Disability Studies - Bachelor of Arts

This major prepares students for careers in agencies working with people with disabilities, including both adults and children. Agencies for people with disabilities provide a variety of services, including education, advocacy, case management, job training and support, residential services, and social/leisure services. The major is designed for students interested in working with individuals with disabilities outside of the public school setting. Because the major is interdisciplinary,you will benefit from relevant courses in related disciplines within the university in addition to special education, including options in psychology, social work, sociology and criminal justice. The orientation of this major strongly favors a goal of inclusive practices for all people with disabilities; therefore, it is not merely a mechanism to relate research-based practices but also to promote self-advocacy for social justice and integration in all aspects of life for people with disabilities.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, introductory courses are needed in more than one major area. For that reason, the total required hours for the major is somewhat higher than for some majors. Additionally, an internship is required to help you apply and provide a forum for discussion of the theoretical principles encountered in earlier coursework. A minimum of 41 semester hours comprises the major. Note that this degree does not carry Illinois State Board of Education certification.

Required Courses

Special Education courses: 23/24 semester hours



Characteristics and ID of People with Disabilities (4)
PSY3460 Exceptional Individual (3)
Intervention Strategies for Problematic Behavior (3)
SPED3815 Strategies and Assistive Technology for People with Low Incidence Disabilities (3)
SPED4620 Collaboration, Differentiation and Transition (4)
Introduction to Lifespan Work with People with Autism Spectrum Disorders (3)
Advocacy of and Models for Vocational, Social/Leisure, and Residential Needs of People with Disabilities (3)
SPED4400 Internship in Vocational, Social/Leisure, and/or Residential Agencies Serving People with Disabilities (4) (two eight-week placements, with a two-semester-hour support seminar)

Interdisciplinary required courses: 12 semester hours

General Psychology (4) (EDU Theories of Learning is an equivalent)
Abnormal Psychology (4)
Drugs & Human Behavior: Substance Abuse & Therapy (4)

Elective Options: two of the following courses

Issues in Criminal Justice (3-4)



Adult Development & Aging (4)


Lifespan Development (4)
SWK2500 Survey of Social Work (3)



Diversity Studies for Teaching ELLs and Students with Disabilities (3)
SOC3350 Race, Ethnicity, and Power (4)


Diversity Studies for Teaching ELLs and Students with Disabilities (3)
Women, Men, Family, and Diversity (4)
SPED4250 Behavioral Topics relevant to People with Autism Spectrum Disorders (3)
SPED4350 Integrating Assistive Technology and Curricular Adaptations (3)
SPED4450 Collaboration and Changing Roles in Special Education (3)