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UK’s First online Master’s degree in British Sign Language interpreting launched at QMU

Posted: 8th June 2018

Applications are open for the UK’s first fully online Master’s Degree designed to upskill British Sign Language (BSL) / English interpreters to meet growing demand for their services.

The newly validated MSc in BSL/English Interpreting from Queen Margaret University is the only post registration master’s in the UK to focus on BSL interpreting, and the only academic course delivered online for registered sign language interpreters.

Scottish Government’s BSL National Plan, published last year, sets out Scotland’s ambition to be the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work and visit and means that public bodies must now take action to meet those goals.

Dr Rachel Mapson, Lecturer in BSL/English interpreting at QMU, said: “Scotland is ahead of the game here, but as other countries are sure to follow suit we expect significant interest in the programme from around the UK. As public bodies begin to face up to their responsibilities under the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015, demands on BSL interpreters are likely to increase. Justice, healthcare, education and mental health are key issues within the Act that our programme is responding to.

Dr Rachel Mapson Lecturer BSLEnglish Interpreting QMU

“The legislation puts pressure on BSL/English interpreters, of which there are currently only around 1000 in the UK, to develop their professional practice.  The BSL/English Interpreting MSc supports practitioners’ development in specialist areas of interpreting, and offers modules in interpreting in healthcare, justice, education, mental health, employment, arts and culture settings.  These are exactly what the market demands. The programme allows practitioners to gain academic qualification in the areas they are engaged in or in which they wish to develop their practice. The programme’s strength is that we are able to collaborate with other QMU divisions, particularly around health and wellbeing.”

Applicants to the programme must be working as registered BSL/English interpreters and have at least three years of post-qualification experience. Applications for entry in September 2018 must be received no later than June 30th 2018.


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