Your partner in advancing the lives of people with disabilities and their families around the world

At UIC’s Department of Disability and Human Development, the values of cultural diversity, self-determination, and equal citizenship of people with disabilities underpin our training, public service and research activities.

We are an internationally-recognized center for the interdisciplinary study of disability, conducting scholarship and community-engaged service across the spectrum of disability, including advocacy, culture, education, health promotion, history, policy and technology.

Elbert Lott, IDHD/LEND Advisory Committee Member, at the Disability Pride Parade

Institute on Disability and Human Development

We’re home to Illinois’ only federally-designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service.

IDHD is a national leader in interdisciplinary academic training, community service, research and information dissemination all related to people with disabilities.

Find out more about IDHD

Academic Programs

​We are the only department in the disability studies field that provides a path from Minor to PhD and anything in between. Our faculty, staff, and students come from a variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and countries around the world. We are committed to integrating research and academics with community engagement, and emphasize universally-designed instruction and the expression of disability pride.
Name Type Description Apply
Minor in Disability and Human Development On Campus Examine aspects of society that uniquely impact the experience and development of people living with disabilities Apply
BS in Disability and Human Development On Campus A broad, interdisciplinary degree that addresses all aspects of the disability experience by blending theory, research and practice Apply
MS in Disability and Human Development On Campus Preparing future leaders in human services, research, and scholarship in the disability field Apply
PhD in Disability Studies On Campus Examine how addressing disability in its full complexity can promote the full participation, self-determination, and equal citizenship of people with disabilities in society Apply
Disability Ethics Certificate On Campus or Online Specialized training in a critical approach to ethical dilemmas concerning life with disability Apply
Assistive Technology Certificate On Campus or Online Preparing professionals to deliver state of the art assistive technology services to people with physical, cognitive or sensory disabilities Apply

What sets us apart

  • Professor Patsavas sitting on desk holding award with her class of students behind her

    Award-winning faculty

    Sarah Parker Harris, Carrie Sandahl and Rooshey Hasnain receive AHS College Awards, and Aly Patsavas receives a UIC Excalibur Award for Teaching Excellence

  • Headshot of Stevie Hopkins at the spring 2018 AHS Commencement ceremony

    Empowering stakeholders

    Stevie Hopkins, co-founder of 3E Love -The Wheelchair Heart, delivered, "Embrace, Educate, Empower, Love Life" to the AHS class of 2018 in his commencement address

  • A group picture of faculty and graduates in their cap and gowns standing together at graduation

    Innovative degree programs

    Our PhD in disability studies is the first of its kind in the U.S. and one of only a few in the world

  • Woman on wheelchair performing a dance routine. Photo by Britten Traughber

    Bodies of Work

    Home of Bodies of Work, a consortium of over 50 organizations advancing disability arts and culture

  • Three LEND trainees standing together

    Illnois LEND

    A statewide interdisciplinary training program that provides training designed to improve the health and well being of individuals with disabilities

  • Sibling Leadership Network logo

    Sibling Leadership Network

    Host of national Sibling Leadership Network with over 20 state chapters

Research Centers, Clinical and Community Programs

IDHD faculty Brian Grossman with his daugther at the 2015 Chicago Disability Pride Parade

A collaborative network

Our partnership with a diverse and extensive network of community, national, and international individuals and groups is essential to achieving our mission of breaking down barriers for persons with disabilities in society.

Find out more about our partners
Cheryl Johnson head shot


Contact the Department of Disability and Human Development and get your questions answered.

You can contact Cheryl Johnson at: