Undergraduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities

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Undergraduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities

The Undergraduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities provides students with a foundation in disability related research, policy, and practices, and serves as an additional credential for those students who anticipate working with a disability agency or studying at the graduate level.


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Interdisciplinary Coursework

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Only 12 Units

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One Year to Complete

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Open to All Majors


Upon completion of the certificate, students will be able to:

  • Explain how historical, social and cultural constructs of disability impact the lives of people with disabilities
  • Differentiate among neurodevelopmental and related disabilities
  • Develop a working knowledge of the Developmental Disabilities service system, health care, housing and employment services and supports
  • Apply principles of family-centered, culturally-competent, person-centered services and supports to individuals with developmental and related disabilities in a variety of settings
  • Develop skills working in an interdisciplinary team, working with families and individuals with developmental disabilities, and working in the community
  • Complete and present a scholarly project
  • Participate as a Sonoran Center¬†interdisciplinary trainee with connection to a national network of trainees.¬†


Photo of Bianca Aguilar, a woman with long brown hair wearing a black shirt and standing in front of greenery.

‚ÄúParticipating in this 12-unit certificate program helped me learn about research, policy, and practice in the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) field while conducting research on cardiovascular health of middle school aged children with IDD and volunteering at a prosthetics clinic as a translator. This was a great way to synthesize many fields of interest while practicing academic, professional and leadership skills.‚ÄĚ

- Bianca Aguilar, 2018-19 Trainee Cohort

Bianca earned BS in physiology with a minor in Family Studies and Human Development, and went on to pursue a master's in Cellular and Molecular Medicine through the Pre-Medical Admissions Pathway Program while participating in the Sonoran Center's Diversity Fellowship program.


Applicants must be upper-division students accepted into a degree-granting program. Concurrent enrollment in a degree program is required. Students accepted to the program must be able to complete the certificate within the academic year following the current application period.

The maximum number of transfer units or units taken in non-degree status that may be applied to the certificate is three. Up to six units earned in fulfilling the requirements of the certificate may be used toward a student’s major or minor program requirements.



FCM 496D Disability Perspectives: Research, Policy, and Practice.  3 units, required of all students, offered only in the fall semester


One chosen from the menu below and an additional course with content relevant to the certificate students’ interests in disability to be approved by course director.

  • FCM 496E,¬†Disability and Society
  • FCM 424A-C,¬†Arts and Community Health: Intercultural Perspectives and Applications
  • FCM/HPS 408,¬†¬†Disabilities in Public Health
  • HPS 405,¬†¬†Biology in Public Health Research and Practice
  • PSY 405,¬†Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • SERP 416,¬†Disability Perspectives and Narratives, which focuses on narratives written by people with disabilities about their experiences

* Students in the NSCS major are strongly recommended to enroll for PSY 405


FCM 497, Community Portfolio, 1-unit, required of all students. Students will gain practical experience based on interaction with and observation of community organizations and people with developmental disabilities and their families. Students will create a portfolio that includes description and analysis of experiences in the disability community. This includes short reports, a blogpost, and a reflection on a required weekend workshop on professional roles in serving the Developmental Disabilities community. Evening and weekend times may be necessary.


FCM 492A, Directed Disability Research, 2-units, required of all students. This is a scholarly project, typically a literature review or involvement in research and evaluation.


Now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 academic year! Deadline to apply is December 31st.

Apply Here


For any questions about the undergraduate certificate in developmental disabilities, please contact:

Celina Urquidez, MPH, Education & Clinic Coordinator