Speech and Hearing Sciences

Communication is at the core of human society and without it people are excluded from education, employment and social interaction. Speech and language therapists, audiologists and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters all support people to communicate more effectively so that they can engage fully in society.

Why QMU?

At postgraduate level, the division 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 to qualify as either a speech language therapist or audiologist. A range of modules are also available for qualified audiologists, speech and language therapists or other professionals in related areas who wish to advance their practice, and these may contribute to postgraduate awards. Our
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. Associate students may also access individual modules for continuing professional development.

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 unniversity 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 staff team, facilitating an understanding of the links between hearing, speech and communication.

Speech and Hearing Sciences at QMU has an excellent reputation for educational provision, research and clinical work in speech, language, audiology and communication.

Our aims are to:

  • Educate speech and language therapists, audiologists and BSL/ English interpreters 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 and BSL/English Interpreting, with the goal of improving quality of life for individuals who experience communication
    barriers.
  • Maintain a high profile in the professional and wider academic community.
  • 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 based on the premise that learning is a continuous lifelong experience for both students and educators, and that learning is achieved best in an environment that fosters curiosity, exploration, experimentation, collaboration and trust. Students entering any of the offered courses typically already have well-developed learning skills and a high level of motivation, they will be able to build on previously established skills, experiences and knowledge.

We employ creative and effective learning methods that facilitates an independent and autonomous approach to learning, while providing a supportive but challenging learning environment, together with constructive evaluation and feedback about student performance. This is achieved within a supportive 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 for 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 Speech and Hearing Sciences Communication is at the core of human society and without it people are excluded from education, employment and social interaction. Speech and language therapists, audiologists and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters all support people to communicate more effectively so that they can engage fully in society individual learning style. Assessment is an integral part of the learning process and is designed to encourage an analytical and reflective 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 that encourage deep learning.

These may include:

  • The use of case-based and problem-solving scenarios to promote self-directed and collaborative learning, critical evaluation of evidence, facilitated by a tutor.
  • Experiential learning of clinical and research skills through pre-clinical and clinical placements, role-play and engagement in research.
  • Collaborative learning and development of shared learning resources.

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

Research and contribution to society
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 that 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. CASL draws together the research and clinical expertise of both audiology and speech and language therapy, and ensures that these benefit the wider community. For example, 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. Other socially relevant research topics 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 Langauge 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). 92% of CASL’s work was classed as world-leading or ionternationally excellent.


Facilities
We have fully equipped specialist facilities for both speech and language therapy and audiology. A suite of clinic rooms, situated around a clinic reception area, provides accommodation for clinical activities, clinical skill development 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 as well as specialist equipment for speech analysis, including ultrasound tongue imaging. The second laboratory is primarily for research purposes and contains more complex speech science equipment. The audiology suite consists  of purpose-built test rooms, sound-proof booths and houses a full range of audiological equipment, supporting the development of clinical skills within  the university environment before students embark on clinical placement.

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