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CEHD and U of M Word Marks


206 Burton Hall
178 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-3377

Undergraduate Studies:

Graduate Studies:


Disability Policy and Services Graduate Certificate


Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and may be submitted at any time.

Apply Online

Application Instructions


The certificate in disability policy and services is designed to allow graduate students, as well as community professionals, to study policies and services that affect the lives of children, youth, and adults with disabilities.

The 12-credit program surveys the spectrum of education, health, and social services available to individuals with disabilities and their families, and examines the public and private networks of disability services from an interdisciplinary perspective. While the program addresses the needs of people with all types of disabilities, it emphasizes developmental disabilities across the lifespan.

The program's individualized learning experience (ILE) requires students to integrate theory with practice by completing a disability-related research project or working directly with people with disabilities in settings such as schools, recreation centers, or human-service agencies.

Completion of certificate requirements will be noted on the student's transcript. The certificate has been approved as training for designated coordinators by the Minnesota Department of Human Services DHS). Candidates for state certification must complete additional requirements.

The certificate program is a collaborative effort of the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development and Institute on Community Integration (ICI) in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). ICI is a federally-designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, committed to improving community services and social supports for persons with disabilities and their families.


The certificate program has three required components: a three-credit interdisciplinary core course; six credits of specialized course work; and an individualized learning experience (ILE) accompanied by six interdisciplinary reflection groups. Students are encouraged to work with their advisers and the ICI certificate coordinator to plan their programs. Coursework applied to the certificate must be taken A-F.

Required course (3 credits)

This course provides a broad overview of disability policy and services, and introduces students to philosophical approaches to service provision, the evolution of policies and services affecting people with disabilities, and contemporary approaches to providing services to people with disabilities throughout the life cycle.

Specialized coursework (6 credits taken with approval from the ICI certificate coordinator)

This component broadens the student's level of knowledge in disability policies and services. Students must choose from courses offered across the University focusing on disability policy, disability services, and/or interdisciplinary teaming, such as communication disorders, family social science, kinesiology, nursing, public affairs, or social work.

A list of more than 50 approved courses is available from the ICI certificate coordinator.

Individualized learning experience (ILE) and interdisciplinary reflection groups (3 credits/200 hours)

This component allows students to integrate and apply the information they have learned in coursework. Students work with the ICI certificate coordinator to design an individualized learning experience (ILE) in which they work with persons who have disabilities in settings like schools, recreation centers, health clinics, or human-service agencies. Students with considerable direct experience may alternatively design a project focusing on disability-related research, policy advocacy, governmental services, or other agency activities. The ILE can be completed in one or two semesters, but must total at least three credits and at least 200 hours. 3 credits to be taken with approval from the ICI certificate coordinator.

Students also participate in at least six, one-hour interdisciplinary reflection groups to discuss relevant topics and ways to integrate field experiences with coursework. Reflection groups are offered throughout the year, including the summer session.


Admission is open to degree-seeking or non-degree seeking students who meet the following criteria:

Students must complete all program requirements within five years after program admission, and must maintain a minimum 3.00 GPA. To stay in good program standing, students must carry no more than three credits of incomplete coursework and must respond to an annual survey updating their current status in the program.

How to Apply

Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and may be submitted at any time.

Application Materials

All applicants must submit the following items:

Application Instructions

Nonnative English Speakers and/or International Students

All nonnative English speakers must submit an official score report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum score requirements are:

Program Completion

Final certificate clearance depends on completion of all course requirements, including the posting of final grades to the student’s transcript, and approval by program faculty.

In addition to completing all program requirements, students must complete the online Application for Degree form (see instructions).

CEHD Graduate Student Operations clears certificates on a monthly basis. Forms must be submitted on or before the first day of the month that the student intends to graduate. Students who submit forms after the first day of the month will be cleared to graduate at the end of the following month.

Successful completion of the certificate will be noted on the student's official University of Minnesota transcript and an official certificate will be issued.


For more information about this program, contact:

Beth Fondell, Certificate Coordinator
Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota
103 Pattee Hall
150 Pillsbury Drive S.E.
Minneapolis MN 55455

Revised October 10, 2016