Core Course Descriptions

Bachelor of Disability Management (BDM)

The degree involves 120 credits. These include 75 specialized credits relating to the area and 45 electives. Electives can be taken online through our partnering institutions or students may use previously earned credits from one and two year college programs or other university-level credit programs to fill the elective requirements.

BDM courses are listed below. Full details of BDM courses can be viewed in the Academic Calendar.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to three components of disability management: disability management as a discipline and the value it provides; corporate disability management programming best practice; and the role of an effective disability management practitioner in driving client experience. In each component, students will develop a broad understanding of: theories and concepts that underline disability management, legislative and policy frameworks, disability benefits and financial impacts to workers and employers, working with multiple stakeholders, client experience, and strategies and practices to achieve work retention and/or early return to work for workers who experience a work- related injury, or who are at risk of a health-related absence.

This course provides a multidisciplinary introduction to the interaction between physiological, biomechanical and psychomotor functioning and psychological, cognitive, and emotional processes. It provides an introduction to physiological and cognitive systems from the standpoint of the work context. Students will situate their learning about the body and mind at work in different work situations. The course provides an insight into the dynamic interaction between an individual and work using a biopsychosocial perspective on mental and physical functioning. It also explores the interaction between work and physical and mental health and well-being, and the effectiveness of workplace strategies developed to maintain worker health and capacity, and to respond to problems.

The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of the major components of an occupational health & safety program and management system, as well as of health promotion and workplace wellness, within the context of population health. Students will explore the processes related to identifying, measuring and mitigating risks to health and safety as well as population health determinants with a particular emphasis on employment and employment-related factors. Students will learn about theories related to individual health behaviors, and the role of workplace wellness and culture as factors influencing the physical and mental health of workers. Students will examine the characteristics of psychologically healthy workplaces and programs to promote the mental wellbeing of workers. The course will also address the considerations that influence decisions about program components, including marketing, communication, quality management & assurance, budgeting, purchasing, delivery and evaluation.


The purpose of this course is to provide an in depth analysis of the scope and focus of disability policy and legislation from a societal perspective using the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a framework. It will provide students with a grounding in the regulatory framework within  which disability policy is deployed through legislation and regulation in a number of areas that are central to disability management including independent living and mobility, education, health, rehabilitation, employment, adequate living standards and social protection. Legal cases that have set precedents in the field will be reviewed and analyzed. Students will critique the application of disability policy and legislation in terms of their impact on equality of participation and full citizenship for persons with disabilities and the role that Disability Management can play in achieving these aspirations.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to workplace data collection and analysis activities, and to the role of statistical analysis in general. An overview of how and why data is collected in the workplace, and the role of data analysis in organizational and program decision making, will be followed by a general introduction to statistics and methods of analysis that are used to interpret data. Basic descriptive and inferential statistical techniques will be presented in the context of their use in the workplace.

The purpose of this course is to provide a foundation in research skills, with a focus on those that are applicable to the workplace. Topics include the literature review as an underpinning for research questions and approaches, and commonly used research methodologies, including case analysis, action research, correlational research methods, and quasi-experimental and experimental research methods.

The purpose of this course is to explore a workplace health science issue relevant to a work sector. Students will be expected to identify a work sector and a relevant issue such as prevention of injury, disability or promotion of health in the workplace. Students will do a literature review of grey, policy and evidence literature and develop a website to share that organizes knowledge and summaries key information to promote and share the knowledge on a workplace issue within a work sector.

The purpose of this course is to provide a foundation of professional ethics as part of preparation for practicums in the workplace. This is an introduction to professional ethics and a philosophical treatment of ethical principles and ethical theories. The course also looks at the development of applied ethics in contemporary fields, like social work, medicine and healthcare, bioethics, disability management, and human resources. All material is grounded in exercises, initially within the context of reasoning, ethical theory and decision-making and later with more specificity with respect to the field of disability management.

The purpose of this course is to prepare students for participation in the practicum stream, including how to conduct oneself appropriately in the workplace; how to search for a practicum; how to write introductory letters and negotiate the duties; how to identify the training required in the workplace; how to write a proposal for practicum processes and how they will be implemented in the third and fourth year of the program; and how to participate in physical or mental health first aid, WHMIS, or other training as appropriate preparation for going on site. Students will propose a project and presentation to be completed in the third and fourth year of the program.

Prerequisite: WHDM 212

The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the human resource management (HRM) function within organizations, and to delineate the HRM structures and processes employed to enhance employee health, safety, and well-being while maximizing work performance. Additionally, HRM principles of organizational development and change are examined along with the role of change agents in this regard when introducing new policies or procedures aimed at maximizing employee health and performance.

The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the theory and practice of communication, with a focus on the use of effective communication techniques in individual and group situations in the workplace.

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of physical disabilities, their impact on work activities, and how workers can be accommodated to mitigate the effects of work disability.

In this course, students will examine vocational rehabilitation processes that can be implemented when a physical or mental health condition prevents workers from returning to the job that they carried out prior to incurring a disability. These processes include providing appropriate assessments and counselling to identify an optimum career/job direction; a search for resources, including training opportunities, job coaching, the development of job search skills, and supportive assistive devices and technologies; and identifying funding sources for implementing the vocational rehabilitation plan.

The purpose of this course is to examine the legal underpinnings of disability management established in international treaties, national, federal and provincial law and regulation. Workplace practices that are commonly governed by statutes and regulations in most jurisdictions and the issues and rationale underlying the legislation will be analyzed. Common provisions developed in response to workplace issues and the legislative requirements that underpin the source or cause of the workplace disability, the legal boundaries within which employers and unions are required to operate, and the requirements on the employee will be compared. Students will examine the specific employment and workplace legislation in their own jurisdictions, the regulations through which the legislation is implemented, and how these affect organizational practices. Processes related to identifying, measuring and mitigating risks to health and safety will be explored.

Disability management professionals are expected to interpret scientific literature and translate academic knowledge into their professional practice. At times, they may also be involved in primary data collection to answer complex research questions and evaluate the impact of work disability management interventions. This course aims at building real-world competences in the design and implementation of research methodologies within the workplace. Throughout the course, real-life examples from research in the field of work disability will be utilized as examples. This course is designed to build on previous BDM courses, which introduce research methods and statistical analytical techniques. The skills developed in this course include the practical skills and insights required to undertake an independent research project in the final year of the program. The course places a particular emphasis on research that is most relevant to workplace health and disability management such as needs analysis, program evaluation, or implementation research. This course is also relevant to preparing students for additional research training at the postgraduate level.

The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of adverse mental health conditions in general, and from a workplace perspective. Students will examine the concept of mental illness and explore common mental health impairments, including their impact on the workplace, potential treatments, and strategies for retention and return to work.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to case management and its principles, models, and phases from a return-to-work focus. Disability case management is the process whereby one individual acts as the central liaison and facilitator for the delivery to clients of a range of services that can facilitate a return to work. Data gathering is an essential component of Case Management, and requires skilled interviewing techniques not only to obtain relevant information but also to uncover challenges and opportunities in order to develop effective responses to both. Models of helping and the potential and limitations of the helping role will be explored. Students will practice strategies to ensure that case management approaches are worker-centered, and that differences in background and situation are recognized and respected. The process of interview techniques and skills that enable disability management professionals to return to work will be explored through an inter-disciplinary approach.


The purpose of this course is to provide students with the theoretical and practical background to identify and record job demands, interpret assessment reports, determine when there is a mismatch between individual capacity and job demands, and eliminate these through accommodation planning.

The purpose of this course is to examine the role of a manager, the management environment, and the skills and knowledge required to perform management functions. Students will also explore the application of management functions to workplace programs, including return to work, occupational health and safety and wellness programs.

Prerequisite: WHDM 209

The purpose of this course is to gain 160 hours in the workplace in the field of disability management at an introductory level.

The purpose of this course is to examine what skills, roles, and knowledge are central to being an effective manager. We will also explore management functions including concepts of return to work and occupational health and safety wellness programs. Since communication is one of the essential skills for managers in all areas, including workplace health programs, an introduction to the theory and practice of communication is provided. The course focuses on effective communication in individual and group workplace situations in order to support employees with health and disability challenges. Students will learn more about the role of effective communication and management in order to plan, organize, lead, and influence workplace health and safety programs.

Prerequisite: WHDM 215

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the score of ergonomics and the application of ergonomic principles to work organization. It includes an overview of concepts and related theory and ergonomic assessment processes, and the identification and application of solutions.

The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of the international, national, and regional frameworks of the labour movement and how unions operate in representing workers and interacting with management. The focus of the course is on how the union movement has contributed to improving working
conditions and occupational health and safety on behalf of injured workers; training and advocacy initiatives; labour efforts in return to work and accommodation; mechanisms of participation, labour’s critique of employer wellness and behaviour-based safety programs. Factors affecting the potential for cooperation between the employers and labour and critical issues for labour in occupational health and safety, accommodation, and return to work are reviewed

This course introduces students to the application of economics concepts to workplace health initiatives. Students will consider the costs and benefits to individuals, organizations, and society (as represented by governments, and quasi-governmental agencies) when occupational health and safety programs, disability management programs and wellness programs are in place or are improved.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the field of ethics, the role of the Disability Management Professional and the application of ethics to workplace issues.   There will be a focus on the CDMP Ethical Standards and Professional Conduct document and how it applies to providing disability management services. The course will cover concept specific information in ethics and examples or points of contact between concept specific information and the disability management profession. Through individual work and group discussions, students will move from obtaining information to potential application in their professional work lives.   Students will work through the CDMP Ethical Standards and Professional Conduct document to determine the potential application to disability management services.

