PhD in Disability Studies

Admission Requirements

Applicants will be considered on an individual basis by the admission committee for the doctoral program in Disability Studies. Individuals who fail to meet one or more criteria for admission may be admitted conditionally if their applications are otherwise strong and the applicant agrees to work with her/his mentor to address these gaps through courses and other recommended work.

To establish a mentor relationship, all applicants for the program are strongly encouraged to meet one or more faculty members whose research interests most closely match those of the student. The coordinator of the PhD program will arrange such meetings for applicants upon request.

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

  • Baccalaureate Field No restrictions.
  • Prior Degrees A master’s degree is not required but is recommended for admission to the program.
  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study and a minimum of 3.00/4.00 for all work beyond the baccalaureate level.
  • Tests Required None.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score (for international applicants)
    • TOEFL 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Test); 60, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21 (revised Paper-Delivered Test, OR,
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores, OR,
    • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required.
  • Personal Statement Required.
  • Deadlines Application deadlines for this program are listed on the Graduate College website.

Degree Requirements

The Disability Studies Program is designed primarily as a full-time course of study. Students who are full time will be expected to maintain a course load of three or more classes per semester. Each student will have an advisor chosen from the faculty of the program. The advisor will monitor the student’s progress through the program and serve as the chair for the dissertation committee.

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree.
  • Course Work
Course Title
Required Courses
Disability Studies I
Disability Studies II
Concepts in Interdisciplinary Research on Disability
Advanced Concepts in Disability Research
Interdisciplinary Seminar in Disability Studies (two hours)
At least two research methods courses appropriate to the student's research interests are chosen with an advisor and must total a minimum of 9 additional credit hours.
Elective Courses
24 semester hours of study in a content area, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor. At least 12 hours must be from within the College of Applied Health Sciences.
  • Examinations 
    • Preliminary Examination: Required, written and oral.
  • Dissertation Required. A minimum of 24 semester hours required. The dissertation must be defended at a public session before the dissertation committee and other members of the academic community.
  • Other Requirements Students entering the program with a baccalaureate degree are required to participate in a research project approved by their advisor. Students entering with a master's degree may have this requirement waived if they have completed equivalent work on a master's thesis.

Interdepartmental Concentrations

Students earning a graduate degree in this department may complement their courses by enrolling in select concentrations after consulting with their graduate advisor. Interdepartmental concentrations available for this degree include: