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Colleges with the Best Disability Studies Programs in the US

Professionals in a variety of areas can greatly benefit from enrolling in a disability studies program. A certification or degree in disability is very helpful for people in a wide range of professions, from special education teachers to public health professionals. The following list is a ranked summary of research on American colleges offering disability studies programs. Key information about each evaluated school’s academic programs in disability studies is provided in the description.

Points were given in accordance with the existence of:

  • A thorough disability studies program that is pertinent to the status of impaired society today
  • Highly qualified experts in the industry
  • Organizations or activities on campus that promote disability education.
  • Internships or financial aid in the industry

The schools profiled below are ranked according to the number of points they received. The institutions with the lower net price are rated higher if there is a tie in the points.

15 Best Disability Studies Programs in the US

15. University of Maine

  • 12 points
  • Student body: 11,286
  • Total cost: $16,505
Best Disability Studies Programs
University of Maine_Best Disability Studies Programs

In a remote area, the University of Maine was founded in 1865. It is a vibrant academic community with a wide range of study options. The Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) is located at UM as well. Students investigate the following subjects in the perspective of living with a disability:

  • professional practice
  • policies
  • research

The Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies is the organization that sponsors the UCEDD. The University of Maine faculty members participate in personalised learning and are recognized as experts in their fields.

14. Gallaudet University

  • 12 points
  • Student body: 25,006
  • Total cost: $14,080

The location of Gallaudet University is in the capital city. The multicultural institution focuses on providing deaf and hard of hearing students with higher education. For students looking for a program in disability studies, Gallaudet has various options. The main academic emphasis at this college is on American Sign Language and other deaf studies-related courses. Students nonetheless get a thorough education in the study of disabilities in general. Students are introduced to life as a person who is classified as “disabled” in Gallaudet University’s disability studies courses. These territories consist of:

  • historical
  • political
  • social
  • cultural.

13. University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • 12 points
  • Admissions: 19,507
  • Total cost: $12,163

The University of Hawaii at Manoa, which is situated in Honolulu on 320 gorgeous acres, draws students from all over the world. A 15-credit graduate-level certificate in disability and diversity studies (DDS) is one among the programs that UH Manoa provides. The DDS certificate can be obtained while pursuing a post-doctoral, doctorate, or master’s degree. The majority of the students at this college that are interested in disability studies programs are:

  • education
  • psychology
  • sociology
  • social work
  • public health and related disciplines where working with disabled people is common

UH Manoa provides more than $170 million in financial aid packages during the academic year.

12. Shippensburg University

  • 13 points
  • Student body: 7,355
  • $16,714 in total.

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, a liberal arts university with a focus on community engagement, was established in 1871. Disability studies is offered as an interdisciplinary minor at this university. It specifically targets our attitudes of the disability community. The minor in disability studies at Shippensburg teaches students how to make communities inclusive of people with disabilities. Study topics include:

  • rights
  • laws
  • societal concerns

Several campus events at this college protect and promote the rights of people with mental and physical disabilities.

11. Northern Arizona University

  • 13 points
  • Admissions: 21,492
  • Total cost: $12,946

Northern Arizona University is a sizable university with a tailored approach that offers more than 150 degree programs. One can enroll in a disability studies undergraduate minor at NAU’s Flagstaff campus. This degree focuses on the state of disability in society and how the idea of “normal” has influenced how disabled people are perceived. The disability studies minor’s main goal is to help students develop a deeper understanding of people with disabilities by:

  • inclusion
  • integration
  • independence.

10. Eastern Washington University

  • 13 points
  • Students: 13,453
  • Total cost: $11,894

Eastern Washington University, the state’s fastest-growing public college institution, is situated just outside of Spokane. Disability studies are covered in both the undergraduate and graduate certificates offered by EWU. The 15-hour undergraduate disability certificate program primarily focuses on accessibility and people with disabilities. The graduate certificate in disability studies from EWU builds on the undergraduate program by covering additional subjects like:

  • laws and policies
  • history
  • disability culture
  • the daily experiences of disabled persons
  • contributions to society, and more

For eligible students studying in disability studies, the Carper Foundation College of Social & Behavior Sciences and Social Work Scholarship is made available.

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9. Miami University

  • 14 points
  • Students: 18,620
  • Total cost: $21,775
Best Disability Studies Programs
Best Disability Studies Programs_Miami University

Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is a reasonably priced liberal arts college with strong academic programs. Students have the chance to learn about the various aspects of impaired society through Miami’s minor in disability studies, which includes:

  • legal
  • educational
  • philosophical
  • social
  • artistic
  • literary

The degree program’s curriculum for disability studies has recently been revised. Nowadays, students are taught things like sign language and how to recognize and support people with disabilities. MU provides both new and enrolled students with a variety of merit-based scholarships and incentives.

8. University at Buffalo

  • 14 points
  • Student body: 29,995
  • $15,546 in total cost

The State University of New York at Buffalo is the largest and most comprehensive campus in the SUNY system and is known for its emphasis on research. The UB Center for Disability Studies (CDS) is one of UB’s academic initiatives. People, Inc. and the UB College of Arts and Sciences are working together on it. Western New York State residents who are disabled can receive services from People, Inc. The collaboration with SUNY Buffalo increases outreach and area resources for both parties. The CDS offers a humanities M.A. with a designated focus in disability studies.

7. National Louis University

  • 14 points
  • Students: 4,582
  • $15,420 in net price

A progressive liberal arts university in Chicago is called National Louis University. With 44% of the student body identifying as a minority, this institution has one of the most diverse academic communities in the country. The PhD in disability studies is offered by NLU. The doctoral program in disability and equity in education is known as the Ed. D. This advanced degree program examines the ideas that have influenced how impaired students are educated today, including:

  • social
  • cultural
  • historical
  • philosophical
  • political

In the industry, National Louis University is regarded as a pioneer. Only four colleges in North America offer an advanced degree in disability studies with an emphasis on education.

6. Pacific University

  • 15 points
  • Student body: 3,640
  • Total cost: $27,196

Pacific University is a small liberal arts college in a rural area of Oregon. Its academic community is close-knit and emphasizes practical learning. This college offers a minor in disability studies. The disabilities program’s course topics include, among others:

  • medicine
  • healthcare
  • disability ethics

The disability studies curriculum at PU also takes suggestions from several departments, including:

  • philosophy
  • sociology
  • English
  • physical therapy

A two-week outdoor camp for the disabled employs students enrolled in disability studies as counselors.

5. Kent State University

  • 15 points
  • Student body: 29,477
  • Total cost: $18,106

In Northeast Ohio, Kent State University is a renowned university. It was most recently included by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 100 national public universities. The Center for Disability Studies is located in Kent. Students learn about the complete life experience of the disadvantaged person at this inter-disciplinary institute. The Center is home to 16 disability research-related projects that have received public and private funding. KSU participates in activities promoting disability education and community service. Among the subjects covered by this outreach are:

  • deaf education
  • multiple sclerosis
  • early childhood special education
  • other important topics in disabled society.

4. University of California at Berkeley

  • 15 points
  • Students: 37,565
  • $17,655 in total.

Berkeley, California, offers a top-notch education at a reasonable cost. For the 17th year in a row, U.S. News and World Report named it as the best public university. Disability studies is one of UC Berkeley’s 170 academic programs. Students examine the various cultures and historical periods that have shaped how people with disabilities are viewed today. Students who enroll in disability studies programs receive training to help persons who have restrictions or impairments with their issues.

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3. Hofstra University

  • 16 points
  • Student body: 10,953
  • Total cost: $30,606

Hofstra University, a thriving institution just east of New York City, is recognized by reputable college directories and magazines. Disability studies is one of the university’s undergraduate programs. Students are equipped for a variety of employment options. The disability studies curriculum was introduced in 2003 and addresses numerous complicated themes, such as:

  • euthanasia
  • capital punishment
  • welfare
  • genetics and eugenics
  • health care and insurance

For students interested in special education, Hofstra University offers numerous grant options. These disability study grants recipients receive specialized training in their profession from qualified applicants. The Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library, one of the campus libraries, is regarded as a key source for disability studies.

2. University of Delaware

  • 17 points
  • Student body: 22,680
  • $15,407 in net cost

The University of Delaware is a prestigious university with cutting-edge facilities and a prominent faculty. The minor in disability studies was created at UD’s College of Education and Human Development. Students who declare this minor receive education on the systems, services, and policies that support the full inclusion of disabled people in society. The Community Advisory Council (CAC) and UD have a collaboration that supports studies on disabilities. This group of people performs a variety of roles in the disabled community. In order to keep its students informed of current scholarship and employment prospects in disability studies, the University of Delaware maintains constant contact with them.

1. Syracuse University

  • Points:18
  • Students: 18,620
  • Total cost: $29,621

Syracuse University, a highly selective college founded in 1870 and situated in the heart of New York State, is a highly regarded institution. One of the largest disability studies programs in the nation is offered at SU. It provides graduate degrees in disability studies as well as undergraduate ones. Both the MA and PhD in disability studies fall under this category. A certificate of advanced study (CAS) is another degree that students in the disability studies program can obtain. This 15-credit graduate degree is perfect for those interested in:

  • disability studies
  • teaching
  • other professions

Each year, Syracuse invests an average of $225 million in

  • scholarships.
  • grants
  • financial assistance
  • Other articles of interest.
Best Disability Studies Programs
Best Disability Studies Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we study disability?

It encourages us to avoid making assumptions and broaden our concept of what we consider "normal" in an effort to increase society's awareness of what it means to be disabled. For instance, many people struggle with disabilities that go undiagnosed, such as diabetes, sleep difficulties, and renal failure.

Who started disability studies?

A group of American academics led by activist and author Irving Zola founded the Society for Disability Studies (SDS; formerly Section for the Study of Chronic Illness, Impairment, and Disability [SSCIID]) in 1982 as a response to UPIAS.

Is the study of disabilities a theory?

A broad, interdisciplinary range of theoretical perspectives are referred to as "critical disability theory." Analysis of disability as a cultural, historical, relative, social, and political phenomena is the goal of critical disability theory.

Who coined the phrase “disability” first?

In 1963, Dr. Samuel Kirk is credited with being the first to use the term "disability."

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