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, Deadlines & Upcoming Events

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.

Several Critical Disability Studies graduates have worked on supporting a new documentary called “The Pandemic of Denial” which explores the chronic pain crisis in North America and shares the stories of the often unheard voices of pain patients who are abandoned by both society and the medical system. The documentary is expected to be released in Spring of 2018.

Current News & Announcements

Congratulations to former MA student in Critical Disability Studies, and now current PhD student in Health Policy & Equity, Samadhi Mora Severino and her son Ethan who recently provided statements at a Queen's Park Conference with Ontario Disability Coalition. The issue pertains to inequitable access to therapies for children with disabilities, including Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT), Speech Language Pathologist work (SPL), and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

See the following links for each statement and entire Press Conference.

  1. Ethan's statement
  2. Samadhi's statement
  3. The Entire Press Conference


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, 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!


Related Links