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UCC Adult courses

Disability Studies - Dip

Course Fact File
Duration2 years
Teaching ModePart-Time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.
NFQ LevelLevel 6/7
NFQ Award TitleSpecial purpose
Fees€1,500 per academic year See Fees and Costs for full details.
Closing Date31 August 2024
Next IntakeSeptember 2024

Blended - Online Lectures and Face to face workshops on Campus in UCC. Please see Additional Teaching Information Mode for Further Details


Start DateSeptember 2024

Course Outline

Disability Studies is a vibrant area of study, developed over the past 40 years with academics presenting with a disability. It is both interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary, 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.

Disability Studies challenges the way in which disability is understood in our society by developing new research and educational models. These help to remove the physical, legal, political and attitudinal barriers that exclude people from society. Understanding what Disability Studies is 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.

The Certificate/Diploma in Disability Studies will help you to develop your critical awareness of the factors operating in the world of disability, to become aware of the ways in which different issues overlap and to explore ways of working around these. You will be encouraged to look at both your own attitudes, and the attitudes of others towards people with disabilities.

  • Year 1 takes a mainly theoretical approach to disability, providing you with a foundation in disability awareness, particularly the social model of disability. You will be introduced to the concept of the ‘sociological imagination’ and thinking sociologically. The extent to which Irish law currently caters for the rights of persons with disabilities is also examined. 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.
  • Year 2 examines the more practical issues in the lives of people with disabilities, through lectures, mini presentations, group discussions and guest speakers. It explores the concept of disability and social exclusion from an interdisciplinary perspective. You will also be introduced to the discipline of psychology. The final part of the course focuses on the concept of negotiated learning through the development of research and group work skills.

Please see below an introductory video about the course. 

The Modules for the Diploma are as follows:

Year 1

  • AD1800: Models of Disability and Support
  • AD1801: Perceptions and Portrayals of Disability
  • AD1802: Disability and Inclusive Environments
  • AD1838: Supporting Equality: Policy and Legislation

Year 2

  • AD2831: Group Research Project
  • AD2844: Disability and Social Inclusion 
  • AD2861: Disability and Daily Living
  • AD2873: Introduction to Psychology, Disability and Human Rights

Course Queries

For Academic Queries and Course Content Queries please contact the Programme Coordinator Helena O Connor at

For Online Application Support please click here. 

Important Notice: Course Registration Deadlines

Once the course has reached full capacity we will no longer be accepting applications.

We strongly recommend early application to secure your place on the course.


Additional Teaching Mode Information

Online lectures will be on Wednesdays evenings via Microsoft teams with In Person Workshops held two weekends per semester.  


Course Practicalities


There are no written examinations in this course. All work is continuously assessed. The course is evaluated through a combination of essays, a journal, a legal project, oral presentation, poster presentation, agency profile and a group research project. In order to encourage critical thinking, you will be required to complete a reflective statement of learning at the end of each module.

Why Choose This Course

You are at a clear advantage if you do a Diploma before signing up for an undergrad degree as your knowledge base and confidence levels increase dramatically and I feel that this is important.

Kathy O'Hare


Find Out More

Benefits to Learners and Their Communities

This course enables the learner, their employer or business, organisation, voluntary group or charity, family, friends and colleagues to better support the inclusion of those often marginalised by disability in society.

Employment: The programme equips employers and employees, placement facilitators and providers, with specific knowledge on how to design and offer placements, work-based roles and flexible positions to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

Advocacy and Facilitation: Students are encouraged in their development of facilitation and advocacy skills, as well as honing both their own knowledge and confidence, and that of those with whom they work, facilitating their journey to autonomy and independence.

Theory: This diploma prepares learners to critically engage with current theories, practices, research and studies, interventions and approaches, as well as fostering the skills to 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 awareness, problem solving, independent self-management and team work, as well as professional presentation of self and reports, assignments and tasks, 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.

Diploma programmes are offered subject to a minimum number of eligible applicants registering for the programme. Following completion of year 1 of this programme, should a sufficient number of eligible students not wish to progress form year 1 to year 2 of this programme as to make the year 2 viable, students will graduate with a certificate at that point. Programme viability is determined by reference to fee income and applicable costs in running the programme.

Fees and Costs

€1,500 per academic year.

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

How To Apply

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.

To Apply for this course please follow the steps below:

When you log into the Application Portal:

Click Apply Online

Select Start a new Adult & Continuing Education Application 

On the 2nd tab Academic Level 
Select the following options:
Academic Level: Adult Continuing Education (ACE at UCC)
Course Type:  ACE Part-time Courses
Academic Programme: The course title you are applying for.

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]
  • 50% of the fees are also required to complete your application. 




Apply Now

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact