Language, Literacies and Dyslexia MEd/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate

Quick links: Modules | Fees and Funding | Entry Requirements | How to apply

The Language, Literacies and Dyslexia programme, is aimed at teachers, speech and language therapists and other professionals working with children, young people and students in further and higher education at pre-16 and FE/HE education levels who have difficulties with learning literacy skills.

This distance learning masters level programme is essential for practitioners seeking to become specialist practitioners, employable to assess and teach learners with dyslexia and literacy difficulties of school age or in further/higher education. Successful completion of modules 1-3 which meet the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) criteria in practical assessments, allows students to apply for the BDA professional qualification. 

The University of Birmingham offers three awards at masters level. 

  • Postgraduate Certificate (3 modules, 12 months of part-time study, Sept – end of August)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (6 modules, 24 months part-time study, Sept – August)
  • MEd (6 modules+ dissertation, 36 months part-time study, Sept – August)

You can register for the first year’s study and half way through the year you will be invited to consider if you to wish extend your registration to a further award.

Please note that the information provided on the website relates to the current Language, Literacies and Dyslexia programme. The programme is currently undergoing modification and will have a different structure from September 2017. Please keep checking this page for further updates.

Download information on all the postgraduate study programmes in the School of Education (PDF)

The programme provides a broad and critical perspective of language literacies and literacy difficulties/dyslexia through sociocultural and cognitive research, as well as education policies. It embraces school and further educational demands of literacy skills, the demands of family and social literacy practices, and peer demands of new literacies, such as digital literacies. The programme establishes the fundamental relationship between language and literacy in typical and atypical development. Students study literacy difficulties/dyslexia in contexts of monolingual, multilingual and multimodal (eg digital literacies).

Studying at a distance means you can work from anywhere, such as in your home or workplace in the UK or overseas. All your studies will be in English and it is a requirement that you practice in an educational context of monolingual or additional English (EAL/ESL/EFL). Reference would be made to contexts that are multilingual and multimodal.

Specialist professional practice in dyslexia/specific learning difficulties

All students follow the same programme and module requirements for study and assessment that develop knowledge and practice in specialist assessment and teaching for learners with literacy needs and difficulties.

Successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) award, meets the specialist professional practice competencies required by the Joint Qualifications Council UK, and the British Dyslexia Association’s AMBDA accreditation, in diagnostic assessment, and intervention/ specialist teaching with learners with literacy difficulties/ specific learning difficulties at school and FE/HE levels of provision.

The PGCert award allows practitioners, who wish, to apply for the BDA’s accreditation (ATS/APS, AMBDA, AMBDA FE/HE) depending on their professional qualification  – please visit the BDA website for further information. 

The Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) in the School of Education, has a very strong profile in professional development, regionally, nationally and internationally.  The tutors who run this programme have strong national and international profiles in the field of research and practice in language and literacy difficulties and dyslexia. The department also runs a number of other courses in special education which may interest you.


Does the Language, Literacies and Dyslexia PostGraduate Certificate award (3 modules) combined with QTS provide eligibility for BDA professional qualification to practice professionally to diagnostically assess and give specialist teaching / intervention with learners with literacy difficulties/dyslexia/specific learning difficulties? 

The SpLD Assessment Standards Committee for an Assessment Practising Certificate (SASC) website states that individuals eligible for a practising certificate:

‘must hold a current practising certificate in assessing specific learning difficulties issued by their relevant professional association, for example, PATOSS (the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties), Dyslexia Action or the British Dyslexia Association.’

You can obtain a practising certificate from the BDA. There are several routes to obtain this certificate, but one route is to have AMBDA. The University of Birmingham Language, Literacies and Dyslexia (LLD) masters - level programme is recognised by the BDA. Students who successfully complete all assessed requirements on the LLD programme (that is, the University of Birmingham assessed requirements that include requirements for AMBDA or ATS, as required by the BDA) can then apply to the BDA for AMBDA or ATS.

So the LLD programme will give you eligibility for ATS/APS or AMBDA. AMBDA gives you eligibility for a BDA Practising Certificate. The BDA practising certificate gives you eligibility for the SASC Practising Certificate.


Core modules

Module 1

Language and literacies in development.

Module 2

Identification and assessment of dyslexia/literacy difficulties.

Module 3

Managing curriculum and intervention for dyslexia/literacy difficulties.

