Undergraduate Program

Specialization in Developmental Disabilities

What are Developmental Disabilities?

Developmental disabilities involve significant limitations in two or more areas of life functioning occurring before the age of 19. Intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders, and cerebral palsy are just some of the many conditions that make life so challenging for affected individuals and their families.

How was the Specialization in Developmental Disabilities Created?

Faculty in the Psychology Department have been working with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS), several of the state's community colleges, sister UMass campuses, other schools and agencies that provide direct service. Our goal has been to develop a curriculum designed to meet the challenge of providing quality services to people with developmental disabilities. With financial support from DDS we are able to offer this bachelor’s level specialization in Developmental Disabilities.

What are the Program Requirements?

Students can complete 18 credits of course work including two semesters of supervised field placement where they can apply their classroom studies. See the undergraduate catalog for more information.

What Can Students Expect After Graduation?

With human services among the fastest growing areas of employment in the next decade, there are exciting opportunities for our graduates. The program is allied with provider agencies throughout Massachusetts who have expressed keen interest in recruiting our graduates to meet their needs for skilled professionals.

Who is Eligible to Complete the Specialization?

The Specialization in Developmental Disabilities is open to UMass Lowell students who are Psychology Majors, Psychology Minors, and BLA students concentrating in Psychology.

Students who have completed two-year programs in developmental disabilities, intellectual disability, human services and/or mental health can expect to transfer most of these credits to UMass Lowell if they are interested in continuing on to a four year undergraduate degree program. They could then enroll in the Specialization as an addition to their Psychology course work.

The program is also designed to accommodate UMass Lowell undergraduate students who are already employed in the field. The core courses in the curriculum are typically offered late afternoons and evenings, and people working in appropriate settings may be able to use their work site for some of the required field placements.

Why Choose the Specialization in Developmental Disabilities?

  • The Specialization is designed to help students studying Psychology (majors, minors, and BLA students) to easily incorporate the required courses in to their academic program.
  • The courses in the Specialization will provide students with the necessary background and knowledge to examine disability on multiple levels.
  • The coursework includes field placements which allow students to gain hands-on experience in the field of disability.

What is the Disability Studies Minor?

For information on this program, check out Disability Studies Minor.

For more information about either the Disability Studies Minor or the Specialization in Developmental Disabilities contact: Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D., Program Coordinator: 978-934-3950

What are Some Examples of Other Interdisciplinary Minors?

The university offers a large number of interdisciplinary minors. Some that might be of particular interest are: