Disability Studies, Graduate Certificate

People with disabilities constitute the largest minority group living in the United States today. They face the same discrimination, marginalization, and bias that affect individuals from other minority groups. These factors create a social climate where people with disabilities are unable to fully integrate and participate in activities that are important for all individuals and to make contributions to their communities. This occurs because people with disabilities are often disadvantaged in the receipt of education, social services, healthcare, and opportunities for employment.

Disability studies allows for a broad range of disciplines—including the social sciences, education, healthcare, the sciences, law, and public policy—to work together to create equity and social justice for the diverse group of people with disabilities. A key focus of disability studies is to remove barriers to the participation and inclusion of people in society. These goals can be accomplished through research, public policy and educational initiatives, advocacy, and by enhancing the capacity of the medical profession to provide high-quality care.

The purpose of this certificate is to educate an interdisciplinary cohort of professionals to become leaders who are able to work collaboratively to create changes in the social, economic, political, educational, medical, and physical environments. Successful graduates are able to create changes that support people with disabilities to live satisfying lives of inclusion and integration within the community at large. 

Program Description

The Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies program requires 16 semester hours of course work. The four required courses are offered exclusively online. 

An optional directed study on advocacy is available to students in place of PT 5730, Global Perspectives in Disability and Health. It will occur under the auspices of an agency or organization that is currently filling a need for people with disabilities in the community. This directed study will be developed collaboratively by the student, community agency, and faculty.

Progression in the Program

To progress in the program, students must maintain acceptable standards of scholarship and academic performance as stated in the academic requirements section of this catalog. Students must develop professional behaviors and emotional maturity.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


PT 5710Psychosocial Aspects of Disability4
PT 5720Legal and Policy Issues Surrounding Disability4
PT 5730Global Perspectives in Disability and Health4
HLTH 5280The (in)Visibility of (dis)Ability in Society4
or PT 5740 Disabilities Practicum

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

16 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required