Disability Studies Courses

Core Disability Studies Courses

Students investigate the local and global origins of a contemporary social problem through the eyes of social justice activists. Students will assess the strengths and limitations of strategies and theoretical frameworks for social change and use this knowledge to create social action messages that raise public awareness, influence government or corporate policy, or positively change attitudes and behaviours. (3 lecture hours per week.) (Also offered as Social Justice Studies SJST-1000.)

This course explores the multiple meanings of disability and emphasizes the lived experience and knowledge generated by people with disabilities. It critically examines how Western economic, medical, moral, and social norms produce social exclusion and marginalization. It introduces students to key Disability Studies theorists, theories, and social justice models that resist ableism by addressing issues of access, accommodation, cultural representation, and identity. This course uses an intersectional framework to consider how variances in race, ethnicity, gender-identity, sexuality, class, citizenship, and culture impact both individual and collective experiences of disability. It considers how Disability Studies differs from other disciplinary approaches to disability, understands disability as a social construct, and positions disability as difference rather than deficit.(Prerequisite: SJST/DISB-1000.)

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 This course will expose current issues, controversies, and trends in disability and teach students how to interpret historical documents, court cases, media reports, and other materials.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 2010)

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 for Social Work/Disability Studies BSW Students: DISB 2010. Prerequisite for all other students: 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 Studies Emphasis Courses

The following is a list of courses that have been identified as Disability Studies Emphasis Courses. 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.” These courses may be taken with permission of the Disability Studies Program Coordinator.

Program requirements in Disability Studies make reference to Disability Studies-Emphasis courses. These currently include: Anthropology/Zoology: ANZO-1600; Diaspora Studies: INCS-2360; General Arts: GART-2040, GART-2090; Kinesiology: KINE-1000; KINE-4000; KINE-4040, KINE-4100; KINE-4610; Nursing: NURS-3510; Organizational Learning and Teaching Courses: EDUC-4000; Philosophy: PHIL-1290; PHIL-2250; PHIL-2270; PHIL-2280; PHIL-3190; Psychology: PSYC-1070; PSYC-2280; PSYC-2400; PSYC-2560; PSYC-3220; PSYC-3230; PSYC-3240; PYSC-3390; PSYC-4300; PSYC-4320; PSYC-4450; Social Justice Studies: SJST-2100, SJST-2700, SJST-3000; Social Work: SWRK-2040, SWRK-3460; SWRK-3470; SWRK-3580; Sociology: SACR-1100; SACR-2100; SACR-2280; SACR-2400; SACR-2900; SACR-3050; SACR-3150; SACR-3270; SACR-3520; SACR-4510; Women’s and Gender Studies: WGST-2100 and WGST-2200.

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.” These courses may be taken with permission of the Disability Studies Program Coordinator. 

For the current Disability Emphasis Courses, please refer to the Undergraduate Calendar (page 231) of the Fall 2022 Undergraduate Calendar.


This course will explore and consider the different types of relationships between animals and humans in contemporary society from a variety of physical, social, and psychological perspectives. Topics may include companion animals, animal rights and welfare, animals and food and entertainment, human-animal violence, and animal-assisted therapy. (Can be taken for either Social Science or Arts credit).

Diaspora Studies

An examination of the impact of war, genocide, and trauma on individuals and communities, as reflected in film, literature, and the arts.

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.


This introductory course will examine health and wellness from both a local and global perspective. Personal health and wellness will be evaluated from a physical, mental, spiritual and social perspective. Behavioural change and motivational techniques will be explored to aid in achieving a healthier lifestyle. This course will introduce various topics that impact the health and wellness of an individual including physical activity, nutrition, obesity, stress, disease prevention, high risk behaviour, health care systems, alternative medicine, violence in society and the environment. Current health and wellness issues within the community and media will also be presented. (Open to Kinesiology majors only.)

An examination of the physiological, sensory, muscular, and cardiorespiratory mechanisms underlying age-related changes in human movement and motor control. These issues will be explored from cellular to whole-body perspectives incorporating current theoretical approaches to aging. Emphasis will be placed on integrating the role of physical activity into explaining age-related changes in cognition and activities of daily living.

This course will examine the factors that aim to (1) improve health of the entire population and (2) reduce health inequalities among population groups. Particular emphasis will be on the Canadian health care system and the determinants of health, in addition to personal health practices and health knowledge, health policy, and behaviour change theory as it applies to the health of our society. (Prerequisite: Open to Kinesiology students in the Sport Studies stream; open to Kinesiology students in the Movement Science and Sport Management streams provided they have at least 3rd year standing; also open to all other students provided they have at least 3rd year standing and permission of instructor) (Credit may not be obtained for KINE-3040 and Special Topics courses covering the same content.)

