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Disability Studies (BA)

Format: Part-time Post Diploma Degree Completion (equivalent to two years of full-time studies, offered on part-time basis)

Start dates: Fall, Winter and Spring/Summer

Delivery: The program is delivered online, with the exception of three courses offered in an intensive format on campus in July.

Time span to complete the program: 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 depending on the number of courses taken each year, with not all courses offered each year.

Degree earned: Bachelor of Arts in Disability Studies

Tuition fees: Tuition fee details

Application deadlines:

  • Fall 2019 admission: July 1, 2019
  • Winter 2020 admission: November 29, 2019
  • Spring 2020 admission: May 31, 2020

Students expand and enrich their work, education and lived experience through engagement with theory, empirical research, rights and justice frameworks, arts and culture, and collaborative learning with disability communities. Students develop advocacy, critical analysis, communication and leadership capacities directed to transforming the interpersonal, community and  structural conditions to foster access, vitality and justice. Students are instructed in new theoretical and methodological approaches. They explore questions of identity, intersectionality and popular representations, history, policy and legislation, access and technology, social action and disability justice. Drawing from the work of scholars, activists and artists, and building from students’ personal and professional experiences, our program engages learners in a transformative process of reflection, debate and discovery.

The program provides part-time university education to adults with a college diploma in the disability field or other related post-secondary academic credentials.

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, other disability studies-related Ontario college diplomas, and through work experience.

There is no single career trajectory for our students after graduation. Instead, graduates from the School of Disability Studies have found themselves advancing in a wide range of disability-related careers.

They are well-prepared to assume leadership roles in management, community development and organizing, policy and planning, advocacy and public action.

Increasingly, they are creating fresh educational pathways through advanced studies  in a range of fields: education, critical disability studies, social work, cultural studies, health sciences and human geography.   

Graduates from the program are teaching at the high school, college and university level, working for the Ontario Public Service, municipal governments, mental health associations, public health agencies, in the arts, in leadership positions in non-profits, and a wide range of community and peer-support agencies.

In addition to paid careers, it is expected that some people, especially those within the disability community, will enroll in the program to enhance their ability to do effective advocacy.

The School of Disability Studies has a proud record of award-winning instructors and innovative courses. It is recognized internationally for catalytic leadership in disability arts and culture and the emergence of mad studies.

In dialogue with disability groups and organizations, our curriculum recognizes the practitioner expertise of educators, support/service managers and workers, employers and governments. We value community engagement not just in teaching, but in research which responds to both pressing needs and entrenched social problems.

Alone and in collaboration, locally and internationally, we create and/or engage with events, projects, conferences and workshops which advance academic knowledge and contribute to public education.

Core required courses cover a variety of topics including disability theory, policy, community building, advocacy, empowering practices, access and technology, leadership, research methods, ethics and media representation.

Through electives, students pursue courses in such subjects as politics, human rights, human services management, crisis intervention, homelessness, ethnic diversity, gender and sexuality, and urban geography.

Since the focus of the program is the social phenomenon of disablement, courses are not designed to provide in-depth information about the characteristics of specific impairments.

Students with a particular interest (such as employment) will have the opportunity to focus on this issue in various course assignments as well as in their applied community project or thesis.

  • Engagement with disability communities and organizations

  • Flexible format consisting of online, intensive and hybrid course delivery

  • Applied independent thesis project

  • Practical experience in schools and community organizations

Disability Studies at Ryerson is a part-time degree completion program where students with a college diploma can enter the third year of university.

Students can complete the entire program online, with the exception of three courses offered in an intensive format. Students must come to campus in July (for up to two weeks) to complete the intensive courses.

Students can take elective courses at Ryerson or, with a Letter of Permission, at other universities.

Our flexible modes of delivery facilitate accessible learning.