The PGDip level of the Language, Literacies and Dyslexia course allows professionals to learn more about inclusion and other learning difficulties by selecting modules from the DISN menu of distance education modules. Students completing five subject modules (Years 1 and 2) may study the research methods module Practitioner Inquiry in Education (PIE) and do a dissertation study, consisting of a literature review, data collection, data analysis and write up (MEd only).

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees 2017 - 2018


  • Code 9735 PGCert £2,800
  • Code 9736 PGDip £2,800
  • Code 9737 MEd £2,800


  • Code 9735 PGCert £5,220
  • Code 9736 PGDip £5,220
  • Code 9737 MEd £5,220

Please view our Fees for International Students page for further details on what the fee covers. 

Fees for all our distance learning programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year.

The fees shown above are the annual fees for students starting their courses September in 2017. Please note that where courses last more than one year, the annual fees for subsequent years on the course may increase due to inflation.

Learn more about fees and funding  

For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.

Scholarships, Studentships and Loans

School-based students each year may apply for and be awarded government scholarships which will fund all or part of the programme. Please view the website .

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

A postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK provides up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas including part-time and distance learning. For more detailed information view our Postgraduate funding page

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More details may be found on the international scholarships page 

Entry requirements

Applicants need to have: 

  • a degree (2.1 or equivalent); 
  • professional access to working with learners who have literacy difficulties, e.g. as a teacher, teaching assistant, SLT, OT. Access in parental or voluntary capacity does not meet this criterion; 
  • two years professional practice experience is highly recommended for Masters level study in literacy difficulties.

You will also be expected to have: 

  • professional access to learners with these specific difficulties in your work context, 
  • opportunities to assess and work with at least three learners with literacy difficulties in September-July, 
  • access to age appropriate, up to date assessment/ testing tools and intervention programmes for literacy difficulties, 
  • opportunities to observe age appropriate, up to date standardised tests being used, 
  • access to filming yourself for the observed practice tasks (i) using a standardised test with a learner and (ii) engaging in specialist teaching with selected learners, and 
  • some professional support for this work in your wider professional context.

International students:

VISA Requirements

Obtaining a visa can be a lengthy process. Please allow sufficient time to obtain your visa. Find out more about the visa requirements

English language support - before your course starts

The University offers Presessional English courses for students whose IELTS score does not meet the entry requirements. If you successfully attend one of these courses you won’t need to retake IELTS.  

English language support - during your studies

BIA provides free English language services to international students who are currently studying on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at the University of Birmingham.  Services include Open-access English classes, online self-assessment, online materials through CANVAS, email answers to quick questions and individual one to one tutorials.  For a small fee, BIA also offers classes for partners of international postgraduate students and staff, social events including day trips and HOST visits.   

How to apply

Please note that the deadline for applications is 31st July 2017.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

At the beginning of each year of study, there is an online induction module to the University of Birmingham programme. This module will give all the necessary information to induct students into the programme so that a residential visit is not required.

The method of learning involves online reading, literature searches, enquiry based learning through activities and discussion with fellow students in your tutor group, and your tutors. Learning is orientated to relating your study to your professional practice. 

Study activities include reading chapters and articles on research and practice, quizzes, online discussion of case studies, webinars. Developing studying skills include online searches for research papers, policies and teaching materials, critical reading, problem-solving, and writing skills. There is personal online tutorial support through ‘reflective journaling’ and discussion with your tutor. Regular group monthly tutorials with your tutor group and tutor are held through online conferencing (simliar to Skype).

International students

We recruit students to the programme from the UK, EU, USA and other countries. Study is through English and students can study literacy difficulties with learners who are learning through EFL or EAL. The programme covers all education phases: primary / secondary, and Further Education /Higher Education. Students are supported in tutor groups with other students who work in the same phase, (where possible in the same region/country) and with a tutor with specialist qualifications in dyslexia and professional experience with learners with dyslexia in the educational phase.

The PGCert award in Language, Literacies and Dyslexia will allow professionals in the field to apply for BDA awards. The BDA offers two professional practice awards on successful completion of the PGCert at the University of Birmingham. The Associate Member of the Dyslexia Association (AMBDA) is awarded to teachers with qualified teacher status or equivalent and the Approved Teacher Status (ATS) is awarded to professional practitioners with other professional qualifications and Speech and Language Therapists.

Together these awards are recognised in the UK as a basis for specialist practitioners to be employed to assess and teach learners with dyslexia and literacy difficulties of school age or in further and higher education.