Postgraduate Taught

Advancing Practice in Signed/Spoken Language Interpreting - MSc

Are you an experienced interpreter working between a signed and spoken language and would like to achieve a recognised academic qualification? This MSc Advancing Practice in Signed/Spoken Language Interpreting course provides a unique opportunity to achieve a master’s level qualification with a focus on specialist areas of interpreting practice.

This course is delivered online, making it accessible to interpreters from across the UK and internationally. 

Why QMU?

  • Unique opportunity to further your studies: This accessible online course is perfect for signed/spoken language interpreters looking for further study to develop professional practice within a research-informed framework.
  • Staff expertise and experience: This course is designed and delivered by practicing sign language interpreters with experience of research in applied linguistics/translation and interpreting studies.
  • A flexible route to an academic qualification or CPD: Delivered online, this course offers the option to study single modules or study for the full MSc.
  • Responsive: The course advances the recognition of interpreting skills in specialist domains of work.
  • A practice profession approach to interpreting: Demand Control-Schema is embedded throughout the course to equip students to advance their reflective practice and ethical decision-making.

Studying MSc Advancing Practice in Signed/Spoken Language Interpreting

Advancing Practice in Signed/Spoken Language Interpreting (MSc): More information and what you will achieve

This course will enable you to achieve a recognised qualification in your current specialist areas of interpreting or areas in which you wish to develop your practice (for example, healthcare, mental healthcare, legal settings, arts and culture or education).

Where applicable, 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 course or by taking single modules as an associate student.

For the MSc, 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.

How will I be taught?

Structure and exit awards

You can opt to study for the full MSc (180 credits), a PgDip (120 credits) or a PgCert (60 credits).

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. Contact the Programme Team ( for more information on single module study. 

Teaching, learning and assessment

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.

Placement/industry-based learning

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 on some modules.

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.

Class sizes

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

Teaching staff

You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.

Links with industry/professional bodies

In the UK, successful participation in individual modules is recognised as fulfilling the annual mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) requirements of The National Registers for Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD), and the Scottish Register of Language Professionals with the Deaf Community (SRLPDC).


Core modules

  • Theory and Practice of Interpreting 1 (20 credits): 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): 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.

Elective modules

The following elective modules, on specialist areas of interpreting, build on the knowledge developed in the core modules. Please check with staff for availability of specialist modules as these offerings will vary from year to year.

  • Interpreting in Healthcare Settings (20 credits): 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): 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): 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): 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): 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): 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): This module is taught in Semester 2, with an extended period of evidence collection extending to August. The module enables participants to extend their own reflective practice towards facilitating the professional development of colleagues.

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

NB The modules listed are correct at time of posting (October 2023) 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.

Career opportunities

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.

Advancing Practice in Signed/Spoken Language Interpreting (MSc): Entry requirements and application information

Entry requirements

Applicants must have:

  • Up-to-date registration for BSL/English interpreters from the UK.
  • A minimum of three years of experience post-registration, or at least three years of experience for those for whom registration is not available.


  • As applicants are likely to come from a wide variety of backgrounds in relation to previous academic qualifications, each application will be considered individually.
  • Two references are required (usually from a supervisor and/or colleague in a higher position).

International: International students should be registered as interpreters in their country, where this is available, and have at least three years of experience post-registration or equivalent. This course is delivered in English and applicants should consider whether they have sufficient English competence to study at this level. An IELTS score of 6.5 with no component below 6.0 or equivalent is normally required, but all applications will be considered individually .

Interview: Online interviews with applicants may be arranged. 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.

Disability/health conditions

If you have a disability, long-term physical or mental health condition, or learning disability, it should not stand in the way of your studying at QMU. However, if you are not sure whether your disability might be a barrier in your studies or in relation to the professional standards, please contact the disability service who will be able to have a conversation with you about reasonable adjustments and supports available to you.

Applying for this course

For more information on applying, or to apply for this course, please follow the links in the 'Start your application' box at the top right of this page.

Application deadline

  • MSc (September entry only): 30 June 2024 
  • Single module study (September 2024 entry): 30 June 2024
  • Single module study (January 2025 entry): 30 October 2024

Terms and Conditions

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2024/25 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

More information and contacts

Start date

MSc: September 2024. Students that have previously studied at graduate level may be considered for early entry directly to the second core module in January.

Single module study: September 2024 and January 2025 start dates are available for associate students studying single modules.

Become your best you: study at QMU

Course Overview

2-7 years part time
Start Date
September 2024
Start Date
January 2025
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding
SCQF Level

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