MSc Disability Studies

University of Bristol
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Master's programs

Programme length Location of programme

Programme overview

This programme, delivered within the Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, will equip you with the skills, knowledge and ability to plan and carry out academic research relevant to disability studies.

You will gain the research skills to help make a positive difference to the lives of disabled people, with a special optional interest in people with learning (intellectual) disabilities and their families.

The Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies is a leading national centre of excellence for applied social research and teaching, and the programme is led by staff who are all active researchers. Elements of the programme are delivered by, or co­-taught with, people with disabilities, including those with intellectual disabilities.

The programme is one of only a few in the UK to offer disability studies students full research methods training. You will take core units in research design, quantitative methods and qualitative methods, plus an additional core unit about inclusive research with disabled people. The core units therefore provide a good grounding for those who wish to carry on to a PhD or take up research posts. A co-learning environment with social work and policy research students also provides an opportunity to interact and share insights with other interest groups.

The optional units will give you a chance to consider research around inclusion for disabled people in relation to international rights, as well as UK structures in society. You will also have the opportunity to gain a particular awareness and skill set associated with emancipatory and participatory models of research, where people with disabilities take active roles in the research process.

Fees for 2019/20

UK/EU: full-time (MSc)

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2019/20

Programme structure

The programme is delivered through a combination of intensive block teaching and weekly delivery to ensure it is as accessible as possible to postgraduate students, busy professionals and practitioners. There are four core taught units and you will choose two optional taught units. To gain the MSc, you will undertake a research dissertation, which is the equivalent of a further three units.

Part-­time students will normally take two core units and one optional unit in year one, and two core units and one optional unit in year two.

Entry requirements

A relevant upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent qualification demonstrated through experience in the field) and a demonstrable ability to study at postgraduate level.

English language requirements

Profile E

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.


The research skills developed via the programme can be directly applied within the disabled people’s movement. Graduates may therefore gain employment in health and social care, self-advocacy and user-led organisations, education or universities.

Others are already employed in the disability sector and use their qualification to progress their career or facilitate changes within their own organisation. For example, social care managers or self-advocacy group coordinators may go on to carry out research with their own service users.

Alternatively, our MSc is recognised by the Doctoral Training Partnership and provides students with the core training to further their career in academic research with a PhD in Disability Studies.

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

  • 38% of research is world-leading(4*)
  • 42% of research is internationally excellent(3*)
  • 18% of research is recognised internationally(2*)
  • 2% of research is recognised nationally(1*)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

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School for Policy Studies

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Posted on:


Master's programs


Bristol , United Kingdom