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Disability Studies

This part-time program allows students to take courses at their own pace. Students can complete as few as one to two courses per semester, or they can complete three courses or more per semester (making it full-time, OSAP eligible). 

Disability Studies

Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Program Website:
Administered by: School of Disability Studies
Program Format: Part-time degree completion program.

The Disability Studies program prepares students for leadership roles in a variety of areas including direct care, management, community development, policy, planning, and advocacy.

The admission requirements for the Post Diploma Degree Completion program in Disability Studies are:

  • A Diploma or Advanced Diploma from a public Canadian community college. Diplomas must have an academic focus (e.g. community and social services, business, arts, engineering, science).  
  • Applicants with equivalent international academic qualifications may be considered on a case by case basis.  
  • The diploma must include a one-year (or equivalent) introductory university-level humanities or social science course or equivalent. 
  • Applicants with less than a 'B' range average in an academic Diploma or Advanced Diploma program may be asked to complete up to two (2) one-term university level liberal studies courses prior to admission.  
  • Applicants are required to submit a personal letter outlining their relevant experience and rationale for applying to the program.


Admission Procedures

Applicants are required to submit the following to Undergraduate Admissions in addition to their online application and Supplementary Form.

Visit Submission of Documents for instructions:

  1. Academic transcripts of all post-secondary studies, including promotion/graduation status. High School transcripts are not required. Mature Student guidelines do not apply.
  2. A personal letter explaining how attending this program will benefit the applicant and Disability Communities.  The letter should not exceed two pages, double spaced.  It will be read for both admission eligibility and selection of potential recipients of the David and Sylvia Pollack Entrance Award in Disability Studies

Students are admitted three times a year, in the fall, winter and spring/summer semesters.




Established in 1999, this program provides part-time university education to adults with a college diploma in the disability field or other related post-secondary academic credentials and work experience in a diverse range of fields. At the end of the equivalent of approximately two years of full time study, students will receive a Bachelor of Arts, (Disability Studies) from Ryerson University.

This degree program is designed to build on the direct practice skills that students have acquired from programs such as Developmental Services Worker, Educational Assistant, Mental Health and Addictions program and other disability studies related Canadian College diplomas and through work experience, (or other disability studies related post-secondary education and experience deemed suitable by the admissions committee), and to prepare them for leadership roles in a variety of areas including direct care, management, community development, policy, planning, and advocacy. In addition to paid careers, it is expected that some people, especially those within the disability community, will enrol in the program to enhance their ability to do effective advocacy.

Curriculum Information

In order to promote access for people from across Ontario (and perhaps elsewhere), all required courses will be available either as intensive on-site courses or through distance education. Some of these courses will also be available in traditional once-a-week class formats at Ryerson. Students registering for this degree program will need to be aware that they may be required to take up to three courses in the intensive on-site format, each course typically extending over a period of two weeks. Students will be able to take elective courses at Ryerson or, with a Letter of Permission, at other universities. The flexible modes of delivery that characterize this program will also facilitate access by people with disabilities.

Because students will be taking some courses through distance delivery, access to computer, Internet and the World Wide Web are essential. Students who are graduates of an Ontario College may be able to access computers at the college from which they graduated. However, students are strongly encouraged to purchase their own computers. Support in accessing computer based course material will be provided.

Challenge Credits

After accepting an Offer of Admission, applicants with two years of full-time (or equivalent) related work/advocacy experience may apply for credit in DST80A/B Practicum in Disability Studies through the Challenge Credit Application process. Please contact the School of Disability Studies for more information.

Applicants who acquire this experience during their time in the program may apply for Challenge Credit prior to graduation or must complete DST80A/B Practicum in Disability Studies.

Course Sequencing

Students must take DST 501 as their first required course. They may not take DST 99A/B until they have completed all other requirements for the degree. Students should note that certain liberal studies and professionally-related courses may have their own prerequisites.

Course Identification

Part-time courses are administered by either the program department or The G. Raymond School of Continuing Education. The mode of delivery is not reflected in this calendar. Continuing education courses are identified in your course enrolment package with a 'C' prefix. These identifiers are for internal use only and do not affect the equivalency.

Transfer Credits

Students with post-secondary studies beyond the basis of admission may be eligible for transfer credits, with no more than 50 percent of a program's requirements consisting of advanced standing/credits (transfer credits, challenge credits, credits granted on a Letter of Permission).

Years to Complete - Time-Span

Students are required to complete the program in no more than eight years. Most students will complete the program in less time by planning their course selections carefully. The completion time will vary with the number of courses taken each year, with not all courses offered each year. 

Liberal Studies

Students must take one lower level liberal studies courses and three upper level liberal studies courses to graduate. Students must not choose courses that are restricted for their program or major.

If an upper level liberal studies course requires a prerequisite, students MUST apply for a transfer credit for that prerequisite. This will only serve as a proof of prerequisite and will not apply toward the degree.

Please refer to the liberal studies chapter of this calendar for more information on the Liberal Studies Policy. Further information on liberal studies can also be found at the Faculty of Arts' Liberal Studies website, opens in new window.

Table A - Lower Level Restrictions

Disability Studies courses are not available for credit. 

Students admitted before Fall 2017: Students may take only three Philosophy courses for credit between table A and B.

