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, language 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 educationin monolingual as well as bi/multilingual contexts. Successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) level of the course meets the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) criteria in practical assessments and allows students to apply for the BDA professional qualification. 

The University of Birmingham offers three awards at master's level. 

  • First year (Postgraduate Certificate - PGCert) 60 credits
  • Second year (Postgraduate Diploma - PGDip) 120 credits
  • Third year (Masters - MEd) 180 credits

Halfway through the first year of study you will be asked whether you wish to extend your registration to work towards a further award.

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 (e.g. FL/SL/AL) and multimodal (e.g. 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, additional English (EAL/ESL/EFL) or other languages. Reference would be made to contexts that are bi/multilingual and multimodal.

Specialist professional practice in dyslexia/specific learning difficulties

Successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) award, meets the specialist professional practice competencies in teaching learners with dyslexia/literacy difficulties at school and FE/HE levels of provision required by the British Dyslexia Association’s ATS/APS, ATS FE/HE accreditation.

Successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) 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. So, the PGDip award will allow practitioners to apply for the BDA’s accreditation (AMBDA, AMBDA FE/HE) depending on their professional qualification  – please visit the BDA website for further information. 

For students who follow the AMBDA, AMBDA FE/HE routes, some of the programme and module requirements will be different for study and assessment to develop knowledge and practice in specialist assessment and teaching for learners with literacy needs and difficulties.

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 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 Diploma award (6 modules) 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, AMBDA FE/HE or ATS/APS, ATS FE/HE as required by the BDA) can then apply to the BDA for AMBDA, AMBDA FE/HE and/or ATS/APS, ATS FE/HE.

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


Core modules

Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) modules, 20 credits each

Dyslexia, language and literacies in development 

Key perspectives on dyslexia – The Graduated Approach (New module)

Intervention and curriculum management for specific learning difficulties    

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) modules, 20 credits each

Identification and assessment of specific learning Difficulties (SpLD)/Dyslexia

Dyslexia in multi/bilingual environments (New module)

Special Studies in Special Education

Students on the AMDA enhanced programme will also need to take the Teaching Interventions for Learners with Dyslexia module.

Postgraduate Diploma route - Students completing five subject modules (Years 1 and 2) may study the Special Studies project module.

Masters of Education (MEd route) - 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 in their third year for 60 credits, consisting of a literature review, data collection, data analysis and write up.

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees 2019 - 2020


  • Code 9735 PGCert £3,225
  • Code 9736 PGDip £3,225
  • Code 342C PGDip (AMBDA enhanced) £3,225
  • Code 9737 MEd £3,571
  • Code 475C MEd (AMBDA enhanced) £3,571


  • Code 9735 PGCert £5,665
  • Code 9736 PGDip £5,665
  • Code 342C PGDip (AMBDA Enhanced) £5,665
  • Code 9737 MEd £5,665
  • Code 475C MEd (AMBDA Enhanced) £5,665

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 2019. 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 Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to eligible financial support via the Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan for the duration of their course. For more information visit the website.

You can also visit our EU Referendum information page for more information and updates.

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 £10,609 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. 

Entry requirements

Applicants need to have: 

  • a degree (2.1 or equivalent); 
  • access to at least one typically developing learner; 
  • 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; 
  • opportunities to work with at least three learners with literacy difficulties
  • access to filming yourself for the observed practice tasks engaging in specialist teaching with selected learners
  • two years professional practice experience is highly recommended for Masters level study in literacy difficulties. 

    For those seeking BDA certificates (ATS/APS, AMBDA) a minimum of two years of teaching experience is essential.

Candidates wishing to apply for an AMBDA, AMBDA FE/HE route in their PGDip year (2nd year of study) - will also be expected to have: 

  • professional access to three learners (in addition to the three learners mentioned above) with literacy difficulties in your work context
  • opportunities to assess and work with those learners 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 standardised tests and (ii) engaging in specialist teaching with the selected learners, and
  • some professional support for this work in your wider professional context.

Additional information:

Please see below the amount of contact that you will need to have with your learners in Modules 1, 2 & 3 at the PGCert level of the programme (1st year).

