Welcome to the Disability Studies Minor

The Disability Studies Minor promotes the study of disability and prepares students for an inclusively designed world. Students enrolled in the DS Minor will examine the concept of disability historically, in contemporary society, and in their chosen fields of study. Through required and elective courses, students will explore challenges and opportunities we face in making our world more accessible to all. Students will study and learn about how culture, education, and technology have shaped and continue to shape our definition and understanding of those considered differently abled and/or disabled.

All undergraduate students regardless of major are invited to apply. While the program is affiliated with special education faculty in the College of Education, the Minor does not prepare students to become special education teachers.  Rather, the Minor is designed to broaden students’ understandings of the concept of disability and facilitate connections to content and concepts within other disciplines on campus.

Learning Outcomes

  • Increase cultural competency by critically examining disability as a global societal phenomenon.
  • Acquire an awareness and understanding of the various roles and rights of people with disability in history and in modern society. 
  • Explore the Disability Studies’ framework within their field of study and intended profession to enhance advocacy, inclusive best practices, and their role as a change agent.
  • Examine ways in which systems inhibit and promote full participation of people with disabilities.
  • Develop analytical and observation skills and apply inclusive disability frameworks to their academic, professional, and personal lives.


The Disability Studies Minor requires students to enroll and successfully complete 15 credits.  Six credits (two courses) are required lower level foundational courses.  An additional nine credits (three courses) are upper level electives. Freshmen and sophomores who apply to and are accepted for the minor will be able complete requirements within four years. Juniors admitted to the minor may be able to complete the program in four years depending how the requirements of the DS Minor fit into their plan of study for their major. Seniors may apply who have completed most of the coursework and write compelling reasons for adding the DS Minor.

NOTE: Per university policy, no more than six credits from a student's minor or certificate program can also be applied to a student's major (unless exceptions have been made by the student's major program), and no more than six credits may be taken at an institution other than the University of Maryland. All courses must be completed with a grade of C- or better.


Coursework is designed to help students develop analytical and observation skills and apply inclusive disability frameworks to academic, professional, and personal lives.
Students enrolled in the Disability Studies Minor complete 6 required and 9 elective credits.  Some of the courses in the program may also satisfy General Education requirements. Students accepted into the program are required to meet annually with a program advisor to review coursework and progress.

  courses1 credits
Required Lower Division Foundational Courses 
(2 courses)
  • EDSP 289i (Fall 2021 - CHSE 205) Disability: From Stigma and Side Show to Mainstream and Main Street


  • EDSP 220: Disability in Community: Access, Accommodation, and Adaptation


  • HESP 202: Introduction to Hearing and Speech Sciences


Elective Courses
(3 courses)
  • BMGT 360: Strategic Management of Human Capital 
  • COMM 382: Intercultural Communication  
  • INST 466: Technology, Culture, and Society
  • EDHD 310: Your Brain on Education: The Neuroscience of Learning and Development
  • EDSP 470: Introduction to Special Education
  • HESP 499: Independent Study (Directed study in speech and language) 2
  • EDSP 498: Special Problems in Special Education (directed study)3  
  • ENME 444: Assistive Robotics4 
  • KNES 334: Adapted Physical Activity: Empowering People with Disabilities to Lead a Healthy and Active Lifestyle. 
  • EDSP 376: Fundamentals of Sign Language   
  • EDSP476: Communicating with Sign Language
  • EDSP311: Peer Mentor Training and Certification
  • HESP 386: Experiential Learning (Peer mentoring with college students with disabilities- SIGNA, PEERS)
  • PLCY 302: Examining Pluralism in Public Policy 
  • SOCY335: Sociology of Health and Illness
  • FMSC330: Family Theories and Patterns
  • PSYC354: Multicultural Psychology in the US
Total   15

1All courses listed are 3 credit courses.

2 Students may enroll in 1-3 credit hours.
3Students enrolling in EDSP498 must register for 3 credits.
4Requires permission of ENGR. 

Disability Studies Minor application questions
How to Apply

Apply for Disability Studies  Fall 2022: during last two weeks of September

Students apply to the DS Minor through the link below. You will need to upload an unofficial copy of your undergraduate transcript along with a brief statement of interest and intent.  Admission to the minor will depend on the student status of good standing at UMD, successful completion (C- or better) of required gateway course CHSE 205 (formerly EDSP289i) and a statement of interest consistent with the purpose of the minor. 

Students must have at least one more full academic year left at UMD before graduation. (Before submitting your application, have a copy of your unofficial transcript in docx, jpeg, or pdf format ready to upload.)  Students will be able to apply to the program during a two-week window in the Fall.

Students will be notified of their acceptance into the minor program within about one month of their application after review by Disability Studies Team.  Advising will be offered each semester.

Apply for Disability Studies  Fall 2022: Sept 15-30


Dr. Peter Leone established the Disability Studies Minor with Dr. Carolyn Fink as Disability Studies Minor Director. Dr. Yewon Lee is the current Director of the DS Minor.

Faculty in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE) and in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences teach required courses in the program. CHSE staff will provide advising to students enrolled in the program. Other faculty in the College of Education teaching in the program include Dr. Agnesanne Danahey.



 Dr. Yewon Lee