The disability studies certificate focuses on the social, cultural, historical, and political aspects of disability. As a certificate student, you'll learn about the history of disabilities in America and about how culture and society define disability. You'll learn how to interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds, and you'll develop a personal philosophy of treating people fairly and thoughtfully. You'll also become knowledgeable about public policy issues and active citizenship.

The Certificate in Disability Studies is administered by the Department of Health and Human Physiology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

Why Iowa?

This program draws on disciplines from across the university, such as aging studies, American sign language, anthropology, communication sciences and disorders, education, geography, health and human physiology, history, music, nursing, and psychology.

The certificate complements a wide variety of majors and pre-professional programs that lead to work with persons who have illnesses, impairments, and limitations.

Admission Requirements

The certificate may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not concurrently enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid also are great resources for students seeking scholarships. 



The certificate requires 19 credits. There are four core classes with remaining credits selected from a list of focused electives across many disciplines.

One of the core classes is a hands‑on, interactive experience to learn what is involved in working with young adults with multiple learning and cognitive disabilities with the College of Education’s UI REACH program (Integrated Disability Studies practicum). 

See Disability Studies in the UI General Catalog for information about required course work.