Coursework in Disability and Diversity Studies

CDS offers undergraduate and graduate coursework in Disability and Diversity Studies and a 15-credit Interdisciplinary Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies. All courses are offered entirely online by CDS instructors. Most courses are asynchronous, where students complete all work independently via an online learning management platform, but some courses are synchronous, where students also meet live with the instructor via an online conferencing program. Asynchronous-only options are often available for students whose local time zone prohibits their participation in synchronous courses.  

Our courses are designed to approach disability from a diversity perspective. This means that disability is viewed as a natural part of a diverse society made up of many kinds of people with many kinds of human characteristics. Our courses provide students with the knowledge, skills, and insights necessary to understand and navigate disability issues in modern society.

Note for Out-of-State and International Students: All of our courses are offered both as regular Day-School courses and as Extension courses. Out-of-State and International students should check out our FAQs below for registration options.

Interdisciplinary Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies

The Interdisciplinary Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies is a 15 credit graduate level (master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral) program sponsored by the Center on Disability Studies (CDS) in the College of Education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM). An interdisciplinary approach to disability and diversity issues, the program attracts students across disciplines including, but not limited to, education, social work, psychology, computer science, sociology, public health, law, nursing, and political science. Students participate in interdisciplinary experiences with the goal to acquire skills in joint planning, decision-making, goal setting and to understand contemporary disability issues, research, and effective practices from a social, political, cultural and historical context. View the Application Information and Deadlines from the UHM Graduate Division. 

Requirements

Students are required to take a minimum of 15 graduate credits (typically 5 classes) in order to receive the Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies. Students must apply for the Certificate via the UH Graduate Division before completing their coursework in order to receive the Certificate. Students are advised to apply for the Certificate as soon as possible so that they receive proper advice for the program. Required courses are listed below. For course descriptions, please see the Course Information page. All courses are offered through distance education. Non-residents (international and out of state students) may apply through Outreach College and pay in-state tuition rates. Contact tconway@hawaii.edu if you have questions. 

Core Courses (9 credits)

  • DIS 681: Multicultural Issues and Disability (3 credits)
  • DIS 683: Disability & Diversity Issues (3 credits)
  • DIS 684: Interdisciplinary Team Development (3 credits)

Fieldwork or Independent Study (3 credits)

  • DIS 698: Fieldwork/Research (3 credits)
  • DIS 699: Independent Study (3 credits)

Fieldwork or Independent Study (3 credits)

  • DIS 682 Special Topics in Disability & Diversity Studies (3 credits)
  • DIS 687 Advanced Seminar on Disability Issues (3 credits)
  • Other (one 3 credit course offered by other departments may serve as an elective but must have a concentration on disability and/or diversity and must be approved by the Program Coordinator)

View All DIS Courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I take courses in Disability and Diversity Studies at the University of Hawai‘i?

Disability is an everyday part of the human experience. Whether you are a student, professional, person with a disability or family member of someone with a disability, disability is bound to impact your life or your profession. Our courses are designed to approach disability from a diversity perspective. This means that disability is viewed as a natural part of a diverse society made up of many kinds of people with many kinds of human characteristics. Our courses will provide students with the knowledge, skills, and insights necessary to understand and navigate disability issues in modern society.

Is the Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies a Master’s program?

Our Program is a 15 credit sequence of 5 courses resulting in a graduate level Certificate. Our program is a great stepping stone or supplement to other graduate programs. Many Master’s and Doctoral students use our courses as cognates for other programs. Graduate and Undergraduate Disability Studies courses can also be taken as electives without enrollment in the Certificate Program.

Do I have to come to Hawai‘i to take your courses?

All of our courses are currently entirely online. International and out-of-state students are advised to enroll in our courses via the UH Outreach College. This requires an additional application but will mean you will be eligible for in-state tuition for our online courses.

What is the cost of your courses?

Applicants to the Certificate Program must pay an application fee established by the Graduate Division. Undergraduate and Graduate course fees are the same as those for other courses at the University of Hawai‘i. Out-of-state and International students are advised to register for classes through the UH Outreach College. Please check the websites of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and Outreach College for current application and course fees.

Do you offer scholarships?

We do not offer scholarships via the Disability Studies program. However, the College of Education and the University of Hawai‘i do have some scholarships at STAR. View the resource for other opportunities: Scholarships, Grants, Fellowships

What is the deadline for applying for the Certificate Program?

We accept applications for the program year-round, although deadlines may apply for admission for the following semester. If you wish to apply for the Certificate, you must apply through the Graduate Division.

I have applied for the Certificate Program. Can I take courses before I am admitted to the Program?

Regardless of when you are admitted to the Certificate Program, you can still take courses right away that will count towards your Certificate.

Instructors

Kiriko Takahashi

Kiriko Takahashi, PhD

kiriko@hawaii.edu

Kiriko Takahashi is an Associate Specialist at the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She has a Master’s degree in Learning Disabilities from Northwestern University, and a Doctoral degree in Exceptionalities from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her research interests include assistive technology, culturally-based education, and mathematics.

Tom Conway

Thomas Conway

tconway@hawaii.edu

Thomas H. Conway is the Training and Instruction Coordinator at the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. With a background in design and media production, Dr. Conway is interested in accessible educational technology. He received his doctorate in Learning Design and Technology at the University of Hawai‘i in 2017. 

CDS

Raphael Raphael, PhD

rraphael@hawaii.edu

Raphael Raphael is a film and media scholar whose work frequently looks at making connections between film and disability studies. His most recent book, Transnational Horror Cinema: Bodies of Excess and the Global Grotesque (2017), with Sophia Siddique, looks at the intersections of the horror genre, disability and trauma across borders. He currently serves as Associate Editor of Creative Works and Multimedia for the Review of Disability Studies. 

Lauren Lum Ho

Lauren Lum Ho

laurenlh@hawaii.edu

Lauren Lum Ho is an Assistant Specialist at the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work as well as in Learning Design & Technology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Education. Her research interests include accessible technology, online learning, and instructional design and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Memphis in the Instructional Design and Technology program.