An examination of populations that have special needs in the area of physical activity (sensory, cognitive, musculo-skeletal impairment). Emphasis will be placed on defining the characteristics of the population, the needs and strengths of each population, and matching the strengths with the appropriate physical activities. Issues of integration, programming, and environmental adaptation will also be considered. Laboratory experiences will focus on the application of the theoretical information. (2 lecture, 2 laboratory hours a week.)

This course is designed to provide a broad understanding of: 1) the physiological processes involved in the development of selected chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular, respiratory, cancer, autoimmune) and disorders (e.g., Huntington’s disease), 2) the risk factors associated with their development and progression, where applicable, and 3) how exercise rehabilitation can be used as a tool for intervention, including past, current and emerging exercise recommendations. (Prerequisites: Open to 3rd and 4th year Kinesiology majors.) (Open to non-majors if there is enrolment space.)


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.)

Organizational Learning and Teaching Courses:

This course will examine the evolution of the concepts of diversity and inclusion in social organizations, key management practices for improving performance, and current diversity and inclusion challenges in organizations. Diversity and inclusion are important aspects of learning organizations for the purpose of developing strategic options for improvement in many different ways. (Prerequisite: Semester 3 or above standing)


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.


The course will focus on the ethical issues arising from human mortality and vulnerability to sickness. Problems to be explored will vary from year to year and may include: the relation between mortality and the value of life, the ethics of life-extension, the legitimacy of suicide, physician assisted or not, the ethics of human reproduction, allocating scarce medical resources in an ageing population, and the ethics of genetic engineering.


What ethical obligations do we have to the non-human environment? The course examines various answers to that question. Topics may include: animal rights, the moral status of non-human life, the intrinsic value of ecosystems, the importance of wilderness, deep ecology, eco-feminism, economic development, environmentalism, and politics.


An exploration of the philosophically important ethical concepts of human nature, freedom, progress, the good life, moral responsibility, and the environment as these relate to advances in technology. Topics may include: pollution, mass production, the commodification of nature, new technologies (e.g., biotechnology, nanotechnology).


The course examines the emergence of pathological forms of social life that systematically undermine human interaction, distort social communication, and falsify individual and group consciousness. The course may explore the work of major social thinkers such as Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Lukacs, Weber, Schmidt, Freud, Adorno, Marcuse, Arendt, Habermas and Honneth or investigate one or more specific forms of modern social pathologies such as racism, gender inequality, colonialism, extreme poverty, the destruction of the environment.(Prerequisite: PHIL-2210 or permission of the instructor).(Also offered as POLS-3190.)



An introduction to theory and research pertaining to the study of positive psychology, the psychology of human strengths and coping resources. Selected topics include: happiness, living a meaningful and gratifying life, resilience, hardiness, emotional intelligence, optimism, hope, creativity and moral motivation.


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.)


Review of philosophical, historical, theoretical, and research literature in the psychology of sex and gender. Topics include male/female stereotypes; similarities/differences based on research data; and current social issues.


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.)

Psychology of the learning process and the variables that affect learning such as intelligence, motivation, attitudes, interpersonal relations, and cultural background. (Prerequisite: PSYC-2230 or PSYC-2240.)


Application of psychology to the areas of health promotion, prevention and treatment, and improvement of health-care delivery. Theory, research, and practice in health psychology and behavioural medicine will be examined. Specific areas of emphasis may include stress, illness, and coping; patient-practitioner interaction; adjustment to chronic illness; reproductive health issues; and cross-cultural conceptions of illness and healing. (Prerequisite: PSYC-2360.)

The principles and techniques underlying clinical interviewing and modern psychotherapeutic methods. Emphasis will be placed upon the application of clinical interviewing and modern psychotherapeutic methods, as well as the application of clinical methods in clinics, hospitals, schools, mental health settings, and community agencies. (Prerequisites: PSYC-3330.)

An examination of societal and environmental influences on the community and individual community members, the development of the community mental health movement, and current issues in theory, research, and practices in community psychology. Emphasis will be placed on prevention, crisis intervention, and effecting social change. An overview of community-based professional and volunteer services will be presented. Community responses to issues such as homelessness, suicide, and violence against women will be considered. (Prerequisite: PSYC-2360.)


PSYC-4450. Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination
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

Students envision a better world by raising awareness about social problems and practicing the advocacy skills needed to create a more just society. Students prepare, present and defend action plans that address the needs of those communities whose voices are undervalued in public discussions. (Prerequisite: DISB/SJST-1000 or semester 3 standing or above or permission of the instructor.)


An examination of contemporary struggles for social change with a particular focus on anti-consumerist and environmental justice campaigns. Students learn to create persuasive social justice message. (Prerequisite: Semester 3 or above standing.) (Also offered as CMAF-2700, WORK-2700 and DRAM-2700).


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.)

