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    MSc PG Certificate PG Diploma
    2024 start September 

    Speech Difficulties

    School of Allied Health Professions, Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health

    Understand a range of developmental speech difficulties and disorders, including phonology, and motor coordination, such as childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), and difficulties due to a problem in articulation.
    Speech Difficulties MSc PG Certificate PG Diploma

    Course description

    This course focuses on speech sound disorders and their impact on children. There is also an exploration of the relationship between oral speech and literacy. It is taught online, by distance learning, delivered in one and two-day study blocks.  The course is designed to give you specialist knowledge and skills to assess and clinically manage children with developmental speech difficulties. 

    You will examine conditions including phonological impairment or disorder and childhood apraxia of speech (developmental verbal dyspraxia). You will explore methods of assessing, investigating and managing speech difficulties, and how to use the latest research to inform your practice. PGDip and MSc students can also study associated topics such as autism spectrum disorders or communication in adolescence. 

    The course is aimed at speech and language therapists or pathologists, as well as linguists, psychologists and other related professionals. Alongside our full-time study options, we offer a range of part-time options so you can fit your studies around your other commitments.

    Students on the PGDip and MSc programmes study a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods, so they can keep up-to-date with the latest findings and use this to inform their practice. MSc students apply these skills to their own research project, which may include designing experiments, analysing data and reporting results.

    This course does not lead to a qualification to practise as a speech and language therapist or pathologist.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Students completing the PG Certificate at the University of Sheffield will take the following core modules:

    Spoken and Written Language

    This module focuses on the nature of spoken and written language development and difficulties. The relationship between speech, language and literacy is explored. Topics include speech and literacy development, phonological awareness, reading and reading comprehension, writing, spelling and cross-linguistic issues. Theoretical models and practical applications to supporting literacy development in pre and school age children will be studied. Students can choose to either follow introductory units in phonetics and speech development if new to these topics or extend their existing knowledge of phonetics and examine connected speech and prosody.

    15 credits
    Developing an Evidence Base for Practice

    This module develops knowledge, understanding and skills for the promotion of evidence based practice for practitioners in education, health and social welfare contexts. Students will be introduced to levels and types of evidence, develop skills in framing questions about their practice, searching and reading the literature, and in critical analysis. Students will develop skills in evaluating their own practice.

    15 credits
    Speech Difficulties 1: Nature and Investigation

    This module offers a study of the nature of developmental speech difficulties (speech sound disorders) from a range of perspectives: historical, medical, developmental, linguistic/cross-linguistic, phonetic, acoustic, psycholinguistic and educational. It examines how developmental speech difficulties can be investigated and assessed drawing on knowledge and skills from each of these perspectives. These investigations include qualitative analysis of speech data, psychometric testing and instrumental applications. Students will study current research into both theoretical aspects of the nature of speech difficulties and application to practice in a range of contexts.

    15 credits
    Speech Difficulties 2: Intervention and Management

    This module draws on current research into the management of clients with developmental speech difficulties (speech sound disorders) in a range of contexts (e.g. schools, clinic, units) and situations. It adopts a range of perspectives (e.g. historical, medical, developmental, linguistic/cross-linguistic, psycholinguistic, and biopsychosocial) in order to plan intervention programmes for children, adolescents and adults with developmental speech and associated literacy and psychosocial difficulties. Evidence for a range of intervention programmes is examined by applying critical analysis skills to the research methodologies adopted. Issues associated with service delivery are explored. Different approaches to management, e.g. hands-on intervention, consultative role, working through others (e.g. parents/carers and assistants) are explored.

    15 credits

    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.

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    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


    This course is mostly taught online. Study blocks for each module take place on campus at regular intervals throughout the academic year. They include lectures, tutorials and practical workshops and are held over one to three days.

    Attendance at study blocks is normally compulsory. However, for part-time, distance learning students not based in the UK, it is recommended but optional.

    Full-time students can also attend other lectures, seminars and practical workshops offered by the School of Allied Health Professions, Nursing and Midwifery.


    You will be assessed through written assignments. MSc students are also assessed through a dissertation.

    Your career

    Graduates leave this course with knowledge and skills that can help them develop their career in the NHS or private sector, or specialise as a speech and language therapist. It’s also great preparation for a PhD.

    This course does not lead to a professional qualification that would allow you to practise as a speech and language therapist.

    Student profiles

    Meryem sat by a computer inside the Health Communication Sciences building

    The university is welcoming, with a rich cultural scene and strong sense of community

    Meryem Sumeyye Ustun MSc Speech Difficulties

    Meryem came to the University of Sheffield from Turkey on a speech and language scholarship, to gain a better understanding of the field. She explains what she enjoyed most about the course and her ‘top tips’ for people interested in studying a Speech Difficulties degree.

    A woman sits at a window against a city backdrop

    I was able to reawaken a long slumbering dream of graduating from a UK university

    Kathrin Hohl MSc Speech Difficulties

    Kathrin has been a practising Speech and Language Therapist in Switzerland since 2017, and currently works at a private practice supporting pre-school children with their early language acquisition. She explains what brought her to our Speech Difficulties course, and how distance learning allowed her to combine her work and studies.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a relevant discipline such as speech and language therapy/pathology, linguistics, education or psychology. 

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

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

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

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    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.

    The course fee for full-time Overseas applicants is below. If however you apply for the part-time distance learning MSc you pay the annual Home fee (listed below) over two or three years, depending on the length of the course you chose.


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

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 2405

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.