Module 1 (autumn term)

The number of contact hours has not been set. However, you will need to do several observations with your learners in and outside class (mainly for the Primary/Secondary groups) and interviews (for the FE/HE group).

Module 2 (spring term)

For this Module you will need to conduct 5 hours of specialist teaching for the purposes of identifying learners with dyslexia. 

Before you begin Module 2 you will need to ensure that:

  • You have access to a classroom where learners with literacy difficulties are found (applies only to Primary/secondary groups);
  • You have access to one learner who is experiencing literacy difficulties (applies to all groups) from Key Stage 2 upwards in terms of age. We do not consider it appropriate to work with young children in Foundation Stage or Key Stage 1 who are still acquiring literacy skills;
  • You will need to observe the learner in their learning environment in a lesson or seminar where there will be some literacy demands made on the learner. 
  • You will need to work with this learner individually and do 5 hours of teaching during the second term (Module 2) and 5 more hours for the third term (Module 3). 
  • You will need to video record 1 hour of the teaching conducted during Module 2.

Module 3 (summer term)

In this module, a key requirement will be to carry out 15 hours of specialist dyslexia teaching with two (or three) different learners that will contribute to meeting the specialist teaching/intervention criteria.

  • Learner A, an individual learner. This learner should be an individual with whom you have carried out five hours of teaching in Module 2. You will carry out 5 more hours of teaching with this learner in the third term.
  • Learner B, an individual learner (that can be taught in a group if appropriate) and has an assessment report/or other report for dyslexia/literacy difficulties. Students in primary and secondary schools will carry out 10 hours of teaching with this learner. Students working in FE/HE levels will carry out 5 hours of teaching with this learner and 5 hours of teaching with a third learner (Learner C).  

Please see below the amount of contact that you will need to have with your learners in Modules 4, 5 & 6 at the PGDip level of the programme in the 2nd year.

Module 4 (autumn term)

At the PGDip level, access to at least three learners with literacy difficulties is a requirement for those on the AMBDA route. For the non- AMBDA route you will need to have access to at least one learner with literacy difficulties.

Module 5 (spring term) access to one learner with literacy difficulties to conduct 10 hours of teaching (only if you are on the AMBDA route).

Module 6 (summer term)

No specified access to learners required.

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 who wish to improve their knowledge of spoken and written English in preparation for academic study at the University of Birmingham. Students with conditional offers have the option of attending one of these courses instead of retaking 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

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students (Tier 4) who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date. The deadline for Home/EU (non-Tier 4) students is Thursday 12 September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

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, tutorials and lectures. 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 aim of the Language, Literacies and dyslexia course is to enable practitioners to identify/assess and support learners with literacy difficulties at various levels (primary, secondary, FE/HE) - in monolingual and bi/multilingual contexts. The PGCert level of this course focuses on monolingual education while one aspect of the PGDip level of the course (second module) focuses on bi/multilingual, SL, FL, AL learners with literacy difficulties. Your MEd dissertation can be in any area associated with the field of literacy difficulties/dyslexia.

BDA Awards

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 Approved Teacher Status (ATS) that is awarded to students that hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status or Approved Practitioner Status (APS) awarded to professional practitioners with other professional qualifications and Speech and Language Therapists. Both these awards apply to primary, secondary or FE/HE levels.

The PGDip level of this course (AMBDA enhanced route) enables the LLD students to apply for the Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA) at primary, secondary or FE/HE levels.

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.

To summarise:

Upon completion of the PGCert level of the course you can exit with: 

  • an ATS/APS, ATS FE/HE  (if you decide to apply for ATS/APS)

upon completion of the PGPGDip level of the course you can exit with: 

  • and/or AMBDA (if you decide to follow the AMBDA enhanced route)

upon completion of the MEd level of the course you can exit with: 

  • an ATS/APS, ATS FE/HE 
  • and/or AMBDA
  • a Master's degree in Education (MEd) which specialises in aspects of dyslexia, language development and/or language learning and teaching in different levels.