Master’s Program in Disability Sciences – Overview

Messages from Chair of Disability Sciences DP

At present, Japan is in an era of turbulence. New challenges emerge continuously in parallel to the declining birthrate and aging population, the rapidly expanding advanced science and technology, and globalization. Therefore, in such an era, it is important to develop the next generation leaders which will support advancements in disability science. Disability science is an evidence-based branch of empirical science. Although disability science is already considered an interdisciplinary field, it encompasses numerous possibilities for collaboration with the fields of physiology, psychology, education, welfare, and engineering.

1 Apr. 2020
Chair of Disability Sciences Degree Program


The Master’s Program in Disability Sciences has been integrated with the Major in Special Needs Education, Master’s Program in Education, which trains high-level experts on education for children with disabilities, and special needs education; creating a new major as of April 2013. The wide-ranging fundamental and positive educational research experience in the disability sciences, provided by the Master’s Program in Disability Sciences, has been integrated with the educational research results of the Major in Special Needs Education, to provide support for diverse disability sciences needs, from special needs education to clinical support, welfare support, etc. (See the image of the new organization.)

Curriculums and qualifications

The curriculum of the Master’s Program in Disability Sciences consists of the Special Needs Education Course and Supports in Disability Sciences Course, to assure consistency with the three study models (Special Needs Education, Social Welfare, and Disability Sciences) of the College of Disability Sciences, School of Human Sciences (Bachelor’s Degree course). Each course is designed to develop high-level professionals or researchers in special needs education or disability clinics/disability welfare. Upon acquiring the necessary credits, students can receive a First Class Certificate and Advanced Certificate for Teachers of Schools for Children with Special Needs (five fields), as well as qualification to take exams to become a clinical developmental psychologist and school psychologist. Students can flexibly study subjects of different courses, based on their individual needs and pre-university professional educational backgrounds. Various course arrangements are available to meet students’ educational aims.
For students wishing to continue studying in the Doctoral Program in Disability Sciences, Specialized Subjects for Doctoral Program are available in the Doctoral Program to ensure continuity with the studies in the Master’s Program. New subjects, including international education and overseas training for children with disabilities, support for students with disabilities, and Acupuncture and Physical Therapy, etc., are also available, to address the social functions of the disability sciences. The University of Tsukuba boasts as many as five affiliated special needs education schools, the largest such number in Japan. Taking advantage of such resources, the University of Tsukuba is able to offer practical training in subjects integrating the theory and practice of special needs education. Students taking the Special Needs Education Course are guaranteed to acquire high-level expertise in the disability sciences, through the definition of specialized subject teacher systems for specific disability education fields, leading to certificates for teachers of schools for children with special needs.

Requirements for diplomas, and thesis support

The Disability Sciences Major includes the following requirements:
(1) Students must earn at least 5 credits from Common Subjects in Disability Sciences, the core subject; and at least 25 credits from the specialized subjects (Special Needs Education, Clinical Supports in Disability Sciences, Welfare Supports in Disability Sciences, General Subjects in Disability Sciences); for a total of at least 30 credits, including specialized core subjects and recommended common postgraduate subjects.
(2) Students must successfully pass the thesis examination and the final exam.
Thesis support, consisting of one main instructor and two sub-instructors, is available for each student.

Academic degrees
Master’s Degree (Disability Sciences), Master’s Degree (Special Needs Education)