Disability Studies (Certificate)

At a Glance: program details

Certificate Map

Challenge your views of disability through the voices of diverse, disabled cultures. Study social constructions of disability through ableist media portrayals, stereotypes, institutional abuses and exclusionary school policies by examining the lived experiences and perspectives of people with disabilities, their families and communities.

Program Description

As a vibrant and diverse area of academic study, disability studies utilizes a cross-disability, intersectional and interdisciplinary approach that views disability as a social construct and people with disabilities as a minority group. In the program in disability studies, students draw upon diverse disciplines such as history, sociology, law, policy studies, economics, anthropology, geography, philosophy, theology, gender studies, media studies, architecture and the arts in order to understand the social, cultural and political situation of disabled cultures, or people with disabilities.

Students are critically challenged to reject simplistic definitions of disability as a restrictive, functional impairment that requires fixing or curing. Rather, students learn to identify disability as a construct that finds its meaning within cultural contexts, is central to individual and social identity, and is crucial to changing political processes and public attitudes.

This program prioritizes development of theoretical, methodological, educational and advocacy models that redefine legal, physical, policy and attitudinal barriers that exclude disabled communities from society.

Program Requirements

Students must complete 15 credit hours with at least 12 hours completed at the upper-division level. A minimum grade of "C" (2.00 on a 4.00 scale) is required for a course to count toward the certificate. Students should contact the School of Social Transformation advising center for more information.
Required Courses -- 6 credit hours
Elective Courses -- 9 credit hours
Prerequisite courses may be needed in order to complete the requirements of this certificate.

Enrollment Requirements

Students enrolled in the BA or minor in disability studies offered by the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences are not prohibited from adding this certificate.

A student pursuing an undergraduate certificate must be enrolled as a degree-seeking student at ASU. Undergraduate certificates are not awarded prior to the award of an undergraduate degree. A student already holding an undergraduate degree may pursue an undergraduate certificate as a nondegree-seeking graduate student.

Learning Outcomes

  • Employ and critically assess core theories, models and perspectives that have contributed to the development of disability studies.
  • Apply disability studies perspectives in the construction of social policy, engagement, and advocacy.
  • Understand and identify representations of disability as historically specific and culturally contingent.

Career Outlook

Graduates who have combined the certificate in disability studies with their major program of study may become more marketable to employers. They often decide to pursue employment in law, education, public service, and human welfare and social work.

Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions.

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions.

Social and Human Service Assistants

  • Growth: 8.6%
  • Median Salary*: 38520
  Bright Outlook

Community Health Workers

  • Growth: 14.1%
  • Median Salary*: 46190
  Bright Outlook

Equal Opportunity Representatives and Officers

  • Growth: 4.6%
  • Median Salary*: 71690
  Bright Outlook

Educational, Guidance and Career Counselors and Advisors

  • Growth: 5.4%
  • Median Salary*: 60140
  Bright Outlook


  • Growth: 7.5%
  • Median Salary*: 135740
  Bright Outlook

Healthcare Social Workers

  • Growth: 9.6%
  • Median Salary*: 60280
  Bright Outlook

Mental Health Counselors

  • Growth: 18.4%
  • Median Salary*: 49710
  Bright Outlook

Special Education Teachers, Preschool

  • Growth: 1.9%
  • Median Salary*: 62240

Rehabilitation Counselors

  • Growth: 1.9%
  • Median Salary*: 39990

Social and Community Service Managers

  • Growth: 9.1%
  • Median Salary*: 74240
  Bright Outlook

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

Program Contact Information

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