DPI-515: Disability Law and Policy

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Michael Stein Photo

Michael Stein

According to World Bank estimates, persons with disabilities comprise 15% of the global population, or more than one billion individuals. Nevertheless, until the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the world's largest minority group was largely excluded from global human rights protection (e.g., UN human rights treaty work), global initiatives (notably the Millennium Development Goals), and national level law and policy programming, with the majority of States having internally uncoordinated health or social welfare initiatives. The CRPD has now been ratified by nearly all of the 193 UN Member States, making it the fastest ratified human rights treaty, and nearly universal in scope. Meanwhile, the MDGs successor program, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by consensus at the UN in 2016 and require the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their social transformation mandate. In consequence of these global schemes, States are struggling to develop coordinated and efficient national level programming for their disabled populations, until-now their typically neglected yet largest minority group. This course examines how States develop national level programming to include persons with disabilities across a variety of sectors including health, education, employment, community inclusion, and social welfare and development. Throughout the course we will examine critically the tension between human rights and their aspiration of full human flourishing and the constraints placed upon States by resource, social, cultural, and other limitations. The instructor participated in the negotiation of the CRPD and has since been involved in disability law, policy, and development initiatives in some forty-four countries. He has also been consulted by UN agencies on disability law and policy programming, including the SDGs, and will draw on these experiences when analyzing how States respond to their legal and policy obligations. We will be joined by a variety of guests with international experience who will help us contextualize how disability-related policy work is implemented on the ground. 

No exam. Students prepare a policy memo during the course and submit it before 10.00am EST on May 14 by email (not via Canvas).

All faculty

Michael Ashley Stein

Visiting professor of law.

Michael Ashley Stein

Professor Michael Ashley Stein is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School since 2005. Considered one of the world’s leading experts on disability law and policy, Dr. Stein participated in the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; works with disabled peoples’ organizations and non-governmental organizations around the world; actively consults with governments on their disability laws and policies; advises an array of UN bodies and national human rights institutions; and has brought landmark disability rights litigation globally. Professor Stein has received numerous awards in recognition of his transformative work, including the National Order of Merit (Ecuador), the inaugural Morton E. Ruderman Prize for Inclusion; the inaugural Henry Viscardi Achievement Award; and the ABA Paul G. Hearne Award. His authoritative and path-breaking scholarship of 262 publications and 10 edited volumes have been published worldwide by leading journals and academic presses and has been supported by fellowships and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research, among others. Dr. Stein teaches at Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Extension School; holds an Extraordinary Professorship at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights; and is a visiting professor at the Free University of Amsterdam’s Athena Institute. He earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School (where he became the first known person with a disability to be a member of the Harvard Law Review), and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University (full tuition plus stipend via a W.M. Tapp Studentship). Professor Stein previously was Professor (and Cabell Professor) at William & Mary Law School, and taught at New York University School of Law and Stanford Law School. He was appointed by President Obama to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

  • Ph.D. Cambridge University, 1998
  • M.A. Cambridge University, 1995
  • J.D. Harvard Law School, 1988
  • B.A. Politics New York University, 1985

Representative Publications

  • Disability, Health, Law, and Bioethics (I. Glenn Cohen, Carmel Shachar, Anita Silvers & Michael Ashley Stein eds., 2020).
  • Michael Evan Waterstone, Michael Ashley Stein & David B. Wilkins, Disability Cause Lawyers , 53 Wm. & Mary L. Rev . 1287 (2012).
  • David B. Wilkins, Michael Ashley Stein & Michael E. Waterstone, Cause Lawyering for People with Disabilities , 123 Harv. L. Rev . 1658 (2010)(reviewing Samuel Bagenstos , Law and the Contradictions of the Disability Rights Movement (2009)).
  • William P. Alford & Michael Ashley Stein, Youngberg v. Romeo, in Encyclopedia of American Disability History , 989 (Susan Burch ed., Facts on File Library of American History, 2009).

View all publications by Michael Ashley Stein

Texas Center for Disabilities home

Doctoral Portfolio in Disability Studies

Steve hicks school of social work, texas center for disability studies, school of nursing, college of education, college of fine arts, and college of liberal arts.

The Doctoral level portfolio program in Disability Studies (DS) is designed to broaden a student’s conception of disability with a focus on the social context and cultural representations of disability. Disability Studies is an interdisciplinary approach that adds breadth to the traditional, primarily medical, view of disability. Disability Studies reframes the study of disability with a social/cultural/political paradigm, using a minority group model to critically examine existing beliefs, images, ideologies, policies, and stereotypes about disability. The  Doctoral  level portfolio program is designed to support future researchers in Disability Studies as well as develop leaders in this emerging field.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the DS Doctoral Portfolio  program will be selective and the DS Steering Committee reserves the right to admit or reject applicants.

Successful applicants to the  DS Doctoral Portfolio  will have met the admission standards required by the Graduate School and by their primary Doctoral degree program. Students may enter the DS portfolio program at any point in their graduate work, but it is recommended that they do so as soon as they decide to pursue the portfolio. The application should include:

  • A statement of purpose, including previous experience related to individuals with disabilities, relationship of DS to the student’s program of studies, and relationship of DS to future career goals.
  • Proof of enrollment and good academic standing in an approved graduate degree program.
  • Consent from the student’s Graduate Advisor or Dissertation Supervisor for participation in the DS portfolio area.

Course Requirements

Coursework for the DS Doctoral Portfolio will consist of four (4) thematically related courses, or twelve (12) semester hours. At least two courses will be from the DS core courses offered through the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, and at least two of the courses will be outside the student’s academic department. Click here to view core courses.

Research Experience Requirements

In addition to the successful completion of the course sequence, students will participate in a research-based experience. This research may be part of a student’s dissertation; however, it should have one or more of the following:

  • Involve the conceptualization and production of a research proposal involving individuals with disabilities and/or family members.
  • Involve actual data collection or data analysis on a project involving individuals with disabilities.
  • Create a written product, i.e., a literature review, a research grant proposal, or an article for publication.

DS Doctoral Portfolio Plan

Once a student is accepted into the DS Doctoral Portfolio program, the student will meet with a designated faculty DS Steering Committee member to develop an individualized course plan. The DS Doctoral Portfolio Program Plan includes course selections and a research experience description. Students will be responsible for verifying the course plan with their Graduate Advisor or Faculty Advisor, and updating and maintaining the plan in concert with the designated DS Steering Committee member.

Students must keep the steering committee representative updated each semester on their progress. In addition, when nearing graduation, students must obtain approval from the DS Portfolio committee for their completed portfolio.

Upon Completion

Students satisfactorily completing the requirements of the DS Doctoral Portfolio and their primary Doctoral degree program will be awarded a Portfolio Certificate and notation on their official university transcript.

Getting Started

To begin your application, e-mail us with your interests and intentions. Upon approval submit a brief letter of intent and purpose, proof of active full-time enrollment at The University of Texas at Austin, and approval from your academic advisor.  Additionally, complete as much as you can of the  Disability Studies Doctoral Portfolio Program Plan  (download the document from "additional resources" section on this webpage) and submit all materials either in person (by appointment) or U.S. Mail; because the application includes confidential student information, it is preferred that you not e-mail your application.  After your application is reviewed, you will be contacted for any further information and discussions and, if accepted, you will be welcomed into the program and assigned to an advisor.

