UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences

PHONLINE — Phonetics Online


Application for PHONLINE2008 is now closed. If you would like to be kept informed of future PHONLINE courses, please send an email to:

  The Department of Speech Hearing and Phonetic Sciences at UCL is delighted to announce the launch of the second run of PHONLINE, an online distance learning course in phonetics, and to invite applications from prospective students for the course to run from 17 November 2008 - 16 February 2009.

  It will be delivered by an interactive website, with course content and interactive discussions available online using an ordinary web-browser.

About the course

   The course follows on from a pilot course which ran from June to August 2006, as part of a one-year project funded by a grant from London University's Centre for Distance Education. (→ Read the Project Report). The course will focus on English Phonetics and is aimed at all those, whether teachers or students, undergraduate or postgraduate, who wish to acquire or renew knowledge and skills related to English phonetics.

  We hope that by the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • make use of, and to produce transcribed material in a specified variety of English;
  • have sufficient knowledge and understanding of phonetic theory to underpin transcription; and
  • have gained relevant auditory discrimination skills.

  The course will be modular with eight units — one every week with a mid-course break over Christmas and the New Year — each consisting of a tutorial material, self assessment exercises and guidance for further independent study. There will be transcription exercises and self-assessment tests throughout the course, and a formal assessment at the end. We also hope that there will be a small-scale virtual project work, in which students work together via the Internet on a shared project.

  Alongside individual interaction with tutors, students will be encouraged to participate in interactive discussions with fellow students. Students can log on at their convenience — at least once every few days — to view the comments of their fellow students and tutors, and to contribute to the discussions themselves. Students can expect to spend at least 2 to 3 hours online every week.


John Maidment and Jill House, experienced UCL tutors who worked on the development of PHONLINE, will be joined by Joanna Przedlacka, who is well-known for her research on "Estuary English" and is currently a Teaching Fellow at UCL.

Entry Requirements

  The course is open to those who have not specialised in phonetics before, but applicants must be familiar with the basic concepts of phonetics and have proficiency in English, if not a native speaker:

  • IELTS: 7.0, with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests; or
  • TOEFL: (paper-based) 600 plus 5 in the Test of Written English; (computer-based) 250 plus essay rating 5.

  You will also need regular access to the Internet. See below for computer requirements.

Course fee

The course fee for PHONLINE2008 is £294.50, out of which £94.50 will be non-refundable after the payment deadline of 22 October 2008. If you are admitted to the course, you will be asked to pay the fee by making a single online payment. The fee will not be refunded under any circumstances after 16 November.

Application Process

  If you would like to apply, please fill in the application form online, by 5 October 2008, 23.59 (BST). The number of places on this course will be limited, and admission will be at the discretion of the PHONLINE tutors.

  • Application deadline: 5 October 2008
  • Results notified: 15 October 2008
  • Payment deadline: 22 October 2008


  While we will make every effort to support students once enrolled, please bear in mind that technical or computing difficulties beyond our control may affect participation in the course. We can give no undertaking that all aspects of the course will be fully functional for all participants.

Application form


  A participation certificate will be issued at the end of the course, but PHONLINE is not an accredited component of any award. It could be considered as a preparatory course for other courses offered by the Department such as the MA Phonetics and the IPA strand of Summer Course in English Phonetics, which will lead you to existing Certificate awards such as the Certificate of the International Phonetic Association.

Computer requirements

Hardware and software

  • Operating system: Windows 98SE, 2000 or XP, Macintosh OS X
  • Internet connection: at least 56 kbps. Faster connection highly recommended
  • Browser (one of the following):


    • Internet Explorer 5.0, 5.5 (but not 5.5 SP1), 6, 7
    • Netscape Navigator 6.2.x, 7.0, 7.1
    • Firefox 1.5, 2.0
    • Mozilla 1.5, 1.6


    • Netscape Navigator 6.2.x, 7.0, 7.1
    • Mozilla 1.5, 1.6
    • Safari 1.2, 1.3, 2.0

    Please see Blackboard (WebCT) browser tune-up page for details. Please note PHONLINE is not compatible with Mac OS 9.

  • Plug-ins: Adobe Acrobat Reader (or other PDF viewer), QuickTime (or other media player), Java — all freely downloadable.
  • Applications: A word-processing application, such as Microsoft Word
  • Speakers or headphones


  No specific skills are required — the course is not designed for computer experts! However, students should be familiar with the basics of using applications such as Microsoft Word, and sending and receiving emails.


  If you have any enquiries, please email us at:

updated 06.10.2008