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Disability Studies Minor

About The Program

The Disability Studies Minor provides a comprehensive overview of the history of the disability movement, current issues relevant to disabilities, and an in-depth exploration of resources and trends. In addition, the Disability Studies Minor is designed to address and analyze policies and societal barriers that impact people with disabilities.

The Disability Studies Minor embraces the philosophy of the Disability Rights Movement that focuses on self-determination, civil rights and culture. The field of disability studies is relatively new and is an outgrowth of civil rights for people with disabilities that led to the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disability Studies represents a focus on empowerment, self-determination and independence.

Student outcomes

Students will:

  • identify the physical and attitudinal barriers that are present in society that impact people with disabilities nationally and globally.
  • understand the social constructs of disability that serve as the foundation of Disability Studies.

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Disability Studies Minor now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Disability Studies Minor

Courses and Requirements


Requirements (20 credits)

Choose five courses from the following. All courses are four credits and are all online. There are no prerequisites for any of the courses.

Introduction to disabilities prepares students who desire to learn about and potentially work in the field of disabilities. Using a diversity model and social perspective approach, students learn about issues common to persons with diverse disabilities. Perspectives of disabilities that recognize disability as a culture and acknowledge the potential and capabilities of persons with disabilities are offered. Course materials include definitions, psychosocial considerations and societal perspectives.

Full course description for Introduction to Disabilities

Disability Rights: History and Current Trends traces the history, policies, and individual and group empowerment efforts that led to the formation of the disability rights movement. Key legislation including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act, and education acts are examined. Future trends in disability policies and civil rights are also explored. The challenges and struggles that persons with disabilities have fought to change in order to gain independence, respect, and opportunities are studied through American perspectives of disability history.

Full course description for Disability Rights: History and Current Trends

Community Resources and Services for People with Disabilities employs a two-fold approach to learning about resources that people with disabilities use. The course provides an overview of public and non-profit resources that provide services for a diverse range of disabilities. In addition to learning about resources, students critically examine agency functions including how well these resources promote independence and inclusion in society for people with disabilities. Advocacy skills that promote self-determination relevant to people with disabilities is also a focus in this course.

Full course description for Community Resources and Services for Persons with Disabilities

This course examines the historical perspectives, social policies, resources, and culture of persons belonging to the Blind, DeafBlind, or Deaf Culture. It is recognized that persons who are Blind, DeafBlind, or Deaf each have a unique history and culture. The course materials include major writings in comprehensive modules. These materials provide perspectives on the significant culture, civil rights movements, and empowerment of persons who are Blind, DeafBlind, and of the Deaf-World.

Full course description for Blind, Deaf Blind, and Deaf Culture, History and Resources

The aging of persons with disabilities is a new phenomenon due to improved health and advances that have increased their life-span. In addition, the aging of the baby-boomers is increasing the population of persons acquiring disabilities as they age. Is our society prepared to meet the needs of both groups? How can we prepare to assist all older persons in maintaining quality of life as they age? The need for collaboration across disability and aging networks to analyze these questions is a focus of this course.

Full course description for Aging and Disabilities

Disability Awareness provides opportunities for students in all fields of study to increase their awareness of the barriers, attitudes and successes relevant to individuals with disabilities in society as a whole. This course does not focus on specific medical definitions, conditions or types of disabilities. Instead, the course concentrates on a brief history of the treatment of people with disabilities, disability rights, etiquette, work, sports and art related to disabilities.

Full course description for Disability Awareness

This course explores the connections between violence and disability. It investigates how models of disability affect the understanding of violence and abuse of people with disabilities as well as the response to such violence. The focus is on the lived experiences of people with disabilities who have experienced violence and abuse, and how systems and policies have aided or hindered successful interventions. The course also explores how being a victim of violence can affect a person's disability status and the implications of such a connection for policymakers, human services workers, and people with disabilities themselves. The course employs the socio-ecological model of violence prevention and challenges students to apply this model to case studies.

Full course description for Violence and Disability