For more information contact:

Additional Resources

  • Doctoral Portfolio Program Plan

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Ready to apply?

Before you start, check out our admission criteria on the Before You Apply page to make sure you meet all the requirements.

Completed application packets are due December 15.

Incomplete applications will NOT be reviewed.

  • Application

Transcripts

Statement of academic interests.

  • Three letters of recommendation

Curriculum vitae

Writing sample, interview (final candidates only), official uic application.

Submit your application online via the UIC Website —just follow the instructions listed there. There is a non-refundable application fee of $70 for all applicants.

You don’t have to enter and submit all application information in one sitting. You can return to the system as many times as you need to. You can also return to the system checklist as often as you like to see what materials have been uploaded and verified as received.

Upload transcripts from each university and college attended.

The GRE is no longer required. We are currently in the process of formally removing it from the application.

Your statement of academic interests should include the following information:

  • Describe your professional and/or personal background. (300 words or less)
  • Describe your dissertation research interests. (300 words or less)
  • Why do you want to do a PhD in Disability Studies at UIC and why now? (150 words or less)
  • How will having a PhD in Disability Studies help with your future career goals? (150 words or less)
  • List three faculty that align with your research interests who could serve as your PhD mentor. Briefly outline why you want to be mentored by these faculty. Visit our department directory and use the filter by program feature to help you find the faculty in the PhD in Disability Studies. (150 words or less)
  • Is there any other information you want the Academic Affairs Committee to know? (150 words or less)

Letters of recommendation

Submit three letters of recommendation in support of your application.

People who can comment meaningfully on your work in academic and professional settings are best suited to submit recommendations. Don’t seek recommendations from peers, family, friends or social acquaintances.

After submitting the application and fee online (typically the next business day), you’ll be sent further instructions to generate requests to your recommenders for letters. Each person should submit their recommendation online.

Submit a current CV, including scholarly activities and publications to date.

Include a writing sample no more than one year old and no longer than 25 pages. This should be a formal piece of research (e.g., a class paper, a chapter from your thesis, a publication paper where you are the sole author).

If you don’t have a formal writing sample, please include an informal writing sample that provides a sense of your voice, skill, and interests as a writer (e.g., an opinion piece, a blog entry, a one page statement on a topic of choice).

Applicants will be notified if they are selected to proceed as a Final Candidate for admission. At this stage, the Final Candidates selected will participate in an invite only interview before a final decision is made.

International students

If English is not your native language, you must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the exam of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Scores must be submitted to UIC directly using the institutional code 1851.

We require a minimum score of 550 for the paper-based TOEFL. The minimum score for the internet-based TOEFL is 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21.

Minimum scores for IELTS are 6.5 for the total score, 6.0 for each of the four subsections.

Declaration and Certification of Finances

The Declaration and Certification of Finances form must be signed by you and your sponsor.

If you have questions about the application process, contact DHD’s Office of Student Affairs.

You can contact DHD's Office of Student Affairs:

[email protected]

312-996-1508

1640 West Roosevelt Road 207 DHSP (MC 626) Chicago, IL 60608-6904

Helpful links

  • Document upload guide
  • UIC application process overview

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Disability Studies PhD

University of bristol, different course options.

  • Key information

Course Summary

Tuition fees, entry requirements, similar courses at different universities, key information data source : idp connect, qualification type.

PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

Subject areas

Sociology Of Health And Sickness Communication For And With People With Disabilities

Course type

The School for Policy Studies links theory, policy and practice in a multidisciplinary, research-intensive environment. Our research engages with and influences national and international policy. Our policy experts come from a wide variety of backgrounds in social policy research, social work, sociology, gender violence, disability studies, health and social care, childhood studies, history, human geography, economics, psychology, physical activity, nutrition and health sciences.

Our research examines policy areas that affect us all in day-to-day life, influences and challenges policies implemented by governments and institutions, and investigates the issues, factors and attitudes underlying the social concerns that make the headlines every day.

We have seven specialist research centres, including the Norah Fry Research Centre for Disability Studies. The Norah Fry Centre is a leading national centre of excellence for applied social research and teaching, making a positive difference to the lives of disabled people. The centre explores policies, practices or societal issues from the point of view of people with disabilities, recognising and valuing their human rights.

The school is an exciting environment for graduate studies; we welcome graduate students from the UK and around the world to join our diverse and highly-rated research team. We particularly welcome applications on topics with direct relevance to national and international policy and social work concerns.

UK fees Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)

International fees Course fees for EU and international students

An upper second-class honours degree and a pass at MSc/MA level (or equivalent experience/qualification).

Epidemiology and Population Health MPhil

London school of hygiene & tropical medicine, university of london, epidemiology and population health phd, health, wellbeing and society mres, university of bath, global health: society, culture and behaviour ma, royal holloway, university of london, ma public health, nottingham trent university.

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News & Events PhD Scholarship at University of Galway on Disability Law

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PhD Scholarship at University of Galway on Disability Law

  • Constitutional law and disability rights
  • The CRPD with particular reference to any of the following rights, employment education, mental health, legal capacity, law reform
  • EU Disability Law & Policy
  • Disability, discrimination & employment
  • Disability and the criminal justice system

Entry criteria

A minimum 2:1 Honours (or equivalent grade) UG and/or PG Degree in law or a related discipline (philosophy, social science etc). In exceptional circumstances a 2.2 would be considered where the candidate had significant practical or lived experience in the field.

A 1st Class Honours (or equivalent grade) UG and/or PG Degree in law or a related discipline (philosophy, social science etc).

The scholarship is funded for a maximum of 4 years. It will cover full fees for the successful candidate, in addition to a stipend of €18,500 per annum. Nevertheless, the successful candidate will be expected to apply for Irish Research Council (IRC) and University of Galway scholarships in the first year of their degree. 

Application

Interested candidates should complete this Proposal Form ‌, and submit a CV and an academic writing sample (e.g. article, course essay, dissertation) by 5pm, 28th July 2023  to   [email protected] and/or [email protected] . Informal inquiries can be sent to the same addresses. Candidates may be invited to interview.

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The Harvard Law School Project on Disability is managed by the following:

Professor William P. Alford

William P. Alford

Chair, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

Michael Stein photo

Michael Ashley Stein

Executive Director, Harvard Law School Project on Disability, Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School

Anne Fracht

Anne Fracht

Self-Advocacy Associate, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

Fengming Cui standing in front of staircase.

Fengming Cui

Director of China Program, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

Hezzy Smith

Hezzy Smith

Director of Advocacy Initiatives, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

Juliet Bowler

Juliet Bowler

Senior Program Manager, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

Photo of Jonathan L. Kempner, white man in purple shirt.

Jonathan L. Kempner

Counselor to the Harvard Law School Project on Disability

A colorful digital painting of a cornflower blue and ocean green human figure sitting cross-legged in front of a golden bird cage on a pale green background. The figure wears a graduation cap and has a pink and yellow phoenix emblazoned over their heart. Behind the figure, white sheets of paper and pink hibiscus flowers float through the air. Pink and coral roads swirl through the image. The figure sits at their crossing.

Welcome to Disability Studies

Disability Studies gives students tools to analyze how societies and individuals grapple with physical and mental differences, and explores how disability is embedded in culture and shaped by stigma and social power. ( image credit )

A deeper understanding of disability

Students increasingly recognize that gaining a deeper understanding of disability experience is a critical element in their education, and one that will help prepare them for a growing number of careers. Drawing from rich offerings in disciplines as varied as anthropology, bioethics, English, health systems administration, nursing, philosophy, psychology, theater and performance studies, theology, and women’s and gender studies, the minor in disability studies will enable students to explore this critical facet of human diversity in an in-depth fashion as it relates to their major field of study and to their professional aspirations.

Want to become a Disability Studies Minor?

We ask that all students interested in declaring the minor this Fall complete the interest form by March 31st. If you have questions, please email Professor Kukla at  [email protected]  or Professor Rifkin at  [email protected] .

Featured Stories

phd in disability law

DS Faculty Grant Project: “Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities in Turkiye”

DS Faculty Toby Long and Sylvia Önder have received a Georgetown Global Engagement Grant to do a workshop in Turkey called “Early Intervention for Infants andToddlers with Disabilities in Turkiye”.…

October 20, 2023

Image description: Elliot sits, facing the camera and smiling. He has short, pink hair and a nose piercing and is wearing a knit, cream colored sweater. Ben stands and smiles at the camera. He has short, slightly curly brown hair and is wearing a blue suit with a red striped tie. And Dillion smiles at the camera and is wearing a black sweater. She has blonde hair that is pulled back.

2023 Learning in Practice Fellowships Awarded

This year, with support from the Provost’s Innovation in Teaching Award as well as generous funding from Catrina and Alessandro Guerrini-Maraldi (Parents‘24), the Disability Studies Program has granted three Learning in Practice Fellowships to Elliot Lloyd (C‘24), Ben Oestericher (SFS‘25) and Dillon Leet (L‘25).

March 6, 2023

From left to right: Lily Touret (MSB '23), Winnie Ho (CAS'25), Jamia Ross (SOH '22), LaHannah Giles (CAS'23), Natalie Price-Fudge (CAS'26)

Did the Suffragist Movement Rely on Racism? New Play Explores Hidden History

“‘Bitter Flower’ is about a profound conflict between Jane Addams and Ida B. Wells-Barnett,” explains Fink, a professor in the Department of English and core faculty in the Disability Studies Program. “The play asks us to confront the racist foundations of the women’s suffrage movement so a truly egalitarian movement can flower.”

November 4, 2022

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School for Policy Studies

Phd disability studies.

phd in disability law

The School for Policy Studies links theory, policy and practice in a multidisciplinary, research-intensive environment. Our research engages with and influences national and international policy.

Our team of policy experts come from a wide variety of backgrounds in social policy research, social work, sociology, poverty, gender violence, disability studies, health and social care, urban studies history, human geography, economics, psychology, physical activity nutrition and health sciences, family and child welfare, based within seven specialist research centres.

Our research examines policy areas that affect us all in day-to-day life, influences and challenges policies implemented by governments and institutions at a local, national and international level and investigates the issues, factors and attitudes underlying and impacting the social concerns that make our headlines every day.

The school is an exciting environment for graduate studies; we welcome graduate students from the UK and around the world to join our diverse and highly-rated research team. We particularly welcome applications on topics with direct relevance to national and international policy concerns.

Our new 'integrated' PhD model

Alongside the traditional approach to the PhD format, the school is now pleased to offer a new ‘integrated’ model which takes the form of a series of linked chapters, incorporating distinct but related studies and/or papers, instead of the standard final 80,000 word thesis. Discussions will be held with each student about the most appropriate format for their dissertation, taking into account their research subject and proposed methodology, and their own preferences.

Apply online

Applying to bristol.

  • How to apply
  • What you will need
  • Studying at Bristol
  • Fees and funding ‌

phd in disability law

I am really enjoying my time in Bristol; it is a very comfortable place to live. It is not busy like London, but you can find anything you want and the people are very nice.

Staff research interests

You can find the names of academic staff and their research interests listed within their respective research centres .

School admissions: [email protected] +44 (0)117 954 6785

School for Policy Studies University of Bristol 8 Priory Road Bristol, BS8 1TZ

Disability Studies at UCLA Redefining Normal

Since 2007, the Disability Studies minor has sought to infuse critical perspectives on disability across UCLA’s curriculum, while providing students with the in-depth knowledge and tools to become future changemakers.

The introduction of the Disability Studies Inclusion Labs in 2018 has given students and faculty a platform to engage more actively in the cause of disability justice by joining with leaders and activists both on campus and off to ask questions, learn, and imagine change on a range of issues central to lives of persons with disabilities.

As the Labs continue to grow, so has the academic program. Disability Studies has thrived at UCLA and will be the the first major of its kind within the University of California system as of Fall 2023.

About UCLA Disability Studies

Disability Studies is a groundbreaking field that challenges and changes society’s attitudes toward disability. Led by some of UCLA’s most distinguished faculty, Disability Studies examines the meaning and nature of disability from a variety of perspectives, including arts and humanities, health sciences, social sciences, public policy, design and technology, and education. At UCLA, the conversation around disability has shifted: from exclusion to inclusion, from limitations to possibilities.

Disability—whether bodily, cognitive, emotional, or sensory—is part of the fabric of universal human experience, and yet it is often regarded as a deficit to be fixed, cured, or hidden, with disabled individuals cast as unfortunate victims. UCLA’s robust Disability Studies program is challenging this view, changing attitudes and redefining ‘normal.’

By exploring disability as a social issue and cultural identity, rather than a medically defined condition, we prepare students to use the experience of disability as a lens to re-envision models of access, inclusion, participation, communication, and equality.

The result is graduates with deep insights into the human condition, keen analytical and observation skills, empathy, and capacity for self-reflection—part of a new generation that understands and embraces disability.

Faculty Advisory Committee

Victoria Marks

Victoria Marks

Professor, Chair of Disability Studies Minor, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, UCLA

Salih Can Açiksöz

Salih Can Açiksöz

Associate Professor of Anthropology, UCLA

Juliann Anesi

Juliann Anesi

Assistant Professor of Gender Studies, UCLA

Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker

Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology, UCLA

Lauren Clark

Lauren Clark

Shapiro Family Endowed Chair in Developmental Disabilities Studies, UCLA

Linda Demer

Linda Demer

Professor, Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Bioengineering

Helen Deutsch

Helen Deutsch

Professor of English, UCLA

Raymond Knapp

Raymond Knapp

Distinguished Professor of Musicology and Humanities, Chair of the Department of Musicology, and Director of the UCLA Center for Musical Humanities

Lauren Lee McCarthy

Lauren Lee McCarthy

Associate Professor of Design Media Arts, Interim Associate Dean for EDI, UCLA

Guggenheim fellow and Alpert Award-winning choreographer, filmmaker, scholar, and activist Victoria Marks joined the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures / Dance in 1995 and, since 2017, she has served as the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs for the School of the Arts and Architecture. Marks serves as the chair of UCLA’s Disability Studies minor. She creates dances for the stage, film, and in community settings. Her choreography has long considered the politics of citizenship, as well as the representation of both virtuosity and disability. These themes are part of her ongoing commitment to locating dance-making within the sphere of political meaning. A sunlit, outdoor headshot of a smiling white woman with short greying hair in front of green foliage.

