2021 start
PG Certificate
PG Diploma

Speech Difficulties

Division of Human Communication Sciences, Health Sciences School, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health

This MSc develops your knowledge of the most up-to-date approaches and theoretical and clinical issues in the field of developmental speech and literacy difficulties.
Image of two postgraduate students from the Department of Human Communication Sciences in library

Course description

This course is designed for speech and language therapists and other professionals with a special interest in communication difficulties. You can study part-time by distance learning or full-time.

You’ll develop your knowledge and skills of evidence-based practice so that you can effectively support people with developmental speech and literacy difficulties.

This MSc explores conditions such as phonological impairment or disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, developmental verbal dyspraxia and dysarthria.

What will you learn?

On this course you’ll develop your:

  • knowledge of current research into spoken and written language development and difficulties across the lifespan
  • understanding of the impact of speech difficulties on an individual in terms of school, home and social life, as well as employment and relationships
  • knowledge of a range of technical and research methods used in the investigation of spoken and written language difficulties and evaluation of subsequent intervention programmes
  • knowledge of current assessments and interventions for children with speech, language and literacy difficulties
  • competency in quantitative and qualitative research design and methods in the social sciences


Core modules


  • Spoken and Written Language
  • Developing an Evidence-Base for Practice
  • Speech Difficulties 1: Nature and Investigation
  • Speech Difficulties II: Intervention and Management 

PGDip and MSc:

  • Same four modules as for the PGCert
  • Research Methods A
  • Research Methods B (optional for PGDip)

Optional modules

Examples of optional modules for PGDip and MSc levels only:

  • Communication Diversity and Difficulties
  • Methods in Clinical Linguistics
  • Literacy: Difficulties and Intervention

MSc students also complete a dissertation.


Part-time students study online via distance learning plus optional attendance at study blocks lasting 2-3 days. These take place at regular intervals throughout the academic year.

Full-time students may also attend lectures, seminars and practical workshops offered in the department.


Each module is assessed by a written assignment.


MSc: 1 year full-time or 2/3 years part-time by distance learning
Postgraduate Diploma: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time by distance learning
Postgraduate Certificate: 1 year part-time by distance learning

Your career

Graduates continue to develop their career both within the NHS and the private sector, as well as going on to specialise as speech and language therapists. Some graduates have alternatively gone onto further PhD training in clinical research.

Entry requirements

At least a 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline such as speech and language therapy/pathology, linguistics, education, psychology or computer sciences. 

A background in phonetics is necessary for some modules and experience of working with clients with speech difficulties is an advantage.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Fees and funding

The fees below are for the MSc. Use our fee calculator to look up other fees for other versions of the course.

Dr Jenny Thomson

My research investigates how children’s language and literacy develops and what happens when that process goes wrong. A particular interest is the impact of digital technology on development. My research and teaching constantly enrich each other.

Dr Jenny Thomson
Teaches on: PG Cert/Diploma/MSc Speech Difficulties; PG Cert/Diploma/MSc Language and Communication in Children


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now


+44 114 222 2405

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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.