Postgraduate study

Speech and Language Processing MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Speech and Language Processing

This intensive programme offers an exciting opportunity to learn from world leaders in both informatics and linguistics.

Drawing from our cutting-edge research, the programme’s content covers all areas of speech and language processing, from phonetics, speech synthesis and speech recognition to natural language generation and machine translation.

This flexible programme provides research and vocational training and can be either freestanding or used as preparation for a PhD.

The modular nature of the programme allows you to tailor it to your own interests.

Research

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), Linguistics research at Edinburgh is ranked 1st in Scotland and 2nd in the UK (Times Higher Education, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Rank order by GPA).

This programme is taught by leading researchers from Linguistics & English Language, the Centre for Speech Technology Research, and the School of Informatics.

This programme combines elements of linguistics, artificial intelligence, computer science, and engineering.

What will I learn?

You will develop up-to-date knowledge of a broad range of areas in speech and language processing and gain the technical expertise and hands-on skills required to carry out research and development in this challenging interdisciplinary area.

You study two semesters of taught courses, followed by a dissertation.

Most core compulsory courses have both computational and mathematical content. A few optional courses need a stronger mathematical background.

Course choices in the second semester can be tailored to your own interests and abilities.

Compulsory courses

  • Accelerated Natural Language Processing - Computer Programming for Speech and Language Processing
  • Speech Processing - Univariate Statistics and Methodology Using R

Option courses

Option courses may include:

  • Natural Language Understanding, Generation, and Machine Translation
  • Automatic Speech Recognition
  • Speech Synthesis
  • Machine Learning in Signal Processing
  • Simulating Language
  • Phonetics and Laboratory Phonology

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

This programme aims to equip you with the technical knowledge and practical skills required to carry out research and development in the challenging interdisciplinary arena of speech and language technology.

You will learn about state-of-the-art techniques in:

  • speech synthesis
  • automatic speech recognition
  • natural language processing
  • language generation
  • machine translation

You will also learn the theory behind such technologies and gain the practical experience of working with and developing real systems based on these technologies.

This programme is ideal preparation for a PhD or for working in industry.

This programme will provide you with the specialised skills you need to perform research or to develop technology for speech and language processing. It also provides a solid foundation for doctoral study.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in linguistics, computer science, engineering, psychology, philosophy, mathematics or a related subject. Your application should show evidence of a basic understanding of linguistics, mathematics and computer science and you must be willing to undertake further study to prepare you for the programme.

You can increase your chances of a successful application by exceeding the minimum programme requirements.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Professor Simon King
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact: simon.king@ed.ac.uk
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 1 June 2022

We operate a gathered field approach to applications for MSc Speech and Language Processing. You may submit your application at any time.

All complete applications that satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be placed on a shortlist and held until the next batch processing deadline. Applications will then be ranked and offers made to the top candidates.

Exceptionally well-qualified applicants may occasionally be made an immediate offer, without entering the shortlisting process.

Applications are processed in batches:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 01 December 31 January
2 01 February 31 March
3 01 April 31 May
4 01 June 01 August

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

Places available

There are typically up to 40 places available on the programme each year. We anticipate awarding most places in the first three batches.

Supporting documents and references

Applications must be complete with all supporting documentation to be passed on for consideration; this includes references.

Please ensure that you inform referees of any deadline you wish to meet.

You must submit two references with your application.

References

You will be asked to add contact details for your referees. We will email them with information on how to upload their reference directly to your online application. Alternatively, they can email their comments to:

Personal statement

In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, you should include a personal statement detailing the background of your interest and why you are attracted to the programme. We expect you to have a good understanding of the field you propose to study.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Professor Simon King
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact: simon.king@ed.ac.uk
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD