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Key facts

The need for professional practitioners in the disability support sector is high and predicted to continue to increase. Our Graduate Diploma in Disability Practice will equip you with the essential knowledge and skills required to apply a person-centred approach to assisting those with a disability, as well as their families and carers. The course has been developed in accordance with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and focuses on building your expertise in delivering specialised disability services, client support, intervention and management. You will also learn how to address challenging behaviour from a functional assessment perspective.

With demand increasing in the disability sector for well-credentialled staff our Graduate Diploma in Disability Practice will enhance your career options in NDIS service delivery.

  • Up to 4 years part-time
  • Trimester 1 - Mar 2021
  • Trimester 2 - Jun 2021
  • Online
Entry requirements
  • Guaranteed ATAR: Not applicable
View full entry requirements
  • Commonwealth Supported Place (quotas apply)
    Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) (Quotas Apply)

    An Australian Government subsidised university place, only granted where Commonwealth Supported Places are still available. UNE has a cap on the number of CSP places that can be granted for certain course types and bands.

  • Full Fee
    Full Fee

    Tuition fees for domestic students not admitted to a Commonwealth Supported Place (i.e. no available government subsidy).

  • International

    Tuition fees for international students, i.e. those not Australian or New Zealand citizens or residents.

View more fees information
UNE Course Code

Course information

UNE student studies on computer and laptop in classroom

Why study the Graduate Diploma in Disability Practice with UNE?

Whether you are already working in disability practice or looking to transition to this rewarding career, the Graduate Diploma in Disability Practice will enable you to build a specialised skillset which is highly relevant to the effective delivery of client-focused disability services, in both the public and private sectors.

Areas of study include issues relating to:

  • Functional behavioural assessment and intervention
  • clinical assessment and treatment
  • management of disability service organisations
  • understanding the scientific basis of disability
  • planning and delivering evidence-based services to individuals and groups.

You will complete in-depth study on disability identification, management, and resourcing, by investigating important issues that impact on clients, families and support personnel. There is also a strong focus on gaining knowledge in the activities involved in professional practice.

What makes our course different?

The focus in our Graduate Diploma in Disability Practice is on the practical, technical and professional skills needed to support and empower people with a disability. This course employs scientific and humanistic perspectives to assist you in addressing important issues such as successful client inclusion, enhanced daily functioning and, for those interested in organisational management, transformative practices in business and personnel. The course:

  • Examines the disability field from strength-based and client-focused perspectives.
  • Builds expertise in addressing challenging behaviour from a functional assessment standpoint.
  • Is taught by staff who have worked extensively in the field of disability and understand what it’s like to help people with a disability to cope and thrive.
  • Is underpinned by internationally renowned research programs in Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, and depression, with research and teaching links with outstanding clinicians and researchers in Disability from the USA, UK and Europe.
  • Enables you to develop a focus on biomedical science or management or to develop your skills and knowledge across both disciplines. Is available to study online, allowing you to fit study around your busy lifestyle, not the other way around, no matter where you are in the world.

Students consistently award UNE the maximum 5-star ratings in The Good Universities Guide for Overall Experience and Student Support, so when you choose to study with UNE, you are in very good hands.

Study online

Most of our students choose to study online across three study periods with 24/7 tutor support* and fit study around work and family commitments. Uniquely, our online students are mostly over 30 and bring valuable experience with them. They form a community of adults juggling the same challenges and priorities and who bring their life and work experience together to build real world networks for the future.

Study on campus

Many of our students choose to take advantage of the on-campus lifestyle in Armidale, in the beautiful New England region, with access to unparalleled support, accommodation and sporting facilities. These students are often starting their first degree and have left school recently. Through access to academic and career support they get a fantastic start to their careers.

* 24/7 tutor support includes: essay feedback (within 24 hours); live chat 24/7 for generic feedback on academic writing; and subject-specific help at a foundation or first-year level for subjects including mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, business, accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics. There are also a wide range of workshops, resources and courses available in academic skills support to assist you and help you to succeed.