Table B - Upper Level Restrictions

DST courses are not available for credit.


Students may pursue any Minor offered by Ryerson (with some exceptions). Please refer to the Minors chapter of this calendar for further information on individual Minor requirements and exclusions.

The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education Certificates

Undergraduate students wishing to pursue a continuing education certificate program should be aware of possible program exclusions. Please refer to the Certificate Registration section of the Curriculum Advising website, opens in new window for complete details.


DST 501 Rethinking Disability
DST 502 Disability and the State
DST 504 Mad People's History
DST 506 Principles and Practices of Accessibility
DST 507 Disability, Justice and Good Human Life
DST 525 Disability, Representation/s and Culture
DST 613 Strategies for Community Building
DST 725 The Politics and Practice of Interventions
DST 727 Leadership Practices for Changing Times
DST 80A/B* Practicum - Disability Studies
DST 88A/B Research Methods
DST 99A/B Applied Community Project/Thesis

Four courses. One from Table A and three from Table B.

PROFESSIONAL TABLE I: Two courses from the following:

CLD 435 Theory and Practice of Family Support
CLD 445 Inclusion and Consultation
DST 503 Current Topics in Disability I
DST 509 Crip Culture in Canada
DST 603 Law and Disability
DST 604 Current Topics in Disability II
DST 614 Community, Access and Technology
FNF 100 Families and Health
FNF 400 The Social Context of Human Sexuality
INT 900 Program Planning and Evaluation Strategies
INT 901 Gerontology: Critical Issues and Future Trends
INT 905** Conflict Resolution in Community Services
INT 906 Sexuality: Power and Pleasure
INT 907 Team Work for Community Services
INT 908 Homelessness in Canadian Society
INT 910 Aboriginal Peoples, Pol. and Reconciliation
INT 911 International Community Development
INT 912 Community Development: International Field Experience
INT 913 Issues of Migration
INT 914 Settlement Experiences
INT 915 Responses to Migration
INT 916 Introduction to Fundraising
INT 920 Community Collaborations
INT 921 Writing Bodies Differently
INT 922 Intro to Aboriginal Worldviews
INT 923 Canada's Story: An Aboriginal Perspective
SWP 903 Crisis Intervention

PROFESSIONALLY-RELATED TABLE II: Four courses from either the following or Open Elective Table. A maximum of one (1) DST prefix course may be selected.

CLD 241 Children with Disabilities
CLD 332 Families in Canadian Context II
CLD 342 Assessment for Programming
CRM 202 Victims and the Criminal Process
CYC 550 Foundations of Social Innovation
CYC 560 Social Innovation in Practice
CYC 570 Social Innovation in Action
CYC 602 Children's Rights
CYC 900 Diversity Issues for Children and Youth
ENT 500 New Venture Startup
FIN 300 Managerial Finance I
INP 900 Understanding the Nonprofit Sector
INP 901 Effective Nonprofit Organizations
INP 910 Strategic Planning for Nonprofits
INP 911 Advocacy and Gov't Relations: Nonprofits
INP 912 Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations
INP 913 Leadership in Nonprofits
INP 914** Diversity in Nonprofits
INP 915 Financial Management for Nonprofits
INP 916 Nonprofits on the Global Stage
MHR 405 Organizational Behaviour
MHR 505 Organizational Behaviour II
MHR 523 Human Resources Management
POG 100 People, Power and Politics
POG 225 Global Governance
POG 310 Provincial Politics
POG 315** Equity and Human Rights in Canada
POG 316 Social Policy
POG 317 Education Politics and Policy
POG 443 Global Cities
PPA 120 Canadian Politics and Government
PPA 122 Local Politics and Government
PPA 125** Rights, Equity and the State
PPA 211 Public Policy
PPA 335 Theories of Bureaucracy
PSY 302 Child Development
PSY 402 Adult Development
SWP 900 Race and Ethnicity
SWP 910 Queer Theory and Identities

* Students with two years relevant work experience may be exempt from this course.
** Only one of INT 905 or INP 914 can be taken. Only one of POG 315 or PPA 125 can be taken.
DST 99A/B has a GPA Weight of 4.00 and a Course Count of 2.00.

In addition to the general criteria used to determine Academic Standing, students in this program must also meet the following conditions:

A grade of 'C-' or lower in any of these courses will result in a PROBATIONARY standing:

DST 501 Rethinking Disability
DST 502 Disability and the State
DST 725 The Politics and Practice of Interventions
DST 99A/B Applied Community Project/Thesis

A second consecutive 'C-' in any of these courses will result in a REQUIRED TO WITHDRAW Standing.

A Program Advisory Council (PAC) is a group of volunteers that provides expert advice to a school or department on program related matters such as curriculum, program review, technology and trends in the industry, discipline or profession. For more information, see PDF fileSenate Policy #158 (Program Advisory Councils).

Warner Clarke
Program Supervisor
Ministry of Health

John Demarco
Summit Strategy Group 

Donald Easson
Development Services Worker Program
Centennial College

Amber Foulkes
Framel Consultants

Rabia Khedr
Board Member

Gary Malkowski
Vice President
Consumer, Government & Corporate Relations

Fran Odette

Peter Park

Jim Triantafilou
Executive Director
Brampton-Caledon Association for Community Living