Disability Studies Courses

Core Disability Studies Courses

This course explores the meaning of disability and deepens students’ understanding of the experience of living with a disability in today’s society. It introduces students to various approaches to disability and explores alternate perspectives of disability, while emphasizing the social model of disability. It critically examines assumptions that have shaped traditional service and responses to people with disabilities. It explores how to understand disability from the perspective of difference rather than deficit. It encourages new ways of thinking about how to accommodate people with disabilities. This course focuses on disability as a social construct and people with disabilities as a minority group. (Prerequisite: Admission to Disability Studies program.)

This course will select national and international milestones highlighting people, events, and legislation that have affected disability rights. It will include historical discussions about significant dates related to the eugenics movement, the civil rights movement, the self-help movement, deinstitutionalization, demedicalization, and consumerism. Emphasis will be placed upon Canadian history with comparison with historical developments in other countries. This course will expose current issues, controversies, and trends in disability and teach students how to interpret historical documents, court cases, media reports, and other materials. It will use case studies to analyze the ideological, socioeconomic, and political history of disability. (Prerequisite: DISB 3010)

Students will critically review traditional approaches to professional practice with people with disabilities, with special attention to the role of the professional. Using case studies, students will explore professional intervention strategies that promote full participation and equality for people with disabilities. Other themes include self-determination and choice, supporting disability rights and self-advocacy organizations, and building alliances. Recognizing how important family is to many people with disabilities, this course will also explore the implications of the views and experiences of family members. Stressing the need for empowerment, this course introduces students to social change movements as led by people in search of full citizenship who have disabilities. The implications for empowerment, created by the advent of new technologies, is also explored. (Prerequisite: DISB 3020)

This course helps the student understand how to put the social model of disability into practice. It will encourage students to analyze power, inequality and influence and then to build strategies for actions. It will promote a team-oriented approach by using case studies to examine the issues of access and related policies and practices that support or impede inclusion. Theoretical and practical approaches draw from the perspective that people supported by human services need opportunities to lead dignified lives with the means to exercise greater personal choice, control and independence. The Independent Living model and organization exposes students to multiple issues that involve the actions of consumer leaders, activists and managers in designing, organizing and changing services and support models for people with disabilities. This course considers how people with disabilities access societal and community resources, engage socially, and take part in policy development and implementation. (Prerequisite: DISB 4010)

This two course equivalent sequence is a field placement, designed to enable students to apply and integrate the various theoretical perspectives and themes explored in the Disability Studies program through implementation of a community based project. Students will work with people with disabilities in community agencies and programs and develop respectful and empowering professional skills. Students will also have the opportunity to gain knowledge of an issue or area of specific interest. This will necessitate the development of an individual or group project of interest and importance to the organization involved.(Prerequisite: DISB 3010, DISB 3020: Semester 7 standing in Disability Studies Program)(Co-requisites: DISB 4010, DISB 4020).(Anti-requisite: DISB 4610)

Disability Emphasis Courses

The following is a list of courses that have been identified as a Disability Studies Emphasis Course. Various areas of study from time to time may offer courses dealing specifically with disability studies under specific course titles or general titles such as “Special Topics,” “Directed Readings,” or “Seminars.” Information regarding such courses will be available from the Disability Studies Program Coordinator. These courses may be taken with permission of the Disability Studies Program Coordinator.

For the most current Disability Emphasis Courses, please refer to the Undergraduate Calendar.

General Arts

Explores ethical issues of general interest which arise during the life-span, from conception until death, including methods to prevent contraception, methods to aid in reproduction, medical treatment for children, organ transplantation, research on human subjects, foregoing life-sustaining treatment, advance directives, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. This course is not directed specifically to health professionals.

Examines what constitutes a profession, its legitimacy, and its authority from society. The responsibilities of professionals to their clients, professions, and society are mapped. Codes of ethics and other statements of ethical standards, conflict of interest, and the roles of regulatory bodies and governments are examined and related to practice through relevant case studies.


MUSC 3300


A critical examination of philosophical arguments about controversial moral issues. Readings will be chosen by the instructor on issues connected with one or several of such areas as: biomedical ethics, euthanasia, suicide, environmental ethics, the treatment of animals, war and violence, pornography, censorship.


This course is a survey of psychopathology, with a focus on the structure and application of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders. Content to be covered will include historical and contemporary theory and research regarding the etiology and progression of abnormality, including biological, psychological and socio-cultural understandings. Attention will also be given to critiques of classification schemes and diagnosis. Finally, implications for the treatment of specific disorders will be addressed. (Prerequisite: PSYC 1150 and PSYC 1160) (Antirequisite: PSYC 2330.) (Students may not obtain credit for both PSYC 3480 and PSYC 2280.)

Reviews basic research relating brain and behaviour with a focus on human functioning. Includes the study of neuronal and synaptic activity and results from current research and case histories which link human behaviour to basic neuroanatomical and biochemical brain systems.

