Master of Arts in Disability Studies

Format: Online
Application Deadlines
  • Fall 2021 Priority Deadline: April 8, 2021
  • Fall 2021 Regular Deadline: May 20, 2021

Note: Applicants who submit their application and meet the Fall 2021 Priority Deadline listed above will be able to submit without being required to pay an application fee.

The MA in Disability Studies online degree program, the first stand-alone program of its kind in the country, offers students a unique opportunity to examine disability from an interdisciplinary perspective, including the social sciences, humanities, science, social policy, and the law. Designed around the fundamental belief that the direct experience of individuals with disabilities is paramount and using the social model of disability, the program incorporates overlapping lenses through which students discover a new understanding of disability and society.

The degree provides students with the intellectual and methodological tools to assume greater responsibility and leadership in the future as service providers, advocates, researchers, or policy makers. Students study with renowned faculty from CUNY as well as expert practitioners from public and private organizations. 

Graduates of the MA in Disability Studies are reflective, knowledgeable, and flexible professionals, researchers, educators, and advocates in their chosen disability-related field. Graduates think, write, and speak critically about:

  • Disability experience, both individual and social
  • Disability and the arts/creativity in disability culture
  • Improvement in quality of life and justice for people with disabilities
  • Field-based applications to disability-related practice
  • Research for ongoing learning and writing in disability studies

Career Prospects

The MA in Disability Studies prepares a new generation of leaders in community-based or governmental agencies. It provides students with the skills to begin or further a career working with and for people with a wide range of disabilities and is ideal for administrators, social service professionals, educators, scholars who wish to specialize in Disability Studies, people with disabilities or family members, and advocates.

Note: The MA in Disability Studies is a liberal arts degree that does not lead to certification or licensure in any of the applied professions (social work, special education, or rehabilitation counseling). The goal of the program is to provide students with the intellectual and methodological tools to enable them to assume leadership roles in providing services, formulating or changing disability policy, and advocating for removing barriers to full inclusion in public and private organizations and the broader society. 

Admissions Criteria

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Applicants are required to write a personal statement, upload a resume, and provide two letters of recommendation. An individual interview may be necessary.

Background as a human services professional, advocate, researcher or policy maker is an advantage, but is not essential. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall 2021 Priority Deadline: April 8, 2021
  • Fall 2021 Regular Deadline: May 20, 2021
Apply Now

Student/Alumni Profiles

Danielle Lucchese

MA in Disability Studies 2016

"My experience as a disability studies student greatly influenced my role as an adjunct faculty member in the field, because I am able to take the knowledge I gained from the disability studies program and pass it forward."

Stephen Ippolito

MA in Disability Studies and BA in Sociology 2017 and 2014

"I was able to use what I learned to help create a more efficient management system for our district at the LCI as well as bring awareness of disability accessibility to my employment at NYU.”

Katherine Smith

Advanced Certificate in Disability Studies and MA in Disability Studies 2009 and 2012

"My CUNY SPS master’s degree in disability studies allows me to approach my job in a much different light....providing a more objective assessment.”

Daniel Chan

Advanced Certificate in Disability Studies, MA in Disability Studies, and MS in Disability Services in Higher Education 2015, 2016, and 2017

"My CUNY SPS degrees have given me the confidence and credibility to do my job.”

Recent News About Master of Arts in Disability Studies

Woman reading digital tablet

Journal of Teaching Disability Studies Releases 2nd Issue

February 17, 2021

The Journal of Teaching Disability Studies, a peer-reviewed academic journal edited by the CUNY SPS disability studies program, published its second issue.

Nia Williams

CUNY SPS Disability Studies Student Wins Scholarship

October 28, 2020

The School welcomes news that Nia Williams, a rehabilitation professional attending the MS in disability studies program, has been awarded the 2020 Marge A. Tierney Memorial...

Urban Law Journal Symposium Explores Issues of Accessibility in Cities

March 02, 2020

Fordham Law News

Dr. Mariette Bates, Academic Director of the Disability Studies Program at CUNY SPS, is featured in Fordham Urban Law Journal’s Spring 2020 Symposium, which explores issues of accessibility in cities.
Margaret Reilly - Academic Director, Nursing

Three CUNY SPS Faculty Receive JFK, Jr. Institute Fellowship

January 23, 2020

Dr. Elizabeth Bishop, adjunct faculty, youth studies program; Margaret Reilly, academic director of nursing; and Cassandra Evans, assistant professor, disability studies programs,...