Institute for Global Health


Disability and development

The wellbeing of disabled people in under-resourced settings is closely linked to broader issues in development.  Approaches to policy and practice in the disability arena are affected by a number of key theoretical issues and global legislative instruments.  It is important to understand these in order to explore the key issues which affect the lives of disabled people in high, middle and low-income settings.

This module introduces and explores historical and contemporary concepts and models of disability, and discusses links with major issues in community development (e.g. health and illness, gender, education, poverty, social participation and exclusion).  It presents international legislation in relation to disability and we consider the cultural and sociopolitical contexts in which this has developed, and reflect on ways in which the lives of disabled people and their families might be improved.  Examples will be drawn from a range of types of communities and diverse cultural settings globally, with an emphasis on low and middle income countries.  You are encouraged to draw on your own cultural experiences in considering disability policy and practice.

Module Code: CIHDG011

UCL Credits: 15

Module Organisers: Mary Wickenden Please direct queries to the course administration team in the first instance igh.adminpg@ucl.ac.uk

Who can study this course?

MSc/PG Dip Global Health and Development students, other UCL MSc/PG Dip students, TropEd students, Taster course students, Short course students

Admission Requirements

MSc and PG Dip students: Open to all UCL MSc/PG Dip Global Health and Development, and to any UCL MSc/PG Dip students.

tropEd students: evidence that you are registered as a tropEd student, successful completion of core course.

Taster students: UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant/allied subject awarded with a 1st or upper 2nd class Honours or an equivalent qualification.  Two academic or professional reference letters.

Short course students: Professional work experience in a relevant area and/or UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant/allied subject awarded with a 1st or 2nd class Honours or an equivalent qualification.

In addition to the above, all students must demonstrate a GOOD standard of English Proficiency with 6.5 in each of the subtests.

Course length 3 weeks 
Course dates 19 February - 09 March 2018
Days and times Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 09.30 to 12.30 and 14.00 to 16.30 for the first two weeks.



  • Historical and contemporary perspectives on terminology and attitudes in disability
  • Major international disability legislation/guidelines and movements and examples of some national initiatives
  • Relationships between disability , human rights and gender issues
  • Inclusion as a key concept in disability studies, the mainstreaming movement
  • Disability and culture
  • Links between disability and poverty
  • How disability and gender intersect
  • Disability in relation to health, disease and illness
  • Disabled children and education  (particularly the inclusive education movement)
  • Models of service delivery for disabled people (particular focus on Community Based Rehabilitation)
  • Low and high tech approaches and training issues
  • Disabled People’s Organisations involvement in development and change
  • Issues in disability research
  • Critical analysis and reflection on issues in disability literature and service provision

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures/seminars/workshops, student led presentations, self-study and critical review activities and an optional field visit to a disability related organisation in London.


Essay 100% (3000 words)

Assessment Date

12 March 2018 09:00

Selected Reading List

Albrecht G, Seelman K, Bury M (eds) (2009) Handbook of Disability Studies. Sage Publications,  USA.

Barron T and Amerena P (eds) (2007) Disability and Inclusive Development Pub Leonard Cheshire International. London

Ingstad B and Reynolds Whyte S (1995) Disability and Culture. Univ of California Press. London 2

Stone E (Ed) (1999) Disability and Development. The Disability Press. Leeds

UN (2006) UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities

WHO (2011) World Report on Disability. WHO Geneva