Disability Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program


The Disability Studies minor provides a space to explore questions such as these: how has disability been defined in various historical moments, in various cultures and eras? While impairment has unquestionably been a frequent experience throughout human history, has disability—the construction of impairment as a generic social category—been a historical constant, or is it a modern invention? What social ideologies, cultural systems, and societal arrangements have shaped the meaning and experience of disability? How has disability been defined or represented in cultural and artistic productions, public laws and policies, modern professional practices, and everyday life?

Declaring the Minor

After taking all the required courses, students declare the minor in the semester they intend to graduate by taking the following documents to the Disability Studies minor coordinator (Patrick Civello, 263 Evans Hall) in person. Material not delivered directly to Patrick runs the risk of not being processed. This material must be submitted no later than the last day of classes of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. Please include the following:

  • Transcripts. (Transcripts printed through the Bear Facts system (available through summer 2016) or CalCentral (starting fall 2016) are acceptable. Please choose the printing option that includes your name). If you are taking courses for the minor in the semester you plan to graduate in, print a copy of your current registration as well.
  • A completed Petition for Confirmation of Minor Program form.
  • A list of five courses (two core and three electives) you wish to use to satisfy the Disability Studies minor, as well as the semester and year the courses were taken. You must identify any course that overlaps with any of your majors or other minors. Only one course can overlap.

Please be sure that your name, local phone number, and email address is up to date, as Patrick may need to contact you if questions arise. The minor petition will then be reviewed for approval. Upon approval, the petition will be sent to the Registrar's Office. The registrar will include the completion of the minor on your transcript. It will appear only in the "Memorandum" section of your transcript, not on your diploma.

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Minor Requirements

Students who have a strong interest in an area of study outside their major often decide to complete a minor program. These programs have set requirements and are noted officially on the transcript in the memoranda section, but are not noted on diplomas.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements below must be taken for graded credit.
  2. A minimum of three of the upper division courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements must be completed at UC Berkeley.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for courses used to fulfill the minor requirements.
  4. Courses used to fulfill the minor requirements may be applied toward the Seven Course Breadth requirement, for Letters & Science students.
  5. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.
  6. All minor requirements must be completed prior to the last day of finals during the semester in which you plan to graduate. If you cannot finish all courses required for the minor by that time, please see a College of Letters & Science adviser.
  7. All minor requirements must be completed within the unit ceiling.


Required Core Courses:
UGIS 110Introduction to Disability Studies3
ENGLISH 175Literature and Disability4
or CY PLAN 120 Community Planning and Public Policy for Disability
Select Three Electives From The Following:12
ANTHRO 115Introduction to Medical Anthropology4
ANTHRO 119Special Topics in Medical Anthropology4
ARCH 169Special Topics in Construction Materials (when Introduction to ADA and Universal Design)1-4
ARCH 269Special Topics in Construction and Materials (when Introduction to ADA and Universal Design)1-4
ART 165Art, Medicine, and Disabilities4
CHICANO 176Chicanos and Health Care3
COMPSCI 160User Interface Design and Development4
ECON 157Health Economics4
ENGLISH 31ACLiterature of American Cultures (when taught by Professor Susan Schweik)4
ENGLISH N135Course Not Available3
ENGLISH 180AAutobiography (when taught by Professor Georgina Kleege)4
ESPM 162Bioethics and Society4
GWS 111Special Topics (when topic is Disability Justice or Women with Disability in Film and Literature)1-4
GWS 129Bodies and Boundaries4
GWS 133ACWomen, Men, and Other Animals: Human Animality in American Cultures4
ITALIAN 120Topics in Italian Studies (when the topic is Disability, Difference and Desire in Italian Fiction and Film)4
LD ARCH 140Social and Psychological Factors in Open Space Design3
LINGUIS 1AAmerican Sign Language I5
LINGUIS 1BAmerican Sign Language II5
LINGUIS 2AAmerican Sign Language 35
PACS 148ACSocial Movements, Urban Histories, and the Politics of Memory4
PB HLTH 116Seminar on Social, Political, and Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine3
PB HLTH 150DIntroduction to Health Policy and Management3
Introduction to Community Health and Human Development [3]
PB HLTH 290Health Issues Seminars1-4
PSYCH 131Developmental Psychopathology3
SOC WEL 210CAging Processes2
SOC WEL 245Direct Practice in Health Settings2
SOC WEL 246Direct Practice in Aging Settings2
SOC WEL 275Diversity-Sensitive and Competent Social Work2
UGIS 112Women and Disability3
UGIS 113Disability Studies in Practice3



Mel Chen, Associate ProfessorGender and Women’s Studies.

Michael Dear, Professor. City and Regional Planning.

Katherine Sherwood, Professor. Art Practice.

Susan Schweik, Professor. English.


Chris Downey, Lecturer. Architecture.

Georgina Kleege,  Lecturer. English.

Marsha Saxton, LecturerUndergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Contact Information

Disability Studies Group Minor

263 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-643-7691

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Program Co-Director

Susan Schweik, (Department of English)


Program Co-Director

Georgina Kleege, (Department of English)


Student Academic Adviser

Patrick Civello

263 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-643-7691


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