Disability Studies is an interdisciplinary field that draws from the humanities, social sciences, education, medicine and law, among other fields. It challenges dominant assumptions about disability (physical, cognitive, emotional or sensory) and offers students a new lens for thinking about “normality” by acknowledging disability as a universal part of the human experience, rather than a deficit that must be fixed, cured or hidden. The minor critically examines the ideologies and systems that stigmatize disabled people and highlights the ways in which disability functions as a source of empowerment, pride, collective identity and community for people with disabilities.

Program Benefits

The Disability Studies minor trains students to identify, critique and respond to unjust power relations and hierarchies related to disability. Students learn how to work towards the inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities by creating inclusive spaces, improving policies, educating their communities and/or serving as advocates. It also strengthens students’ general skills in critical thinking, data analysis, ethical reasoning, engaging with diverse communities, information literacy, self-awareness and communication.

Career Options

As disability is so prevalent in the global population, the minor in Disability Studies is an asset in a variety of fields and careers, such as: education, social work, advocacy, government administration, public policy, law, criminal justice, medicine, community health, physical and occupational therapy, psychology, counseling, urban planning, architecture, design, real estate, hospitality industries, transportation services, business, information technology, marketing, public relations and beyond. 

For more detailed career information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Academic Catalog Information

Take a closer look at the minor in Disability Studies and the courses offered toward the program.

Disability Studies, Minor

Department and Contact Information

If you are interested in the program or have questions, please contact the Disability Studies advisor, Dr. Ashley Elrod at

Sociology Department Homepage

About Northeastern

Northeastern Illinois University is home to students from all corners of the world and is one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the nation. Our small class sizes, flexible schedules and dedicated faculty can help you succeed in your studies. 

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