Graduate Certificate in Disability

Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies

Graduate Certificate in Disability

Duration: 6 months full-time/1 year part-time
Delivery: Online or on-campus
Credit points: 24
Available to Domestic (FEE-HELP)
IELTS: 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
AQF: Level 8
Tuition Fee: $10,000 FEE-HELP available for domestic students

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The Graduate Certificate in Disability is developed in line with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) practice standards and quality indicators and grounded in the international human rights framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and its expression in Australia’s National Disability Strategy. Students will gain an understanding of the diverse experiences, needs and perspectives of people with disabilities, and learn contemporary case-management and person-centered approaches to service delivery.


Scaffolded within these units is a Christian world view that is also inclusive and respectful of other faiths, which emphasises and recognises the distinctively caring and pastoral nature of disability care and support. This course has been designed to provide a comprehensive learning experience and flexibility to study online whilst continuing to work.

Students can use their knowledge acquired within the Graduate Certificate in Disability to work as an effective disability practitioner within human service organisations in the government, private, and community sectors. They will enhance their knowledge and skills and learn a person-centered approach to care within the disability services space.

According to Australian Government Job Outlook, key employment areas for disability workers include healthcare and social justice, public administration and safety and education and training. Students can continue on to study the Graduate Diploma of Disability to further their knowledge and expertise as they work towards managerial positions. 

This foundational unit establishes the theoretical underpinnings for an understanding of the contemporary position of people with disability in society and how these frame approaches to policy, service delivery and professional practice. In considering the influence of human rights and the driving framework of inclusion we examine the ways that lived experience of disability maps to contemporary systems of classification of disability and impairment. Building on this understanding, the unit develops knowledge of the current disability policy framework in Australia and explores the nature of specialist disability and mainstream service systems designed to support the inclusion of people with a disability in all aspects of life. The roles and responsibilities of the contemporary disability workforce are explored in order to develop comprehensive foundations for best practice person-centred approaches. This unit will deliver a sound appreciation of the critical challenges and opportunities in creating an inclusive contemporary Australian disability landscape.

This unit introduces the contemporary landscape of person-centred support and develops understanding of systems, services and practices of contemporary disability support. It explores the genesis and development of person-centredness as an approach to policy and practice in disability and examines how this maps to the nature and structure of the Australian disability service system. Knowledge will be developed about the range of service types, the disability workforce and the diversity of service users and their support needs and applied to real world settings. Characteristics of the range of models of support, assistive technologies and support relationships (both formal and informal), are explored in order to develop a deep understanding of the issues that people with disability and those who support them experience in the support encounter. Key frameworks underpinning disability support in the context of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and beyond, including safeguarding, service quality and practice standards will be explored to promote understanding of best practice in person-centred support to enable  people with disability to exercise choice and control in their lives and promote their independence.

This unit introduces students to the key ethical challenges in promoting and supporting the rights and choices of people with disability. Spanning issues of social justice, human and legal rights, risks and safeguards, the ethical responsibilities of professionals working with people with disability to support their rights and choices is explored as an integral part of disability practice. In engaging with ethical issues of practice and in and about the lives of people with disability, students will develop knowledge and skills to recognise and articulate their own lifelong learning needs in relation to disability and develop capabilities and strategies to maintain professional, technical and research-based knowledge to ensure their professional practice aligns with contemporary developments and innovation in the field of disability.

Person-centred planning is central to the achievement of choice and control by people with disability in the services and supports they require to live a good life. This unit explores the theory and practice of inclusive and participatory individualised planning. Beginning with the theoretical orientations that inform quality of life and the underpinning principles of individualised planning, students will acquire knowledge and skills crucial to working with people with disability in the development, preparation and implementation of effective individualised support plans. Consideration will be given to contemporary funding models and the variety of contexts and types of plans, including person-centred and family-centred planning approaches. The unit explores key knowledge, skills and elements of the planning process including identifying and working with key stakeholders in the planning process. Particular focus is given to accessible modes and methods of engagement with people with disability and their informal supports, including effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal, for those with complex communication needs, strategies for advocacy and self-advocacy, and support for decision-making in relation to designing supports that are responsive to need and to a person’s goals and aspirations.

Educational Prerequisites 

Applicants may be admitted to the Graduate Certificate in Disability or the Graduate Diploma of Disability, if they
have previously successfully completed a relevant:

• bachelor degree or

• bachelor honours degree

‘Relevant’ means a degree that includes subjects such as psychology, social work and education and health sciences where you studied human services and behaviour. ‘Non-relevant’ means degrees that are not related to welfare, human services and behaviour. Applicants with non-relevant degrees will be considered on the basis of their work and life experience.


Applicants with Work and Life Experience

Applicants without undergraduate qualifications can apply for admission via the work and life experience pathway which may consider other forms of study completed in the higher education and vocational sectors, volunteer activities, contribution to church life, professional development relevant to human welfare and disability. 

For more information refer to the Student Selection and Admissions Policy and Procedure.

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