Personalized attention. Professional growth. Community impact.

Be a part of the fall 2024 first class and a diverse community of scholars, researchers, and advocates equipped with the knowledge, skills, and ethical awareness necessary to effect positive change in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their communities.

Through rigorous academic inquiry, interdisciplinary collaboration, and active engagement with disability issues, our graduates will be empowered to shape inclusive policies, challenge societal norms, and amplify marginalized voices.


Fall Semester: August 1
Spring Semester: December 1
Summer Semester: May 1

Interdisciplinary Exploration

Our program encourages students to engage with disability through a multidisciplinary lens, drawing from fields like education, literature, law, criminal justice, and media.

Inclusivity & Accessibility

The program is designed to be accessible to individuals with diverse abilities, ensuring that our learning environment reflects universal design principles and fosters a sense of belonging for all participants.

Critical Inquiry & Scholarship

Students will develop the tools and skills necessary to challenge assumptions, deconstruct biases, and contribute to the evolving body of knowledge in disability studies.

Community Engagement & Collaboration

Students will engage with local, national, and global communities, working alongside disability organizations, advocacy groups, and individuals with disabilities to co-create solutions and drive positive change.

Advocacy & Social Change

Graduates of the program will be equipped to be change agents in addressing systemic barriers and promoting social justice with disabilities through policy analysis and grassroots activism.

Ethical Reflection & Empathy

Through the exploration of personal narratives, lived experiences, and creative expressions, students will cultivate a profound understanding of the lived realities of individuals with disabilities.

Quick Highlights

  • Online asynchronous courses
  • 30 credits
  • 1 or 2-year program
  • Applicable to many types of careers
  • Complete an applied capstone project

Admission Criteria & Eligibility

Students must have earned a bachelor’s degree by the time of enrollment, although no specific undergraduate major is required. A holistic admission decision will be based on multiple factors, including your motivation for pursuing this degree, work history, volunteer activities, and other extracurricular involvement.

Application Checklist

Requirements, Outcomes & Schedule

Book a Chat

Schedule a personalized visit or a video chat to learn more about the curriculum, internships, outcomes, enrollment process, and more.

Get in Touch

Megan Henderson 

Graduate Admission

Financial Aid

Advanced degrees are worth the investment. We have options to help you make your educational goal a reality, and financial aid helps open doors for your future.

Tuition & Fees

Understand the costs before applying. Review tuition, fees, and living expenses to create a realistic budget. Financial planning is key for advanced degree success.

Straight Talk from a Duhawk

This program explores the way individuals with disabilities experience the world, challenging stereotypes and misconceptions, thereby reshaping our traditional perspectives. It operates on a social model rather than a medical one, emphasizing acceptance without an aim to ‘fix’ anyone.”

— Lynn Gallagher, Program Director

Disability Studies FAQ

What can I do with this degree?

The Master of Arts in Disability Studies prepares individuals in community-based or governmental agencies. It provides students with the skills to begin or further a career working with and for people with a wide range of disabilities, and is ideal for administrators, social service professionals, educators, scholars who wish to specialize in disability studies, people with disabilities, or family members and advocates.

The goal of the program is to provide students with the intellectual and methodological tools to enable them to assume leadership roles in providing services, formulating or changing disability policy, and advocating for removing barriers to full inclusion in public and private organizations and the broader society.

Does this program require an undergraduate degree in a specific program?

No. Any major or degree is appropriate for this graduate program.

How long will it take to receive a decision regarding my application? How will I be notified?

All application materials will be reviewed by the director of graduate admissions. You will then be notified of an admission decision in your online portal within one week.

Is there a preferred entry point into the program?

Students can begin in any term.

What is the format of the classes?

All courses are offered online in a fully asynchronous format. However, students are more than welcome to meet with faculty in person, or via Zoom, email, or telephone. All course materials will be available for free through Open Educational Resources. Students will not be required to purchase any textbooks at any point in the program.

What kind of technology do I need to participate in the program?

You will need a computer that is able to run video conferencing (camera and microphone), an up-to-date operating system, and a stable high-speed internet connection.

Do I need to purchase course materials or textbooks for this program?

No, course materials are available through Open Educational Resources and are free to students. Students will not be required to purchase textbooks at any point in the program.

Does the program accept transfer credits?

Students can transfer a maximum of 9 graduate credits into the program from a previous institution. The courses must be similar in content to coursework offered at Loras and approved by the program director.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Students who take three classes a semester can finish the program in just one year.

What is the time commitment outside of class?

As a general rule, students will spend four to six hours per week outside of classroom instruction on class-related work for each class.

Will there be an orientation prior to the first class?

Yes, students are required to attend the online Graduate Student Orientation prior to beginning coursework so they can become familiar with the faculty and learning management system.

Graduate Programs FAQ

What if I’m still finishing up my bachelor’s degree?

Applicants who are undergraduate students in the process of completing a bachelor’s degree may be awarded a provisional acceptance to Loras’ graduate programs based on receipt of your in-progress, unofficial transcript and all other application materials.

Full acceptance is contingent upon receipt of the final, official transcript(s) and the conferred undergraduate degree.

If a program has a minimum GPA requirement, you must meet the minimum GPA at the time the undergraduate degree is conferred for full acceptance.

Is there on-campus housing for graduate students?

Loras-owned housing is available for graduate and postbaccalaureate students in Smyth Hall. Smyth is an alternative residence hall located in the center of campus. Smyth is comprised of single and triple rooms, and is also home to the religious studies and theology faculty. Amenities include:

  • Free laundry facilities (washers and dryers)
  • Free wifi
  • Kitchen (stocked with pots, pans, baking sheets, etc.) on B level

Room Information

  • Rooms contain a bed/dresser/desk unit, desk chair, and wastebasket
  • Beds are XL Twin sized, so students are encouraged to bring extra-long sheets
  • Students may bring a mini-fridge under five cubic feet
  • Heat is included, but A/C is not, so students are welcome to bring their own window air conditioning unit (must be 5000 BTU or less) or else a portable A/C unit.
  • Basic cable is not provided, but students are welcome to bring a streaming device of their choice to use in Smyth.

View current housing costs.

Can I take some courses as a non-degree student?

Individuals who would like to take some graduate courses for professional development, continuing education credits, or just personal enrichment may take up to 9 graduate credits as a non-degree “Special” student.

Special Student Application

Special students may not enroll in practicum, clinical, or internship courses without approval from the program director.

In order to enroll in the course(s):

  1. Complete the free Loras College Special Course Application. Select “Graduate Course” as the Course Registration Type. You will need to upload copies of your unofficial transcript(s) from each college/university attended before submitting the application.
  2. The transcripts will be evaluated by the Program Director to ensure that any necessary pre-requisite course requirements have been met.
  3. After review of the transcript(s), the Registrar’s Office will be in touch with information about your next steps.
    • Please note that enrolled degree-seeking students have registration preference if a course is full.
    • After the completion of 9 non-degree credits, a student must then apply for formal admission into the graduate program in order to move forward and take additional courses.
    • Graduate courses completed by a Special student with a grade of B or better may be applied to a future graduate degree at Loras College with the approval of both the program director and the academic dean.
    • Financial aid is not available to non-degree Special students.
    • Students interested in any of Loras’ Professional Development programs should refer to the individual program webpage for application and enrollment instructions.

Is there an option for conditional admission?

A program director may require specific conditions be completed to meet the program requirements prior to full admission into a graduate program.

You may be awarded a conditional admission if the program director recommends the you complete additional undergraduate coursework to achieve a minimum GPA requirement of the program.

If you have not met all program requirements at the time of application, a student may be awarded a conditional admission per the discretion of the program director. Refer to the individual program policies and program directors for specific conditional admission policies.

What is a maximum course load per semester?

You are considered a full-time graduate student when enrolled in 6 credits per term. Please note,  you only need to take at least 3 credits per term to be eligible for federal financial aid.

May I play a sport while in graduate school?

Graduate students must be enrolled in a degree-seeking master’s program to be eligible to participate in NCAA athletics at Loras.

Student athletes enrolled in one of our degree-seeking master’s programs need to have full-time status (taking at least 6 credits per term) during the semester(s) you’re practicing or competing in the sport. You also need to be making satisfactory progress towards your degree.

If you wants to participate in athletics while being enrolled less than full-time, you will need to work with your coaches to determine if you are eligible for a waiver.

Please note that while 6 credits per term is considered full-time for graduate students at Loras, you only need to take at least 3 credits per term in order to be eligible for federal financial aid.

Learn More


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Meet Your Program Director

Lynn Gallagher, Director of Lynch Disability Resource & Cultural Center

Lynn Gallagher  EdM EdD CAS AES

Director of Lynch Disability Resource and Cultural Center
Program Director of Disability Studies