Postgraduate Courses in Language and Literacy: PG Certificate/ PG Diploma/ MSc

This course will not be accepting new applicants after 2016-17.

If you are interested in studying the learning about literacy development and/or difficulties with us from September 2017 onwards, modules in literacy are available that can be studied as stand-alone modules, or taken as option modules within the PG Diploma/MSc Language and Communication in Children (LACIC).

Study mode: Either Full Time OR study from your home Part Time by Distance Learning

Duration: Full-time: MSc / PGDip 1 year; Part-time: PGCert 1 year; PGDip 2 years; MSc 2 or 3 years

Why choose to study in our Department at Sheffield?

We are a supportive staff with years of experience of working with both full-time students (from overseas and home) and part-time students, many of whom are returning to study after a break. Past students have said that studying our postgraduate courses at Sheffield have been very relevant to their practice and has provided them with career opportunities. A significant number of our students stay on for further study.
You do not have to take on too much at once – you can begin with a Postgraduate Certificate and following satisfactory progress you can transfer to a Postgraduate Diploma or MSc. You can even register for just one module to sample what we offer.
If you wish to pursue research and carry out your own project under supervision, consider an MSc course - this has a strong research training component, and provides an excellent foundation for later MPhil/PhD study.

Why choose to study ‘Language and Literacy’ at Sheffield?

You will work with experts in the field who are engaged in research, research-led teaching, and evidence based practice.

Our Language and Literacy courses will appeal to Teachers, Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Linguists and other graduates from the UK and Overseas who have a relevant undergraduate degree. They are designed for students who wish to develop their knowledge of literacy development and difficulties, and their skills in evidence-based assessments and interventions.  As a multidisciplinary department we are able to take a range of perspectives on the relationship between spoken and written language and you will develop your knowledge of teaching, therapy, psycholinguistics and neuroscience on this course. Topics covered include cross-linguistic aspects of language and literacy development and difficulties; dyslexia, dyspraxia, reading comprehension difficulties, spelling and writing; phonological awareness; social disadvantage, working with bi/multilingual populations. For full-time students there is a range of general clinical observation opportunities with speech and language therapy clients (adults and children) available through the Department of Human Communication Sciences. Part-time students who are working alongside studying on this course are encouraged and supported to apply their developing knowledge and skills to their practice.

PLEASE NOTE: This programme does NOT lead to a professional qualification in teaching or speech and language therapy.

If you wish to become a speech and language therapist then see accredited qualification in speech and language therapy.

Programme Outline

The course is offered on a full-time or part-time basis, over the full calendar year.
Students can enrol on the PG Certificate (60 credits), PG Diploma (120 credits) or MSc (180 credits). Students may transfer from one course to the other in the summer of each year.


General Aims

  1. To enable students working with children and young people with language and literacy difficulties to have the opportunity to further their careers through specialist courses delivered full-time or part-time by distance learning.
  2. To increase access to research findings and methods, and understanding of evidence based practice.
  3. To increase knowledge about language and literacy development and difficulties.
  4. To increase skills in assessment, teaching and management of pupils/students with literacy difficulties.
  5. To maintain a cross-linguistic theme throughout.

Programme- Specific Aims

PG Certificate

  1. To cover the study of literacy, and in particular the relationship between spoken and written language, from a multidisciplinary perspective.
  2. To learn how literacy develops in children in monolingual and bi/multilingual environments.
  3. To understand the nature of literacy difficulties, including dyslexia, and how these unfold throughout the lifespan.
  4. To investigate how literacy is taught in mainstream contexts.
  5. To examine and devise assessments of literacy skills.
  6. To evaluate interventions for supporting pupils/students with specific literacy difficulties.
  7. To develop critical analysis skills and knowledge of evidence based practice.

PG Diploma

As above for PGCert plus the following:

  1. To develop research skills including research design, and methods of analysis.
  2. To pursue options in related areas such as speech and language difficulties, autism, learning difficulties.
  3. To develop more independent study skills.


As above for PG Cert and Diploma plus the following:

  1. To develop more advanced study skills and critical appraisal.
  2. To design, carry out, and write up a piece of research in a related area under supervision.
  3. To practice dissemination of research through presentations.


All students on PG Certificate / PG Diploma / MSc will study the following four modules:

  • Spoken and Written Language
  • Literacy Development and Difficulties 1 : Nature and Investigation
  • Literacy Development and Difficulties 2 : Teaching/Intervention & Management
  • Developing an Evidence Base for Practice

PG Diploma / MSc students will also study the following modules:

  • Research Methods A
  • Research Methods B for MSc and PG Dip students wishing to progress to the MSc, or an alternative *option if not continuing to MSc.
  • 2 further *option modules.

*The following are examples of possible OPTIONS:

  • Developmental Disorders (specific language impairment, autistic spectrum disorders, learning difficulties, behavioural difficulties, AAC, auditory processing disorder amongst others)
  • Speech Difficulties – assessment and intervention
  • Working with Early Years or Secondary Age pupils
  • Working with university students with literacy difficulties (NOTE: this is a new option pending approval for 2014)
  • Cleft Lip and Palate
  • Methods in Clinical Linguistics
  • Professional Research skills
  • Acquired Communication Disorders
  • Acquired Speech Disorders
  • Special Topics in Human Communication Sciences
  • Other options may be available by arrangement and are confirmed each year.

MSc students will also study the following module in addition to the above:

  • Dissertation

See Examples of publications based on MSc dissertation research

Assessment methods

All modules are assessed by some form of written work, for example essays, case studies, data analysis and other activities.

Teaching Methods

  • Online course material, including activities and access to journals
  • Study block attendance with lectures, tutorials and practical workshops

Each module has a study blocks of 1 - 2 days - these are held throughout the year. Some of these study blocks are held at weekends to enable those in full-time employment (for example in schools) to attend. Attendance at these study blocks is expected and highly recommended by our current and past students. However, students who are based out of the UK, or who have special circumstances, can be exempted from these

What our students say about our courses

  • Click here to read what our students say about our courses.

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally have a good BA or BSc degree (1st class, upper 2nd or equivalent) in a relevant discipline such as Education, Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy/Pathology, Linguistics, Biological Sciences, Computer Sciences.

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

Fees and Funding

More information about fees is available here

Funding for NHS Employees in Yorkshire and the Humber and East Midlands - Funding is available for you to do our postgraduate courses or a single module through Learning Beyond Registration. Ask your manager about this or contact us directly.

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

Closing Date for applications

Postgraduate courses commence in mid-September of each year.
Applications are normally considered up until 31st July in each year.

Late applicants will be considered, but only if places are still available.

How to apply

You can no longer apply for this course. However, you may want to

For more information about our courses contact:

T: +44 (0)114 222 2405
If you would like to discuss our Language and Literacy courses specifically then please contact Dr Jenny Thomson (