Salih Can Açiksöz is an anthropologist whose research focuses on the intersections of disability, gender, and political violence, particularly in the Middle East. His first book, Sacrificial Limbs , examines the post-war lives and political activism of the disabled veterans of Turkey’s Kurdish conflict. His new book project, tentatively entitled Humanitarian Borderlands , focuses on the humanitarian prosthetics industry and emergency field medicine along and across the Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian border. He also has a perennial interest in reproductive politics and the impact of genetic testing on cultural understandings of disability and parenthood.

Juliann Anesi is an Assistant Professor of Gender Studies whose research interests and teachings include inclusive education, indigeneity and disability, educational policies, queer and gender theory, and Pacific studies. As a community educator and activist, she has also worked with non-profit organizations and schools in American Samoa, California, Hawai’i, New York and Samoa. Juliann is currently working on a book manuscript, Trying Times: Disability, Education, and Activism in Samoa.

Bruce’s primary research seeks a better understanding of family functioning for children and their families. He is especially interested in three populations: (1) Families of children and adolescents with developmental disorders (e.g., intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder); (2) Behavior and mental health disorders in youth and young adults with developmental disorders; and (3) Protective factors for family functioning. His primary recent study, the NICHD-supported Collaborative Family Study, is a 20-year longitudinal study of families of children with developmental disabilities or typical intellectual development, from age 3-23. It focuses on child emotion regulation, behavior problems, social competence, and family processes.

The goal of Dr. Clark’s research is to address quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Her research spans quality of life measurement, healthy lifestyle programming in the community, women’s reproductive health, and family carework. 

She teaches an interdisciplinary course , Carework: Disability Justice and Healthcare , as well as courses in ethics and health policy. She serves on the Community Advisory Committee of the UCLA Tarjan Center, and on the Ethics Committee for the American Academy of Nursing. She is Associate Editor of Qualitative Health Research.  

Linda Demer MD PhD is a professor at UCLA with appointments in the Departments of Medicine, Physiology, and Bioengineering as well as in the Interdepartmental Program in Disability Studies.    She has been teaching popular undergraduate courses on autism and neurodiversity. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Los Angeles and the Board of Directors for the Westside Regional Center. She currently serves on the UCLA Committee on Disability, which is advisory to the Chancellor; she co-founded the UCLA Supported Training and Employment (STEP) Program; and she has been promoting employment of neurodiverse individuals on the UCLA campus for over a decade.

Helen Deutsch teaches and researches at the crossroads of eighteenth-century studies and disability studies, with particular emphases on questions of authorship, originality, and embodiment across a variety of genres. Her ongoing research questions include the relation of eighteenth-century authors to classical models (in shaping literary style, authorial careers, and gendered identities), the multifaceted connection between physical embodiment and literary form, the interplay between visual and printed cults of authorship, and the phenomenon of author-love more broadly considered, and the formative relationship between bodily difference and modern individuality. She is currently working on a book on Jonathan Swift and Edward Said that claims both writers for disability studies, and is planning a conference at the W.A. Clark Memorial Library on “Archive and Theory: The Future of Anglo-American Early Modern Disability Studies,” which aims to foster two overlapping and mutually illuminating conversations about disability in the era before “normal” was fully defined: one about the role that theory plays in how we represent and interpret archival sources, and another about how the archive invites us to critique the historical assumptions and (at times) limitations of theoretical inquiry.

Raymond Knapp is the author of the several books, including The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity  (2005; winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism) and  Making Light: Haydn, Musical Camp, and the Long Shadow of German Idealism  (2018). Helping to develop the proposal to establish the Disability Studies IDP and Major culminates a long commitment to undergraduate education at UCLA, where he has also chaired Undergraduate Council, General Education Governance, and the College FEC. He recently developed a new course for the major, on musical performance and disability.

[Image description: A close-up of Raymond Knapp, a clean-shaven, 70-year-old white man with short gray hair, wearing glasses, photographed against a blurred background.]

Lauren Lee McCarthy (she/they) is an LA-based artist examining social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. She is the creator of p5.js, a software platform that promotes technical and visual literacy and aims to make the art and tech fields accessible to diverse communities, and Co-Director of the Processing Foundation.

Lauren’s work has been exhibited internationally, and she has received honors including a Creative Capital Award, Ars Electronica Golden Nica, Sundance Fellowship, Eyebeam Fellowship, and grants from the Knight Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Rhizome. Lauren is an Associate Professor at UCLA Design Media Arts.

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Disability Law & Policy

National University of Ireland

National University of Ireland

www.nuigalway.ie

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The Centre for Disability Law & Policy specialises in international & comparative disability law and public policy.  It has a particular interest in the activities of the United Nations & disability, the European Union & disability, the Council of Europe & disability.  It also has a special interest in certain themes including development aid & disability, eAccessibility, independent living & de-instutionalisation, non-discrimination law & disability, Irish disability law reform.

Areas of interest

  • UN disability law
  • EU anti-discrimination law
  • Council of Europe disability law & policy
  • US disability law
  • United Nations Convention on the right of Persons with disabilities (ratification, monitoring, implementation)
  • Legal capacity law reform

Requirements

  • To be eligible to enrol for the PhD, a candidate must have obtained a high honours standard at primary degree level, normally Second Class Honours, Grade 1 or equivalent international qualification
  • PhD applicants who hold a Masters Degree must have obtained a high honours standard at Masters Level (H2.1 [or equivalent international qualification]) in order to enrol for the PhD
  • You'll need to submit a research proposal along with your application.  This application will take two steps:
  • A potential supervisor must review and approve
  • Submit your applicaton through the online PAC system.
  • All applicants, whose first language is not English, must present one of the following qualifications in the English language. IELTS 6.5. TOEFL 92. 
  • A personal statement
  • Transcripts

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We have 432 disability PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

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disability PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

Para-athletes’ negotiations of menstruation, disability, and their athletic identity: a qualitative investigation (vc24077), phd research project.

PhD Research Projects are advertised opportunities to examine a pre-defined topic or answer a stated research question. Some projects may also provide scope for you to propose your own ideas and approaches.

Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

This research project has funding attached. It is only available to UK citizens or those who have been resident in the UK for a period of 3 years or more. Some projects, which are funded by charities or by the universities themselves may have more stringent restrictions.

Critical, Decolonial and Neurodiversity Affirming Appproaches in Studying Communication and Disability

Self-funded phd students only.

This project does not have funding attached. You will need to have your own means of paying fees and living costs and / or seek separate funding from student finance, charities or trusts.

Representations of illness and/or disability and/or the National Health Service in British film and television

An intervention to facilitate deprescribing for people with intellectual disability, fitness levels of irish children and adolescents with disabilities – the fit for all project (setu_2024_106), funded phd project (students worldwide).

This project has funding attached, subject to eligibility criteria. Applications for the project are welcome from all suitably qualified candidates, but its funding may be restricted to a limited set of nationalities. You should check the project and department details for more information.

GIF CDT: Advancing Low Carbon Fuel Infrastructure: A Quantitative Whole System Approach to Enable Sustainable Energy Solutions and Mobility

Competition funded phd project (students worldwide).

This project is in competition for funding with other projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be successful. Unsuccessful projects may still go ahead as self-funded opportunities. Applications for the project are welcome from all suitably qualified candidates, but potential funding may be restricted to a limited set of nationalities. You should check the project and department details for more information.

GIF CDT: Public perceptions of carbon capture & storage (CCS)

Digital hydraulic fluid power technologies, gif cdt: scaling industrial decarbonisation with data and finance, gif cdt: understanding user needs for the adoption of hydrogen energy products, gif cdt: advancing decarbonisation technologies: a focus on dispersed high-energy use sites, study of ionospheric propagation disturbances, funded phd project (european/uk students only).

This project has funding attached for UK and EU students, though the amount may depend on your nationality. Non-EU students may still be able to apply for the project provided they can find separate funding. You should check the project and department details for more information.

University of Bath URSA project: High-Precision Platform for Patterning Micro-Nano-Particles

Developing thermodynamic models for predicting the long-term safety performance of cement-based wasteforms for encapsulation of low-level nuclear waste, can bio-based construction materials be reused or recycled.

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2024-2025 Catalog

Doctoral degrees.

The University of Idaho awards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in recognition of high achievement in scholarly and research activity. The degree of Doctor of Education is granted for high scholarly attainment and in recognition of the completion of academic preparation for professional practice. See the "Ph.D. and Ed.D. Procedures" tab for more details. The Doctor of Athletic Training is offered through the College of Education and the Department of Movement Sciences (see the "DAT Procedures" tab for more details).

The major professor and program offering a particular doctoral program indicate the general philosophy of the degree program, the objectives of courses and seminars, the research specialties available, and requirements unique to the department. Admission to the doctoral program is granted only to those who have a recognized potential for completing the degree.

Requirements for Doctoral Degrees

Credit requirements.

For the Ph.D. and Ed.D., a minimum of 78 credits beyond the bachelor's degree is required.; At least 52 credits must be at the 500 level or above and at least 33 of the 78 credits must be in courses other than 600 (Doctoral Research and Dissertation). A maximum of 45 research credits in 600 (Doctoral Research and Dissertation) including 6 credits of 599 (Non-thesis Research) or 500 (Master's Research and Thesis) may be in the 45 research credits used toward the degree. For the D.A.T., a minimum of 66 credits is required and follows a prescribed set of courses set by the program.

Courses numbered below 300 may not be used to fulfill the requirements for a doctoral degree; courses numbered 300-399 may be used only in supporting areas and are not to be used to make up deficiencies. Individual programs may require additional course work. Applicants having a doctoral degree may obtain a second doctoral degree subject to the approval of the Graduate Council. The Graduate Council will establish the requirements for the second degree.

Credit Limitations for Transfer, Correspondence Study, and Non-degree

For the Ph.D. and Ed.D. degrees, a student must complete at least 39 of the 78 required credits at the University of Idaho (U of I) while matriculated in the College of Graduate Studies. Credits can be transferred to U of I with the consent of the student's major professor, the committee (if required by the program), the program's administrator, and the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Credits can be transferred only if the institution from which the credits are being transferred has a graduate program in the course's discipline. All credits used toward graduate degrees must be from regionally accredited American institutions or from non-US institutions recognized by the appropriate authorities in their respective countries. Transfer credits are subject to all other College of Graduate Studies rules and regulations. Correspondence study courses may be applied to the degree only with the prior written approval of the College of Graduate Studies. Courses used toward an undergraduate degree, professional development courses, and courses on a professional development transcript are not available to be used toward a doctoral degree.

Time Limits

Of the credits submitted to satisfy the requirements for a Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree, a maximum of 30 may be more than eight years old when the degree is conferred, provided the student's committee and program administrator determine that the student has kept current in the subjects concerned. Graduation must occur no later than five years after the date on which the candidate passed their preliminary or general examination. These time limitations can be extended only on recommendation of the committee and approval by the Graduate Council.

Awarding Doctoral Degrees to Members of the Faculty

Regulations are outlined in Section 4920 of the Faculty-Staff Handbook.

Particular Requirements for the Ed.D. Degree

A period of professional practice is required for the Doctor of Education degree; the period involved is determined by the student's supervisory committee. While the Ed.D. is a College of Education degree, you should consult with the departments in the College of Education to learn of specific emphasis requirements.

Procedures for Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Education Degrees

Appointment of major professor and committee.

Refer to " Appointment of Major Professor and Committee for All Degree Seeking Graduate Students " in the preceding General Graduate Regulations section. In addition, a doctoral supervisory committee consists of at least four people: the major professor as chair and at least one additional UI faculty member from the program, the balance of the committee may be made up of faculty members from a minor or supporting area, and faculty members from a discipline outside the major. If the committee has a co-chair, the minimum number of committee members is five.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is a program option and serves to assess the background of the student in both the major and supporting fields and to provide partially the basis for preparation of the student's study program. A particular program may or may not require a master's degree as a prerequisite for the qualifying evaluation. As soon as the program's qualifications are met, a supervisory committee is appointed.

Preparation of Study Plan

Refer to " Preparation and Submission of Study Plan " in the preceding General Graduate Regulations section.

Preliminary Examination for Ph.D. Degree

The preliminary examination should be scheduled only after the student has completed the majority of the courses on their study plan. The student is required to be registered during the semester the preliminary examination is taken. The student's committee certifies to the College of Graduate Studies the results of the preliminary examination and if passed, the student is advanced to candidacy. Graduation must occur no later than five years after the date on which the candidate passed their examination. If the preliminary examination is failed, it may be repeated only once; the repeat examination must be taken within a period of not less than three months or more than one year following the first attempt. If a student fails the preliminary examination a second time, or the program does not allow the student to repeat the examination after the first failure or the student does not retake the examination within one year, the student is automatically moved to unclassified enrollment status and is no longer in the degree program.

General Examination for Ed.D . Degree

When the student approaches the end of their course work, has completed the professional experience requirement, and has outlined the dissertation subject in detail, the supervisory committee approves the holding of the general examination. The student is required to be registered during the semester the general examination is taken. The examination is both written and oral and is intended to assess progress toward degree objectives. The student's committee certifies to the College of Graduate Studies the results of the general examination and if passed, the student is advanced to candidacy. Graduation must occur no later than five years after the date on which the candidate passed their examination. If the general examination is failed, it may be repeated only once; the repeat examination must be taken within a period of not less than three months or more than one year following the first attempt. If a student fails the general examination a second time, or the program does not allow the student to repeat the examination after the first failure or the student does not retake the examination within one year, the student is automatically moved to unclassified status and is no longer in the degree program.

See the General Graduate Regulations section regarding application for advanced degree, registration requirements, final defense and dissertation requirements.

Procedures for Doctor of Athletic Training

The culminating clinical project.

Students enrolled in the Doctor of Athletic Training (D.A.T.) will engage in research projects during the curricular phase of the program. These project(s) will lead to at least two publication ready manuscripts, and all students must meet professional authorship requirements (regardless of order). See the  Department of Movement Sciences and Doctor of Athletic Training webpages for more information.

The Team (Committee)

All D.A.T. project team committees will have at least four committee members: two members of the athletic training faculty (all with graduate faculty status), the student's attending clinician (who is the student's on-site mentor during the student's residency), and an expert in the student's chosen area of clinical research. The athletic training faculty members will always chair the CCP, provide research guidance, and serve as the experts in the development of advanced practice in Athletic Training. A situation may arise in which one or both of the members of the committee that are outside of the AT program faculty may have a degree less than that of which the student is seeking; however, the intent of the third and fourth D.A.T. committee membership is to provide outside validation of the student's progress toward advanced practice and clinical utility of action research studies.

