What Our Students Say

Rebekka Niepelt  - PhD Student

Rebekka Niepelt - PhD Student

Why did you choose The University of Sheffield?

I achieved my Master’s degree at the University of Sheffield. It was a perfect preparation for continuing in studies for a PhD. Furthermore, my research interest found great support by professional experts here. Additionally, the university is renowned for both teaching and research. As I was more than satisfied with the University and the Department of Human Communication Sciences, staying at the University of Sheffield was the best thing I could do.

Why did you choose the project you are studying?

Previously, I worked as a speech and language therapist in Germany. I was mostly involved in intervention for people who stammer. The phenomenon of stammering fascinated me since I started my vocational training for being a speech and language therapist in 2006. My research focuses on origin and causes of stammering, as these facts are still unclear and unknown, nowadays. This research will help to understand the reasons for stammering better and therefore, has a practical implication as therapy concepts can build on new discovered factors. I am motivated to make a change for people who stammer.

What do you like about your department?

The Department of Human Communication Sciences is a great department. I am happy to be a part of it. Everybody here is very friendly and welcoming. Furthermore, assistance is always given, even if experts are not directly involved in my research. My supervisors are a marvellous support for me and they guide me through the way and stages of being a PhD student. I feel that this department represents a very strong knowledge about research and expertise and passes this to its students as a manner of course. Besides, regular departmental seminars give the opportunity to students to broaden their general research knowledge in other research areas.

What do you like about the university?

The University of Sheffield has a huge range of activities where students can get involved with outside of the regular timetable. Societies and sport teams are just some of them. Additionally, the university offers additional program for postgraduate students which gives opportunities to socialise with students in the same situation, but with different research backgrounds. However, even research wise postgraduate research students can get involved and develop themselves further by professional doctoral developmental research training and evening seminars. Altogether, the university is very friendly, central located and a good mixture of attractive campus and departmental buildings.

How would you describe your relationship with the staff?

I have a good relationship with the staff. In general, everybody is very friendly and very supportive. I have the feeling that there is a common interest in getting to know each other (and your research) even if you do not work together. Research students are offered opportunities to teach and get involved in this part of academia, working close together with staff members. Furthermore, we have the chances to present our own research within the department and from that gaining feedback from experts with different research backgrounds. Additionally, my supervisors are also a great support related to my development and career as a professional, involving teaching activity, conference presentations, and other important skills.

How would you describe your relationship with other students?

We are a supportive group of research students. Different activities are organised which give opportunities to share knowledge and research interests, but also socialising events. Students are always happy to help and support each other. One focus also lies on involving joint location, part time, and distant learning students by organising, for example, ‘hang-outs’ during meetings so that everybody can take part. Different events, just like the yearly postgraduate conference within the department, bring then everybody together. These events are always full of enthusiasm to get to know each other’s research, but also each other’s personalities.

Rafizah Badar- PhD Student

Rafizah

Why did you choose The University of Sheffield?

I chose the University of Sheffield because the Human Communication Sciences department has a range of academic staff with expertise in a variety of areas and especially in my area of research interest. The University itself is also very reputable for its teaching and the extensive research opportunities.

Why did you choose the project you are studying?

I am a speech and language therapist in my home country and I work in the educational setting. There are not many speech therapists providing services to schools and resources are spread very thinly. As a result I decided to do a research that will allow me to work more effectively with professionals in the school settings.

What do you like about your department?

I was very lucky because when I started my PhD, the department has just moved to a new building with great resources and facilities and that I get my own work space. I also enjoy that staff and fellow post graduate research students are really welcoming and supportive. Furthermore, my supervisors have been fantastic in supporting and guiding me in the initial stages of my PhD.

What do you like about the university?

Excellent facilities and a safe and welcoming environment. There are also a lot of opportunities to get involved in seminars as well as further professional development.

How would you describe your relationship with the staff?

So far so good. They are very supportive and friendly and make every effort to ensure that I have settled in well and feel like part of the community.

How would you describe your relationship with other students?

Excellent. They have been extremely supportive from the beginning and there is generally a very good supportive and hard-working atmosphere. I really appreciate the fact that everyone respects each other and will listen and help each other out, and that there is very good teamwork overall.

Elizabeth Anderson - PhD Student and Teaching Assistant 

Elizabeth Anderson

Why did you choose The University of Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield is a great university in a beautiful city – both these advantages encouraged me to study here. The University has a strong links to the community and supports its researchers in working with local organisations. Though the University is world-renowned, there is no feeling of working in an isolated ivory tower! And nothing beats a relaxing weekend walking, cycling or exploring the Peak District after a busy week at work!

Why did you choose the project you are studying?

My background is in linguistics, and I am interested in how linguistic theories can inform research on acquired communication disorders. I am working in an established area of linguistics, the syntax-semantics interface, and applying ideas from theories in this area to language in aphasia. My supervisors have been excited about getting involved in this research, and I benefit from their experience in important related fields.

What do you like about your department?

The Department of Human Communication Sciences has great new facilities and is conveniently located near most University buildings I regularly visit. I love how interdisciplinary the department is – it includes researchers and clinicians working on language, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, acquired disorders, paediatric impairments, language development and literacy, just to name a few! Our departmental seminars always leave me feeling that I’ve learned something interesting.

What do you like about the university?

