Graduate Certificate: Disability Studies


Learn more about the graduate certificate in Disability Studies.

About the Certificate

Scholars in the field of Disability Studies recognize the necessity of focusing their work on issues of disability within a traditional discipline, as well as enriching their own understandings by acquiring a familiarity with work on disability in other disciplines. In light of this philosophical reasoning, the graduate certificate in Disability Studies:

  • pairs well with graduate study in a variety of disciplines, including bioethics, higher education, occupational therapy, public health, public policy, recreational therapy, social work, special education, and speech-language-hearing;
  • draws on resources in a broad array of disciplines from the liberal arts and social sciences to the allied health professions; and
  • is interdisciplinary and jointly sponsored by the Institute on Disabilities and the College of Education and Human Development.

The Disability Studies graduate certificate offers a course of study that explores disability from historical, cultural and sociopolitical perspectives. Focus is placed on disability within a social and political context, challenging the notion that the statuses and roles of individuals with disability result from physical or psychological aspects of disability. The certificate program provides students with an opportunity to reflect critically on practices and approaches that may be taken for granted in their home disciplines. Particular strengths include constituency-oriented research on disability rights and culture, disability and health, disability social policy, ecological aspects of disablement, social history of disability and ableism, and universal design. Students develop a more accurate understanding and appreciation of people with disabilities and the evolution of their civil rights movement.

Time Limit for Certificate Completion: 2 years

Campus Location: Online, both synchronous and asynchronous

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The graduate certificate can be completed on a part-time basis.

Financing Opportunities: Students undertaking this certificate in conjunction with a terminal degree program may be eligible for financing and assistantship opportunities. For more information, refer to the Graduate School's financing webpage and/or the Institute on Disabilities' graduate assistantship webpage.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:
Applications are accepted for the Fall, Spring and Summer terms and are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Students already enrolled in a Temple University graduate degree program APPLY ONLINE through an internal application.

Prospective students not currently enrolled in a Temple University graduate degree program APPLY ONLINE to this certificate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained to provide insight regarding the applicant's academic competence. References from college/university faculty are recommended.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A bachelor's degree is required. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is expected.

International applicants should also submit an official document that validates completion and conferral of a degree, diploma and/or certificate. While not required, international applicants are encouraged to submit transcript(s) to the World Education Services (WES) for evaluation.

Statement of Goals: Write a 500-1,000-word personal statement indicating your personal and professional interests, plans and objectives within the field of disability studies. 

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Resume: Current resume required.

Other Requirement: Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all accredited institutions attended and/or from which credit was earned must be submitted.

Certificate Requirements

Number of Credits Required to Complete the Certificate: 12

Required Courses:

Core Courses
DSST 5401Disability Rights and Culture3
DSST 9489Field Work in Disability Studies3
Select two from the following:6
Action Modes of Research
Disability and Social Policy
Disability Studies in the Humanities
Total Credit Hours12

GPA Required to be Awarded the Certificate: 3.0 minimum


Certificate Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Institute on Disabilities at the College of Education and Human Development

Howard Gittis Student Center, Room 411S

1755 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6011

Voice: 215-204-1356

TTY: 1-215-204-1805

Submission Address for Materials for Applicants Currently Enrolled in a Temple University Graduate Program:

Submission Address for Materials for Applicants Not Currently Enrolled in a Temple University Graduate Program:

Department Contacts:

Graduate Certificate Advisor:

Kate Fialkowski