This interdisciplinary Master of Arts degree is designed to provide diverse, talented graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and understanding essential for leadership roles in organizations that provide person-directed services to people with disabilities and their families. Students may take courses on campus, entirely online, or a combination of both. Students who participate entirely online are encouraged to take a one-week intensive on-campus Leadership Institute over a summer or winter session (currently offered remotely). In an effort to make this program accessible to more students, costs have been reduced for this program from the regular University of Delaware charge of $1,898 per credit hour for graduate programs to only $650 per credit hour.


UD’s M.A. in Leadership in Disability Services is an interdisciplinary program jointly offered by the University of Delaware’s Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, the School of Education, and the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. Courses are also available through the University’s College of Business and Economics and the world-renowned Biden School of Public Policy and Administrations. The program offers a master’s degree that is directly relevant to real-world work in the disability services field.

Courses are offered in the following areas:

  • Leadership of Quality Disability Organizations
  • Health and Disability Throughout the Lifespan/School-Based Supports 
  • Disability Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Disability and Public Policy

Students in this program will complete 30 credit hours, including 27 credits of coursework and a 3-credit internship. The internship requirement can be waived for students who have had full-time professional experience in the disability field. In the capstone experience, each student will plan and implement a leadership project for an organization that provides services to individuals with disabilities. This capstone project culminates in a final written paper and oral presentation.


Nonprofit, for-profit, and government agencies provide a range of services for people with disabilities. These organizations need leaders who have leadership and management skills paired with an understanding of the needs and desires of people with disabilities. Whether students participate on campus or online, this program will enhance career prospects and positively impact an emerging field that promotes quality lives and full community engagement. Participation in this practical Master’s program will directly benefit disability sector professionals to develop leadership skills to employ innovative strategies that will enhance organizational and systems policies and practices, and ultimately benefit people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.


The disability field is growing exponentially as the number of people with disabilities increases due to better medical care and increasing survival rates for infants born prematurely. There is a significant need for leaders who have the necessary knowledge base and organizational management skills to work in positions of responsibility in agencies that provide, fund, oversee, and evaluate disability services. As importantly, emerging leaders in this field need a strong set of values aligned with an understanding of and respect for individuals with disabilities and their families. This growing need for leaders in the field of disability was the impetus for the creation of the M.A. in Leadership in Disability Services.

Employment in the disability field offers a range of options. Potential employment settings include children- and adult-focused disability agencies, local and state educational settings, employment and vocational rehabilitation agencies, state and county departments of disability, advocacy associations, human rights organizations, and universities.  This Master’s program invites you to assume a leadership role and participate in interdisciplinary work in a field that is rooted in human rights and social justice.

Master's in Leadership in Disability Services - CEHD
Master's in Leadership in Disability Services - CEHD
Master's in Leadership in Disability Services - CEHD

For more information on admission requirements, courses and internships, visit UD’s Graduate Catalog or contact Program Director:

Nancy Weiss, College of Health Sciences –
To Apply Go To:
Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis.

Want to talk about this program, receive more detailed information, and decide if it may be right for you?
Please email Professor Nancy Weiss, Program Director, at and we’ll find a time to meet

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