Disability Studies

Minor in Disability Studies

The interdisciplinary field of disability studies explores the experiences of people with disabilities—one of the largest minorities in the United States and worldwide—as well as the ways in which conceptions and representations of disability and “the normal” have shaped human experiences more generally.  Treating disability as a crucial element of human diversity, the Minor in Disability Studies approaches disability as a social, cultural, and political construct rather than just a medical condition (as it is commonly viewed). Taught by faculty from the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Education and Health Professions, Architecture, Business, and Social Work, this flexible and multidisciplinary minor prepares students for a variety of graduate programs and for careers in law, education, public health, nursing, architecture, urban planning, and social work.

Students seeking to minor in Disability Studies should first consult with advisors in their major departments or programs for approval, then meet with the Director of the Minor in Disability Studies. A minor in Disability Studies consists of 18 hours, including two required courses:  a core course on History of Disability (DS 3307/HIST 3307) and the Disability Studies Internship (DS 4395).  Students must take at least 6 hours of other courses in Group A: Disability Studies and may take up to 6 hours of approved electives (Group B).  No more than 12 hours may be completed in a single discipline.

History of Disability (DS 3307/HIST 3307) should be taken as early as possible; this course introduces students to disability studies and the histories of ideas about disability, the lives of people with disabilities, and disability policy.  The Disability Studies Internship (DS 4395) is a supervised internship through which students apply the academic skills they have acquired in Disability Studies courses to work in a related business, academic, or non-profit environment.  Students should complete DS 4395 as one of their last courses for the minor.  In rare cases and with the director’s permission, students may be allowed to substitute another course for DS 4395. 

Some of the following courses change focus from term to term and may therefore not be relevant to the minor during a particular semester.  Credit will only be given when the topic of the course (or a substantial portion) focuses on issues related to disability. Other relevant courses not listed below may also be used to fulfill the minor, with the approval of the Director of the Minor in Disability Studies.  For that reason, it is important that students consult with the advisor for the minor before registering each semester.  Students should consult the catalog and/or the appropriate department for course prerequisites.

Required Courses (six hours)
HIST 3307HISTORY OF DISABILITY3
or DS 3307 HISTORY OF DISABILITY
DS 4395DISABILITY STUDIES INTERNSHIP3
Group A: Disability Studies (at least six hours)
DS 3321TOPICS IN DISABILITY STUDIES3
DS 3331RESEARCH IN DISABILITY STUDIES3
DS 3355ALL IN: UNIVERSAL ACCESSIBILITY IN THE PERFORMING ARTS3
or THEA 3355 ALL IN: UNIVERSAL ACCESSIBILITY IN THE PERFORMING ARTS
DS 4391CONFERENCE COURSE3
KINE 3304ADAPTED PHYSICAL EXERCISE & SPORT3
Group A: Disability Studies (with prior approval from the director)
HIST 3300INTRODUCTION TO HISTORICAL RESEARCH3
HIST 4388SELECTED TOPICS IN HISTORY3
Group B: Approved electives
ANTH 3369MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY3
MANA 4326DIVERSITY IN ORGANIZATIONS3
POLS 4340FEDERAL SOCIAL POLICY3
POLS 4350HEALTH POLITICS AND POLICY3
SOCI 3318SELF AND SOCIAL IDENTITY3
SOCI 3342SOCIOLOGY OF THE HUMAN BODY3
or KINE 3342 SOCIOLOGY OF THE HUMAN BODY
SOCI 4320MEDICAL SOCIOLOGY3
Group B: Approved electives (with prior approval from the director)
ANTH 3330CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND IDENTITY3
ECON 3301THE ECONOMICS OF HEALTH3
ENGL 3347TOPICS IN MULTICULTURAL LITERATURES3
ENGL 3368TOPICS IN GENDER AND SEXUALITY3
ENGL 4345TOPICS IN CRITICAL THEORY3
GEOG 4350SPECIAL TOPICS IN MODERN GEOGRAPHY3
HIST 3317U.S. LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY, COLONIAL TO 18773
HIST 3318U.S. LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY, 1877 TO PRESENT3
HIST 4388SELECTED TOPICS IN HISTORY3
INTS 3320SOCIAL JUSTICE THEORY3
KINE 3307SPORT AND SOCIETY: ISSUES AND DEBATES3
LING 2371LANGUAGE IN A MULTICULTURAL USA3
PHIL 3319BIOMEDICAL ETHICS3
SOCI 3324SOCIAL MOVEMENTS3
SOCI 3336SOCIAL INEQUALITY3
SOCW 3317HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND DIVERSE POPULATIONS3
THEA 3351ROBOTS, DIGITAL HUMANITIES, AND THEATRE3

Courses

DS 3307. HISTORY OF DISABILITY. 3 Hours.

Examines the history of ideas about disability, the historical lives of people with disabilities, and the history of disability policy. The growth of asylums, the rise of the eugenics movement, a historical look at freak shows, the impact of industrialization on experiences of disability, the evolution of special education, the role of ideas about disability in colonialism, the historical treatment of disabled veterans, and the development of the disability rights movement. Geographic focus will vary. Offered as HIST 3307 and DS 3307; credit will only be granted once. Prerequisites: HIST 1311 and HIST 1312.

DS 3321. TOPICS IN DISABILITY STUDIES. 3 Hours.

Special topics of interest in the field of disability studies. May be repeated for credit when the topic changes.

DS 3331. RESEARCH IN DISABILITY STUDIES. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the theories and methods that disability studies scholars use to conduct research and present their findings in written and oral form. Recommended: HIST 3307 or DS 3321.

DS 3355. ALL IN: UNIVERSAL ACCESSIBILITY IN THE PERFORMING ARTS. 3 Hours.

The principles of universal design as they apply to the major phases of production in the performing arts, and how they may be used to create a more accessible performance and/or production experience with disabled artists and patrons. Offered as THEA 3355 and DS 3355; may not be repeated and credit will only be granted in one department.

DS 4391. CONFERENCE COURSE. 3 Hours.

Directed independent study for the advanced undergraduate. A close examination of a chosen topic through research and/or reading; format designed by instructor and student. Course may be repeated for credit once with a change in faculty. Prerequisite: permission from the director of the Minor in Disability Studies.

DS 4395. DISABILITY STUDIES INTERNSHIP. 3 Hours.

Supervised internship in which students apply the academic skills they have acquired in Disability Studies courses by working in a related non-profit or business environment. Prerequisite: HIST 3307 or 3 hours of core disability studies courses; permission of the instructor.