Dysphagia for speech-language therapists

A postgraduate e-learning course in dysphagia that meets international requirements for dysphagia education for qualified speech-language therapists (SLTs).

This course is designed as a professional entry-level qualification covering all aspects of swallowing and feeding, rather than an advanced professional development course for dysphagia-trained therapists. The course runs twice a year and is taught and examined wholly on-line.

The SPCHSCI 701 Dysphagia for Speech Language Therapists course can be taken alone as a one-semester Certificate of Proficiency (COP) through the Faculty of Science, or as part of an eight-course Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSc) completed full or part-time. It cannot be taken in preparation for or as part of the Masters in Speech-language Therapy Practice (MSLTPrac). SPCHSCI 701 contains similar content to SPCHSCI 721 but is specifically designed for non-MSLTPrac students.

The course has a number of modules and themes. The course emphasizes evidence-based practice, family-centred care and a holistic approach throughout. It includes a number of case-studies.

The modules are:

  • Biomechanics
  • Safety, efficiency and risk management
  • Clinical assessment
  • Instrumental assessment
  • Management planning and decision making
  • Intervention.

Course structure

Both adult and paediatric dysphagia are covered. You can choose a topic for your assignments that focuses on further research into your chosen topic, for example, cerebral palsy or craniofacial topics may be selected by someone with an interest in paediatrics. You are assessed on your knowledge of all aspects of dysphagia, regardless of your clinical interest.

Students should plan to spend around ten hours per week studying. Online course material includes written content, articles, videos and quizzes to work through. You are expected to contribute to the group regularly throughout the course through online discussion. This is a flexible course allowing you to contribute at times of the day or evening that are convenient to you.

Learning is assessed through coursework, a written test and an analysis of videofluoroscopy (all online). The course co-ordinator is available online for support.

There is no practical component to this course. You are strongly recommended to gain practical experience in your local community before or during the course if you are not currently working in dysphagia. You can arrange this with your local SLT team.

Course dates

The SPCHSCI 701 Dysphagia for Speech Language Therapists course is offered in Semester One and Semester Two every year. A minimum number of participants is required for the course to take place.

Semester One dates: From the end of February to the middle of June. The test will be held mid-June, with results available in July.

Semester Two dates: From the middle of July to the end of October. The test will be held in early November, with results available at the end of November.


As the course is delivered online you should have broadband internet access. You should be familiar with and have access to email, Microsoft Word, journal databases (available through the University library), Google Scholar and other search engines, Microsoft PowerPoint or other presentation software.

We suggest VLC media player to control the playback of audio-video files and use of the Mozilla Firefox browser to access the course website.


SPCHSCI 701 Dysphagia for Speech Language Therapists is a 15-point course. As a guide:

  • Course fees for domestic students in 2023 were NZ$1249.50 (excluding the student services fee)
  • Course fees for international students in 2023 were NZ$6077.70 (excluding the student services fee)

Your total fees will also include a student services fee of approximately NZ$125.70

Course fees for domestic and international students are listed in the Faculty of Science sections on the Fees by faculty page.

How to apply and enrol

For further information about applying and enrolling contact:
Visit: auckland.ac.nz/askus
For further information about course content and structure contact:
Dr Anna Miles, Course Director
Email: a.miles@auckland.ac.nz