An overview of theory and research related to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of childhood and adolescent disorders. Risk factors, vulnerability to stress, and protective factors will be addressed in relation to adjustment disorders, conduct disorder, depression, and anxiety in children and adolescents. (Prerequisite: PSYC 2230 or PSYC 2240.)

An overview of theory and research related to the biological foundation of childhood and adolescent developmental disabilities. Mental retardation, sensory and motor impairments, learning disabilities, and disorders with physical manifestations are included in the topics covered. (Prerequisite: PSYC 2230 or PSYC 2240.)

This course surveys topics and issues in the field of clinical psychology, including biopsychosocial theories of functioning and dysfunction. Emphasis is placed on major approaches to assessment and treatment (e.g.humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic). The course also will cover the scientific basis for clinical psychology, as well as historical, ethical, professional, cultural and legal issues. Sub-specialties and contemporary issues are also addressed. (Prerequisite: PSYC 2280 or PSYC 3220) (Antirequisite: PSYC 2320.) (Students may not obtain credit for both PSYC 2370 and PSYC 3330.)

The application of social psychology to solving social issues. Topics include improving job satisfaction and organizational life, promoting community health, meeting social welfare needs, dealing with environmental problems, improving educational systems, and addressing the issues of social justice and equality. The course may involve a fieldwork component. (Prerequisite: PSYC 2360.)

Survey of theories and methods of behavioural change, including behavioural assessment and analysis, relaxation training, graduated exposure, contingency management, and cognitive restructuring. (Prerequisite: PSYC 3350 or PSYC 3530 or PSYC 3580.)

Psychological theory and research on stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination; their formation and function; the role of individual and sociocultural factors in their development and maintenance; individual responses and psychological interventions. (Prerequisite: PSYC 2360.)

Social Justice Studies

An inter-disciplinary exploration of the role of the state, alternative media, arts, literature, critical pedagogy, international and domestic law, social movements, non-governmental agencies, international governmental agencies, and scholars in bringing about social change. (Prerequisites: SJST 1000 and semester 5 standing.)

Social Work

Examines various ideologies that shape the social welfare system and their impact on citizens, clients and organizations. The impact of these diverse perspectives on the different roles of social workers are examined with particular emphasis on value conflicts and how these conflicts shape and affect policies and programs. (Prerequisites: SWRK 1170 and SWRK 1180 or permission of instructor.)(Students may not take both SWRK 2040 and DISB 3020 for credit.)

This course prepares students to apply the principles, processes, and techniques of feminist social work practice. Required course for Social Work/Women's and Gender Studies students; elective for BSW students (Prerequisites:(SWRK-3360, SWRK-3370 plus three (WGST-xxx) Women Studies courses or, consent of instructor.) (Also offered as WGST-3550)

The role of the social worker in such areas as institutionalization, community care and social support, separation and loss, family structures, and retirement, with emphasis on social policy as a determinant of services and practice. (Open to senior students. Social Work Majors and Combined Majors in Social Work will be given registration priority.)

Women’s Studies

This course examines the personal and cultural meanings of women’s sexual identities in Canada today. Students consider how these identities are created and experienced in conjunction with other identities such as race/ethnicity, social class, and (dis)ability and how women challenge the personal, social, political, and economic inequities that continue to be based on these identities. Students are encouraged to analyze how their beliefs and behaviours are shaped by heterosexual privilege. (Also offered as Sociology SACR 2100.) (Prerequisite: WGST 1000 or consent of the instructor.)

This course prepares students to apply the principles, processes, and techniques of feminist social work practice. Required course for Social Work/Women's and Gender Studies students; elective for BSW students (Prerequisites:(SWRK-3360, SWRK-3370 plus three (WGST-xxx) Women Studies courses or, consent of instructor.) (Also offered as SWRK-3550)
This course investigates the meaning and importance of contemporary feminisms through literature, zines, websites, and "manifestos" written by, for, and about young women. Specific topics of interest are young women's activism with respect to the environment, globalization, and the media, as well as their efforts to confront racism, sexism, and classism. (Prerequisites: two Women's and Gender Studies courses and at least semester 3 standing.)


NURS-3510. The Human Meaning of Death (T)
An examination of the human experience of death and dying, the meaning of human life, ethical and cultural aspects, euthanasia, and advanced directives. Lectures, readings, films, and discussions will explore a variety of significant thinkers and concepts concerning death. Through various exercises and shared experiences, students will be encouraged to examine their own feelings and attitudes toward death. (Open to non-nursing students and may be taken as an Arts courseby B.Sc.N. students.) (3 lecture hours a week.)


Contact Disability Studies

The University of Windsor
School of Social Work

167 Ferry Street
Second Floor, Room 205
Windsor, Ontario N9A 0C5

Phone: 519-253-3000, Ext. 3064
Fax: 519-973-7036