Our MSc in Forensic Speech Science combines general linguistic-phonetic theory and method with extensive practical experience in analysis of forensic materials.
We have designed the MSc in conjunction with one of the world's leading forensic speech laboratories, JP French Associates, and you'll have the opportunity to go on site and observe the working practices of the laboratory.
You'll learn about theoretical and methodological problems in performing forensic speech and audio analysis. You'll be able to apply your skills and knowledge to recorded materials from real criminal cases, as well as develop expert witness communication skills. The course also enables you to perform original research in speaker comparison and speech content analysis.
The MSc provides you with the necessary skills for further work in the forensic domain and related employment. It is also excellent preparation for a PhD in phonetics, sociolinguistics, language variation and change, or acoustics.
Apply linguistics, phonetics and acoustics to legal investigations and proceedings. Speaker comparison, disputed utterance analysis and enhancement, speaker profiling, voice line-ups, authentication, forensic audio analysis.
Observe the working practices of the JP French laboratory, and institutions such as courts. Analyse recordings from real forensic cases, and use the latest generation of automatic speaker recognition software used in banking and law enforcement.
We are 2nd in the UK for world-leading linguistics research (Times Higher Education's ranking of the Research Excellence Framework 2014).
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
Read more on what our students say about us.
In Term 1 you'll study a general introduction to linguistics (especially language variation), phonetics and acoustics, and will be introduced to forensic applications in those areas.
In Term 2 you'll expand your knowledge and skills in speech analysis, and perform detailed work on a variety of recorded materials using a range of practical methods. You'll also attend forensics labs sessions which are not assessed.
In Term 3 you'll apply your knowledge and analytic skills to authentic forensic materials, with a focus on case work in speaker identification. You'll also go to the JP French Associates laboratory to shadow real life forensic work.
Across all terms you'll study a Research Training module. You'll complete the programme with a dissertation over Term 3 and the vacation. The programme is 180 credits overall.
The director of the JP French Associates laboratory, Professor Peter French, and other members of the firm will deliver some of the taught components and supervise some research projects.
Areas of the MSc overlap with those central to speech and recording technology and you'll have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of the latest generation of automatic speaker recognition software used in banking and law enforcement, made available through the Department’s partnership with Nuance and Aculab.
You'll take two of the following options:
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
You'll prepare and write an 8,000 to 12,000-word dissertation over Term 3 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)||£8,440||£18,700|
Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 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
Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.
Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 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.
The course is designed in conjunction with JP French Associates, experts in forensic voice analysis, transcription, authentication and audio enhancement. We have a partnership with leading ASR developers, Nuance and Aculab.
The Department is part of York's Faculty of Arts and Humanities, ranked 45th in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
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
Read more on what our students say about us.
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.
Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)
We hope to deliver this course as advertised for 2021/22 entry, but it’s unclear when we’ll be able to return to a normal timetable. For an idea of how this course might be affected, see our changes for 2020/21 entry.
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.
You’ll also spend approximately one hour a week in Term 1 on the Research Training module, which will then increase to two hours in Terms 2 and 3.
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.
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.
Our graduates have gone on to employment with police services and forensic laboratories, and have become academic researchers. This programme provides you with the requisite skills, understanding, and knowledge to work effectively and increase your employability in forensic domains as well as in related fields such as the police, emergency call services and security services. The MSc qualification will enable you to apply for membership of the International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics.
|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||7.0, minimum 6.5 in each component|
|PTE Academic||67, minimum 61 in each component|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||185, minimum 176 in each component|
|TOEFL||96, minimum 23 in each component|
|Trinity ISE III||Distinction in all component|
|Duolingo||120, minimum 110 in all other components|
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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