Certificate in Disability Studies

The Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences offers interprofessional coursework in disability studies available to students in all fields of study.

The purpose of these courses is to educate an inter-disciplinary group of professionals to work collaboratively to create changes in the social, economic, political, educational, medical and physical environments in ways that will positively impact people with disabilities.

These courses are open to current students as well as those not registered at Northeastern University. For questions about registering as a special student, please visit the Bouvé College Graduate website.


PT 5710 Advanced Psychosocial Aspects of Healthcare

Explores the psychological, social, and cultural factors that underlie responses and adaptations to chronic illness and disability by individuals and families. Offers a foundation for nonjudgmentally ascertaining and supporting clients’ needs. Includes coping needs and strategies that are used by those without complicating factors, as well as those that may be used by individuals who have comorbid conditions such as psychiatric disorders; substance abuse; or cultural, gender, or age differences. Presents best practices on interviewing skills, assessment, and interventions to support the needs of people affected by chronic illness or disability.

4.000 Credit hours

PT 5720 Legal and Policy Issues Surrounding Disability

Offers an interprofessional course addressing the issues of disability relative to the law, public policy, rights, and advocacy. Often there is a discrepancy between the level of funding supplied to people with disabilities (PWD) and the actual costs of caring for these individuals in order to maximize their independence. The laws and policies that currently exist are often complex and lead to varied interpretations and applications, leaving some PWD without access to services to which they are entitled. This course offers students an opportunity to gain a broad understanding of the complex, dynamic, legal, and policy issues concerning PWD. In addition, this course explores access to available resources and legal limits of service delivery systems.

4.000 Credit hours

PT 5730 Global Perspectives in Disability and Health

Addresses the issues of disability relative to culture, public policy, rights, and advocacy. People with disabilities are less likely to receive necessary healthcare and rehabilitation services and as a consequence experience poorer health outcomes and mortality. Explores the effects of cultural beliefs, social attitudes, and stigma toward people with disabilities. Evaluates the impact of poverty, sociopolitical conditions, health economics, and resource allocation issues. Analyzes charitable contributions, by human rights and other organizations, to the needs of people with disabilities in underserved areas to identify both desirable and undesirable impacts. This interprofessional course offers students an opportunity to gain a broad understanding of complex and dynamic issues concerning people with disabilities in underserved and globally diverse settings.

4.000 Credit hours

PT 5740 Disabilities Practicum

Offers students an opportunity to work with a public agency, volunteer group, school system, parent collaborative, charitable organization, or other group that provides services for adults and/or children with disabilities. Designed to provide experiential learning while working with individuals or groups who have unmet needs in achieving their mission or objectives. The student, practicum coordinator, and a site supervisor develop a contract detailing the expected outcome(s) to be achieved. Examples include developing a new policy, performing a needs assessment, performing a literature search, writing a position paper addressing an important question, developing a training manual, or developing an advocacy plan. Requires working a minimum of sixty hours.

4.000 Credit hours

HLTH 5280 - The (in)Visibility of (dis)Ability in Society

Addresses the issues of disability relative to culture, public policy, rights, and advocacy. Focuses class discussion on the experiences of people with disabilities living in our current society as well as from a historical perspective. Explores the following topics: who is disabled, social attitudes toward people with disabilities, and images and stigma in the media. Also covers the language of disability, disability culture, and the forgotten minority. Affords students an opportunity to gain a broad understanding of the complex and dynamic issues and themes concerning people with disabilities.

3.000 OR 4.000 Credit hours

4.000 Credit hours