UCT MS (Health & Rehabilitation Sciences) Disability Studies

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UCT MS (Health & Rehabilitation Sciences) Disability Studies

UCT MS (Health & Rehabilitation Sciences) Disability Studies

Disability Studies’ goal is to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in Africa. By developing skills and knowledge about disability inclusion with a specific focus on youth in Africa within a global framework, we strive to achieve this. Communities, colleges, and universities of many disciplines, organizations for disabled persons, the government, and the commercial sector collaborate on this.


To develop resources, skills, and knowledge about disability inclusion with an emphasis on young people in Africa specifically in a worldwide context.

The Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences’ Division of Disability Studies was established in 2003, making it the first of its type on the African continent. This program aims to build academic leadership and research skills that will advance our understanding of disability in its social justice context.

Disability Studies Undergraduate Programme

Higher Certificate in Disability Practice

The development of human resource capacity, particularly in the area of rehabilitation and disability, is required by the strategy for the re-engineering of Primary Health care in South Africa. In this case, the Western Cape Department of Health has taken the lead. A certificate in disability practice is expected to give a variety of community-based employees the chance to update their skills and explore potential career options.

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The program is comprised of five courses taught over the period of one year. Students will complete the following courses as part of the certificate:

Disability Information Management and Communication Systems

Expected Learning Outcomes

Design and implement management and communication systems with respect to the care pathways of persons with disabilities across sectors to be able to track inclusion and access to services. Describe and design basic health information systems. (This course can be adjusted to focus especially on disability and rehabilitation information in the health sector).

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should:

  • Explain the components of an information system
  • Demonstrate principles and practice of record keeping
  • Demonstrate the use of a variety of participatory rural appraisal methods and different tools to gather information
  • Demonstrate critical inquiry in collating information
  • Disseminate information in a professional manner
  • Identify relevant support services and care pathways for effective referral and follow up

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

Expected Learning Outcomes

Assist in the design and implementation of health promotion actions, education, and tactics in various contexts and life phases, such as personal management, play, schooling, employment, social interactions through sport, etc., by having a basic understanding of primary healthcare.

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Define health promotion
  • Identify social determinants of health
  • Identify health-promoting occupations
  • Facilitate community participation in active health promotion campaigns
  • Mediate and liaise between health services for families and people with disabilities

Inclusive Development and Agency

Expected Learning Outcomes

Recognize community-based rehabilitation as a community development strategy to advance the rights of individuals with disabilities and put plans in place to encourage participation by taking environmental considerations into account.

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Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should:

  • Define and explain the concepts of disability, social inclusion, and community development
  • Explain the concept of power in collaborative relationships to facilitate disability inclusion
  • Identify the purpose of disability rights policies in creating equal opportunities for access to activities, services, information, and documentation
  • Identify and describe factors influencing participation across sectors (name barriers and facilitators)UCT MS (Health & Rehabilitation Sciences) Disability Studies
  • Implement strategies to enable participation and access to services
  • Demonstrate evidence of mobilizing resources in the community
  • Establish collaborative relationships and self-advocacy with relevant stakeholders

Health Wellness and Functional Ability

Expected Learning Outcomes

In order to choose and screen disabled clients for impairments and to give fundamental interventions to increase involvement in the life domains of living, learning, working, and socializing, one must have an understanding of human development and common health issues. The ability to operate safely and prevent injury to oneself and others would be among the principles and processes associated to caring for the caregivers.

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Discuss and describe normal development and wellness in children and adults
  • Identify clients with selected disorders and difficulties
  • Demonstrate appropriate kinetic handling and positioning skills
  • Demonstrate appropriate use of assistive devices
  • Identify risk factors for emotional distress in carers, clients, and self
  • Apply basic counseling and support methods to carers, clients, and self
  • Recognize when a referral is required
  • Demonstrate appropriate referral patterns and work in a multidisciplinary team

Work Integrated Practice Learning (Part 1 and Part 2)

Expected Learning Outcomes

Give students the chance to practice learning so they may combine their knowledge and skills from the aforementioned courses. As it applies to the requirements of persons with disabilities, practice screening, basic care, follow-up, and referral mechanisms.

Specific Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of this course, students should:
  • Apply essential methods, procedures, and techniques to address the difficulties and disorders experienced by disabled people across their lifespan in the community
  • Demonstrate appropriate written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrate efficient information-gathering, analysis, and decision-making abilities
  • Demonstrate ability to evaluate and reflect in and on action

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Structure and duration of the program

The course of study lasts for a full calendar year (from January to December or June to June, depending on the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences’ discretion). There are 15 weeks of practice learning and three theoretical teaching blocks of no more than four weeks each per year, for a total of 24 weeks from February to November. Group projects and tutorial participation are required. A minimum of one year and a maximum of two years are required to finish the coursework.

Admission requirements

An applicant may be considered for admission to this Higher Certificate on the basis of

(1) having obtained a matric certificate or National Senior Certificate for Adults (NASCA) or HEQSF level 4 equivalent qualification.

(2) RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), in which case applicants will be required to submit a personal portfolio reflecting, amongst others, their experience in the field of disability and/or development; any relevant work experience; past attendance of relevant courses for which they may have obtained certificates or diplomas; assessments related to evidence of critical thinking skills in writing and reading. (3) evidence that they are proficient in English.

An applicant is also recommended to submit two letters of support from his/her employer, granting the applicant study leave for the weeks requiring block attendance, and undertaking to provide support to enable the applicant to complete assigned tasks and assignments within the work context.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

This process is applicable to community care workers or other applicants without an NSC but years of experience.

UCT Undergraduate Handbook


Online applications can be done through the UCT website. Please follow the link below to the application page to complete this process.

UCT Online Applications

Applicants are also required to write the National Benchmark Tests (NBT) as a mandatory part of their application. Kindly visit the UCT NBT website to find out more about when and where you can write the test.

UCT NBT Website

For online application queries kindly contact the UCT Admissions Office (Tel: + 27 21 650 9111 / EmailUCT Admissions Office)


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