New certificate in disability legal studies developed by DHD and UIC School of Law

A new certificate in disability legal studies—the first in the Midwest and one of only two in the nation—will be offered beginning fall 2022.

The certificate program, developed by the Department of Disability and Human Development and the UIC School of Law, will provide critical analysis of laws involving people with disabilities, with a focus on study, research and legal practice.

“Over the years we have seen advancements in disability rights law and policy, in large part due to the strong advocacy of the disability community,” said Kate Caldwell, director of the new certificate program and DHD clinical assistant professor. “As we, as a society, move forward, there will be an increasing need for professionals trained in disability legal studies. This is especially true as we respond to the ongoing pandemic and the effect it has had on our society and economy.”

The program offers a choice of concentrations in either human rights law, employment law or health law. Courses include a range of topics in disability studies and law.

The certificate requires a minimum of 12 credit hours, including required and elective courses. The hybrid curriculum includes online and in-person classes.

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The Department of Disability and Human Development, one of the nation’s first disability studies programs, is a national leader in teaching, research, training and community partnerships. The department also offers certificate programs in assistive technology and disability ethics.

“UIC has been and continues to be a leader when it comes to disability,” Caldwell said.