Disability Studies Minor

The disability studies minor program examines the ways in which our understandings of disability shape the fundamental aspects of our lives, our relationships, and the societies in which we live. This program offers a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary body of knowledge and skills and, in particular, raises awareness of disability issues, knowledge of disability rights and laws, and best practices towards creating inclusive and accessible environments and communities.

What Will I Learn?

The knowledge and skills gained will enhance one's course of major study, prepare students for disability-related careers and advanced study in disability studies, and will deepen one's understanding of the multicultural fabric of contemporary society.

Kirsten Overholtzer wearing cap and gown in front of Shippensburg University's Old Main fountain

Meet Kirsten Overholtzer

“Attending Shippensburg University has been the best decision I have ever made.”

How Kirsten Found Success at Ship

What are the requirements for this degree?

There are two core courses that all minors must take: DS 100 (Introduction to Disability Studies) and DS 400 (Capstone in Disability Studies). Students must also take four electives from a list of approved disability-relevant courses; at least one elective must be at the 300-level or higher and the electives must come from at least two different departments.

The Undergraduate Catalog provides details about program requirements.

What Types of Careers Could I Get With This Degree?

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 consider 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 in psychology, social service delivery and social work, social policy, counseling, health fields, human resources, education, politics, criminology, recreation management and more.

What Kinds of Experiences Could I Have on Campus?

As part of the capstone course in the minor, students develop and complete a research project and regularly present their research at Shippensburg University’s Minds@Work conference in the spring semester.

The Disability Studies Minor program also hosts two lecture series each year where top disability scholars and activists from a range of disciplines promote disability awareness. While these lectures are open to the general public, minors in the capstone course often have the opportunity to meet as a class with the guest speakers and therefore interact with leaders in the field.

Disability studies students also have the opportunity to complete a disability-specific internship as one of their electives. Examples of internships include organizing support services to people with mental illness in a variety of service settings; providing vocational training and assessing vocational skills among people with developmental disabilities; working at a school for children with disabilities and receiving training in pedagogical development and behavioral modification; and working with a treatment warden at a prison to facilitate transitions out of prison to appropriate disability services for inmates with disabilities.