

A substantial individual research project with a supervisor of your choice. Supervision, on a one-to-one basis, will guide you through a literature review, conception and design of an experiment, data collection and analysis. The dissertation will be written up in the form of a scientific article (8000-10,000 words). 

This module will provide you with an understanding of advanced statistical analyses used in psychological research. Depending on student’s prior knowledge, topics covered include:

  • simple regression
  • multiple regression (standard and hierarchical regressions)
  • ANOVA
  • ANCOVA
  • MANOVA
  • mediation and moderation analysis
  • power analysis and factor analysis

Advanced Modules

One advanced module from the following list

This is a research assistantship, learning about the design, running and analysis of an experiment. You will participate in ongoing research in a Psychology or Computing lab or in a real-world setting. This is an opportunity to add to your portfolio of research skills.

You will learn to analyse reading development from a biological, cognitive and behavioural point of view, and to consider the implications of this research for practical educational questions concerning the definition, assessment and treatment of reading difficulties.

Topics usually include:

  • definitions of dyslexia
  • brain areas involved in reading
  • interventions
  • visual attention and reading

You will be introduced to gesture research, focussing on gestures' intrinsic link to communication as well as its potential to provide insights into other cognitive processes.

Topics usually include:

  • the origin of gesture
  • links between speech and gesture
  • gesture and development: gesture and working memory
  • gesture and the brain: individual differences in gesturing

Credit rating: 15

Clinical & applied Psychology in:

  • healthcare settings,
  • forensic psychology,
  • addiction,
  • eating disorders,
  • learning disability,
  • child & adolescent mental health,
  • clinical health psychology,
  • psychological contributions to dementia treatment,
  • neuropsychology,
  • trauma,
  • suicide,
  • alternative ways to deliver effective treatments.

This module will be delivered by clinical psychologists from NHS Tayside. You will be taught in an interactive seminar environment where you will discuss readings and contribute to debates.

You will be assessed via 2 coursework essays.

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?)

You will be introduced to cognitive development in human infants. You will gain an understanding of: (1) a broad range of current research on infant cognitive development, (2) alternative theories of infant cognitive development, (3) key experimental methods.

Topics usually include:

  • premature birth
  • cognitive effects of nutrition and teratogens
  • memory development
  • infant number concepts
  • graded-representations hypothesis
  • causal knowledge
  • intention attribution

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.

Others use the qualification to improve their chances of getting on to educational and clinical psychology courses, or as a stepping stone to PhD research. Several students have taken the course to move into jobs as support workers, Assistant Psychologists or have gone on to train as Speech & Language therapists. 

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 2018-19
Scottish and EU students £7,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Rest of UK students £7,950 per year of study
Overseas students (non-EU) £19,950 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

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