Disability Studies

The Disability Studies Program offers a minor in Disability Studies.

Over the past three decades, disability studies has emerged as a robust and vibrant field of intellectual inquiry, bringing together cutting edge research in the humanities, social sciences, and health sciences. The discipline analyzes the cultural and political significance of disability, examining the construction and production of disability in history and in the present moment. Disability studies hones critical tools to analyze how societies grapple with physical and mental difference, the way disability becomes a site for negotiating stigma and social power, and questions of normativity and deviance.

Disability is a fundamental dimension of human diversity. One in every five Americans lives with a disability, making it our country’s largest minority population. Students increasingly recognize that gaining a more sophisticated understanding of disability experience is a critical element in their education, and one that will help prepare them for a growing number of disability-specific careers. Drawing from rich offerings in disciplines as various as Anthropology, Bioethics, English, Health Systems Administration, Nursing, Philosophy, Psychology, Theater and Performance Studies, Theology, and Women’s and Gender Studies, the minor in Disability Studies will enable students to explore this critical facet of human diversity in an in-depth fashion as it relates to their major field of study and to their professional aspirations.

Additionally, Washington is home to some of the most influential institutions bearing on the experience of disability nationally and globally, encompassing the fields of law, medicine, policy, advocacy, research, and cultural production. Undergraduates come to Georgetown eager to become leaders in these fields, and they bring with them a critical humanist perspective, drawn by Georgetown’s commitment to social justice and educating the whole person. Disability Studies enables them to integrate their intellectual and professional aspirations, nurturing critical thinking and engendering a greater openness to human diversity. 

minor in disability studies


Six courses are required as follows:

  • ENGL-270 Introduction to Disability Studies
  • Three disability studies core courses (see full list below)
  • Two elective courses that engage disability in theory or practice

Disability Studies core courses:
ANTH-256 Disability and Culture
BIOL-394 Genomics, Disability, and Health
EDIJ-253 Children with Disabilities
ENGL-268 Disability and the Arts
PHIL-441 Bioethics and “Abnormal” Bodies
THEO-211 Religion and Disability Studies
TPST-347 Deaf Performance Culture
WGST-234 Feminist Disability Studies
WGST-239 Art, Medicine, and Gender

Disability Studies Electives
Approved elective courses for the minor are courses in which students substantively engage disability studies theory or study issues of disability policy and practice through the lens of a particular discipline. Below is a list of approved electives in the minor:

ANTH-250 Intro to Medical Anthropology
ANTH-255 Cultures and Identities
ENGL-261 Into to Queer Theory
HESY-160 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
PHIL-106 Bioethics and Disability
STIA-356 Global Health and Ethics
THEO-023 Christian Initiation
THEO-121 Ritual, Spirituality and Justice
THEO-122 The Church and the Poor
WGST-140 Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies
WGST-141 Intro to Sexuality Studies
WGST-201 Feminist Theory II
WGST-233 Gender and Health

The above list is not meant to be exhaustive. If students identify other courses that provide significant opportunities to engage with disability in theory or practice, they should present them to the steering committee for approval.

A maximum of two courses taken elsewhere (i.e., study abroad or summer courses) may be counted as electives in the minor, with approval of the steering committee.

Admission to the minor is by application. Admission is rolling; interested students should submit a 500-word personal statement articulating their interest in the minor to disabilitystudies@georgetown.edu.