Disability Support Services in Higher Education

A counselor and student work together at a laptop. illustration


McDaniel College provides professionals working in higher education the curriculum necessary to their training and continued support in working with students with disabilities. This ground-breaking, post-baccalaureate certificate program in Disability Support Services in Higher Education (DSS) will help prepare those on the post-secondary level be leaders in their field whether it be while counseling undergraduates how to interview for their first job or advising them on coursework to meet their strongest academic potential.

You will use knowledge of the history of disability services in higher education as a context for differentiating between K-12 legislation and disability policy and law relevant to post-secondary education. With these tools, you will develop expertise in interpreting diagnostic evaluations and be able to explain them to students, parents, professors, and others with the need-to-know. This eighteen (18) credit certificate is developed with four core courses, one elective, and the practicum. Experience working in higher education will assist in the candidate’s assimilation to the topic but is not a requirement for entrance into this 100% online program.

Those earning a B or better in certificate courses will be eligible to bring those courses into the master's program which will be available in the fall of 2019.

Disability Support Services in Higher Education Course Catalog »

Degree Objectives:

  • Use appropriate technology, assessment, and analytical tools to solve problems and make decisions to promote positive student outcomes
  • Provide psycho-social counseling to students with disabilities
  • Develop policies and practices that promote and protect student access and accommodations
  • Effectively communicate and interact with divisions within your college regarding student success


1. What is the time to completion for this program? 
McDaniel’s graduate certificate in Disability Support Services (DSS) may be completed within one year. If you will be balancing work with your studies, this program may be completed within two years.   

2. Is this program offered totally online?
Yes and McDaniel College utilizes Blackboard for all online learning. An instructional video is available for those who need a refresher.

3. Will I have to submit GRE scores to be accepted?
McDaniel does not require the GRE or any other entrance exam to be admitted to this program.

4. What sort of jobs will I be able to get with this degree?
Graduates of the DSS certificate will be enhancing their current skills and knowledge within the higher education industry.

5. What courses will I be taking?
Students pursuing this certificate will explore the following courses:

* Introduction to Special Education: Emphasis will be placed on history and legal proceedings, definitions of disabilities, and research-based educational interventions of school-age students.

* Special Education Law: Legal and policy issues will be discussed in a practical manner to benefit general and special education.

* Outcomes of Adults with Disabilities: Examines adult issues and successful outcomes of persons with disabilities.

* Best Practices in Postsecondary Disability Services: To be taken concurrently with the practicum, this capstone seminar will address skills identified as best practices in the literature.

* Practicum: Candidates will engage in a field experience working with students and administrators in a higher education program providing disability support services.

Electives include: Diagnostic-Prescriptive Assessment, Diversity Sensitive Counseling, Assistive Technology, Group Dynamics for Leaders, Leadership and Executive Development, and Organizational Change and Development.  

6. Will these credits transfer into a master's degree?
In fall of 2019, McDaniel College will roll-out the master's program in DSS at which time students may apply for entrance. Their courses with an earned grade of B or better will be applied directly to the master's degree.

Important Dates

Fall 2019 Application Deadline is July 31st

Applications are accepted and processed throughout the year but the College recommends that students submit their applications and official supporting materials well in advance of the start of the semester in which they plan to enroll. This allows for the application to be processed and reviewed, for account creation, and for registration into classes. The following dates reflect when registration opens for each term.

Fall Semester – July 1
Spring Semester – December 1

Students are assigned an advisor who will guide them as to which courses they will be taking each semester. Anyone admitted after the opening of registration may be placed on a wait list for certain desired courses.

Admissions Requirements

• Completed application for graduate study.

• Official transcript verifying completion of an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.75.

• Three official professional or academic letters of recommendation. These requests will be emailed directly to the recommenders through your application.

• A professional resume highlighting related work experience.

• Letter of intent detailing personal and professional goals relative to the program of study.


**GRE is not required for entry to this program**

Why McDaniel

• Be one of the first in the country to earn a 18 credit post-baccalaureate certificate in this ever-evolving field.

• Learn with your peers.

• Earn your graduate certificate in as little as one year from anywhere in the world through the convenience of McDaniel’s online, accelerated course offerings.

Career Opportunitites

Section 504 is a federal law passed in 1973 to protect individuals with disabilities in institutions that receive federal funding. Under the Rehabilitation Act, colleges and universities are required to have offices, which accommodate those who qualify for assistance. Graduates of this program will be qualified for positions within two year private, four-year colleges and universities, and community colleges. This post-baccalaureate certificate will give candidates the tools and resources needed to better understand a student’s learning environment as well as blend that knowledge with aspects of the college life to prepare that student for success.

  • Academic Advising
  • Student Affairs
  • Disability Support Services
© 2019 McDaniel College