Graduate Bulletin

Disability Studies


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Applications are accepted and reviewed year-round for the free-standing graduate certificate 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.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

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

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be 1 to 2 pages in length and 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 graduate certificate program.

Program Requirements

Number of Didactic Credits Required to Complete the Certificate: 12

Required Courses:
Core Courses (6 s.h):
DSST 5401:  Disability Rights and Culture
This course provides a socio-historical survey of the political, economic, social, and culturally based relations between people with disabilities and those without disabilities in America. Topics such as the social construction of disability and the changing experiences of people with disabilities are discussed in the context of other civil rights movements and the broader evolution of social policy.
DSST 9489:  Field Work in Disability Studies
In this course, students are provided with experiential learning opportunities through investigations into the lives of people with disabilities. Students are required to work with and be mentored by people with disabilities and their families, as they investigate individuals with disabilities in specific settings and/or sets of life experiences. Throughout this course, students are supervised by a faculty member.

Two electives (6 s.h.), which may be selected from the following:
DSST 5402:  Action Modes of Research
In this course, students explore the foundations of collaborative and action research. Focus is on the sets of beliefs that lead to and underlay action research and how these beliefs are different from traditional paradigms. Students work on the practical means by which those affected by research are included in its design. Readings and discussion focus particularly on disabilities and include considerations of gender, race, class, and sexual orientation.
DSST 5403:  Disability and Social Policy
In this course, students examine 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. Students examine the origins, goals, and target populations directly affected by these policies and the extent to which policies are consistent with each other. Students assess the efficacy of policies and the impact they have on people's real lives, particularly people with disabilities, family members, and professionals.
DSST 5405:  Disability Studies in the Humanities
The focus and content of this course depends on the interests of faculty and graduate students. Examples of possible topics covered in this course are Cross-Cultural Disability Studies, Disability and American Literature, Disability in Performance Studies, Health and Disability in American History, and Imaging Bodies in World Films.

Program Contact Information:

Department Information:

Institute on Disabilities
College of Education
411S Student Center
1755 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Voice: 215-204-1356
TTY: 1-215-204-1805

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 graduate certificate in Disability Studies is interdisciplinary in nature and jointly sponsored by the Institute on Disabilities and the College of Education. The graduate certificate in Disability Studies 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.

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:

Main and Online

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are able to complete the graduate certificate on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).

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 currently enrolled in a terminal degree program at Temple University should contact the Institute on Disabilities to inquire about graduate assistantship opportunities.

Updated 12.17.13