Disability Studies

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Postgraduate Degree


Master of Disability Studies

Working with disabled people requires unique skills, understanding and compassion. This degree will help students to better understand the disability field through extensive studies delivered by highly regarded professionals in the field. The course is designed for professionals wishing to increase their hands on skills and knowledge or develop managerial abilities.

The Master of Disabilities Studies may qualify students to work in either field work or supervisory positions. Students may also work within specialised government departments or private organisations offering direct support or in policy and administration work. Disabilities managers and workers may also find specialist work with young people, the aged, migrants, refugees and others who may have physical or intellectual disabilities.

This course is studied online over 1 year full time or a part time equivalent. Admission will be based on relevant prior studies and credit transfer arrangements may apply.

There currently exists no set of national professional standards for people working in community disability services 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.

View our Master of Disability Studies (Distance Education) in the Program Handbook and the online prospectus What Can I Study?.

Sample Jobs

The following list provides examples of jobs for Master of Disabilities Studies graduates. The various types of jobs will depend upon the previous qualifications and the level of experience gained in particular industries prior to graduating.


Getting the Edge

Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.

  1. Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
  2. Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
  3. Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
  4. Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
  5. Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
  6. Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
  7. Consider volunteering.

Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.


Sample Employers

Disabilities employment opportunities exist in a wide variety of industries within small, medium and large organisations. Below is an example of some major organisations which formally target graduates with qualifications in Disabilities Studies.


Recruitment Timing

Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.

Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .

Societies and Associations

Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.

Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.

Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.

Job Search Sites

Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:

Australian and International

  • CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.


  • CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
  • MyCareer: Australian and international listings
  • Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
  • The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs