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

At the UIC Department of Disability and Human Development, the values of cultural diversity, self-determination, and social justice 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.

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Stats and Facts

1st of its kind Ph.D. in disability studies in the nation and BS in disability and human development in Illinois Learn more
Advancing disability research, policy and practice via our
labs, clinics and community programs &
federally-funded centers
100% CAAHEP-accredited Assistive Technology certificate program with a full online option Learn More

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Academic programs

​We are the only department in the disability studies field that provides a path that includes a full range of graduate, undergraduate and certificate programs. 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
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

  • Patrick in his UIC red and blue cap and gown with a green fabric over it in Uganda standing next to his wife along with with 3 people at his village graduation celebration

    Alumni across the globe

    Patrick Ojok ‘15 PhD DS, head of community and disability studies at Kyambogo University, is working to improve education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Africa.

  • Tamar Heller head shot

    Award-winning faculty

    Tamar Heller, distinguished professor and department head, received the Arc of Illinois 2019 Paulauski Advocate Award.

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

    Fostering social change

    From understanding to social change, we are the only department in the disability studies field that provides a path from Minor to PhD and anything in between.

  •  8 Illinois LEND faculty and trainees together in front of Senator Tammy Duckworth’s office sign in DC

    Interdisciplinary experience

    We are home to the Illinois LEND, a statewide interdisciplinary training program designed to improve the health and well being of individuals with disabilities.

  • 3Arts Residency Fellow and dancer, Kris Lenzo, engages with the audience before showing of his documentary ‘Ripped’

    Disability arts and culture

    We are home to Bodies of Work, a network of artists and organizations advancing disability arts and culture.

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

Institute on Disability and Human Development

The UIC Department of Disability and Human Development is 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.

Learn more about IDHD