Master of Disability Studies

This program is only available for currently enrolled students. No new applications for admission will be accepted.


Are you working in the disability field and looking to broaden your skills and knowledge to progress your career to the next level? The University of Newcastle’s Master of Disability Studies combines hands-on practical coursework with a solid foundation in theoretical issues, all of which are delivered by disability study experts. The time is right as the National Disability Insurance Scheme comes to life around Australia.

For those looking to take on senior or managerial roles within the disability sector, this program is very much focused on professional disability care. With core programs including management and evaluation, issues and strategies, collaboration, planning and interpersonal skills, you will emerge from this program with a refined skill set, able to approach new challenges and greater responsibility with confidence and a solid educational grounding.

With the ability to complete this program in as little as one year full-time, the Master of Disability Studies offers those already working in the field or those looking for a career change, the flexibility to tailor the program to suit their interests.

Our advanced online learning system provides you with the flexibility and support to study anytime, anywhere to balance work, life and study. You can achieve your fully accredited Master of Disability Studies at a time that suits you.

Explore this page and find out if the Master of Disability Studies is for you, what you will study and the career opportunities it can provide you.

Is it for you?

Taking on a career in the disability sector can be both rewarding and challenging. If you are motivated to help provide a better future for those living with a disability then the Master of Disability Studies at the University of Newcastle will help broaden your understanding of the industry and prepare you for a role in management.

Open to those with a relevant undergraduate degree or Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (Disability studies) and a minimum of two years relevant professional experience, completion of the program means graduates may be eligible for management positions or direct-care.

With all coursework developed in accordance with the National Competency Standards for Disability Services, the program will provide you with a solid base of theoretical knowledge in contemporary issues within the disability sector.

To find out more about what you will study, visit the 'Study' tab.


The Master of Disability Studies at the University of Newcastle requires you to successfully complete eight courses, which include four core courses and four electives.

The core courses will have you adopt a new perspective when viewing individuals, families and communities. You will take on the perspective of those that work in the disability sector. Not only will you learn about the different types of disability and assessment, you will learn about the broader environmental, medical and social issues which surround the disability sector, along with participation and empowerment issues and quality of life.

You will develop your theoretical knowledge of planning support in disability services by improving your skills in discussing lifespan and quality of life concepts, identifying and utilising principles and strategies for intervention, and applying basic assessment tools for designing support programs.

When it comes to tailoring your program, you can undertake a range of courses as well as seek permission to undertake courses outside the program. You can take on communication intervention where you will learn the theory, research and implementation protocols, which support the design and evaluation of communication interventions for individuals with a disability.

You can also choose to study the effects of developmental disabilities which covers intellectual and physical disability, down syndrome and autism, medical and genetic issues along with educational and support approaches. As part of this subject you will undertake a comprehensive analysis of one specific type of disability, enabling you to apply the knowledge you have learnt.

To find out more about where the Master of Disability Studies can lead you, visit the 'Careers' tab.


While there is yet to be a recognised industry board which provides accreditation to individuals working in this field, graduates of the Master of Disability Studies from the University of Newcastle will possess a highly commended and recognised qualification. With this, graduates can explore career opportunities in practical care or management positions.

It may also provide a stepping stone to further, more specialised study in the provision of disability services, with frontline roles including direct support workers, team leaders, program facilitators, aides and case managers.

For more detailed information on eligibility, courses and requirements of the Master of Disability Studies, visit the ‘Details’ tab.

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