BS in Disability and Human Development

Removing barriers to the participation of people with disabilities

A contributing factor to any person’s ability level is the environment in which they live. The UIC Bachelor’s of Science in disability and human development studies development across the lifespan and offers an interdisciplinary look at not just disability, but also the unique needs of people with disabilities.

Content Section

Stats and Facts

Participants in the Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Education for People with Disabilities sitting at table engaging in activities. (Photo: Miguel Vasquez)
Helping entrepreneurs with disabilites
The Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Education for People with Disabilities supports entrepreneurs with disabilities (Photo: Miguel Vasquez)
degree program of its kind in Illinois
undergraduate courses in disability and human development

Research, academics and community engagement

Building upon our department’s strong background in research, teaching, and community engagement, you’ll receive:

  • A degree that blends theory, research, and practice
  • A curriculum that explores disability as a contextual and changing phenomena, and a complex biological, social, cultural, political, historical, and economic experience
  • Mentorship from experts at the forefront of disability research, advocacy, and culture at the national and international level
  • Applied learning experiences with our innovative research centers and programs and extensive network of community partners

We are committed to and emphasize universally-designed instruction, providing barrier-free learning environments where all students can thrive.

Your career

A bachelor’s in DHD will help you meet the increasing demand for skilled employees able to foster the fuller inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of cultural, social, economic and political life.

You’ll offer comprehensive knowledge of the factors that influence and shape the lives of people with disabilities. You’ll be positioned to pursue careers at national, state, and local government levels, as well as with non-profit organizations. Jobs may include work within:

  • Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Hospitals and other medical settings
  • Non-profit sector serving people with disabilities
  • Coordinating disability services within disability agencies and education systems


By learning about disability in my classes, I didn't learn the ‘diagnoses’ like I thought I was. Instead I was taught about the interactions with people with disabilities and society. It gave me an insight of how the media shapes our perspective, an insight on laws and policies, and different ways to think about disability. By learning about independence, interdependence, and dependence I am able to see what society values in an individual.
Scott W.  |  DHD Student

Gain critical thinking skills and a broader understanding of disability as a social, cultural, historical, and economic phenomena, which will prepare you to pursue advanced degrees, such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Social work
  • Rehabilitation science
  • Special education
  • Public health

In our ever-changing economic and political climate, there’s an increasing demand for knowledge of disability law and policy, services, and community supports in a variety of professions. With a BS in DHD, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to stay current on those trends.

Learn from the best

  • Glenn Hedman headshot

    Glenn Hedman

    Assistive technology expert, researching accessible pathways in the built environment and emergency evacuation from high-rise structures

  • Robert Gould headshot

    Robert Gould

    Expertise in disability rights, employment, policy and law

  • Katie Keiling Arnold headshot

    Katie Keiling Arnold

    Expertise in self-directed supports, direct support workforce development, healthy relationships and sexuality, and the sibling experience

DHD Connections

DHD focuses on the unique needs of people with disabilities and how they interact with society and their environment. There’s no better way to learn about this complex engagement and development than to get out and work in those environments. You’ll spend a lot of your time out of a standard classroom, engaging with the community through collaboration and classes that offer field experiences in the disability sector.

By joining DHD you will become a part of our collaborative network of diverse faculty, staff, students, and partners including people with disabilities, family members, organizations, academic departments and universities in Illinois, nationally and internationally.  We build on our collaborative community ties by incorporating service learning opportunities every step of the way.

Contact Us

Headshot of Maris and Maitha together smiling

We're here to help

Still wondering what a BS in disability and human development can do for you? Contact DHD’s Office of Student Affairs and get your questions answered.

You can contact DHD's Office of Student Affairs: