Speech and Language Processing (M.Phil. / P.Grad.Dip.)

NFQ Level 9
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time


Course Overview

Speech and language processing examines language from two distinct perspectives. Speech processing deals with the science of spoken communication, how speech is encoded by the speaker and decoded by the listener. It is also concerned with the processing techniques used to model speech in ways that can potentially be implemented in technology, such as speech synthesis. Speech science is at the intersection of many disciplines: acoustics, linguistics, engineering, psychology, anatomy and physiology, and is key to the understanding of disordered speech.

Language processing, in parallel, involves computational aspects of linguistics. It addresses theories of grammar and meaning, and provides access to the fundamentals of linguistics, both as a science and as an engineering discipline. As an engineering discipline it is concerned with technology applications and tools that exploit linguistic knowledge, such as predictive text, automated personal assistants, web search etc.

The M.Phil. in Speech and Language Processing programme offers an elite, tailor-made programme, flexible design shaped by your interests in Linguistics; small class size, taught by experts; and a wide choice of elective modules each year.

Is This Course For Me?

Our students come from many backgrounds. Some have a background in language study, some have an interest in clinical speech and language analysis, some have a background in psychology, computer science or engineering. In general, they are people who are analytical (they may be interested in how dialects differ, they may love crossword puzzles or find legal reasoning entertaining) and wish to know more about what makes human language work.

Career Opportunities

Our alumni have followed various career paths, with many opting to pursue research at a higher level  through the Ph.D.,in CLCS (e.g. becoming involved in research projects in the Phonetics and Speech Lab), with the computational linguists in TCD'sSchool of Computer Science and Statistics, and in other leading institutions across the globe. Some have also used this course as a foundation to enter Speech Therapy programmes in Ireland and abroad.

Course Structure

All students take a total of six taught modules, which include four core modules and two elective modules. Teaching for each module involves one two-hour session per week over one term.

Full-time students take two core modules each term (for a total of four core modules), and they take one elective module each term (for a total of two elective modules).

In addition, students also attend a series of tutorials in research methodology.

Part-time students will have one core module during both terms in both years (for a total of two core modules per year, and four across both years), and one elective module each year (for a total of two elective modules across both years).

In addition, part-time students attend a series of tutorials in research methodology in their first year.

Course Content

Students take four core modules: Speech Processing 1: Spectral Analysis. Formal Foundations of Linguistic Theories. Laboratory Phonetics and Phonology. Corpora in Speech and Language Processing.

Students then choose two electives among the following menu of elective modules: Computer-Assisted Language Learning; Multilingualism; Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching; Speech and Language Technology for Education; Speech Processing 2: Acoustic Modelling; Speech Production, Hearing and Perception; and Technology, Language, and Communication. 

In the final phase of the course, students prepare and write a 15,000-word dissertation.

Click here for further information on modules/subjects.

Course Details


NFQ Level 9

Next Intake

September 2024

Course Coordinator

Dr Elaine Uí Dhonnchadha

Closing Date

30th April 2024

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Admission Requirements

Applicants should have a good honours degree (at least an upper second or equivalent; GPA of at least 3.2). Previous knowledge of applied linguistics is not a requirement. Normally only graduates with language teaching experience are admitted to the course in Applied Linguistics.

Applicants whose first language is not English and who have not been educated through the medium of English must meet the College's requirements for English-language proficiency, i.e. the minimum acceptable IELTS score is 7.0. For this course, no individual IELTS band can be below 6.5 (or the minimum equivalents in other approved English language proficiency tests listed on the College website). Students whose first language is not English are encouraged to attend our pre-sessional Summer programme to prepare them for postgraduate study in Ireland (see here).

Applicants must provide a Personal Statement explaining their motivation in applying for their chosen course(s).

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees.

Get in Touch

Telephone Number

+353 (0)1 8962615




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Because of the small class sizes, I felt comfortable asking questions and reaching out whenever I needed. They really were my mentors who guided and inspired me on a personal level.

Agape Deng