Augmentative & Alternative Communication MSc


Program Description

Why 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, 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 the course 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.

Computing at the University of Dundee is truly distinctive. 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.

Teaching & Assessment

How you will be taught:

  • 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.

How you will be assessed

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

What you will study

Core Modules

  • AC51039 - User Experience
  • AC52013 - Human-Computer Interaction
  • AC52044 - Research Frontiers
  • PY51001 - Research Foundations
  • PY51002 - Qualitative Research Methods
  • PY52004 - Research Dissertation
  • PY52007 - Advanced Quantitative Methods

Advanced Modules

One advanced module from the following list:

  • PY50003 - Research in Practice
  • PY50404 - Reading Development and Disability
  • PY50428 - Gesture, Cognition and Communication
  • PY50432 - Current Issues in Psychological Health Care
  • PY50434 - Evolution and Behaviour
  • PY54008 - Infant Development


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.

Entry Requirements

You should hold, or expect to hold a first or second class honours degree in Psychology or another degree that includes a substantial Psychology component. If you have any questions, please contact Dr Lynne Duncan.

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 6.0
Reading 6.0
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

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.

Fees & Funding

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.

Fee status Fees for students starting 2020-21
Scottish and EU students £7,650 per year of study
Rest of UK students £7,650 per year of study
International students (non-EU) £18,150 per year of study

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students will increase by no more than 5% per year for the length of your course.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One-off cost Ongoing cost Incidental cost
Graduation fee Studio fee Field trips

Additional costs:

  • May be mandatory or optional expenses;
  • May be one-off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study;
  • Vary depending on your programme of study;
  • Are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

Your Application

You apply for this course through our Direct Application System, which is free of charge.

Last updated Mar 2020

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About the School

Social sciences encapsulates many of the academic areas that shape society. These include how we are governed (law), where we live (architecture, planning and geography), how economies and businesses ... Read More

Social sciences encapsulates many of the academic areas that shape society. These include how we are governed (law), where we live (architecture, planning and geography), how economies and businesses function (business and management studies), the choices we make (psychology) and our politics and international relations. Essentially anything that influences how people think and behave. Read less