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Disability Studies Certificate

Imagine a rewarding career helping others reach their maximum potential. The 8-month Disability Studies Certificate program will equip you to support well-being of children and adults with disabilities while taking an active role in creating inclusive and diverse communities.

The demand for a well-educated workforce in this field is growing because schools, companies and communities are becoming more inclusive in their programs and services and they're looking for you as a valuable team player.

Graduates of the 8-month Certificate program may study for an additional eight months and earn a Disability Studies Diploma (a total of 16 months of study).

The program combines innovative classroom learning strategies with practical experiences to lay a solid foundation for challenging careers. Program delivery is classroom-based and classes are generally scheduled between 8 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday.

For students intending to take the certificate online, please note that not all courses are offered online every term, which will affect the duration of your program (longer than 8 months for certificate students).

Prospective learners who live outside of Alberta and will be completing their practicum outside of Alberta, are required to speak to the Program Coordinator prior to applying for the program to discuss insurance regulations. Contact 403-410-1650 to speak to the Program Coordinator.”

Students registered in the traditional full-time Disability Studies Certificate program are required to write the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) assessment in semester one.

Instructor Bios

Disability Studies instructor biographies

Need more info?

For more information about this program, please call 403-410-1402.

Courses in Program

Curriculum Subject to Change

Click on the course to view the course description.

Semester 1

ENGL1201 - English: Composition (3 credits, 45 hours)

Learners will explore various genres of English composition. This course is not remedial; competency in high-school grammar and composition is required.
Prerequisites: None

DAST1101 - Introduction to Disability Studies (3 credits, 45 hours)

Disability Studies is a study of the social, cultural, historical, and philosophical perspectives of disability. It is grounded by the belief that the creation of knowledge about disability should be WITH/BY disabled people themselves. This course will provide learners with the historical background of disability and the contexts and paradigms it currently uses today.
Prerequisites: None

DAST1201 - Person Centered Planning (3 credits, 45 hours)

Developing a vision WITH a person involves being able to envision a positive and valued future for and with the person and their network of allies. This course introduces the learner to the process of planning a vision with people with disabilities. Current planning strategies will be reviewed and critiqued with emphasis on the philosophical principles and values that underlie each approach. Learners will practice writing clear implementation plans that incorporate the practices of inclusion, empowerment, and individualization in the planning process.
Prerequisites/Co-Requisites: HMSV1101

EDAS1302 - Introduction to Exceptionalities (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course develops knowledge of the history, philosophy, legislation, values, trends, and issues related to exceptional learners. It explores student inclusion and provides a wide overview of exceptionalities ranging from mild to severe and childhood to adulthood. Access and retrieval of information on exceptionalities is emphasized.
Prerequisites: None

COMM1101 - Interpersonal Relationships and Communication Skills (3 credits, 45 hours)

Learners develop strategies necessary for effective and accurate communication in relationships with others, within a variety of contexts. They explore theories and concepts of interpersonal communication and reflect on their own values, beliefs, attitudes, and experiences. Emphasis is placed on self-awareness, cultural diversity in communication, and conflict management. In addition, it focuses on the development of personal strengths and self-awareness that contribute to the development of communication skills and positive relationships.
Prerequisites: None

Semester 2

DAST1202 - Disability Work Management and Supported Employment (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course is an introduction to the historical and contemporary models of services and supports for those who face barriers in employment. It will introduce practices that engage people to discover their personal and professional potential through employment and community contribution. An emphasis will be placed on the importance of creating and sustaining valued roles for marginalized people in society.
Prerequisites: None

PSYC1201 - Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course provides a comprehensive overview of human growth and development and typical behavioural responses throughout the lifespan. You will analyze human development across three domains: biological, psychological, and sociological. Emphasis is placed upon the stages of development and their linkage to common events occurring during these stages.
Prerequisites: None

DAST1401 - Positive Behaviour Support (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course introduces learners to the concept of human behaviour as communication, as well as the approaches and techniques that may be used in response to difficult and challenging behaviours demonstrated by a person with disabilities. The focus is on designing "positive behavioural change strategies" for a variety of settings: home, work, school, community. These strategies will include teaching functional skills as well as supporting communication development and positive behavioural change.
Prerequisites: None

DAST1999 - The Field of Disability Studies (6 credits, 180 hours)

This practicum gives learners the opportunity to begin integrating theory and practice in the provision of support services to people with disabilities. Learners are placed in community and agency settings and supervised by agency staff. Weekly seminars provide opportunity for reflection and the integration of theory and practice.
Prerequisites/Co-Requisites: 12 credits of DCSC/DCSD program

DAST1301 - Health and Wellness (3 credits, 45 hours) [Online Only]

This course is an introduction to the general principles of mental health and highlights the key strategies in promoting health and wellness. Learners will examine the co-existences of a developmental disability and mental health concern. The focus will be on the critical importance of day to day supports for mental health and wellness.
Prerequisites: None

Admission Requirements

Academic Requirements

  • Credit in English 30-1 or 65% in English 30-2 or equivalent


  • Successful completion of the General Educational Development test (GED) test with a minimum score in the following sections:
    • Writing Skills: 520 minimum standard score
    • Interpreting Literature and Art: 520 minimum standard score


  • Satisfactory results on the BVC Admissions Test

Pre-Practicum Requirement

  • A current Police Information Check (PIC) with a Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) must be submitted prior to practicum. The existence of a criminal record may postpone or prevent practicum placement or employment.

English Language Proficiency Requirements