Master of Disability Studies


Program Code 11378
Graduate Level Postgraduate
  • Online
Contributing Schools and Faculties
Admission Instructions:

How to apply as a:

Program Award Rules and Schedules
Mode of delivery Distance Learning
Program Enrolment Checklist


This program is available for continuing students only.

The Master of Disability Studies provides a mix of theoretical and practical content. It is designed for professionals who are either working, or who aspire to work in the disability field in either a “hands-on”, or managerial capacity.

Why study with us?

Staff from the Centre for Special Education and Disability Studies who deliver the program have respected national and international research profiles in Disability Studies. In addition, courses in the Disability Studies program consistently receive high satisfaction ratings on the University’s Student Evaluation of Courses survey.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Disability Studies program will have demonstrated skills and competencies that make them eligible for employment in a wide range of community disability services for people with a disability that include employment, residential community access and a wide variety of other disability service types. Graduates would also be eligible for employment for direct support as well as management positions.

Study a Language

All domestic students can now enrol in an undergraduate Diploma in Languages alongside their main degree program. This diploma will enhance proficiency in another language or languages, and will increase international career opportunities. Subject to course availability, this additional program will generally add an extra year to studies, and students will graduate with a Diploma in Languages as well as their other degree. Please note that all language courses are held on campus (face to face) at Callaghan.

International students cannot enrol concurrently in the Diploma in Languages alongside their primary program unless they can complete both programs within the duration of their primary program CoE. For more information please contact the ESOS Student Compliance Unit

Admission Requirements

Admission to this program is available to Australian students, residents and international students. Please visit for information on how to gain entry.

For the Master of Disability Studies a relevant University degree is required. However, students who have successfully completed the Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (Disability Studies), are eligible to apply and may receive up to 40 units credit in the Master of Disability Studies. It is assumed that applicants will have the equivalent of two years relevant professional experience.

Assumed Knowledge

Two years of relevant professional experience.

Credit Transfer

If you wish to apply for credit for studies completed at another institution or if you are changing programs within the University and wish to transfer your credit to the new program, go to and click on ‘How to Apply for Credit’.

Completion of a Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies in the specialisation of Disability may receive up to 40 units of credit.

Professional Accreditation

At this time, a set of national professional standards for people working in community disability services does not exist in Australia. However, the content of the courses in the Disability Studies program fully address the National Competency Standards for Disability Services, developed by the National Community Services and Health Industry Training Advisory Board.

International Students

International students must comply with the University of Newcastle’s English language proficiency requirements. All International Students enrolled in the program will be provided with an orientation to familiarise them with the rules, expectations, facilities and services offered by the University. Please visit to find out more about the support services available to international students.

Special Needs

Students with disabilities who require reasonable adjustments to undertake their program should contact the Disability Support Service before semester or early in the semester. Some adjustments need up to 4 weeks lead time to organise, so it is imperative that early contact is made. The Disability Support Service and relevant Faculty and School officers will work together to ensure reasonably adjustments are provided in a timely manner.

Please note: All students must fulfil the inherent requirements of the programs and courses they are undertaking. While reasonable adjustments can be made, these adjustments cannot compromise academic integrity. It is the student’s responsibility to check all the requirements of courses, and consider the effects of any medical condition or disability on their ability to complete course requirements. Please visit for more information.

Additional Information

All students can access additional learning development mechanisms provided by the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can draw on the assistance and support provided by the Indigenous Student Support and Development service through the Wollotuka Institute. Courses are delivered through distance learning packages, and some learning materials are also available on-line. All courses are offered at Masters level. There is no residential or examination requirement.

Core courses will be offered every second year instead of every year. The pattern of study for the Master of Disability Studies is:

  • 2011 - core courses;
  • 2012 - directed courses;
  • 2013 - core courses;
  • 2014 - directed courses.

Recommended Studies

Applicants who do not satisfy the requirements for direct entry to the award may enter via the completion of the Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies.

Requirements and Structure

To qualify for the Master of Disability Studies program students must successfully complete 80 units including:

*  Core Courses - 40 units
*  Directed Courses - 40 units (Students may, with the permission of the Program Convenor, choose a maximum of 20 units of directed courses from other 6000 level courses offered by the University.).

Not all courses are available in each semester. The Faculty reserves the right not to offer courses if there is insufficient demand.

The program can be completed in one year full-time (only in the years that core courses are offered) or two years part-time enrolment at any time. Applications may be made for Semester 1 entry or Semester 2 entry.

Transition Arrangements

The following transition arrangements apply to students who commenced prior to 2013:

  • Any student who has successfully completed EDUC6051 can count this as a directed course in their program. However, EDUC6051 will not count with EDUC6164.

  • Any student who has not completed EDUC6051 may enrol in EDUC6164 and count it as a directed course in their program.

Course Information

Code Name Availability Units
Complete the following core courses to fulfil the requirements of this program.
EDUC6001 Dis Stud: Persp on Individual, Family & Community
available every second year
Semester 1 - 2015 (GradSchool) 10 units
EDUC6002 Disability Support & Services: Management & Eval
available every second year
Semester 1 - 2015 (GradSchool) 10 units
EDUC6003 Prog for Supp in Disab Serv: Issues and Strategies
available every second year
Semester 2 - 2015 (GradSchool) 10 units
EDUC6004 Collab, Planning & Interpers Skills Disability Ser
available every second year
Semester 2 - 2015 (GradSchool) 10 units
Directed Courses
Code Name Availability Units
Choose 40 units from Directed courses (up to 20 units may be chosen from other 6000 level courses with permission)
EDUC6083 Communication Intervention Semester 2 - 2015 (GradSchool) 10 units
EDUC6084 Com. Service Provision for People with Disability Semester 1 - 2015 (GradSchool) 10 units
EDUC6087 Developmental Disabilities Semester 2 - 2015 (Callaghan)
Semester 2 - 2015 (GradSchool)
10 units
EDUC6164 Critical Reflection in Special Education and Disability Service Settings
not to count with EDUC6051
Semester 1 - 2015 (GradSchool)
Semester 2 - 2015 (GradSchool)
10 units