This interdisciplinary degree is designed to provide diverse, talented graduate students with knowledge, skills, and understanding essential for leadership roles in agencies and organizations that provide individualized, person directed services to people with disabilities and their families. 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  $1,720 per credit hour for graduate programs to only $650 per credit hour.


UD’s M.A. in Leadership in Disability Services (LDS) 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. The program offers a Master’s degree that is directly relevant to real-world work in the disability services field. Students can specialize in one of the areas below or can design their own area of specialization:

  • Health, Family, and Disability
  • Leadership and Management
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Autism and Significant Disability

LDS students 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.

Program Concentrations:

  • Health, Family, and Disability
  • Leadership and Management
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Autism and Significant Disability


The disability field is growing exponentially as the numbers 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 and 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.

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 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




Dean's Office McDowell Hall
P: (302) 831-2381

STAR Health Sciences Complex
540 S College Ave, Newark DE 19713