Build Your Knowledge & Skills:

Students in the undergraduate Disability Studies Minor and the Individualized Studies Major in Disability Studies have the opportunity to study disability rights and culture through courses in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

Disability Studies is a multi-disciplinary field that investigates, critiques, and enhances Western society’s understandings of disability. The Minor and Major will introduce you to a critical framework for recognizing how people with disabilities have experienced disadvantages and exclusion because of personal and societal responses to impairment, and for exploring how disability activists and scholars have re-conceptualized disability from a more empowering social-political and human rights perspective as an element of human diversity and a source of community.

Central Learning Goals:

  • Understand the disability studies framework and articulate the concept of disability as a social construction.
  • Identify the major political, social, cultural, economic, and scientific ideas, practices, and legacies that shape the meanings of disability.
  • Apply a critical lens to representations of disabled people.
  • Examine historical and emerging policy and law focused on disability.
  • Describe the legal treatment of disabled people including the development of the civil rights movement for disabled people and the major international human rights instruments.
  • Develop skills in critical thinking about diversity and how disability intersects with other categories such as race, gender, sex, and class.

Consider A Career:

Our graduates are currently employed in positions with state and regional disability advocacy organizations; community agencies; independent living centers; higher education disability resource offices; local government in civil rights policy; K-12 education; and the state medical association in legislative and regularly affairs.

Some have also gone on to law school and to graduate school in diverse disciplines, including public policy and administration, psychology, speech and hearing sciences, communication, education, and social work.

What Our Recent Graduates Say:

My world perspective was altered through my time in the Disability Studies Program in a very positive way. The knowledge I gained has propelled me into a career fighting for disability rights and environmental accessibility in higher education.

  • Eric Bell, English Major and Disability Studies Major, 2014


Being in the Disability Studies Program has been nothing but a great experience! I have become more aware of the social justice issues and topics in the disability community, and I learned more about my positionality as a nondisabled person and what I could do to become more of an ally.

  • Adanna Abakporo, Social Welfare Major and Disability Studies Major, 2015


What I learned in the Disability Studies Program is invaluable to my work for the Seattle City Council's civil rights committee. As a member of the disability community myself, the program taught me new ways of looking at disability that allow me to explore intersections I wasn't even aware existed.

  • Jeremy Racca, Political Science Major, 2011


The Minor in Disability Studies introduced me to an interdisciplinary range of scholarship as well as valuable faculty mentorship. The program has played a key role in my admission to graduate school, my approach to research, and even the way I view everyday life.

  • Riley Taitingfong, Communication Major, 2014


The Disability Studies Program changed the way I view society. I think the best part was learning so many different views and being a part of such a diverse community! I found a home in the program.

  • Sarah Coleman, Psychology Major, 2013


Want to join the DS minor or major?  Follow this link to set up an appointment with our academic advisors!