Admission periodMode/location
Trimester 1Online
Trimester 2Online

Entry requirements

For candidates shall:
(a) hold an AQF Level 8 Graduate Certificate in Disability Practice from UNE; or
(b) hold an AQF Level 7 Bachelor qualification in a relevant discipline*; or
(c) hold an AQF Level 7 Bachelor qualification in a non-relevant discipline and at least one year of full-time equivalent experience in an area of service provision**.

Applicants admitted under Rules (b) and (c) must submit a Statement of Service from their employer.

*Relevant disciplines include, but are not limited to:
Social Work
or other similar disciplines as determined by the course coordinator.

** Service provision can refer to any aspect of provision of services to people with or without disability and will be determined by the course coordinator.

Students must meet the Inherent Requirements in order to complete this course.

Candidates admitted under Rule (a) shall be granted a maximum of 24 credit points Specified Advanced Standing based on their admission to candidature.

Candidates admitted under rules (b) or (c) are referred to the University Policy on Advanced Standing. The maximum advanced standing shall be for units counting 24 credit points which are deemed to be equivalent to units offered by UNE and approved for the course.

Fees and scholarships

How much will it cost?

Estimated fees for your first year of study in this course are:

Fee typeCost
Full Fee$24,368*
Commonwealth Supported Place (quotas apply)$9,300*
*The costs will depend on the units you choose to study as the cost of individual units vary. “Estimated fees” are provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students undertaking a study load of 48 credit points in the first year of this course. For courses that require less than 48 credit points the fees indicated are based on the total credit points required for completion of that course. For more information, please see fees and costs.


UNE scholarships are open for all to apply and offer financial help while you are studying. If you are commencing your university studies or if you are already a student at UNE, there are a number of scholarships to help you throughout your studies. There are UNE scholarships for students:

  • with high academic achievement
  • from rural areas
  • studying specific degrees
  • in disadvantaged groups
  • who excel at sport
  • living in a UNE residential college.

UNE scholarship applications are free and confidential. You may apply for more than one scholarship.

Course structure

To qualify for the award a candidate must pass units to the value of 48 credit points with at least 30 credit points at 400-level or above.

48 credit points

24 credit points

24 credit points specified advanced standing for those candidates who hold an AQF Level 8 Graduate Certificate in Disability Practice from UNE.

24 credit points

Candidates may select units from a single discipline or from across disciplines.

Complete units to the value of 24 credit points from the following units or any unit as approved by the Course Coordinator.

24 credit points

Complete 12 credit points from the following units:

Note: When a unit is offered at multiple levels you can only choose ONE unit.

24 credit points

Complete 24 credit points from the following units:

Note: When a unit is offered at multiple levels you can only choose ONE unit.

48 credit points

For candidates admitted under Rules (b) or Rule (c)

18 credit points

Complete 18 credit points from the following units:

Students planning to undertake the Master of Disability Practice must complete units at 500-level.

Note: When a unit is offered at multiple levels you can only choose ONE unit.

6 credit points

Complete 6 credit points from the following units or any unit as approved by the Course Coordinator.

24 credit points

Candidates may select units from a single discipline or from across disciplines.

Complete units to the value of 24 credit points from the following units:

24 credit points

Complete 12 credit points from the following units:

Note: When a unit is offered at multiple levels you can only choose ONE unit.

24 credit points

Complete 24 credit points from the following units:

Note: When a unit is offered at multiple levels you can only choose ONE unit.

See UNE Handbook for more details. The Handbook contains detailed course information designed for enrolled students, including course plans, intensive schools, and work placement requirements.

