UCC Adult courses

Disability Studies - Cert

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Disability Studies

  • Code


  • College

    Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    1 year

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • NFQ Level

    Level 6

  • NFQ Award Title

    Special purpose

  • Fees

    €990 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Applicants must be at least 21 years of age by 1 January of the year of application. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    13th September 2021

  • Next Intake

    September 2021

  • Venue



  • Start Date

    September 2021

Course Outline

Disability Studies is a vibrant area of study, developed over the past 40 years by academics presenting with a disability. It challenges the way in which disability is understood in society by facilitating development of research and new educational models. The aim is to help to remove the physical, legal, political, and attitudinal barriers that inhibit people with disabilities attaining their full potential for social participation.

This is both an interdisciplinary and a multi-disciplinary area, informed by scholarship from history, sociology, literature, political science, law, policy studies, economics, cultural studies, anthropology, geography, philosophy, theology, gender studies, media studies and the arts.

Understanding what Disability Studies may also be informed by what it is not. It is not: medicine, rehabilitation, special education, physical or occupational therapy or any of the professions oriented toward the cure, prevention, or treatment of disabilities.

Participation on the Certificate in Disability Studies will help you to develop your critical awareness of the factors operating in the world of disability. You will become aware of the ways in which different issues overlap and explore ways of working around situations that disadvantage people with impairments. In the process you will be encouraged to consider both your own attitudes, and the attitudes of others towards people with disabilities.


The certificate takes a mainly theoretical approach to disability, providing learners with a foundation in disability awareness. The delivery centres on the Social and Rights models of disability. You will be introduced to the concept of the ‘sociological imagination’ and thinking sociologically. The extent to which Irish policy and law currently caters for the rights of persons with disabilities is also examined. Exploration of educational approaches such as segregated education, integration, and inclusive education for students with disabilities will help you understand how the relationship between education, the economy and the demands of the labour force can exclude disabled people from participating in the workplace.


Course Practicalities

This is a part time program that runs on Thursday evenings from 18.30 to 21.30 and occasional Saturdays from 10.00 to 17.00.

Due to the current pandemic, it is likely that lectures for the first semester of the 2012-2022 academic year will be delivered through online, virtual classrooms.




There are no written examinations. Assessment is assignment based. Course work is evaluated through a combination of essays, reflective journals, a legal case study, oral and poster presentations and a document review. In addition to the assignment guidelines provided on Canvas, lecturers will cover approaches to the assignment/s for the module that they deliver. The certificate contains two 10 credit modules and two 5 credit modules. Each of the ten credit module assignments has two elements while the five credit module assignments each have one element.


Who teaches this course?


All module lecturers are approved by the UCC ACE Board of Studies and hold a minimum of an MA in a related area. They are chosen for their combination of academic knowledge and rich body of experience working in the field.


Guest lecturers will contribute occasional presentations in their specialist areas.


Why Choose This Course

"This course has broadened my knowledge and provided me with a wealth of information around topics relating to disability. My two years of study have been extremely insightful and memorable."

Susan Flaherty


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“I'm teaching the students but I'm also learning a lot from them. If you have an interest in a topic you're not only going to learn from me but you're going to learn from other people in the area".

Sinead Kane


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Benefits to Learners and Their Communities

This course enables the learner and the employer, business, organisation, voluntary group or charity they are associated with to better support the inclusion of those often marginalised in society due to disabling conditions.

Employment: The programme equips employers and employees, placement facilitators and providers, with specific knowledge on how to design and support inclusive work environments that facilitate participation of people experiencing disablement. It provides those seeking full time positions in the area of disability support with a necessary QQI level 6 qualification.

Advocacy and Facilitation: Students are encouraged in their development of facilitation and advocacy skills. This combines with honing of their own knowledge and confidence to facilitate them in developing greater social participation opportunities for those with whom they work so facilitating their journey to autonomy and independence.

Theory: This program prepares learners to critically engage with current theories, practices, research and studies, interventions, and approaches by fostering access the most up to date information.

