Disability Ethics Certificate

Explore bioethics and the complex ethical questions associated with disability

Our society is making strides in the support of people with disabilities.  Medical advances continue to increase their long-term survival.  State and federal laws support their rights to participate in society to their fullest potential.

Because of this, we’re facing new and increasingly complex ethical questions about disability.  The disability experience is complex, and brings up issues that need deep consideration and expanded perspectives.

What is Disability Ethics?
Disability ethics is an interdisciplinary approach to examining, analyzing, and reaching decisions about ethical dilemmas about life with disability. It addresses many of the same issues that bioethics addresses, and expands the focus beyond medical issues. It includes legal, policy and social justice issues that affect daily living for people with disabilities.

Our program prepares you to be a leader in your field

  • Understand disability as a multi-dimensional entity, including a critical analysis of disability at personal, social, cultural, and policy levels
  • Identify and critique the basic theories and approaches of bioethics
  • Recognize the different perspectives and roles of various stakeholders in contemporary ethical debates involving people with disabilities
  • Understand and articulate how the experience and values of living with disability can inform major bioethical controversies
  • Apply various ethical principles to everyday situations facing people with disabilities
  • Develop independent scholarship that critically addresses current issues in disability ethics

Your career

With a certificate in disability ethics, you’ll advance your ability to think deeply and progressively about society’s ethical responsibilities toward underrepresented communities. Knowledge of disability and ethics is an advantage in any career, and is particularly helpful in:

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Disability services
  • Clinical positions
  • Human resources
  • Counseling
  • Policy
  • Legal advocacy

Learn from the best

  • Carol Gill head shot

    Carol Gill

    Selected as a key figure in the Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement by the Oral History Project of the University of California, Berkeley

  • Sarah Parker Harris

    Sarah Parker Harris

    Focusing on comparative and national disability policy and legislation, employment, entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship

Courses to expand your perspective

This certificate is a cluster of four 3-credit courses for a minimum of 12 total hours, designed to develop independent scholarship and critical thinking. Most students complete all the required courses in two to four semesters.


DHD 401Disability, Human Development and Community Participation3 hours
DHD 514Ethical Issues in Disability3 hours
DHD 517Ethics and Disability: Contemporary Problems3 hours
Independent study (DHD 596) or Elective
Develop a paper, research project, or other activity that allows you to apply what you’ve learned in previous courses to critically address a current issue in disability ethics
3 hours

Contact Us

Carol Gill headshot


If you’re interested in the program and wondering what a certificate in disability ethics can do for you, contact Carol Gill for more information.

You can contact Carol at: