Professional Diploma in Communication Disorders and Sciences

  The Professional Diploma Programme in Communication Disorders and Sciences features an interdisciplinary approach to Speech and Language Pathology. It introduces students to foundation knowledge and theories in linguistics, speech-language pathology, hearing sciences and anatomy and physiology, as well as providing students with an appreciation of the multidisciplinary team and clinical approaches in managing various groups with communication disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Speech Sound Disorder (SSD), Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), Craniofacial Disorder, Hearing Impairment, Motor Speech Disorder (MSD) and Fluency Disorder. The programme also aims to provide students with exposure to real clinical contexts and an appreciation of integrating theory to clinical practice.  
  The programme aims to:  
  *   Provide students with the foundation knowledge and skills to pursue a professional Master degree in speech and language pathology and therapy  
  *   Offer students an understanding and appreciation of the role of the speech and language therapist within multidisciplinary teams and in the management of communication and swallowing disorders  
  *   Provide students with the opportunity to apply and integrate theory into practice through the observation of real clinical contexts  
  Learning Outcomes  
  *   Upon completion of this programme, students are expected to: Acquire knowledge on the human anatomy and physiology relating to functions of speech, language, hearing and swallowing.  
  *   Describe and provide clinical examples of normal and pathological processes of communication related to speech, language and hearing  
  *   Identify and discuss basic principles in the assessment and treatment of pediatric and adult communication disorders  
  *   Engage in linguistic analysis at specific linguistic levels  
  *   Apply good observational skills in real clinical contexts and begin to integrate theory into practice  
  Continuing Education Fund  
  *   This course has been included in the list of reimbursable courses under Continuing Education Fund  
  *   CEF Course code: 41F12975A  
  *   This course is recognized under the Qualifications Framework (QF Level 6)  
  *   QR Registration No.: 18/000819/L6  
  *   Registration Validity Period: 10/10/2018 To On-going  
  Mode of Study and Duration  
  The programme is offered in part-time study mode which covers a normal period of one academic year. All classes are evening or weekend classes.  
  Programme Curriculum  
  Students are required to complete one core course and five elective courses within the normal study period. For graduation, students are required to attain a minimum of 70% attendance and pass all assessments in each course, and obtain a cumulative overall GPA of not lower than 2.0.  
  Core Course  
  1   Introduction to Human Communication and Speech-language-hearing Sciences  
      The course aims at giving an overview of human communication science from the perspective of the processes involved. Breakdown in any of the processes leading to various communication disorders relating to speech, language or hearing will be described. Clinical data on common communication disorders including individuals with craniofacial abnormalities, autism spectrum disorder, hearing-impairment, fluency and aphasia etc will be used as case studies for illustrations.  
  Elective Courses #  
  2   Anatomy and Physiology of Speech, Language and Hearing  
      The course aims to give an overview on the structure of the human body systems, normal function and physiological mechanisms of the operation and processes of the various major body systems with a focus on systems related to respiration, swallowing, speech, language and hearing. A breakdown in mechanisms of these body systems will be explored and described. Relevant clinical data and/or case examples will be used as illustrations as clinical applications. In this course, teaching will be supplemented with relevant 3D and 2D models, interactive anatomy and physiology software and medical laboratory sessions.  
  3   Applied Assessment and Therapeutic Skills  
        This course is designed to teach students to integrate theories into clinical practice. Practical skills will be introduced and students are required to conduct observation on clients with various communication disorders under supervision. Students are required to be proficient either in Cantonese or Mandarin.
*Pre-requisite: satisfactory completion of the core course Introduction to Human Communication and Speech-language-hearing Sciences
  4   Special Topics in Speech-Language Pathology  
        This course will focus on specific topics in communication disorders that are not covered in the regular course offering. These topics will reflect academic needs/interests and faculty expertise.  
  5   Foundations in Language Acquisition  
        The acquisition of first language by children has been considered a remarkable feat. How do children accomplish this feat so rapidly and effortlessly? What are the stages they go through in mastering the different aspects of language? What does the development of language in children tell us about the human language faculty? These questions will be examined in light of modern linguistic theory, and nativist and interactionist accounts will be compared. Topics in second language acquisition will also be covered. Questions such as how interlanguage grammars develop in adults and the role of the mother tongue in the construction of interlanguage grammar will be addressed.  
  6   Foundations I: Phonetics and Phonology  
        This course introduces students to a unified approach to language as a complex structure represented in the minds of its speakers. Empirical linguistic data will be drawn across languages to enable students to understand the intimate relation between language and the human mind. On the basis of this understanding, students are led to explore the core areas of linguistics. The exploration starts with natural language sound systems and phonological components of grammar. These will be explained with basic concepts and recent theoretical advances in linguistic studies alongside new findings in language acquisition. Students will learn to apply these concepts and ideas to tackle linguistic problems.  
  7   Foundations II: Syntax and Semantics  
        This course is taught concurrently with Foundations I: Phonetics and Phonology, aiming at introducing students to the core areas of linguistics. Taking a modular approach to the language system, this course examines the morphological, semantic and syntactic components of the grammar, as well as the interaction among them. The lectures are intended to provide students with a solid grounding in basic linguistic concepts, which will enable them to tackle linguistic problems, and formulate their own analyses to prepare them for further studies in the discipline. A wide range of data will be discussed to develop students’ sensitivity toward linguistic phenomena with systematic properties in form, meaning and structure.  
  8   Clinical Phonetics  
        This course provides students with knowledge and skills in applying phonetic analysis to study the speech sounds of normal and disordered population  
  9   Clinical Linguistics  
        The course introduces the application of linguistic sciences to the study of Communication Disorders at the acoustic/phonetic, phonological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels. Practical linguistic and conversational analysis in examining communication disability encountered in clinical situations will be covered. Clinical data on common Communication Disorders including those with cleft palate, hearing-impairment, autism and phonological disorder will be used as case studies for illustrations.  
  # The course offering plan is subject to review and change by the commencement of each Term.  
  Programme Director  
  Professor Kathy Lee Yuet Sheung
  Associate Professor & Chief, Division of Speech Therapy
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, CUHK
Honorary Speech Therapist, NTEC, Hospital Authority
Honorary Advisor, Hong Kong Association of Speech Therapists
  Professor Lee is the founder and the Chief of the Division of Speech Therapy in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. She leads the team in pioneering clinical research relating to speech pathology and communication science. She adopts a collaborative approach through multidisciplinary partnership with other faculties of CUHK, renowned overseas institutions and experts in the local community. The research work has been well recognized with major research grants successfully awarded.
Professor Lee is an experienced speech therapist specializing in managing children with various communication and swallowing impairments. Other than research and clinical work, she has also been giving lectures and workshops widely in educational settings and the community to foster language and speech facilitation skills for parents, professionals and students.
  Teaching and Learning Strategies  
  Teaching and learning strategies include lectures, tutorials, online learning activities, laboratory demonstration and practice, student-led presentations, discussions, case studies, projects, visits, case observations, fieldwork and reflective activities as appropriate.  
  Assessments include individual or group assignments, presentations, attendance and examination as appropriate.  
  Transfer of Units  
  Graduates of the programme with a result of not lower than ‘B-’ in the following course(s) may apply for the course and unit exemption when studying the Master of Science Programme in Speech-Language Pathology offered by our department:  
        Anatomy and Physiology of Speech, Language and Hearing (3 Units)  
        Foundations in Language Acquisition (3 Units)  
        Foundations I: Phonetics and Phonology (3 Units)  
        Foundations II: Syntax and Semantics (3 Units)  
        and other related course(s)  
  Course and Unit Exemption for MSc Speech-Language Pathology  
  Course and unit exemption up to 9 units for MSc Programme in Speech-Language Pathology shall be granted for students who have  
  • Obtained a Professional Diploma in Communication Disorders and Sciences; and
  • Completed course(s) with a minimum grade of “B-” in Professional Diploma in Communication Disorders and Sciences.
  Tuition Fee (Whole Programme)  
  HK$ 16,000 per course (HK$ 96,000 for the whole programme)  
  Admission Requirements  
  Applicants shall have obtained a Bachelor's degree from a recognized university.  
  Application and Next Intake  

The application exercise for Jan 2023 intake is from August to October 2022. Applicants are required to submit an online Application Form and provide supporting documents by a designated online platform (which will be also shown in the Form) within the application period. Further details can be found in the Application Form (click the hyperlink below) or provided in the email reply from us (if any):

As for details of our information sessions (in Aug & Sep 2022), interested persons may click the following hyperlink to be directed to our registration page:

The next intake will commence in Sep 2023 and the related application exercise will be announced in due course.

  Contact Us  
      Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  Address:   Professional Diploma in Communication Disorders and Sciences,
Room 303, Academic Building No.2,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Shatin, Hong Kong
  Tel:   (852) 3943 9609 / 3943 9613  
  Fax:   (852) 3942 0969  
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