Course outcomes

The Graduate Diploma in Disability Practice is designed for employees in organisations that are delivering disability services, those seeking such employment, and those interested in the field of disability management. It will enable students to enhance their competencies in areas critical to the delivery of disability services. The course will produce graduates with a specialised knowledge of disability management including clinical knowledge and practice, encompassing the delivery of disability services.
  1. demonstrate through their own study and practice, advanced knowledge of disability management including: clinical knowledge and practice, encompassing the broad context of health, family, and community services, in order to be an effective clinical practitioner and clinician;
  2. utilise advanced cognitive and communication skills, tools, and digital technologies to communicate appropriately and persuasively with a range of stakeholders;
  3. exhibit an established ability to use creativity and judgement in analysing problems and to work independently and collaboratively with others to generate solutions to problems;
  4. apply advanced skills and judgement in utilising information drawn from a range of sources;
  5. demonstrate and apply an advanced ability to critically evaluate and formulate responses to social, cultural and ethical issues that emerge in disability practice; and
  6. practise preparedness to pursue a specialised knowledge and understanding to enhance professional skills.
Knowledge of a Discipline

Graduates will have an enhanced knowledge of disability management/care/services through the learning and teaching activities associated with each unit and interaction with the unit coordinators, lecturers and tutors, including lectures, tutorials, workshops, online activities and discussion board. Students will be assessed using assignments; individual and group project reports; and written examinations.

Communication Skills

Graduates will have advanced cognitive and communication skills acquired through written assignments and reports, oral presentations and participation in online activities and discussion board.

Problem Solving

Graduates will have well-developed problem solving skills in all aspects of disability management/care/services. All units teach and assess problem solving skills.

Information Literacy

Graduates will be able to synthesise and evaluate information from a range of sources, using a range of technologies. Students are required to demonstrate information literacy in assessment tasks for all units.

Ethical Conduct and Social Responsibility

Graduates will have an in-depth understanding of the social, cultural and ethical issues related to the provision of disability services. Social responsibility and professional practice is embedded in the course content.

Lifelong Learning

Graduates will have the fundamental skills required to supplement their knowledge and to keep abreast of any changes in the provision of disability services. This will be taught and practised in most units.

Independence and Collaboration

Graduates are able to apply their skills and knowledge individually and as part of collaborative teams. They are able to work with intellectual independence, and to collaborate with colleagues and clients. Working in a group environment is an essential component of the course and in provision of disability services. To develop these skills, some units require students to work in groups and provide guidance and assessment on group work.

A five-star experience

Teaching Quality
Teaching Quality NSW
Good Universities Guide 2021
#1 in Australia Postgraduate Teaching Quality
Postgraduate Teaching Quality
Good Universities Guide 2021
Student Support
Undergraduate Student Support
Good Universities Guide 2021
Overall Experience
Overall Experience
Good Universities Guide 2021
Woman studying online at home

Studying online

At UNE we know it takes more than just being online to be a great online university. It takes time and experience. We pioneered distance education for working adults back in the 1950s, so we’ve been doing this longer than any other Australian university.

We understand the challenges faced by busy adults studying at home. We know that a vital part of online study is your engagement with the learning community. Communication with your classmates, teaching staff and university support staff will enhance your study experience and ensure that your skills extend beyond the subject matter. UNE’s teaching staff are experts in their field which is why UNE consistently receives five stars from students for teaching quality, support and overall experience.*

*The Good Universities Guide

Your career

Career outcomes

The Graduate Diploma in Disability Practice is designed for those already working in, or looking to transition into, the fields of:

  • disability support
  • health
  • human services
  • rehabilitation.
Other career information

When you graduate from the Graduate Diploma in Disability Practice, you may wish to undertake our Master of Disability Practice to focus on a specific aspect of service-delivery and management of people with disabilities, or to cover a mix of all aspects. If you are interested in research, the Master of Disability Practice also provides a research pathway for high achieving students.

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Why study with us?

The advantage of online study is that I can be flexible and adjust this schedule if circumstances change and other commitments arise.

UNE law student Breezy Altmann studies on her laptop while commuting by trainBreezy Altmann

What happens next?

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1. Decide on your course

Got any questions about a course you would like to study? Don’t hesitate to contact us, our Future Student team is standing by to help.

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2. Apply

2021 applications are now open. The application process only takes 20 minutes to complete. Don’t delay, apply now!

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3. Receive an offer, enrol and start studying

Your start date is based on the study period you choose to apply for.