Master's Degree in Disability Studies (M.A.)

Program Description

The Master's Degree in Disability Studies (M.A.), 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. The program utilizes a 'person centered' approach to the study of disability, incorporating overlapping lenses through which students realize disability as a social construction as opposed to a deficit inherent in an individual.

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 Master's Degree 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:

Online Courses

Beginning in the fall 2013 semester, courses in this program will also be available in an in-person format and a fully online format. In online classes, classroom time is replaced by required activities and online discussions managed through Blackboard, a web-based classroom environment. The online courses are provided asynchronously, which allows students to read course materials, participate in class discussions and complete assignments on a more flexible schedule.

An online learning experience is as rich and as valuable as the classroom experience and leads to comprehension and mastery of new skills and knowledge, just like its traditional classroom counterpart. For more information about online learning at CUNY SPS, click here.

Career Prospects

The Master's Degree in Disability Studies prepares a new generation of leaders in community-based or governmental agencies as they evolve in the 21st century. It prepares students 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 a specialization in Disability Studies, people with disabilities or family members, and advocates.

Note: The M.A. 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. 

Admission Criteria

All applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 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. Applicants are also required to write a personal statement, upload a resume, and provide two letters of recommendation. Applicants who meet the basic eligibility criteria may be asked to take part in an individual interview before final acceptance is determined.

Application Deadlines


Mariette Bates