Culminating Clinical Project Hours

These dissertation hours may be used in instances when the CCP has not been successfully completed and the curricular phase of program has been completed.

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Mailing Address: College of Law University of Idaho 875 Perimeter Drive MS 2321 Moscow, ID 83844-2321 Main Office: 208-885-2255 Admissions: 208-885-2300 Legal Clinic: 208-885-6541 Office of the Dean: 208-364-4620

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Disability Services

Please note that (1) all disability-related requests for benefits or services made by students, staff and other interested persons are subject to the provisions of Section 504 and Title II of the ADA, and (2) any disability-related requests for modifications to the university’s established policies and procedures must be made through Center for Disability Access and Services (CDAR).

Students with temporary or permanent medical conditions or physical, cognitive, or psychological disabilities may be able to receive accommodations to eliminate barriers to their success. Accommodated students do not receive an advantage over others; rather, accommodations allow such students to not be at a disadvantage relative to other students as a result of conditions beyond their control. The College of Law operates in full compliance with Section 504 and the ADA. To pursue an accommodation, please contact CDAR at 208-885-6307 or cdar @uidaho.edu to make an appointment. Students are encouraged to address their accommodation needs as early in the semester as possible as it may take some time to complete the process from beginning to end.

Students who desire disability accommodations are responsible for providing appropriate documentation and for giving adequate advance notice . Documentation must come from a licensed physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist and include verification of the disability, a description of functional limitations, and recommendations for appropriate academic adjustments or accommodations.  Once CDAR has received adequate documentation of a disability, it may recommend classroom and/or exam accommodations. The College of Law will work with the student and CDAR to provide appropriate accommodations that do not conflict with the essential functions of a law student or compromise the integrity of the law study program. All accommodations must be approved by CDAR . In addition, exam accommodation requests must be made every semester . Faculty members are not normally informed of disabilities or accommodations unless the accommodations provided affect the conduct of the class. Staff members are informed of disabilities only to the extent that they need this information to provide services to the affected students.

Appeals of a CDAR determination are made to the Associate Dean of Students in accordance with FSH 6400.D. In the College of Law, such complaints fall under the Student Complaint Policy described below.

The Student Complaint Policy is posted on the Current Students webpage .  Students with complaints are first encouraged to share their concerns directly with the person or office responsible for the problem so problems can be resolved on the lowest level. When this is not feasible, desirable, or effective, students should follow the complaint procedure outlined in the Student Complaints Policy in Appendix B of the Handbook . The College of Law’s Associate Dean for Students serves as the primary point person for official student complaints under the policy.

Social Security

Disability benefits | how you qualify ( en español ), how you qualify.

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must:

  • Have worked in jobs covered by Social Security.
  • Have a medical condition that meets Social Security's strict definition of disability .

In general, we pay monthly benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. Generally, there is a 5-month waiting period and we’ll pay your 1st benefit the 6th full month after the date we find your disability began.

We may pay Social Security disability benefits for as many as 12 months before you apply if we find you had a disability during that time and you meet all other requirements.

Benefits usually continue until you can work again on a regular basis. There are also several special rules, called work incentives, that provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help you make the transition back to work.

If you are receiving SSDI benefits when you reach full retirement age , your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.

How Much Work Do You Need?

In addition to meeting our definition of disability , you must have worked long enough — and recently enough — under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.

Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to 4 credits each year.

The amount needed for a work credit changes from year to year . In 2024, for example, you earn 1 credit for each $1,730 in wages or self-employment income. When you've earned $6,920 you've earned your 4 credits for the year.

The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when your disability begins. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year your disability begins. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits .

For more information on whether you qualify, refer to How You Earn Credits .

What We Mean by Disability

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. We pay only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability .

We consider you to have a qualifying disability under our rules if all the following are true:

  • You cannot do work at the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level because of your medical condition.
  • You cannot do work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 1 year or to result in death.

This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities. These include workers' compensation, insurance, savings, and investments.

How We Decide If You Have a Qualifying Disability

If you have enough work to qualify for disability benefits, we use a step-by-step process involving 5 questions to determine if you have a qualifying disability. The 5 questions are:

1. Are you working?

We generally use earnings guidelines to evaluate whether your work activity is SGA. If you are working in 2024 and your earnings average more than $1,550 ($2,590 if you’re blind) a month, you generally cannot be considered to have a disability.

If you are not working or are working but not performing SGA, we will send your application to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. This office will make the decision about your medical condition. The DDS uses Steps 2-5 below to make the decision.

2. Is your condition "severe"?

Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering – for at least 12 months. If it does not, we will find that you do not have a qualifying disability.

If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.

3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?

For each of the major body systems, we maintain a list of medical conditions we consider severe enough to prevent a person from doing SGA. If your condition is not on the list, we must decide if it is as severe as a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, we will find that you have a qualifying disability. If it is not, we then go to Step 4.

We have 2 initiatives designed to expedite our processing of new disability claims:

  • Compassionate Allowances : Certain cases that usually qualify for disability can be allowed as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. Examples include acute leukemia, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), and pancreatic cancer.
  • Quick Disability Determinations : We use computer screening to identify cases with a high probability of allowance.

For more information about our disability claims process, visit our Benefits for People with Disabilities website.

4. Can you do the work you did previously?

At this step, we decide if your medical impairment(s) prevents you from performing any of your past work. If it doesn’t, we’ll decide you don’t have a qualifying disability. If it does, we proceed to Step 5.

5. Can you do any other type of work?

If you can’t do the work you did in the past, we look to see if there is other work you could do despite your medical impairment(s).

We consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you can’t do other work, we’ll decide you qualify for disability benefits. If you can do other work, we’ll decide that you don’t have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.

Special Situations

Most people who receive disability benefits are workers who qualify on their own records and meet the work and disability requirements we have just described. However, there are some situations you may not know about:

  • If You're Blind or Have Low Vision - How We Can Help
  • If You Are the Survivor
  • Benefits for Children with Disabilities
  • Benefits for Wounded Warriors & Veterans

Special Rules for People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

We consider you to be legally blind under our rules if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye. We will also consider you legally blind if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Many people who meet the legal definition of blindness still have some sight and may be able to read large print and get around without a cane or a guide dog.

If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits. This may be the case if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working.

There are several special rules for people who are blind that recognize the severe impact of blindness on a person's ability to work. For example, the monthly earnings limit for people who are blind is generally higher than the limit that applies to non-blind workers with disabilities.

In 2024, the monthly earnings limit is $2,590.

Benefits for Surviving Spouses with Disabilities

When a worker dies, their surviving spouse or surviving divorced spouse may be eligible for benefits if they:

  • Are between ages 50 and 60.
  • Have a medical condition that meets our definition of disability for adults and the disability started before or within 7 years of the worker's death.

Surviving spouses and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivors benefits. If they want to apply for these benefits, they should contact Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778 ) to request an appointment.

To speed up the application process, they should complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of their appointment.

For these benefits, we use the same definition of disability as we do for workers.

A child under age 18 may have a disability, but we don't need to consider the child's disability when deciding if they qualify for benefits as a dependent. The child's benefits normally stop at age 18 unless they are a full-time elementary or high school student until age 19 or have a qualifying disability.

