Master of Arts in Disability Management

     * Applicable Supervisors
Henry Harder, Professor
Shannon Wagner, Professor
Ranjana Bird, Professor
Kevin Smith, Professor
R. Luke Harris, Associate Professor
Margot Parkes, Associate Professor and Canadian Research Chair, Health Ecosystem and Society
Mamdouh Shubair, Associate Professor
Chelsea Pelletier, Assistant Professor
Tammy Klassen-Ross, Assistant Professor
       Find more information about these supervisors here:

UNBC offers Canada's first and only graduate program in disability management providing graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to assist labor, management, insurance providers, employers and employees with the development of successful work entry or return-to-work strategies for injured workers and/or persons with disabilities.

The on-line distance option has greatly contributed to the overall success of our program by attracting students from far-reaching geographical locations.

Our faculty has demonstrated academic success as well by achieving career-appropriate tenure and promotion, strong publication records as well as a strong history of receiving extensive external funding. Our faculty continues to build the program via ongoing participation in relevant national and international conference proceedings.

Prospective Students

The Disability Management Program is attractive to students from a diverse range of backgrounds interested in integrating the fields of economics, community health, social work, psychology, education, and business. It will be of interest to professionals currently working in the human resources, occupational therapy, social work, and related professions. It offers undergraduate students a graduate program option in which to pursue a new, applied, and interdisciplinary field of study. The combination of coursework and research experience and the practical application of knowledge offers students a well-rounded, applied education in the field of disability management.

Our program also provides a part-time option for advanced education accessed by full-time working people, students with families, and others with personal situations that would otherwise impede their educational progress.

Graduates of our program are attractive for employers in the insurance industry, human resources or any field related to servicing people with disabilities. Positions in these fields may be traditional employee-employer relationships or may occur in contract, self-employment types of environments.  Ongoing success of our students is evidenced by the career advancement enjoyed by the students, many in management positions within their own organizations, after achieving the Master of Arts in Disability Management degree.

Post-graduation, students can pursue the accreditation Canadian Certification for Rehabilitation Counselors or may choose to continue their education through the National Institute for Disability Management and Research to become a Certified Return to Work Coordinator or Certified Disability Management Professional.

Components of the Degree

The MA in Disability Management combines course work, research and the practical application of knowledge to give students a well-rounded, applied education in the field of Disability Management.

This program services two separate student groups. The first, a traditional academic group, chooses a thesis-based degree whereby they are expected to complete individual, original research.  The second option, servicing the professional population, provides a non-thesis choice for students who wish to receive a master's degree but do not wish to pursue a research route.

The program is offered via both face-to-face and solely on-line options and has attracted students all throughout Canada as well as students from the United States and other international destinations.  Part-time studies can be completed on Campus in Prince George or at a distance with the majority of classes taught via the World Wide Web. 

Distance Option

UNBC offers the Masters of Arts in Disability Management degree at a distance for those students who can not attend classes in Prince George. Most work will be done online with some courses requiring telephone contact and/or proctored exams. On average students can expect to spend 10-14 hours per week on one course. The distance option is only available part-time. Courses will run in both the September and January  terms with some courses held during the May term. Usually distance students will take one course per term and can expect to complete the required course work in four years.

While there is no residency requirement, the option to come and study in Prince George for a term is available. An on campus term would be suitable for a student who wishes to take courses not available online, to take more than one course at a time, or who simply wishes to experience campus life.

Distance courses will usually be taught online using Course Management Software. Currently UNBC is using Blackboard for this purpose. Students will need regular access to an Internet connected computer that runs a current Blackboard supported browser. A list of supported browsers can be found at

Access to a printer would be extremely helpful. Software requirements depend on the individual course but will include the need for a word processing program capable of saving files in rich text format and the ability to view Microsoft PowerPoint slides. OpenOffice is a free program that meets both requirements. Students who intend to use an employers computer must check with their system administrator to determine if such use is permitted. While students are solely responsible for the upkeep and upgrades to their computer there is technical help available for Blackboard issues.

Entrance Requirements

Students intending to enrol in the MA in Disability Management are required to have an undergraduate degree in a related field. The usual requirements for graduate admission apply; see the Graduate Calendar for details.

Thesis Option:

All students in the Thesis Option are required to write a letter outlining their practical experience.  If the scope of their experience is considered insufficient by the program they will be required to take the Comprehensive exam option.  In addition, all students in the Thesis Option are required to travel to the Prince George campus to fulfill some of their thesis requirements.