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MSc Speech and Language Therapy (Pre-Registration)

Why we're great

  • Work with partnership organisations to share and develop skills and research
  • Increase your eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a speech and language therapist
  • Benefit from day visits working with current speech and language therapists and the opportunity to take part in practice placements

Course options2017-18

Duration: 2 years
Start month: September
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Health and Human Sciences
Fee (Home/EU): £13,500
Fee will be funded by the NHS
Fee (International): £17,950
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
PGT fees information

Course enquiries

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About the course

Are you a graduate who likes working with people? Would you like to become a registered Speech and Language Therapist within two years? If you are keen to become an allied health professional and want to shape the future of speech and language therapy, read on to find out how we can help you achieve those objectives.

Speech and language therapists work with people of all ages who experience communication and swallowing difficulties, enabling them to maximise their independence in their social, academic and working lives. Successful completion of our course leads to eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a speech and language therapist; a pre-registration course is essential to begin a career in this area of therapy.

This is a two-year fast-track programme for graduates with a related degree (psychology; language and linguistics; social science; biological sciences; medical sciences or equivalent). It is a client-focused programme which uses problem-based learning methods to integrate theory and clinical practice. You will undertake day visits and blocks of practice education with speech and language therapists in the workplace.

Our course is continuously developed to reflect contemporary health and social care practice, and clients and voluntary groups, other allied health professionals and speech and language therapy clinicians and service managers continue to be involved, in order to ensure that changes in speech and language therapy practice are incorporated.

You will share some learning experiences with Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Adult Nursing and Mental Health Nursing students on similar two-year accelerated pre-registration programmes. The learning experience at this level includes interprofessional collaboration; studying alongside other health professionals means that you also have the opportunity to gain expert knowledge from them.

Placement Opportunities

In order to prepare you for the workplace, opportunities are provided in practice placements, where you work with speech and language therapists and their teams in a wide variety of settings.

This workplace learning provides essential practical experience of working with service users with communication and swallowing problems, and teams around the clients.

Professional accreditation

We are committed to embedding the NHS Constitution Values (which are strongly reflected in our University values) into everything we do. They define the behaviours and expectations of all our staff and students, underpinning the work we do in the university, clinical arena and other workplaces.

We understand that not all of our students and staff are employed within the NHS, but these values uphold the underlying principles of excellent care as a standard and as such we expect that anyone who has any aspect of their work which ultimately cares for others, will aspire to uphold these values.

For us, involving not only our students but service users, experts by experience, carers and NHS/non NHS professionals in the creation and delivery of all programmes is vital.

Specialist facilities

The School of Health and Human Sciences is located at two sites; in the Kimmy Eldridge building at our Colchester campus and in the Gateway Building at our Southend campus.

Within our School of Health and Human Sciences, we have a range of specialist clinical laboratories and IT facilities to assist you with the effective learning and acquisition of new skills; for students of our MSc Speech and Language Therapy, we have two specialist labs with equipment for researching speech including aided simulations and speech recognition.

We offer excellent physical and online resources in terms of libraries, computer labs, datasets, archives and other research materials. You can take advantage of our links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), which conducts large-scale survey projects, many for government, EU and other public agencies, and has its own library.

The UK Data Archive is also based at our Colchester Campus and stores national research data.

Your future

We currently have graduates working in both clinical and management positions in local trusts, hospitals and care organisations, as well as in local and county councils.

Although the majority of speech and language therapists are employed by the NHS they are increasingly being employed in a wide variety of contexts including education and health and social care. Find out more careers in speech and language therapy from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. These carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore, question, and create powerful ideas. Picked to give you an extensive and in-depth education, they’ll equip you with the specialist knowledge, vital transferrable skills, and the confidence to make a genuine difference to the world around you.

Attendance at the university is full time, along with four clinical placements (two in the first year and two in the second year).

We’re reactive, we’re pioneering, we never stand still, so modules might change from year to year in response to new developments and innovation. Those listed below show how a typical course might look, but more detail on course structure, including details of all optional modules, is available on our Programme Specification.

Year 1

Complex medical issues can be best addressed when interprofessional teams work together. The aim of this module is to develop your understanding of collaborative working practices by exploring current policy drivers, barriers and opportunities for team working, with the aim of improving patient care.

What is speech and language therapy? The focus of this module is on broadening your core knowledge and deepening your understanding of the nature and practice of speech and language therapy. You will study five topic areas to ensure you meet the required level of learning to proceed with further study.

Paediatric speech and language therapy focuses on treating children that are experiencing communication and/or feeding problems. This module will develop your understanding of language processes from a linguistic perspective. You will look at the structure and function of normal speech and language; language development and breakdown; and the rationale for clinical analysis and planned intervention studies. You will also be introduced to current research in the field.

Building on your knowledge gained from earlier modules, you will further develop your understanding of the structure of language and look at the basic principles of speech and language pathology in children. Key topics include phonological and language impairments; evidence based practice; multidisciplinary working; and assessment tools and techniques. You will also be introduced to a range of skills and concepts fundamental to the practice of speech and language therapy.

The aim of this module is to advance your experience and understanding of aspects of speech and language pathology in children. You will be introduced to more specialist areas of study and a number of discreet pathological conditions, their aetiology and presenting characteristics. Language impairment in children will be analysed more deeply and issues related to intervention planning, techniques and appropriateness for treatment will be considered.

