2008 - 2009 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Disability Studies, Graduate Certificate


Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: April 1

Spring: November 1

Deadlines regard the application specific to the Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies and are applicable if the individual is applying in conjunction with admission to a graduate degree program.  Decisions are made year-round for the free-standing program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from individuals in a position to evaluate the academic ability and accomplishments of the applicant.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree is required, but the Graduate Certificate Program in Disability Studies can be approached from any number of disciplines.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should indicate the applicant's interests, plans, and objectives within the field of Disability Studies.

Standardized Test Scores:

Neither the GRE nor the MAT is required for admission to the free-standing program.


Not required.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate:  12

Required Courses:

Introductory Course (3 s.h.)

  • DISABILITY STUDIES 5401: Disability Rights and Culture, which provides a socio-historical survey of the political, economic, social, and cultural relations between disabled and non-disabled society in America.

Core Courses (6 s.h. chosen from the following)

  • DISABILITY STUDIES 5402: Action Modes of Research, which explores the foundations of collaborative and action research, focusing on disabilities, but also considering gender, race, class, and sexual orientation.
  • DISABILITY STUDIES 5403: Disability and Social Policy, which examines public policy in the United States, particularly the influence of recent Congressional actions and judicial decisions in the areas of education, health care, human development, rehabilitation, and employment of individuals with disabilities.
  • DISABILITY STUDIES 9489: Field Work in Disability Studies, which provides experiential learning in the experiences of persons with disabilities. Students are assigned to work with and be mentored by persons with disabilities and their families.

Specialization Courses (3 s.h. chosen from the following or a list of approved electives with disability enhancements)

  • DISABILITY STUDIES 5404: Health and Wellness for Persons with Disabilities, which introduces students to a biopsychosocial model for examining the various dimensions of health.
  • DISABILITY STUDIES 5405: Disability Studies in the Humanities, which is open to the study of health and disability in American history, disability and performance studies, disability in American literature, imaging bodies in world film, and cross-cultural disability studies.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

No culminating events are applicable for the graduate certificate program in Disability Studies.


Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

in collaboration with the Institute on Disabilities
426 Ritter Hall (003-00)
1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19122

TTY: 215-204-1356

Department Contacts:


Michael L. Dorn, Ph.D.



Program Coordinator:

Michael L. Dorn, Ph.D.



About the Program

Disability Studies offers a course of study that explores disability from historical, cultural, and socio-political perspectives. Focus is placed on disability within a social and political context, challenging the notion that the statuses and roles of individuals with disability result from physical or psychological aspects of disability. Scholars in the field of Disability Studies recognize the necessity of focusing their work on issues of disability within a traditional discipline, but also require a familiarity with work on disability in other disciplines to enrich their own understandings. It is for this philosophical reason that the Disability Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary graduate certificate and is jointly sponsored by the Institute on Disabilities and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Temple's Disability Studies Program draws on resources in a broad array of disciplines from the liberal arts and social sciences to the allied health professions. It develops a more accurate understanding and appreciation of people with disabilities and the evolution of their civil rights movement. Students working toward graduate degrees in various disciplines can study the central concepts of disability theory and action modes of research through Disability Studies graduate courses.

The Graduate Certificate can be earned in conjunction with a wide variety of disciplines. Disability Studies provides students with an opportunity to reflect critically on practices and approaches that may be taken for granted in their home disciplines. Particular strengths include the social history of disability and ableism, disability and health, ecological aspects of disablement, universal design, disability social policy, and constituency-oriented research on disability rights and culture.

Time Limit for Certificate Completion: 2 years

Campus Location:


Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are able to complete the Graduate Certificate Program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester) through classes offered after 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Dept. of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

in collaboration with the Institute on Disabilities
426 Ritter Hall (003-00)
1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19122

TTY: 215-204-1356

Interdisciplinary Study:

Disability Studies is an emerging field driven by research efforts from a number of academic disciplines. At Temple University, faculty and students approach Disability Studies from a variety of fields that include but are not limited to Anthropology, Business, Film and Media Arts, Geography, History, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, and Sociology.  All aspects of disability are potentially included in the spectrum of inquiry at Temple, providing the scholarship is informed by a critical analysis of the social, political, biological, and cultural determinants of disability. That contextual foundation for Disability Studies is provided by a core of required courses that provide exposure to disability from a variety of perspectives: past and current definitions, fundamental concepts, theories, practices, policies, histories, institutions, communities, and events that shape our understanding of biological and cognitive differences.


Affiliations have been forged with Temple University's Institute on Disabilities and Pennsylvania's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Not applicable.

Job Placement:

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students may take up to 9 credits of coursework before applying to the Graduate Certificate Program.

Financing Opportunities

Students may apply to the Institute on Disabilities for small scholarships toward the expense of tuition and for graduate assistantship opportunities available through the Institute.

Updated 6.5.09