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Center for Disabilities Studies : University Education : Minor in Disabilities Studies


Minor in Disabilities Studies: Requirements

What are the requirements for a minor in Disabilities Studies?

The College of Education and Human Development offers a minor in Disabilities Studies, with courses taught by faculty from across the university. The minor in Disabilities Studies provides a unique interdisciplinary opportunity for undergraduate students to learn about the policies, services, and systems that support the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life. Students from a variety of majors benefit from a greater understanding of disabilities professionally and personally.

What are the requirements for the minor in Disabilities Studies?

To add the minor, current undergraduate students must initiate a request for a Change of Academic Plan through UDSIS and receive approval from the minor faculty coordinator and the university registrar.

The minor in Disabilities Studies requires 18 credit hours, distributed as follows: all core courses listed below (9 credits) and three elective courses (9 credits) selected in consultation with and approved by the student’s minor advisor. At least one of the elective courses must be from outside the requirements of your major and outside your major department. Additional restrictions may apply to some majors.

There are three core (required) courses for the minor.

  • HDFS / SOCI 270: Families and Developmental Disabilities

    Focuses on people with developmental disabilities in the context of their family and culture from a multidisciplinary perspective. Covers disabilities and their causes; changing needs across the lifespan, gender, cross-cultural and legal issues; and information about prevention/intervention, employment, inclusion, and empowerment.

  • EDUC 230: Introduction to Exceptional Children

    Historical and philosophical basis for special education; physical and psychological characteristics of exceptional children; study and discussion of past and emerging educational practices for exceptional children with emphasis on pedagogical commonalities. Systematic observation of a cross section of special education classes required. Emphasis on the school-age child.

  • DIST 465: Senior Seminar in Disabilities Studies

    Culminates the Disabilities Studies minor. Focuses on community access, independence, inclusion, and productivity of people with disabilities. Examines national disability policy frameworks and applications, person-centered perspectives on delivery of services and supports, and methods of facilitating change. Requires completion of an applied local advocacy project.

Students in the minor must also complete three elective courses, one from each of the following broad topic areas:

  • Human Development – includes the study of typical and exceptional developmental processes of human beings and across various stages or periods of development (e.g. infancy, early childhood, childhood, adolescence, early and later adulthood.) The chosen course may focus on physical, emotional, cognitive, or social development separately or in combination, but exceptionality or atypical development should be a major topic within the course.
  • Social Systems – includes the study of organizations, policies, laws, and regulations that represents the social and community systems’ response to the needs of persons with disabilities, their families, or other special populations (e.g. elderly, low income, medically fragile, or at risk.) The selected course should focus upon broad social/public policy issues, professional responsibility, and ethical concerns (e.g. employment, education, health and medical care, housing, recreation and leisure, social welfare, transportation.)
  • Service Delivery Methods – includes the study of methods and procedures for delivering services or supports to persons with disabilities, their families, or other special populations. The chosen course may be specific to a single discipline or field (e.g. teaching, social work, nursing, nutrition, counseling, etc.).

To download a copy of the Minor Program Checklist, click here.

To download a sample list of electives, click here.


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CDS Faculty and Staff

Laura Eisenman, associate professor in the School of Education

Mary Thomas, program administrative coordinator