UCC Adult courses

Disability Studies - Dip

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Disability Studies

  • Code


  • College

    Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    2 years

  • Teaching Mode

    Part-Time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.

  • Qualifications


  • NFQ Level

    Level 6/7

  • NFQ Award Title

    Special purpose

  • Fees

    €1,250 per academic year 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

    17th 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 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.



Additional Teaching Mode Information

This course is part time and it is run in the following venue:

In UCC the programme will run on Thursdays 6.00pm to 9.00pm


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

€1,250 per academic year.

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 Norma Browne at norma.browne@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.

NOTE: If you are applying for the Limerick Centre - Please go to the Certificate in Disability Studies.  https://www.ucc.ie/en/ace-cds/ 




Apply Now

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

  • AD2831: Group Research Project (10 credits)
    The content of the group work proejct will be limited to topics covered on the Diploma.
  • AD2844: Disability and Social Inclusion (5 credits)
    This module examines the historical context of disability, environmental aspects which may impact on engagement, and ethics involved in supporting inclusion. It reviews human rights principles driving equality for all people. Reflection will be underpinned by key policy/legislation supporting inclusion and human rights for people with disabilities.
  • AD2861: Disability and Daily Living (10 credits)
    Concept of daily living, stakeholder perspectives, nature of power, the role of services, policy/legislative trends, and interventions/supports available towards supporting quality of life and daily living.
  • AD2873: Introduction to Psychology, Disability and Human Rights (5 credits)
    To explore holistic supports which can impact the quality of life for people with disabilities. Psychological perspectives of disability will be explored to facilitate increased understanding of challenges faced by people with disabilities and the multitude of factors which may contribute to these challenges. Trends in the development of the Irish disability services across the lifespan will be examined with a particular emphasis on early intervention, behaviour supports, relationships and sexuality, and human rights.

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact