Postgraduate Taught

MSc Advancing Practice in Signed/Spoken Language Interpreting

If you’re an experienced BSL/ English interpreting practitioner this course provides a unique master’s level opportunity to achieve a recognised academic qualification with a focus on specialist areas of interpreting practice. This course is delivered online making it accessible to interpreters throughout the UK.

The course is designed to provide an online post-registration qualification for British Sign Language (BSL)/ English interpreters in the UK. You will be able to achieve a recognised qualification in your current specialist areas of interpreting or in the areas you wish to develop your practice (for example, healthcare, mental healthcare, legal settings, arts and culture or education). Interpreters will be able to use study on this course to fulfil the CPD requirements of their professional registration body, either by undertaking the full programme or by taking single modules as an associate student.

Why QMU?

  • This unique online course is perfect if you’re a BSL/English interpreter in the UK looking for accessible further study to develop your professional practice within a research-informed framework.
  • You can gain accredited master’s level training for CPD purposes.
  • The course advances the recognition of specialist interpreting skills and the development of reflective practice.

Course overview

You will complete a range of modules. Two core modules in the Theory and Practice of Interpreting will enable you to gain a grounding in current translation and interpreting concepts and practice. Elective modules will allow you to tailor your study to the areas of professional practice in which you are currently engaged, or areas in which you would like your work to develop.

Exit awards

MSc (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)


To obtain a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete a number of credit-bearing modules. You can opt to study for the full MSc, a PgDip or a PgCert. You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for CPD. On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award.

Teaching, learning and assessement

The entire course is delivered online. You will use an extensive range of learning technologies and multimedia resources to support directed, independent learning. Contact between staff and students can involve recorded or live online lectures, seminars, case-based discussions and tutorials.

Your performance on the course will be assessed through your engagement with online discussion, case studies, essays and e-portfolios. Students completing the MSc will also complete a dissertation.

Teaching hours and attendance

The course is part-time, with all course material delivered online. Each 20-credit module will equate with approximately 200 hours of study, which will include regular online contact and independent experiential learning. Tutorials are normally scheduled on weekday evenings, for students’ convenience.

Links with industry/ professional bodies

Successful participation in individual modules is recognised as fulfilling the annual mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements of the National Register for Communication with Deaf and Deaf-blind People (NRCPD), and the Scottish Register of Language Professionals with the Deaf Community (SRLPDC).


Theory and Practice of Interpreting 1(20 credits at SCQF Level 11) - This module will be taught in Semester One. The module includes topic areas on theories and concepts of interpreting, an introduction to Demand Control-Schema, linguistic and contextual challenges, and consideration of how quality in interpreting is evaluated. This will function to refresh and update knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings of interpreting work, and allow participants to consider these issues from the perspective of experienced practitioners.
• Theory and Practice of Interpreting 2 (20 credits at SCQF Level 11) - This module will be taught in Semester Two. The module includes topic areas on co-working, ethical practice, rapport management, professionalism and self care. This module focusses on the softer skills involved in interpreting practice, and will encourage students to reflect on the relationships and dynamics involved in interpreted interaction, and encourage participants to reflect on the sustainability of their professional practice.
The following modules, on specialist areas of interpreting, build on the knowledge developed in the core modules:
Interpreting in Healthcare Settings (20 credits at SCQF Level 11) – This module will be taught in Semester One. Participants will reflect on their professional practice in a range of healthcare contexts, including primary and secondary care environments.
• Interpreting in Mental Healthcare Settings (20 credits at SCQF Level 11) – This module will be taught in Semester Two. The module enables participants to explore the dynamics of interpreted interaction in a range of mental healthcare environments.
Interpreting in Justice Settings (20 credits at SCQF Level 11) – This module will be taught in Semester One. The module includes focus on the terminology, protocols and policies of the justice sector in the UK, reflecting on participants’ work in a variety of contexts including police stations, court and prison.
• Interpreting in Educational Settings (20 credits at SCQF Level 11) – This module will be taught in Semester Two. The module enables participants to develop understanding of the different stages of education (nursery/primary/secondary/tertiary/higher) and the most effective ways of practicing in these different contexts.
• Interpreting in Arts and Culture Settings (20 credits at SCQF Level 11) – This module will be taught in Semester One. The module covers interpreting in both performative and non-performative settings and a range of media (visual arts, dance, drama, poetry, literature and film).
• Interpreting in Employment Settings (20 credits at SCQF Level 11) – This module will be taught in Semester Two. The module extends participants’ knowledge of working effectively with Deaf employees in a range of employment settings, and the social and political influences that impact on interpreters’ practice.
Supportive Practice (20 credits at SCQF Level 11) - This module is taught in Semester 2, with evidence collection extending to Semester 1 of the following academic year. The module enables participants to extend their own reflective practice towards facilitating the professional development of colleagues. (subject to validation)
NB Please check with staff for availability of specialist modules as these offerings will vary from year to year.
SCQF=Scottish Credit Qualification Framework

If studying for the MSc you will also complete a module on Research Methods (20 credits) and a dissertation module (60 credits).

The modules listed are correct at time of posting (March 2021) but are subject to change. In the event that modules change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.

Single modules for CPD

Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact Dr Rachel Mapson for more information.

Class sizes

We expect around 5-16 students to enrol for this course each year.


There are no placements on this course, but you will be required to relate your learning to your specialist area of practice. Relevant professional practice or work shadowing is therefore a requirement for enrolment to some modules.


Graduates of this course will be able to bring a more analytical, reflective and evidence-based approach to their professional practice and apply the principles of ethical decision-making to their work in a wide range of contexts.

Entry requirements

Up-to-date registration as a BSL/ English interpreter in the UK. 

A minimum of three years of experience post registration. As applicants are likely to come from a wide variety of backgrounds in relation to previous academic qualifications, each application will be considered individually. 

International: This course is designed for BSL/English interpreters. Sign language interpreters from other countries who work with English should contact the Programme Team for further advice.

Interview: Interviews with applicants may be arranged, but this does not need to be on a face-to-face basis. Applications are welcome throughout the year, but the main entry point for new students is in September each year and applications from these students need to be received by the end of June. Places will be offered on a first come first served basis, and applicants are advised to apply as early as possible.


Start date

September. Students that have previously studied at graduate level may be considered for early entry directly to the second core module in January.

Application deadline

30 June 

More information and contacts

Fees and transitionary scholarships for postgraduate EU students in 21/22 and 22/23

As part of our management of the Brexit transition, for many of our courses, including this one, we have introduced an EU transitional scholarship for EU full-time postgraduate students commencing their studies on campus in academic years 2021/22 and 2022/23. This provides a 40% discount on international tuition fees. The scholarship is available to EU students for whom the international fee rate applies and covers the courses marked with a # in the Postgraduate Fees – Full-Time Study section of our Fees page. This transitional scholarship is not applicable to students from the Republic of Ireland, who will continue to be eligible for the home fee rate.

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2021/22 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Course Overview

2-7 years part-time
Start Date
September 2021
January 2022
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding
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