Postgraduate courses in Language and Communication Impairment in Children - MSc PG Certificate PG Diploma

Study mode: Part Time by Distance Learning

Course duration:
MSc - 2/3 years part-time (by distance learning)
Postgraduate Diploma - 2 years part-time (by distance learning)
Postgraduate Certificate - 1 year part-time (by distance learning)

Why choose Language and Communication Impairment in Children (LACIC) at Sheffield?

Photo of lecturer instructing student on laptop

This programme is for teachers, speech and language therapists and other professionals working with children with speech, language and communication impairments. Studying part-time by distance learning allows students to gain specialist qualifications without leaving their post or obtaining secondment. The multi-disciplinary nature of the course supports the development of best practice for inclusive and special education. Learning opportunities allow students to develop their knowledge and understanding and extend existing skills in working effectively with children with special educational needs.

For more than 20 years, the LACIC programme has supported students to successful qualification at MSc PG Certificate PG Diploma level. Staff are very experienced in working with distance learners, and in understanding their needs.

PLEASE NOTE: This programme does NOT provide a professionally accredited qualification in either teaching or speech and language therapy.

An Advanced Certificate programme in Language and Communication Impairment in Children is also available for Learning Support and Teaching Assistants, Speech and Language Therapy Assistants and Instructors, Nursery Nurses and others working in a support role with children with language and communication impairments.

Programme Outline

The course is offered on a part-time basis over the full calendar year (September to September).
Students can enrol on the one year PG Certificate (60 credits), the two year PG Diploma (120 credits) or the 2 or 3 year MSc (180 credits). Following tutor advice, students may transfer between course levels in the summer of each year.

Aims and Objectives

  • To provide the knowledge and understanding for practitioners to develop best practice for inclusive and special education.
  • To promote successful collaborative practice for professionals who work in an educational context with children who have speech, language and communication difficulties.
  • For students to increase knowledge and understanding of language and communication impairments, consider the consequences for children’s learning and reflect on implications for practice.
  • To enable students to engage critically with current theory and research findings in the field of language and communication impairment.
  • To provide the methodological and professional skills to evaluate practice and to conduct and report research in the field.


For the Post-Graduate Certificate students will take:

  • Children’s Learning
  • Spoken and Written Language
  • Language and Communication
  • Developing an Evidence Base for Practice

For the Post-Graduate Diploma: In addition to the above students will take:

  • Research Methods
  • Optional modules:
    • Communication Diversity and Difficulties topics may include: developmental language disorder, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, literacy: special topics, multilingualism, adolescence, early years, language and the environment)
    • Case Study
    • Speech Difficulties
    • Literacy

For the MSc, in addition to the above (including 2 Research Methods modules) students will also take:

There is also the option of studying for the MSc over 2 years. (Please note that the time commitment across the year is considerably higher for the 2 year MSc route. The 2 year route is only recommended for those who consistently have 20 hours plus per week available for study across the calendar year.)

For full details of the course programme, see the downloads box on the right.

Some Individual Modules can also be studied: Explore CPD Opportunities.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Assessment Methods

All modules are assessed by written work.

Teaching Methods

  • Online course material
  • Study weekend attendance with lectures and tutorials

A total of 3 study weekends are held each year (usually late September, late January and mid-May).
Attendance at study weekends is normally compulsory. However, students who are based outside the UK, or who have special circumstances, may be exempted.*

Study time: students usually need to spend an average of 12 hours per week, for each module studied at any one time, across the full year. On the Certificate, Diploma and 3-year MSc courses, students usually study one module at a time, so study time is roughly 12 hours per week across the year. For the MSc over 2 years, students typically study two modules consecutively throughout, with correspondingly higher study time requirements.

*Study weekends are included in the course fee but travel and accommodation are not

What our Students Say

Entry Requirements

Applicants to the MSc programme will normally have two years' relevant work experience with children and a minimum of an upper second class degree at undergraduate level.

Applicants to the PG Certificate or PG Diploma programmes will normally have two years' relevant work experience with children and a first degree or a degree-level professional qualification.

For students who do not have English as a first language, the English language requirement for starting the course is an IELTS average score of 7 with no component less than 6, or the equivalent.

Fees and Funding

More information about fees

Please note that the overall cost of following the MSc by the 2 year or the 3 year route is the same.

Student Finance England (SFE) loans

If you are applying for entry to a full-time or part-time Masters course, and live in England you may be eligible to apply for a loan to support study via the government organisation Student Finance England (SFE). The process of applying for funding is separate from an application to the University. Information on the loan scheme, how to apply and contacts for further information can be found at: This page also has information for students from Scotland, and on other possible funding sources.

Funding for NHS employees in Yorkshire and Humber, and East Midlands

Funding to cover all or part of your study may be available through our Learning Beyond Registration (LBR) arrangements. Funding can be granted either for single modules or for a full course. However, please note that, for courses over one year’s duration, application for funding needs to be made each year to cover the following year of study. If you are interested, please first discuss your plans with your NHS manager, who will need to support your funding application. You will then need to apply to the University both for your module/course and for LBR funding. A set amount of LBR funding is available annually so, to maximise your chances of securing some, we recommend that you apply as far in advance of the start of the course as possible. Please contact our HCS Admissions support at / tel. 0114 2222405 for more information.

University of Sheffield Alumni discount for new study

If you have previously studied at the University of Sheffield, you may be entitled to a 10% discount for new study. More details can be found at:

Funding for International Students:

There are scholarships available for some non-UK, non-EU students who are studying part-time masters programmes at Sheffield.
For more information go to: and look at information for your country.

Closing Date for applications

The course commences in mid-September of each year.
Applications will usually be considered up until 31st July in each year. Applications received after 31st July may be considered if there are places still available. It is important to apply in good time for the course, as full access to the University computer network and online learning resources needs to be arranged for the start of the academic year.

How to apply

You can apply online here

For applicants with disabilities you can find a range of useful information at the University of Sheffield's Disability & Dyslexia Support Service.
For further information The Health and Care Professions Council produce a publication called Health, disability and becoming a health care professional.

For more information contact

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of our courses, contact us:

HCS Admissions:; T: +44 (0)114 222 2405