University staff are enthusiastic and helpful. SSiD and the Help Desk at the Information Commons have never let me down – they give efficient and friendly advice on everything from council tax to printing. Staff from other academic departments are interested in involving you in their activities. Recently, I joined the Centre for Linguistic Research, and my department has regular contact with the Department of Psychology.
The doctoral development programme offers many opportunities for postgraduate researchers to develop their skills in a number of different areas. I have taken modules  offered by the Faculty of Social Sciences and the School of Health and Related Research. The University of Sheffield is also a member of the White Rose Consortium, so postgraduates benefit from activities at the University of York and the University of Leeds, as well. 

How would you describe your relationship with the staff?

I have regular contact with both my supervisors. They have completely supported my project and lent their enthusiasm to my topic in addition to their invaluable academic advice. As I am also a teaching assistant, the coordinators of the modules on which I teach have been great mentors.

How would you describe your relationship with other students?

I have a mentor within my department and within my faculty. They made my start at the University of Sheffield and transition to the life of a PhD student very smooth. The postgraduate researchers in the department are a supportive group, so I know there will always be a sympathetic ear whatever stage of my project I’m on!
I value the diversity of students I meet at the University of Sheffield. Just yesterday, I was part of a group of postgraduate researchers from the UK, the US, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. I found it invaluable to hear about the variety of different experiences these students brought to our discussion. The University experience here is truly a global one!

Joanna Rees – Part time PhD student and distance learner

Why did you choose The University of Sheffield?

I chose to attend Sheffield University to study for my MSc in Speech and Cleft Palate because it was a specialist course which was not available anywhere else in the country. As a distance learner I had amazing support and still had good opportunities to integrate and socialise with other students. I enjoyed my study time immensely and decided to pursue my dissertation project and registered for a PhD in 2014.  I continue to study from my home in the Lake District but still feel very much part of the departmental community. There is plenty of scope for on-line discussions and internet conferencing as well as attending seminars and meetings in Sheffield where possible.

Why did you choose the project you are studying?

I am a dentist by profession and work in a Maxillo-facial unit in Cumbria. I became interested in the dilemma of individuals with untreated cleft palate whilst working in the Philippines and felt that it was an under-researched problem particularly in relation to the psycho-social impacts of poor communication and nasal regurgitation. Studying for my MSc was my first involvement with cleft palate and speech and language therapy but I have really enjoyed the challenge of joining a new field and have been amazingly well supported throughout.

What do you like about your department?

The Department of Human Communication Sciences has an outwardly relaxed appearance but is packed full of expertise and experience. I have always felt very welcome and have found everyone really supportive. Whether you have a complex statistical problem or just can’t work out how to use the photocopier, there is always someone happy to help

What do you like about the university?

As a distance learner I don’t spend much time in the University complex but have found the on-line aspect extremely good. There is an excellent library facility with a huge range of on-line books and journals available. There is also an opportunity to complete many of the modules on-line through discussion forums which stops the feeling of isolation for those of us who are living away from Sheffield. 

How would you describe your relationship with the staff?

The staff in the department are all extremely friendly and approachable and I am always impressed by the amount of support that they offer despite their own busy schedules.

How would you describe your relationship with other students?

Although I am not able to actively attend many of the departmental sessions I have got to know many of the other students. There is plenty of support and plenty of opportunities to meet up and participate when I am in Sheffield and I am always made to feel part of the research team despite being based so far away.

Shams O. Almuzaini/Joint-location PhD Student

Shams O Almuzaini

Why did you choose The University of Sheffield?

Apart from being a world-class university with a very high reputation, the unique interdisciplinarity of the Department of Human Communication Sciences is what have attracted me the most. The department is intelligently organized as a platform for speech-language therapists, linguists as well as psychologists triggering lots of creativity and productivity. The University of Sheffield also offers a joint-location PhD encouraging scientific communication with other universities. Joining such institution with such type of PhD is what I have found the best choice to accomplish my future goals and objectives

Why did you choose the project you are studying?

I am investigating particular aspects of agrammatism in the Arabic language. Analyzing this type of language disorder linguistically, where a great deal of syntactic and morphological theories are applied, is extremely fascinating. Besides being personally interesting, my project will valuably contribute to the very limited amount of agrammatic research done in the Arabic world.

What do you like about your department?

The Department of Human Communication Sciences is a very well-equipped department with a very motivating research environment. Different interesting Seminars and study blocks are advertised during the year. Students, moreover, enthusiastically engage in different reading groups for different research clusters with lots of interesting discussions and analyses. 

What do you like about the university?

The endless trainings offered by the University of Sheffield are very appealing. Lots of seminars and workshops covering various topics and targeting different needs are continuously offered for all of its students. Doctoral students, in particular, are intensively provided with special training and support devoted for the purpose of the successful accomplishment of the PhD. 

How would you describe your relationship with the staff?

Besides being very qualified and vastly experienced, the staff of the Department of Human Communication Sciences are very supportive and friendly. All staff members are very reachable whenever help or support is needed.

How would you describe your relationship with other students?

One of the great things that I enjoy in the Department of Human Communication Sciences is the wonderful company of its students. The students, whom I have met, are very cooperative and helpful. They are generously available when assistance is required. In addition, their enthusiasm and intelligence is very motivating and inspiring.