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


Current News & Announcements

It is with deep sadness that we report the death of Dr. Marcia Rioux, a York University Distinguished Research Professor; recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Ontario Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award (2013), and the Order of Canada (2014) among other awards. Marcia passed away at home on Monday September 20th surrounded by her partner and family. Many of you had the opportunity to get to know and work with Marcia, engage with her incredible body of scholarship, witness her passion and activism for international disability rights and human rights and her legacy as the inaugural chair of SHPM, the founder of our Critical Disability Studies Program and co-founder of Disability Rights Promotion International. Marcia’s name in the School of Health Policy & Management will live on in the form of our newly launched graduate student scholarship titled, The Marcia H. Rioux Award in Critical Disability Studies, Human Rights, and Social Justice.  We will be honoring her during upcoming events related to the school’s 20th Anniversary.

We are so excited to announce two winners of the SHPM first annual graduate student paper award on anti-Black racism in the fields of health and disability in Canada, and interventions to policy, practice and alternatives from community activism and organizations!

The award is being jointly conferred to PhD students, Angelique Gordon and Chanelle Perrier-Telemaque, for their respective papers. Congratulations!

Angelique's paper discusses the phenomenon of “collective colonial trauma”. In particular, she explores Frantz Fanon’s writings in-depth as his work demonstrated the strong link between the colonial environment, anti-Black racism and Black peoples’ mental wellbeing. Chanelle's paper explores the material implications of disability discourses like #Blackgirlmagic to discuss the way in which the strong Black woman as a discourse of disability materially informs Black women’s experiences of wellness using a Black feminist disability approach.

Left: Angelique Right: Chanelle

(photo descriptions: On the left, a close up of Black woman with glasses smiling; on the right a Black woman standing against a wall, visible from the shoulders up, smiling widely)

CDS MA grad Dr. Sona Kazemi delivers Disability Studies lecture at the University of Washington.

CDS MA graduate Tamia Knight speaking on Breakfast television on behalf of the Children’s Aid Foundation.


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