What is Disability Studies?

DO-IT Factsheet #356

Disability Studies is an academic discipline that approaches disability from an interdisciplinary perspective and uses multiple theories to define disability and understand the disability experience. Disability Studies programs are being formed at universities nationwide and at all levels of scholarship. There are undergraduate minors and majors, as well as masters degrees, certificates of advanced studies, and Ph.D.s available in this new field.

The Society for Disability Studies (SDS) [1] is a scholarly organization for people involved in disability studies. SDS holds an annual conference and publishes a quarterly journal. There is also a disability studies archive [2] of articles published by Leeds University [3] in the United Kingdom, and a quarterly journal, The Review of Disability Studies [4] published at the University of Hawaii.

If you want to study Disability Studies, consider the following sample of universities that offer programs in this area:

University of Washington [5] offers an undergraduate minor.

Temple University [6] offers a graduate certificate.

Syracuse University [7] offers a graduate certificate.

Ohio State University [8] offers an undergraduate minor and a graduate specialization.

University of Hawaii at Manoa [9] offers a graduate certificate.

University of Illinois at Chicago [10] offers an MS or a Ph.D.

To find out if there is a disability studies program near you consult Temple Universities' list of Disability Studies Programs in North America [11].