Complete University Guide (2024)
QS World Rankings (2023)
Forensic Speech Science (FSS) comprises various applications of phonetics, linguistics, acoustics, and computer science to tackling problems in police work or providing evidence in legal cases.
Areas of FSS also overlap with those central to speech and recording technology, and to automatic speaker recognition as used to establish a person’s identity.
The MSc in Forensic Speech Science at York equips you with a comprehensive foundation in the aims, practices, and principles involved in this range of tasks. The learning experience integrates scholarly and professional contexts, allowing you to develop expert witness communication skills and gain hands-on experience of the latest generation of automatic speaker recognition technology, made available through the Department’s partnership with the leading speech technology companies.
I am interested in comparing recordings in speaker comparison cases and to provide profiles of speakers. It is amazing to analyse speech in its minimal segments and to describe individual characteristics, like voice quality features. I really enjoy the forensic laboratory sessions in which we are working with real case recordings.Katharina, MSc in Forensic Speech Science
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Apply linguistics, phonetics and acoustics to legal investigations and proceedings; utilise speaker comparison, disputed utterance analysis and enhancement, speaker profiling, voice line-ups, authentication, and forensic audio analysis.
QS World Rankings by Subject 2022
We’re ranked 1st in the UK for the quality of our research in Language and Linguistic Science - according to the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021).
You do not need a prior background in phonetics or linguistics to apply to this course, though the majority of applicants do come from these fields. The programme provides a two-part taught structure leading to a dissertation.
Semester 1 provides a general introduction to the field of FSS, and a grounding in key areas of phonetics and linguistics. Students with little or no background in these subjects take introductory modules; more advanced options are available for those with substantial experience.
In Semester 2 students progress to detailed phonetic and linguistic analysis of speech recordings, which can be applied in the forensic context. Throughout the MSc, students also develop general research skills and conduct independent research for the final element of the programme, the dissertation.
You will also study two option modules:
The options available to you in Semester 2 will be confirmed after you begin your course. For further information please get in touch.
Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
You'll prepare and write a research dissertation over Semester 2 and the vacation. This will be supervised by a member of staff.
Recent topics for a dissertation have included:
Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.
|Study mode||UK (home)||International and EU|
|Full-time (1 year)||£10,590||£23,900|
Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.
UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.
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Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.
If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.
You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.
We are a leading centre for research and teaching in forensic speech science. Our research covers a wide range of issues in phonetics and sociolinguistics as well as forensic speech science.
We have industrial partnerships with a number of leading developers of automatic speaker recognition systems, Nuance, Aculab, Phonexia, and Oxford Wave Research. Some of these systems are used for teaching purposes within the course
I am interested in looking at transcripts of recordings used as evidence in court. There are many debates as to who is the most qualified to transcribe a difficult recording and what is the best format for both capturing information and presenting to a jury, and I find it fascinating, especially considering how vital a transcript is during a court case.Sophie, MSc in Forensic Speech Science
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You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.
You'll be taught with a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and practical training. You'll have approximately three contact hours a week for each module. For some modules you’ll complete collaborative group work outside your classes. You’ll be set essential reading, and will complete weekly assigned exercises.
All of our modules have Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) websites where all crucial materials — reading lists, handouts, discussion boards — are always accessible.
We have our own departmental e-Lab for the teaching and study time of our students. Here you will have access to a variety of resources, including specialist linguistics software, collections of text and speech, and online language-learning materials. Our Forensic Speech Science Lab houses specialist software for analysis of speech and audio recordings.
You will be based in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in Vanbrugh College, with some additional teaching on Campus West.
Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.
You'll complete a variety of assessments, from lab reports, exams, presentations, transcriptions and analysis of speech samples, to case reports and 1,500 or 2,500 word essays. You'll also complete exercises and assignments which do not contribute to your final grade that will give you useful feedback on your progression.
Successful completion of the MSc entails a solid and detailed grounding in forensic speech science, an introduction to the practical and technical skills to carry out forensic casework, and experience in conducting original research. You'll develop confidence and critical skills, equipping you to exercise independent learning in future careers. The MSc provides excellent training for doctoral research as well as professional forensic speech analysis. It also enables you to develop transferrable skills to an advanced level suitable for entry into a range of professions including police work.
|Undergraduate degree||2:1 or equivalent|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS (Academic and Indicator)||7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component|
|Cambridge CEFR||C1 Advanced: 185, with 176 in each component|
|Duolingo||130, minimum 120 in all other components|
|LanguageCert SELT||C1 with 33/50 in each component|
|LanguageCert Academic||75 with a minimum of 70 in each component|
|KITE||495-526, with 459-494 in all other components|
|Skills for English||C1: Pass overall, with Pass in each component|
|PTE Academic||67, minimum 61 in each component|
|TOEFL||96, minimum 23 in each component|
|Trinity ISE III||Distinction in all component|
For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.
You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.
The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.
After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.
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