The purpose of this course is to examine the skills and knowledge required for case management and service coordination, along with problem solving processes used in complex situations. The client’s role as the centre of the process will be explored. Students will also consider issues related to diversity, lack of client commitment to the process, and ethics and law.

Prerequisite: WHDM 403 or WHDM 308

The purpose of this course is to provide participants with a background in theories, models, tools, and strategies to manage workplace conflict. Modules will be designed to provide theoretical grounding in conflict management models, and also to move past theory in order to use models based on those theories to strategically manage workplace conflict.

The purpose of this course is to explore the types of workplace insurance that are commonly available, along with questions about how insurance is funded, how benefits are calculated, and who provides the insurance – whether private, public or some combination of the two. Participants will be expected to apply concepts of their own jurisdictions.

The purpose of this course is to examine factors that affect the nature of work and how it is performed. This will include technological change, work organization, the divide between rote work and more cognitively complex tasks, globalization and organizational mobility, and the use of outsourcing and temporary employees. There will be an emphasis on how the transformation of work in the contemporary world of work impacts upon the field and practice of disability management.

The purpose of WHDM 410a and 410b is to provide students with the opportunity to consolidate their learning in the BDM by developing and implementing a research project under the supervision of a faculty advisor. The student selects a theme or topic in consultation with the advisor, reviews the relevant literature and generates a working research question. The faculty advisor facilitates the student to focus the research question and to consider the most appropriate approach to exploring it using appropriate research design and methodologies. The project can involve documenting practical experience or critical analysis of workplace health practice at a system, organizational or individual level. In addition to standard qualitative or quantitative research or evaluation designs, both personal practice and single case study designs in collaboration with another person are acceptable. The student produces a structured proposal and formulates a project management plan which is submitted to the PCU-WHS Research Ethics Committee for approval. The proposal is revised based on the feedback from the PCUREC and may be re-submitted if required.

Prerequisites: Students must be in the final year of the program

Under the supervision of the faculty advisor, the student implements the approved research project plan. This can involve recruiting participants, gaining informed consent and collecting either qualitative, quantitative or case study data. The student prepares the data for statistical analysis or interpretative processing, implements an appropriate data reduction procedure and summarizes the results. Based on the results, the student generates a set of conclusions and recommendations in discussion with the supervisor. The student submits a detailed project report, which includes a reflection on the research process and lessons learnt for future research activities, for assessment.

Prerequisite: Students must be in the final year of the program

This course is designed to develop a student’s knowledge and understanding of a workplace health issue relevant to a work sector in which the student wishes to deepen their knowledge and prepare a proposal for a practicum placement in a workplace role under the supervision of a Certified Disability Management Professional (CDMP). Students are facilitated to identify a work sector and a relevant issue such as prevention of injury, disability management, or promotion of health in the workplace. Based on a literature review of grey, policy, and evidence literature, students produce a summary report of current practice and challenges in their selected sector. In parallel, students are assisted to identify a practicum placement opportunity in the domain of workplace health, to agree to the terms and learning objectives of the practicum with a prospective appropriately qualified supervisor, to gain required permissions from the employer and supervisor, and to submit a practicum proposal to the university for approval. Academic performance is assessed based on the quality of the sectoral study and the approved practicum proposal. Students can make a case for undertaking the practicum in their current workplace and job role if they can justify that the activities specified for the practicum genuinely support the acquisition of new knowledge and skills and if they have arranged for an independent and appropriately qualified practicum supervisor.

Students can only register for this course once all necessary approvals have been obtained. The normal duration of a practicum is 10 weeks and involves 150 hours. Progress in experiential learning and work performance is monitored by the faculty member through review meetings with the student and the supervisor. It is the student’s responsibility to participate in evaluation and review meetings and to produce a written report of the practicum experience on completion of the course. This includes both a mid-term and final evaluation meeting. The practicum supervisor is responsible for providing an induction to the students into the host organization, organizing the practical work duties of the student, and supporting the student’s learning experiences. He or she will submit a mid-term and final summary of the student’s progress to the faculty member and participate in review meetings with the student and the faculty member. During the practicum, the supervisor is expected to maintain regular contact with the faculty member. The faculty member is responsible for coordinating review meetings and ensuring that academic standards and learning objectives are met. The faculty member grades the student’s achievement based on the quality of the practicum reports produced by the student, the evaluation of the practicum supervisor, and student performance and participation in review meetings.