Our program contributes to emerging research examining the systemic barriers to the full societal inclusion of persons with disabilities.

The Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies offers courses, research and professional training leading to an MA and PhD.

The MA program takes an interdisciplinary approach informed by various academic fields including law, anthropology, health studies, history, geography, economics, education, labour studies, political science, social work, sociology, identity politics, gender studies, and refugee and immigration studies. Theories of human rights form the basis for understanding how existing legal, economic and social rationales for inclusion relate to systemic barriers and oppression.

The program is offered full or part-time to students from a variety of backgrounds, including persons with disabilities engaged in the disability rights movement, government bureaucrats, professionals in the field of disability and people working in non-governmental organizations such as community organizations and advocacy groups.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend refereed conferences, publish in refereed journals and produce op-ed pieces right from your first year.

The PhD, a pioneering program in Canada, offers a comprehensive curriculum covering major scholarly perspectives. It is offered on a full-time basis only.

The program structure and environment encourages advanced research, new scholarship and other opportunities to contribute to the field, enabling a multi-disciplinary group of students to explore disability from a critical perspective in relation to social policy, social justice, human rights issues, and social movements in Canada and internationally.

Latest labour negotiation update at http://labour.yorku.ca.

Important Dates, Deadlines & Upcoming Events



The Faculty of Graduate Studies will be hosting a Graduate Student Social.

Date: Tuesday, 4th September 2018

Time: 12pm to 2pm (pizza lunch will be served)

Location: Scott Libary, 2nd Floor, Collaboratory

Current News & Announcements

Congratulations to PhD student in Critical Disability Studies, Michelle Shelley who is attending, as a Canadian delegate, the 2nd International Correctional Research Symposium in Prague, Czech Republic, from May 8th to 10th 2018.

April is National Poetry Month - and don't be mistaken that poetry has nothing to do with scholarly work in Health Studies as shown by Critical Disability Studies Graduate Program Director, and Associate Professor, nancy viva davis halifax. Her 2015 poetry collection Hook - "describes the experiences of women living in emergency shelters and on the streets of Toronto" - was mentioned by Mark Abley, editor (and poet himself) of the McGill-Queen's University Press (MQUP) in a recent article "Green Notes in the Field".

Congratulations to Emily McIntytre who defended her Major Research Paper (MRP) Accessible Tourism in Nepal: Deconstructing Space and the Meaning of Risk on 30th January 2018.

Congratulations to Alexis Buettgen who defended her Doctoral Dissertation From the Standpoint of People with Disabilities: An Institutional Analysis of Work in the Non-profit Sector on 6th February 2018. This is the culmination of many years of dedicated and hard-work as a PhD student in the Critical Disability Studies graduate program. Well done Alexis!

Congratulations to Charles Anyinam who defended his Doctoral Dissertation Work Experience of Nurses with Self-Identified Disabilities on 29th January 2018. Charles is an accomplished registered nurse and educator with extensive teaching experience in nursing at the baccalaureate level. He has served in academic administrative leadership and made contributions to faculty governance. His recognition includes the 2013 Registered Nurses Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) Leadership Award in Nursing Education, and the Dean's Teaching Award (Early Career), York University's Faculty of Health, 2009. Great work Charles and well deserved!

Congratulations to PhD Candidate in the Critical Disability Studies graduate program, Douglas Waxman, who was recently elected President of the Board of ARCH Disability Law Centre.

Recent Publications & Awards

OCGS Review Results

We are pleased to announce that the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS) has approved the recommendation of the Appraisal Committee that our MA/PhD program be classified as Good Quality - the best possible rating bestowed by OCGS!

Congratulations to PhD student in Critical Disability Studies, Michelle Shelley who has been awarded the Penelope Jane Glasser Graduate Award for $8,000. The scholarship assists York students returning to university from a work or family career, who are pursuing a graduate degree in interdisciplinary studies or in interdisciplinary fields such as education, social work or women's studies.  Students must also have a minimum A average grade and be a full-time student. This is terrific news for Michelle!

Congratulations to PhD student in Critical Disability Studies, Sukaina Dada as the 2017 Award Recipient for SMILE Canada at the recent City of Toronto Access Award ceremony. Sukaina had an opportunity to be honoured by Toronto Mayor John Tory at the event, and also address the crowd by speaking at the event.


Congratulations to PhD student in Critical Disability Studies, Douglas Waxman for his recent book chapter 5, Model of Successful Corporate Culture Change Integrating Employees with Disabilities, in Volume 10, Factors in Studying Employment for Persons with Disability: How the Picture Can Change, as part of the book series: Research in Social Science and Disability.

PhD Candidate in Critical Disability Studies, Yvonne Simpson

We are delighted to announce PhD student in Critical Disability Studies, Yvonne Simpson  is awarded a Nathanson Graduate Fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year, funded by the endowment fund of the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security. Nathanson Graduate Fellowships are awarded annually to high-achieving graduate students undertaking excellent research related to the Centre's mandate. This year, the amount of the fellowshipfor PhD candidates is $10,000.

Nathanson Fellows are expected to participate actively in all collegial activities of the
Centre, in line with their research interest and further training for possible careers in the
academy. From time to time, they are also offered opportunities to volunteer their time and ideas in ways that contribute to the endeavours of the Centre and its associate researchers. To keep abreast of the activities of the Centre, you are invited to consult regularly the Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre website on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security.

Congratulations to PhD student in Critical Disability Studies,  Estée Klar-Wolfond for winning a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) award for her doctoral research titled Enacting intra-ethnography for inclusive autism pedagogy.

Estée Klar-Wolfond, PhD Candidate

Congratulations to PhD student in Critical Disability Studies, Tracy Mack for winning a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) award for her doctoral research entitled Reforming Policies? Coroner's Inquests and Psychiatrized Individuals.

Tracy Mack, PhD Candidate

Tammy Bernasky and JoAnn Purcell, PhD students in Critical Disability Studies have been awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS). The OGS is awarded to eligible students who pursue graduate studies in order to complete a Master's degree, PhD or Doctorate at a university in Ontario who maintains a minimum academic standard of an "A-" or 80% average over two years of study.

Tammy Bernasky, PhD Candidate

JoAnn Purcell, PhD Candidate

Congratulations Tammy and JoAnn on your identified skills and academic ability!


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