Children who were receiving benefits as a minor child on a parent’s Social Security record may be eligible to continue receiving benefits on that parent’s record upon reaching age 18 if they have a qualifying disability.

Adults with a Disability that Began Before Age 22

An adult who has a disability that began before age 22 may be eligible for benefits if their parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a "child's" benefit because it is paid on a parent's Social Security earnings record.

The Disabled Adult Child (DAC) — who may be an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild — must be unmarried, age 18 or older, have a qualified disability that started before age 22, and meet the definition of disability for adults.

It is not necessary that the DAC ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent's earnings record.

  • A DAC must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings we consider substantial increases each year. In 2024, this means working and earning more than $1,550 (or $2,590 if you’re blind) a month.

What if the child is already receiving SSI or disability benefits on their own record and turns 18?

A child already receiving SSI benefits or disability benefits on his or her own record should check to see if DAC benefits may be payable on a parent's earnings record when they reach age 18. Higher benefits might be payable and entitlement to Medicare may be possible.

How do we decide if a child over age 18 qualifies for SSDI benefits?

If a child is age 18 or older, we will evaluate their disability the same way we would evaluate the disability for any adult. We send the application to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) in your state that completes the disability decision for us.

What happens if the DAC gets married?

In most cases, DAC benefits end if the child gets married. There are exceptions, such as marriage to another DAC, when the benefits are allowed to continue. The rules vary depending on the situation.

Contact a Social Security representative at 1-800-772-1213 to report changes in marital status and to find out if the benefits can continue. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call TTY number at 1-800-325-0778 .

To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.

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Case Western Reserve University

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Maggie Scotece

Maggie Scotece, JD (She/They) is a long-time abortion advocate, doula, and disability self-advocate currently serving as a staff attorney and lecturer with Case Western Reserve’s Reproductive Rights Law Initiative. Her research and litigation focus on reproductive rights. She previously served as the Interim Executive Director and Legal Director at Abortion Fund of Ohio Including launching the fund’s first Legal Access Program and Judicial Bypass program which provides direct legal assistance for judicial bypass and pro-bono case referrals and management for Ohioans facing criminalized pregnancy outcomes. 

Over the last decade, Scotece has played an active role in community organizing spaces, including her involvement with the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild where she began volunteering on their Protestor Jail Support and Legal Helpline in 2020. This set the groundwork for the founding of the Ohio Reproductive Liberty Defense Fund [OH RELIEF] which was co-created by Scotece and Rebecca Dussich in preparation for rising pregnancy and reproductive criminalization in Ohio. Scotece is a frequent lecturer and consultant on reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ issues, disability rights and movement lawyering issues. Scotece continues to work with local clinic escort programs, Racial Justice organizing, criminal justice reform, and movement lawyering.

Throughout her legal career Scotece has worked to make civic engagement and public policy conversations more accessible through her tenure with Disability Rights Ohio, Fair Districts Mapping Competition Advisory Committee and the Ohio Democratic Disability Caucus. They bring deep-rooted connections to Disability Justice organizing to their work at Case, including their experience as a disabled activist and co-founder of the Supported Decision Making Network of Ohio. She earned her JD in 2016 from The Ohio State Moritz College of Law, and two BA’s from Miami University in 2012 in International Studies and Italian Studies. 

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Georgetown cew law school rankings find brand is best if you want to make money.

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The potential to make a high salary as a lawyer is often what influences students to pursue a graduate law degree. However, while a law degree can open doors to higher earnings, not all law schools provide the same return on investment.

According to a study released by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce, which ranks 186 law schools based on graduates’ salaries, if making money is a priority for a student, it’s best to shoot for highly ranked law schools.

This is a photo of a library at Columbia University.

Graduates of Columbia Law School have the highest annual median earnings four years after completing ... [+] their degree, according to a new Georgetown study that ranks 186 law schools.

“When it comes to law school, the best returns are concentrated among a small number of institutions, educating approximately 20 percent of law students,” said CEW Director and lead author Jeff Strohl. “Graduates earn the highest salaries from highly selective institutions. The top 26 law schools lead to six-figure salaries and a bar passage rate of 97 percent.”

According to the CEW study, A Law Degree Is No Sure Thing: Some Law School Graduates Earn Top Dollar, but Many Do Not , Columbia University law graduates have the highest annual median earnings four years after completing their degree at $280,900. Following Columbia were the University of Pennsylvania with $261,400, the University of Chicago with $256,400, Cornell University with $249,300, Stanford University with $248,000 and Harvard University with $233,600.

These salaries compare with National Association for Law Placement research that shows the overall median first-year associate base salary was $200,000 as of Jan. 1, 2023, up $35,000 or 21.2% from 2021.

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In comparison, the bottom three law schools in CEW’s 186-school ranking produced graduates whose annual median earnings four years after degree completion were $38,700, $44,100 and $58,400, respectively. The study found that at nearly 1 in 5 law schools, graduates earn less than $55,000, net of debt, four years after graduation.

The difference in salary outcomes could be because graduates from top-tier law schools were more likely to secure high-paying jobs at large prestigious law firms. In fact, according to a U.S. News & World Report ranking , 80% of law school graduates of 10 highly ranked law schools who have jobs at law firms worked for large companies.

CEW researchers found law schools with the highest-earning graduates send more graduates to full-time work at the nation’s largest law firms. At the seven schools where postgraduate earnings exceeded $200,000, 58% of graduates from the classes of 2020-2022 were employed in big law, compared to 16% of graduates across all 186 institutions CEW evaluated.

However, earning a higher salary is not necessarily the only factor influencing students when pursuing an advanced law degree. “If a prospective student aims to land a high-paying job after earning their JD, they are more likely to achieve that goal at a certain subset of schools,” says Catherine Morris, a senior writer at CEW and one of the paper’s co-authors. “But earnings aren’t the only factor students consider: some schools might set up graduates for work in specific fields or geographic areas they’re interested in.”

In addition, for many graduates, the burden of student debt can outweigh the financial benefits of a graduate law degree, particularly if they do not attend a highly ranked institution. Indeed, despite the potential for high salaries, the cost of obtaining a law degree can be significant. According to the American Bar Association, the average law school graduate in the U.S. carries more than $160,000 in student loan debt.

Similarly, the CEW study found that, four years after completing their degree, law school graduates owe almost $120,000 in student debt loans at the median. In fact, at 6 out of 10 law schools, at least half of the graduates had loan balances equal to what they were at graduation. Or those balances had even increased three years, post-degree completion.

“Law schools are notoriously expensive. Graduates leave law schools with a median debt burden of $118,500, and lower earnings make it harder to pay back this debt,” said CEW’s Morris. “The consequences of six-figure debt are also far-reaching for law school graduates, impacting their ability to purchase a home, start a family, and achieve other traditional markers of success.”

In recent years, U.S. law schools have experienced some volatility, with student enrollments falling 11% in fall 2022 after a prior surges, according to the American Bar Association. However, with regard to jobs, the CEW study expects the future of the legal profession to remain stable. While the full impact of AI on the sector has yet to be realized, job opportunities are expected to increase, with projections of the total number of jobs associated with legal occupations rising from 1.26 million to 1.41 million between 2021 and 2031.