Sociology and Criminology Courses

This course will introduce students to the key concepts, theories, and methods appropriate to Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology. Focus will be on application of issues important to studying social life using multiple perspectives while exercising the sociological imagination. Topics may include discussion of culture, gender, social stratification, race and ethnicity, family, and crime and deviance.(Open only to Program Majors and Minors in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology and students enrolled in BES and International Relations and Development Studies). (Students who complete SACR-1100 may not subsequently enroll in SACR-1000 for credit).


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 Women's and Gender Studies WGST-2100.) (Prerequisites: WGST-1000)


The study of structured social inequality. The existence of class and power structures and their effects on the lives of Canadians. The relation of different forms of inequality based on class, ethnicity, and gender. The various strategies people employ to respond to inequality. (Prerequisites: third semester standing.)


An introduction to race and ethnic relations, with global and Canadian perspectives, which may draw on both sociological and anthropological literature. Topics may include Canadian cultural, indigenous, ethnic and racial identities; multiculturalism; im/migration and integration; separatist movements; pursuit of collective rights; transnationalism and diaspora. (Prerequisites: third semester standing.)


Introduction to social research with focus on guiding students through the research process. This includes: constructing a research problem; formulating research questions; conducting a literature review; evaluating journal articles; understanding research ethics; and becoming familiar with quantitative and qualitative research methods. At the end of the course, it is expected that students will obtain a Research Ethics Certificate (TCPS2). (Prerequisites: SACR-1100 (strongly recommended) or SACR-1000; students must be in semester 3 of their program to register for this course).


Contemporary topics in sexuality and health examined from Canadian and international perspectives, such as HIV and AIDS, sexual health movements, and the social construction of sexual dysfunction. (Prerequisite: SACR-2050 and semester 5 or higher standing


A critical exploration of topics related to the sociology and anthropology of death and dying. Topics covered may include: historical and cross-cultural perspectives on dying and death; memorial and commemoration; palliative care and medical aid in dying; death and popular culture; genocide and mass deaths; the construction and medicalization of death; and death statistics (pre-requisites SACR-2200 and semester 5 or higher standing).


An examination of theories and case studies of world revolutions, class struggles, and various social movements, such as the feminist, gay and lesbian, labour, native, ecological, and other movements. (Also offered as WORK-3270) (Prerequisites: SACR-1100 or WORK-1000 and semester 5 or higher standing) (Credit can only be obtained for either SACR-3270 or WORK-3270).


An examination of the impact of the ‘global’ on social and economic processes, human rights and struggles over rights in specific locales worldwide. Topics may include: gender-based violence, poverty and ‘development’, children’s rights, changing labour practices; human rights principles and institutions; and cultural and political struggles for rights in European, North American, and post-colonial settings (Prerequisite: one of SACR-2130, SACR-2140, SACR-2200, SACR-2270, SACR-2400 or SACR-2910 and semester 5 or higher standing or instructor’s consent.)


A critical engagement with the historical, contemporary and newly burgeoning sociological approaches to sexualities and sexual identities. The course will adopt a cross-cultural approach in examining and analyzing human sexualities, with emphasis on the intersectionalities of other forms of inequality such as gender, race, ethnicity, disability, and class. Topics may vary from year to year. (Prerequisite: SACR-2050, SACR-3910 or SACR-3560 or SACR-3730; SACR-3900 or SACR-3080 and semester 7 or higher standing, or consent of instructor.)


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.)

Examines human development in the social environment from a strengths-based perspective. Using a biopsychosocial orientation, emphasis is placed on identifying risk and protective factors that affect coping and adaptation to stressful life events. Focuses on how social systems (families, groups, organizations, institutions, and communities) promote or deter such efforts. Implications for multilevel interventions are discussed and evaluated. (Open to senior students. Social Work Majors and Combined Majors in Social Work will be given registration priority.)


Examines aspects of violence in society, particularly against marginalized groups. The primary focus is on generalist social work intervention related to violence. (Open to senior students. Required course for Social Work/Women's and Gender Studies students; elective for BSW students. Pre-requisite: One Women's and Gender Studies (WGST-) course or permission of the instructor. (Also offered as WGST-3470.)

This course focuses on social work practice in the field of mental health. It will integrate policy, practice and research to mental health issues across the life-span. The course will examine social work practice assessment and intervention techniques. Both chronic and acute mental health issues will be examined. Community-based care and institutional care perspectives will be presented. (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 examines the personal and cultural meanings of women's racial and ethnic identities in Canada today. Students consider how these identities are created and experienced in conjunction with other identities such as sexuality, 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 white privilege. (Prerequisite: WGST-1000 or permission of the instructor.)




Contact Disability Studies

The University of Windsor
Interdisciplinary and Critical Studies
Room 205-2 Chrysler Hall South

Phone: 519-253-3000, Ext. 2315
Email: disabilitystudies@uwindsor.ca