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Course content

This programme will equip you with the skills, knowledge and ability to plan and carry out academic research relevant to disability studies. You will gain a particular awareness and skill set associated with emancipatory and participatory models of research, where disabled people themselves take active roles in the research process. Parts of the programme are delivered by, or co-taught with, people with disabilities, including those with learning difficulties.

You will take core units about research design, quantitative methods and qualitative methods along with students on the MSc in Policy Research and the MSc in Social Work Research, plus an additional core unit about inclusive research with disabled people. The core units are part of the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Centre at Bristol, and as such are a good grounding for those who wish to carry on to a PhD or take up research posts. The optional units will give you a chance to consider research about inclusion for disabled people in relation to international rights, as well as UK structures in society.

Programme structure

Core units
-Philosophy and Research Design in the Social Sciences
-Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences
-Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences
-Inclusive Research with Disabled People

Optional units
-Global Contexts of Rights and Disability
-Disabled Childhoods
-Health and Social Care Research
-Researching Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion

In order to gain an 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.


This programme is primarily about research, which means successful graduates often move on to PhD research. Some graduates are already employed in the disability sector, and use their qualification to progress their career or makes changes in their own organisation. For example, social care managers or self-advocacy group coordinators have gone on to carry out research with the disabled people their organisation works with.

Other graduates gain employment in social and health care, self-advocacy and user-led organisations, education, universities or academic research.

Visit the Disability Studies: Inclusive Theory and Research MSc/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Bristol website for more details!




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