Disability Studies

Disability Studies- NEW!

disability icon

Learn more about cultural, historical and political aspects related to understanding all types of disabilities. Engineers with an understanding of this topic will be better equipped to incorporate accessibility into their products and services.

The Disability Studies Theme was created by Engineering student Elizabeth Gauen. She was awarded the 1st place prize in a contest to create a new category for the LEADing Themes website.

GenEd Requirement Abbreviations

SS - Social & Behavioral Sciences
HUM - Humanities & The Arts
WCC - Western/Comparitive Cultures

NW - Non-Western Cultures
US - US Minority Cultures
LibEd - Liberal Education

All courses listed can be used for Free Electives.
Outstanding instructors are from the List of Teachers Ranked As Excellent.

Course # Course Name Instructor Satisfies Hours
ANSC 250

Companion Animals in Society

Explores the current and historical functions and influences of companion animals in American society. Topics include the evolution of animal protection, the use of assistance and service animals, and the growth of the pet supply industry. Controversial issues which are of current concern to society will also be examined.



PSYC 100

Introduction to Psychology

This class covers the foundations of psychology which build an understanding of the field and methods of thinking. Study of human behavior with special reference to perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, and individual differences in intelligence, aptitude, and personality; emphasis on the scientific nature of psychological investigations; and discussion of research methods and the relation of their results to daily life and everyday problems. Lectures, discussions, and six hours of participation as a subject in psychological experiments.

Lucas Goss



PSYC 238

Abnormal Psychology

This course provides interesting insight into abnormal psychology, mental illness and disability. This course is highly educative, covers a wide array of disorders, and overall is a good course for students to use to build an understanding of mental health which is a growing issue in our society. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or PSYC 103.


REHB 330

Disability in American Society

This course introduces a range of issues related to disability, including demographics, disability rights, services, policies and current issues from a disability studies perspective. This course will provide a good foundation to begin examining disability issues specific to the United States.



SHS 121

American Sign Language I

This is an introductory course in American Sign Language (ASL). No prior experience with the language is necessary. Students will learn vocabulary, elementary-level grammatical structures, and elements of U.S. Deaf Culture in order to engage in entry-level conversations in ASL. Basic social and communication skills associated with the use of ASL will be emphasized. This course is part of a sequence of courses that will fulfill the foreign language requirement for UIUC undergraduate students. Approved for letter and S/U grading. Prerequisite: SHS 222 must be taken prior to or concurrently with SHS 121, unless student has consent of instructor.


SHS 222

Language and Culture of Deaf Communities

Students will learn about culture and how it is manifested in various subgroups of society - with a particular focus on the culture and language of Deaf people in the United States. Themes include: the linguistics of American Sign Language, aspects of social unity for Deaf people, common experiences of Deaf individuals, the educational system and Deaf students, and current issues that affect the Deaf community.



SPED 117

The Culture of Disability

The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the culture of disability across the lifespan. The impact of disabilities on an individual across the lifespan will be explored, and the unique culture that is created by having a disability will be addressed. The historical basis for the disability movement and special education will be addressed, including legislation and litigation that has had a significant impact on the field. Students also will learn about the characteristics of individuals with diverse abilities as well as current trends in educational services.



SPED 322

Introduction to Intellectual Disability

This course examines the history and current status of individuals identified as having an intellectual disability. Topics in this course cover items such as identification and diagnosis, education and employment services and available support services and technologies. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or SPED 117, or equivalent.