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.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Financial Bursary for Students with Disability

Awards for students with disabilities are administered by Student Financial Services. The SFP must be submitted by January 19, 2018. A hardcopy of the Awards for Students with Disabilities 2017-2018 form (.pdf) along with the required supporting documentation, including a print out of the SFP, must be submitted to the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies by January 19, 2018. The Faculty of Graduate Studies will then provide the information to Student Financial Services.

Current News & Announcements

Professor Marcia Rioux

On the 23rd of September 2017, Professor Marcia Rioux, of the Critical Disability Studies Graduate program at York University, received a plaque of recognition during the 3rd Annual Dinner of Hope in Markham from The Philippine Working Group International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation. Dr. Rioux is the recipient of the 2017 Apolinario Mabinia Memorial Lecture in recognition of her work in promoting social justice and for advancing the rights of persons with disabilities.

A project funded by the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation (ICDR) Philippines has also been named after Dr. Rioux. The project, managed by the Autism Society of the Philippines is called The Dr. Marcia Rioux Project - AutisMall Pilipinas.

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, 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, Sukaina Dada for being awarded the McMaster University Distinguished Rehabilitation Science Alumni Award in Occupational Therapy. The Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 2012 in conjunction with the McMaster's 125 Anniversary and the 20th class graduating from the School of Rehabilitation. The award acknowledges graduates from McMaster University, from the Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation Science, and Health Management programs.

We are proud of Sukaina's continuing accomplishments here at York University in the Critical Disability Studies graduate program as she continues her doctoral education.

PhD Candidate Sukaina Dada (on the right)

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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