Disability Studies Minor

The Disability Studies minor is an interdisciplinary program at Shippensburg University that explores the meaning and impact of disability across time, place, and group.

What's Special About Disability Studies at Ship?

The Disability Studies faculty at Ship infuse disability studies-related material into classes from all three of the university's colleges. That's part of the reason why disability studies will complement any major.

Disability studies programs in general are not common. Ship is very proud to offer a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary body of knowledge and skills and, in particular, raise awareness of disability issues, knowledge of disability rights and laws, and best practices towards creating inclusive and accessible environments and communities.

Where Can Disability Studies Get Me?

Coursework is flexible, allowing you to gear this minor towards your own interests and career paths.

There are a growing number of disability-specific careers, such as disability law, mental health counseling, and social service program delivery and management. More broadly, disability is an increasingly important aspect of many careers. Jobs related to human resources, education, social work, psychology, social policy, urban planning, software development, criminal justice and more must take into account the diversity of the populations that they serve and be prepared to consider issues of accommodations, inclusion, and accessibility.

Students with an interdisciplinary background in disability studies will have a crucial skill set desired by employers. Minors are prepared to work with a wide variety of people and build skills in creating inclusive, accessible settings. Graduates find career opportunities and programs of graduate study in psychology, social service delivery and social work, social policy, counseling, health/therapy fields, human resources, education, politics, criminology, recreation management, and more.

How do Disability Studies Minors Spend Their Time?

As far as the classroom is concerned, students start in DS100: Introduction to Disability Studies, which assumes no prior knowledge of disability studies, and offers a terrific overview of disability studies. It builds students' knowledge of the history of disability, current successes and challenges experienced by people with disabilities, and background in key concepts like accessibility and inclusion. Students then choose four elective courses from a variety of disciplines. Internship opportunities are also available. They then complete the program by taking DS400: Capstone in Disability Studies, which is a highly interactive seminar with a research or service learning component. The minor requires a minimum of 18 credits in total.

The undergraduate catalog details specific course requirements.

Guided by knowledgeable and passionate faculty, our students are an integral part of the continuous push for inclusiveness. Those in the minor have conducted surveys of their fellow students, faculty and staff, to report back to the university on topics like accessibility on campus.

Ship also actively brings in guest speakers to raise awareness about disability and holds other events related to the topic as well.

Outside of the classroom, there are great opportunities, for anyone, to get involved in groups and activities. Students may consider the following:

  • Disability Awareness Club - This group focuses on promoting disability awareness and addressing the barriers students with disabilities may face on campus. Students from all majors and colleges are welcome, and one does not need to have a disability to join.
  • People Involved Equally (PIE) - This student club has a mission to socialize with adults with developmental disabilities who reside in the community, offering social opportunities, peer support, and assistance in working towards individually-identified goals. Students from all majors and colleges are welcome.
  • Special Olympics Swimming - This involves the training of people with disabilities in swimming. Volunteers can coach, swim as a buddy, and/or offer enthusiastic support. Volunteers do not have to be trained swimmers.
  • NAMI - The nation's largest grassroots mental health organization is dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI on Campus allows colleges to become a part of NAMI's mission by providing resources, education, support, and advocacy to those with mental illness.
  • Inclusive Basketball - This program offers opportunities for anyone to engage in a fun game of basketball, regardless of age or ability. It's a great opportunity to meet people across abilities and have some fun. People are welcome to come just once or make a longer commitment. Students from all majors and colleges are welcome.

There are plenty of other ways for students to get involved in the community.

Contact Information

Disability Studies Minor
Wright Hall 102, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1193