Health Promotion

Certificate of Interdisciplinary Disability Studies in Public Health

The purpose of the Certificate of Interdisciplinary Disability Studies in Public Health is to build and support a workforce with the knowledge and skills to meet the unique needs of those with disabilities and to be agents of change.

This Certificate uses the 10 Essential Public Health Services as a framework to examine the health inequities experienced by persons with disabilities and to address issues of access and inclusion in health and community participation. Graduate level students from public health and related disciplines demonstrate competency in disability and public health through completed work that aligns with the Including People with Disabilities: Public Health Workforce Competencies.

There are four courses which are provided in an online, asynchronous, structured format.

PUBH 5501: Foundations of Public Health and Disability

Description: The course is an introductory survey of the ways in which disability, both developmental and acquired, is affected by, and interacts with, public health policy and practice. Upon completion of this course students will have a foundational understanding of a comprehensive set of issues of both acquired and developmental disability as related to the core elements of public health as framed by the 10 Essential Public Health Services.

Semester: Fall

PUBH 5502: Epidemiology of Disability

Description: This course introduces epidemiologic research design and delves deeply into epidemiology as it applies to monitoring the health status of people with disabilities, diagnosing and investigating health problems, evaluating personal and population-based interventions, and conduct of research as uniquely affecting and affected by disability. It also critically examines sources of public health and epidemiologic data that exist. As part of the Certificate of Interdisciplinary Disability Studies in Public Health (Disability Certificate), the course aligns with the 10 Essential Public Health Services.

Semester: Spring

Recommended pre-requisite: PUBH 5501

PUBH 5503: Disability Law, Policy, Ethics and Advocacy

Description: Introduction to policy and law affecting people with disabilities and public health approaches to meeting their individual needs as well as the needs of broader populations. Federal disability laws are reviewed in terms of both their implications and the implications of public health ethics on people with disabilities. Reviews the role courts have played in further shaping disability policy and the influence of public health ethics and the disability rights movement on decision-making in public health. Policy, legal and advocacy implications for public health at the international level, and essential tools for enforcing laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety and for developing new policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts inclusive of people with disabilities.

Semester: Fall

Recommended pre-requisite: PUBH 5501

PUBH 5504: Public Health Interventions in Disability

Description: This course is the final course in the Certificate of Interdisciplinary Disability Studies in Public Health (Disability Certificate). It aligns with the 10 Essential Public Health Services. It critically examines public health systems and programs across the lifespan available to people with disabilities that impact health. It extends on foundational principles that are evidence-based and driven by epidemiologic studies of disability within the context of existing laws and policies.

Semester: Spring

Recommended pre-requisites: PUBH 5501, 5502, and 5503

Want to know more? Open this document.

Have questions? Contact Dr. Tara Lutz at or 860-679-1500.

Ready to apply? Click here to begin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to earn the Certificate? 

Those with at least a bachelor’s degree can submit an application to earn the Disability Certificate.

Do I need to be a UConn student?

No! Current UConn students, working professionals, and those who live outside of Connecticut are eligible to apply.

What are the course requirements?

The Certificate is comprised of four, 3-credit graduate courses. Each course is offered in an online, asynchronous, structured format. The courses are not self-paced; there are weekly time and date requirements for work to be submitted. There are no tests or quizzes.

When are the courses offered?

Courses are 15 weeks in length and follow the UConn academic calendar. Historically two (2) courses are offered in fall semester and two (2) courses in spring semester.

What is the weekly time commitment?

Each course is 15 weeks. As each course is a 3-credit graduate course, students should expect to commit at least nine (9) hours each week to course material.

How long does it take to earn the Certificate?

The Certificate can be earned in 1-2 years. If students complete one course each semester, the Certificate is earned after two (2) academic years. If students complete two courses each semester, the Certificate is earned after one academic year.

Where are the courses held?

The courses are completed within HuskyCT, UConn’s version of Blackboard. There is no physical meeting time or place.


  • 227 students have taken at least one course
  • 18 students from 8 disciplines have earned the certificate
  • Certificate is referenced in peer-reviewed publications and textbooks as an example of how to embed disability content into public health and health education curricula


Lutz, T. M. & Bruder, M. B. (2019). An outcome evaluation study of the UConn Online Graduate Courses of the Certificate of Interdisciplinary Disability Studies in Public Health. Review of Disability Studies, 15(4), 1-26.