This final module of Year 1 builds upon and extends the knowledge and skills you have acquired in earlier modules, to develop your experience and understanding of specialist areas of paediatric speech and language therapy. You will explore fundamental concepts such as special needs, cleft lip and palate, hearing impairment and mental health at an advanced level, and have the opportunity to develop your clinical skills through a 5 week clinical paediatric placement.

You will have the opportunity to build on your existing knowledge of research by exploring a variety of methodologies. This will prepare you for your second year of study when you will conduct your own original research project in an area of interest that is relevant to health care practice.

Year 2

The aim of this module is to further advance your research and problem solving skills enabling you to carry out your own research in your future practice. This will involve the critical appraisal of research from a variety of sources to inform your own practice.

This module looks at the ways in which disease and disability can lead to speech, language and communication problems in adults. You will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the pathology of neurological and oncological diseases, paving the way for further study of the disease process in relation to stroke, progressive neurological disease and cancer in later modules.

The focus of this module is on the introduction of the core adult pathology of dysphagia, voice disorders and head and neck cancer. You will study the anatomy, physiology and neurology of the aero digestive tract and develop your understanding of the typical disease process and the impact that problems in this area can have on a patient’s quality of life.

What impact does progressive neurological disease have on speech and communication? You consider the answer to this question by examining the effect of conditions such as motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and tumour on adult patients. You will also study the impact of these conditions on a patient’s family and your role in assessing and managing ways to enhance their quality of life.

When the area of the brain responsible for language is damaged, for example as a result of a stroke, it can lead to a language disorder known as aphasia. This module looks more deeply at the condition, and the ways in which rehabilitation can be used to enable communication, reduce impact, and enhance quality of life.

This module looks at a wide range of communication disorders in adults including learning difficulties, autism, dementia and traumatic brain injury and the methods of reducing their impact through rehabilitation and enabling strategies. You will also consider disorders of fluency and enhance your clinical reasoning skills by examining wider management strategies and potential service improvements.


  • Teaching staff include clinically qualified lecturers in adult and mental health nursing, physiotherapy and pharmacy, as well as health psychologists, medical sociologists, social policy, informatics and management specialists
  • The multidisciplinary nature of our School and its rapid growth has fostered a dynamic and innovative learning environment
  • Practical skills classes, workshops and placements are used to integrate the theory and practice of speech and language therapy


  • You are assessed through course work, portfolio vivas, clinical assessment forms, presentations and essays
  • You also conduct a research project/dissertation

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UK entry requirements

Please be aware that we are not able to accept applications for deferred entry for this course.

Our applicants should have:

  • a relevant honours degree (minimum classification of lower second). Degree subjects such as psychology, language, linguistics, social science, biological science, medical science or equivalent are desirable. Applicants with degrees in other subjects may also be considered (please email for further information).
  • successful performance at interview

You must also have: two satisfactory references (including an academic reference and a work based one), a satisfactory Occupational Health health Check and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS formerly known as CRB) – both of these are organised by the University.

Eligibility, Fees and Funding

Access is supported by Health Education East of England consequently the course is only available to applicants classified as ‘home’ or ‘EU’ students for tuition fee purposes. In addition, applicants must also be able to meet the NHS funding criteria that you can find in the Frequently Asked Questions on the NHS bursary website.

International and Self-funding Students

Applications will be considered from full fee-paying international applicants for 2017 entry. For details on fees please review our fees pages.

As an international applicant you will be expected to meet the same minimum entry criteria as all other applicants, including evidence of a satisfactory work health check and enhanced criminal clearance prior to the start of the course – please contact us for further information If you aim to work as a speech and language therapist in a country outside of the UK, you will need to check with the relevant regulatory body of that country to confirm suitability.

NHS Constitution and Values

As part of the selection process, students will be expected to demonstrate good knowledge and a clear understanding of the scope of work that a speech and language therapist is required to undertake as well as the significance of the NHS Constitution and its core values (you can find further information on these on the Health Education East of England website and the Gov.UK webpages.


Interviews will take place from November 2016 to April 2017 for the September 2017 intake. If you are selected for interview, then you will also be required to sit a Literacy & Numeracy test.

Interviews for international applicants will be via Skype, details of which will be provided in advance.

Continuing Professional Development

If you are already a registered speech and language therapist, please see Continuing Professional Development on our Health and Human Sciences web pages.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

IELTS 8.0 overall with a minimum component score of 7.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates.

Applications for funded places on the MSc Speech and Language Therapy 2017 entry will be closing on 31 March 2017. We will need to have received all of your supporting documents by that date for your application to be considered.

For UK and EU students registered in 2017, fees will be funded by the NHS.

Additional Documents

Official transcript(s), in English or a certified translation of your academic results to date, showing marks or grades, must be provided at the time you make your application. (Transcripts are not required from current or previous University of Essex students, or from students who have previously completed a degree at Colchester Institute awarded by the University of Essex).

A personal statement with a 500 word limit to support your application saying why you wish to undertake the course and what you hope to achieve from it. If you require a Tier 4 visa to study with us, your personal statement should refer specifically to your reasons for wishing to study in the UK, and why you have chosen your area of study.

An up to date CV must also be provided with your application.

We will also require two references during the application process; one verifiable academic reference, dated, signed and on official institution paper. The second reference must be work-based and this will be dependent on which course you are applying for, it could be for example, from a registered nurse or equivalent outlining the care duties that you perform and to what standard.

For information about funding, references and supporting documents, it is essential that you read our 2 year accelerated programme application notes.

Don’t worry if you cannot provide references when you make your application, as if we make you an offer you will be able to provide these at a later stage.

Visit us

Open days

We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.