Undergraduate Certificate in Disability Studies

A painting by Jack Brandt, disability policy specialist with the Partnership for People with Disabilities, a center affiliated with the VCU School of Education.
Painting by Jack Brandt, former disability policy specialist with the Partnership for People with Disabilities, and a leading expert in disability policy in Virginia.

“I would love for [this certificate] to become a minor at VCU. The importance of the topics and their application to daily life is something every student should become aware of, especially at a school that prides itself on its diversity.”

- Mikala Swank

Disability Studies is all about engaging students in interdisciplinary experiences and helping them understand contemporary disability issues, research and practices within a social, political, cultural and historical context. At the end of the certificate program (9 credit hours), the students will have an applied project that integrates the concepts in Disability Studies and their major field of study.

In the courses, you will learn different theoretical frameworks, such as DisCrit, Crip Theory, Queer Theory and others. In the certificate, you will take three required courses, and the third course is where you will design and create your application project. Students from across the University participate in this program, which creates a multidisciplinary learning environment to examine disability in our modern world.

I’m interested in Disability Studies – how do I get in?

You must be accepted to VCU to apply to the Undergraduate Certificate in Disability Studies. Accepted students who are Undeclared majors are welcome to apply. Once you are a VCU student, here are the steps:

  1. Complete the application (applications accepted on a rolling basis, apply any time!)
  2. Register for IDDS 200, if you have not taken it already
  3. Wait for your application to be reviewed by our program coordinator
  4. Be on the lookout for an email with our decision

What is an undergraduate certificate?

An undergraduate certificate is a set of courses you take in addition to your primary degree. These courses are meant to broaden your skills in a specific area of interest in addition to what you are studying as part of your major. For example, if you are a Psychology major and are accepted to our Undergraduate Certificate Program in Disability Studies, you would graduate with a B.S in Psychology and a Certificate in Disability Studies. You can think of a certificate as a less formal version of a minor.

Curriculum information

The Undergraduate Certificate in Disability Studies requires 9 credit hours of undergraduate courses:

Please keep in mind, however, that the exact course requirements may vary depending on when you matriculated into the program, so please consult your adviser or the program coordinator with any additional questions.

Scholarship information

  • Fred P. Orelove Scholarship in Disability Studies



Please contact the advisor or coordinator below for more information about program basics and admissions information.


Please contact the advisor or coordinator below for more information about admissions requirements or access the application HERE.

Ready To Get Started?

Carol Schall, Ph.D.

For undergraduate advising, contact SOEadvising@vcu.edu until further notice.


Jada Wright, M.Ed.