(Revised January 2023)

Students are expected to complete three courses among the following options. It is not recommended to complete more than one course within each option because the content of these courses overlaps. Courses can be taken in any order. DDHS students receive priority enrollment in most, but not all, courses. Click here to download a course checklist. 

  1. Introduction to Special Education (EDUC 325)
  2. Impact of Disabilities on Families (PSYCH 481)*
  3. Choice of:
    1. Intellectual Disability: Concepts and Controversies (PSYCH 480)*
    2. International Disability Policy (PSYCH 391DR)*
    3. International Perspectives on Disability (PSYCH 490P)*
  4. Choice of:
    1. Autism Spectrum Disorder (PSYCH 397D)*
    2. Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (COMMDIS 540)
  5. Choice of:
    1. Applied Behavior Analysis (PSYCH 581)*1
    2. Behavior Analysis in Applied Settings (EDUC 532)
  6. Choice of:
    1. Disability Advocacy and its History (EDUC 397D)
    2. Disability Advocacy: Past and Present (PSYCH 597D)*
  7. Choice of:
    1. Introduction to Disability Studies (PSYCH 391SV)*
    2. Disability Identity: Intersections of Race, Gender and Sexuality (PSYCH 391DG)*
  8. Choice of:
    1. Honors thesis focused on disability
    2. Independent study focused on disability

* Priority enrollment for DDHS students
1This course is no longer offered


Course offerings are listed here for your convenience. Please check Spire for the most up to date information. For future semesters, the days and times are preliminary and subject to university approval.


DDHS students should register for all courses through Spire. Students outside DDHS can request registration in courses with priority registration for DDHS students using the link of the DDHS homepage. Registration for those courses will open to non-DDHS students after one month of registration.

These classes fill up very quickly, so sign up as soon as possible. Students are not guaranteed registration in the courses in any given semester, but all students admitted to DDHS are expected to be able to complete the courses before they graduate. Do NOT wait until your last semester at UMass to register for all required courses! 


Can these courses apply to a major in Psychology?

Yes. Several courses count toward the seminar/small course requirement and others count toward the elective requirement. There is no limit to the number of courses you can apply to the DDHS letter of specialization and the Psychology major. Click here for additional information on how to meet Psychology requirements with DDHS courses.

Can these courses apply toward a minor in Psychology?

Yes. All of the PSYCH courses for the DDHS program count toward the minor (e.g., PSYCH 391DR, 480, 481, 397D, 490P, 581). There is no limit to the number of courses you can apply to the DDHS letter of specialization and the Psychology minor. Internship credits do not count toward the minor. Click here for more information about declaring the minor.

When can I take these classes?

You can take these classes at any point, but you may find it difficult to get into the classes as freshmen or sophomores based on Spire registration seniority.

Which course should I take first?

It’s recommended that you take the PSYCH 480/391DR requirement first, or at least at the same time, as the other courses.

How many courses can I take at the same time?

There is no official limit to the number of courses you can take in the same semester, but it’s generally advised not to take all of them at the same time. Many students take two of the courses at the same time without a problem.

Do I have to take courses before the internship?

Unless you have a lot of prior experience working with people with disabilities, it’s recommended that you take at least one of the DDHS courses (usually PSYCH 480 or 391DR) before your internship.

How will I know if I am added from the waitlist?

If you are in the DDHS program, you can add yourself to the waitlist on Spire to get added to the course automatically when a spot opens. If there is no room left on that waitlist, you can add your name to the waitlist linked to the home page. You will be notified by email if you are added to a course from that waitlist.

When will the courses be offered?

Scheduling is not always up to the discretion of the DDHS program director or instructor. Information on course offerings is posted to the DDHS website when this information becomes available.