Personal Development: In addition to the practical and academic skills acquired on a course such as this, learners also develop a range of life skills including self-confidence and self- awareness, problem solving, independent self-management, teamwork and professional presence. They will also identify effective approaches to compiling reports and assignments, planning tasks and time and boundary management.


Applicants must be at least 21 years of age by 1 January of the year of application, and will have shown an interest in or be employed in the area of disability. While there are no formal educational requirements, it is expected that proposed candidates will have attained Leaving Certificate/FETAC Level 5 or an equivalent qualification. Prior experience will be taken into account and short-listed candidates may be required to attend for an interview.

Fees and Costs

€990 for outreach centres.

For further information on fees and financial supports please click here.

How Do I Apply

Delivery Mode For Academic Year 2021/22

Following consultation with our students and programme teams, there will be a blended online approach for this programme for the 2021/22 academic year. This approach will allow for the multiple other personal and professional commitments that adult learners often have to manage alongside their studies.

From September to December, all courses will be delivered online where students will attend live virtual classes which will incorporate (as much as possible) opportunities for engagement and interactivity with lecturers and fellow students.

From January to June, we will endeavour to provide opportunities for in-class workshops and lectures where relevant. Please note that if some campus-based activity does resume, it will not be compulsory for students to attend face-to-face classes. Provisions will be made to facilitate all students’ ability to complete their studies regardless of the approach taken (online, blended, face-to-face).  

Applicants need to be aware of the IT student checklist below before applying:

  • You will need access to a laptop or desktop computer running a modern supported operating system with all software updates.
  • Some of UCC’s services (e.g. the Canvas Virtual Learning Environment) link to an external site and also have mobile apps for iOS and Android Devices that you may wish to use as part of your studies.  However, we recommend using your desktop web browser for submission of assessments.
  • You should always use the most current version of your preferred browser. In general, we recommend the Chrome Web browser (Important Note: Internet Explorer will not work with Canvas).
  • We recommend a reliable broadband connection with at least 2Mbps or more.
  • You will require an Office suite of software (Microsoft Office or equivalent) and a PDF reader. You should always use the latest version of this software.  All UCC students will have access to Office 365 which includes software such as Word/Excel/Powerpoint etc. once registered.

Should you have any queries on this, please contact Programme Coordinator Christine Chasaide at c.chasaide@ucc.ie.

During your online application you will be required to upload the following documents:

  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Passport Photograph 
  • English Language Test Report [if applicable]

NOTE: Once you have selected your course your application saves automatically.  If you don't complete your application in one session you can access your draft application in the "My Applications" section of the UCC360 application portal. The My Applications section will also keep you updated on the status of your application.




Contact details for this course

Year 1 Modules

  • AD1800: Models of Disability and Support (10 credits)
    This module begins with a review of approaches to the definitions and explanations of disability whilst understanding the contemporary concept of supporting person centredness and individualisation. Students will explore traditional and contemporary modules of disability i.e. medical, social and bio psychosocial, and examine how they have influenced approaches to support. Students will also be introduced to key sociological concepts that underpin disability issues.
  • AD1801: Perceptions and Portrayals of Disability (5 credits)
    This module analyses a range of media which presents people with disability (in books/literature, film, photographs, social media news, marketing strategies, advertisements, etc.). A sociological perspective will be used to examine portrayals depicted in the media and to review the perceptions, attitudes and factors for bias which may be generated from these portrayals.
  • AD1802: Disability and Inclusive Environments (10 credits)
    This module will explore the historic development of 'special' segregated education and the challenges of this approach, highlighted by subsequent educational theory and disability policy, will be reviewed. The challenge around access and progression to full participation in education and employment will be discussed. With the contribution of professionals working in relevant services, the module will explore the basic day to day skills and supports needed for meaningful engagement within educational and workplace settings.
  • AD1838: Supporting Equality: Policy and Legislation (5 credits)
    This module examines all relevant pieces of Irish and international policy and legislation which strives to support the rights of people with disabilities. In integral areas which are not yet governed by legislation, decisions of the Irish courts and public services, as well as those of other countries, will be discussed. The effect of policy/legislation implementation and stakeholder perspectives will be explored.

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact