Medicine and Health Sciences

The Bachelor of Speech-Language Therapy programme trains speech-language therapists in the relevant knowledge and skills for the management of persons with communication disorders. You are equipped to perform the following professional functions:

  • prevention, identification, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of communication disorders;
  • client- and family-centred counselling;
  • education and training of other professionals or relevant lay persons;
  • consultation and research in the field of communication disorders; and
  • management of programmes provided by speech-language therapists to patients with communication disorders in health, education and private contexts.

In order to perform the above-mentioned functions optimally in the multilingual South African context, therapists are expected to be competent in at least two languages, as well as Sign Language.

The training of speech-language therapists

The curriculum spans four years and covers the complete range of speech, language, voice and hearing, fluency, feeding and swallowing disorders that are encountered in the field of communication pathology. The hearing therapy content includes aspects of the practice of audiology such as basic pre-tone and speech audiometry, immittance audiometry and rehabilitation.

With respect to hearing disorders, the emphasis in training is on management and rehabilitation of persons with hearing loss. Students are also trained in basic Sign Language to support rehabilitation.

The first two years of the programme are offered at the Stellenbosch Campus, but students spend at least one day per week on the Tygerberg Campus. The Division of Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy arranges bus transportation for this purpose. The third and fourth years of the programme are presented at the Tygerberg Campus. You will complete your clinical training at approved sites in the Western Cape.

Majors: Speech Pathology, Clinical Speech Pathology, Psychology and General Linguistics.

Other modules: Anatomy, Neuroanatomy and Clinical Neurology, which are continually adjusted to meet the needs of the profession. Xhosa or Afrikaans Language Acquisition (as determined by language proficiency tests) is a compulsory first-year subject to introduce the structure and system of the language to students. Clinical modules will provide you with opportunities to acquire relevant clinical skills for application in specific contexts under the supervision of qualified therapists. Clinical training takes place in hospitals, schools, community health centres and clinics. We place a high premium is placed on excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Your proficiency in Xhosa is developed further in the second, third and fourth year to enable you to communicate with patients and caregivers in clinical settings.

For further information on the curriculum, see our Calendar. This qualification may be followed up with a Master of Speech-Language Therapy and a PhD.

Upon completion of the programme you are required to do a year of community service, after which you will be eligible for registration as a speech-language therapist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

As a speech-language therapist, you have an opportunity to practise in the public, private and non-government sectors as well as in academic institutions. Graduates may register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and obtain work in hospitals, clinics, schools, private practices and academia.