The pipeline of students is looking stable as well. According to Law School Admission Council data , applications for the 2024 admissions cycle have decreased about 1.7% compared with last year. Almost half of law schools experienced increases in applications, while almost half had decreases, and seven showed no change from last year.

Anna Esaki-Smith

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Holland & Knight

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2024 Disability Pride Month

Join Holland & Knight in commemorating Disability Pride Month, dedicated to honoring the diverse experiences and extraordinary talents of individuals with disabilities. This initiative highlights the fundamental belief that every person, regardless of ability, deserves to be valued, respected and fully included in every facet of life.

Our DiverseAbility Affinity Group plays a pivotal role in our commitment to supporting and promoting the professional and personal development of our attorneys and staff affected by physical and mental disabilities. We strive to enhance their career growth, retention and overall well-being, fostering a more inclusive and equitable work environment.

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Our DiverseAbility Affinity Group supports and promotes the firm's attorneys and staff affected by physical and mental disabilities. The group aims to enhance the professional, personal and career development of our colleagues affected by disabilities. It encourages the retention and promotion of our colleagues with disabilities and promotes the recruitment and hiring of talented attorneys and staff with disabilities. The group also provides support to our colleagues who take care of disabled family members living at home.

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He got $30K to leave the military when it needed to downsize. Now the government wants that money back.

Photo illustration of Vernon Reffitt

Vernon Reffitt got $30,000 to leave the Army in 1992. It was a one-time, lump-sum special separation benefit offered to service members when the U.S. had to reduce its active-duty force. 

Now, more than 30 years later, the federal government wants that money back. 

In May, the Department of Veterans Affairs began withholding the monthly disability compensation payments that Reffitt had been receiving for three decades until he repays the $30,000. It would take the 62-year-old nearly 15 years to do so.

"That’s wrong," said Reffitt, who lives in Twin City, Georgia. "You can’t just up and take it back."

Vernon Reffitt in uniform

Thousands have found themselves in Reffitt’s position due to a little-known law that prohibits veterans from receiving both disability and special separation pay. Under the law, the VA has to recoup special separation benefits from veterans before those eligible can begin receiving disability payments.

The law has forced at least 79,000 veterans to repay different types of separation benefits between 2013 and 2020, according to a study published in 2022 by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research group. The actual number of affected veterans is likely much higher because researchers were not able to access data prior to 2013 due to VA system changes, Stephanie Rennane, the study’s lead author, said.

In 2023 alone, the VA said it had to recoup separation pay from nearly 9,300 veterans.

"I think it’s likely that we’re missing a good number of people," Rennane said. "We don’t have any way of knowing how big it is."

In Reffitt’s case, the VA erroneously allowed him to receive both benefits without penalty for more than 30 years. In a statement, the agency said it was "unaware of the amount" of Reffitt’s special separation benefit when he began receiving disability compensation in 1992.

The VA said it should have followed up on attempts to determine the separation amount and initiated recoupment earlier. It said it caught the error recently when Reffitt filed a claim under the PACT Act , a law enacted in 2022 that expanded benefits to millions of veterans exposed to toxic substances.

'Two separate buckets of money'

Certain types of separation payments were offered to active-duty service members in an effort to reduce manpower in certain career fields. The Special Separation Benefit ( SSB ) that Reffitt received was primarily offered during the 1990s, officials said. 

When veterans apply for disability compensation, the VA said the form they use states that separation pay may be recouped from VA benefits. But it’s too late by then, said Reffitt and two other veterans who spoke to NBC News. The veterans said they were not aware of the law that prohibits both benefits when they took the payout.

Army veteran Daphne Young said she would not have taken the separation pay had she known. 

Daphne Young in front of American flag

Young, 36, who lives in Columbus, Georgia, said she did not particularly need the extra money when she left the military in 2016. She said the $15,000 lump sum allowed her to take a break from working and volunteer with the Red Cross for eight months.

The shock came in April when the VA notified Young that it would begin withholding her monthly, untaxed disability payment of about $3,700 until she recoups her separation pay. 

Young, who is now fully disabled and does not work, crumpled at the thought of losing her only income, which she had been receiving for years.

Daphne Young and two other women in army uniforms

"It was agonizing," said Young, a former Army ammunition specialist and combat medic who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Advocates say the law not only blindsides veterans, but it robs them of earned benefits that should not be linked financially.

While special separation pay is based on a service member’s military career, disability pay solely relates to illnesses or injuries sustained during service, according to Marquis Barefield, an assistant national legislative director with DAV, an advocacy group formerly known as Disabled American Veterans.

"The two payments have nothing to do with each other," Barefield said. "They are two separate buckets of money."

Veterans have had an average of $19,700 to $53,000 withheld for recoupment, the RAND study found. The recoupment amounts are the lump sums received after taxes.

It took the legs from right underneath me.

Shane Collins, a Marine veteran

Shane Collins said it took him about 36 months to repay the roughly $33,000 separation benefit he received in 2014 when he left the Marines and when his son was born. "It took the legs from right underneath me," he said.

Collins, 41, of Twin Falls, Idaho, said he worked at the Pentagon in 2012, focusing on personnel administration, including paperwork and pay. He said he was so familiar with the Defense Department’s manual that he called it his Bible. 

Still, he said he did not know he would have to repay his separation benefit if he was granted disability. "I thought they were completely separate, and that’s how it was explained to me as well," he said.

In 2022, Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., introduced a bill that would change the recoupment law. The VA said it does not comment on pending legislation.

While the RAND study published that year was required by Congress following concerns for veterans, the legislative progress has been slow. 

"It is costly," Gallego said, "and that’s kind of been the biggest hindrance of why I can’t get it through."

Under the law, veterans have a chance to pursue a waiver of their recoupment responsibilities for voluntary separation pay, but the standards are high. To get a waiver, the VA said the secretary of the applicable branch of service must determine that "recovery would be against equity and good conscience or would be contrary to the best interests of the United States."

Young did not receive a waiver. But with the help of the DAV advocacy group, she was able to reduce the monthly amount withheld, although that means it will take her longer to repay the VA. 

"There has to be a better way," she said.

Reffitt, who was deployed to Panama and Honduras and did two tours in Germany during his service as a military policeman from 1979 to 1992, is still working out a plan. 

In the meantime, Reffitt, who also supports his wife, has tightened his budget by reducing the number of medical appointments he used to have regularly scheduled to manage his mental health, knee injury and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

"I’ve already canceled a couple appointments," he said.

phd in disability law

Melissa Chan is a reporter for NBC News Digital with a focus on veterans’ issues, mental health in the military and gun violence.

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phd in disability law

West Monroe graduate of LSU Law named to prestigious order

A West Monroe graduate of LSU Law has been named to a prestigious order.

Sydney Taylor Curtis named to the Order of the Coif.

Induction into The Order of the Coif is the highest honor a law graduate can receive, and this year 20 LSU Law Class of 2024 graduates have been selected. Membership into the honorary law fraternity is strictly limited to the top 10% of each graduating class of law students. Of the nearly 200 American Bar Association accredited law schools in the country, LSU Law is one of just 86 with a chapter in The Order of the Coif. 

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  24. How You Qualify

    Surviving spouses and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivors benefits. If they want to apply for these benefits, they should contact Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to request an appointment.. To speed up the application process, they should complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of their appointment.

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