Undergraduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities

Home of the certificate

The Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, a federally recognized Center for Excellence, is located administratively in the Dept. of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine.


To enhance students’ competitiveness for positions in organizations that work for and with individuals with developmental disabilities, including the AZ Division of Developmental Disabilities (and analogous organizations in other states), provider agencies, home-health agencies, special education providers, recreational agencies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.  For those students planning to pursue a graduate degree in education, the sciences or health care, the certificate would provide an additional qualification in the field.

Student outcomes

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 UCEDD interdisciplinary trainee with connection to a national network of trainees  http://www.aucd.org/template/page.cfm?id=313                                                          

Certificate requirements

This is a 12-unit certificate open to students admitted to their major or to students who have completed all lower-division requirements in their major and who are enrolled in upper-division coursework in their major.  The certificate is NOT limited to certain majors or programs.  Concurrent enrollment in a degree program is required.  The maximum number of transfer units or units taken in non-degree status that may be applied to the certificate is 3.  Requirements generally are expected to be completed within a year.  For students in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science major, six units earned in fulfilling the requirements of the certificate can be used as part of the units required to complete their emphasis in Development and Aging.

Course requirements

  • Core course:  FCM 496D, Disability Perspectives: Research, Policy, and Practice.  3 units, required of all students, offered only in the fall semester
  • Two 3-unit courses, 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, with a special discussion section for certificate students; offered in the fall
    • 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

  • Workshop: FCM 497, Community Portfolio, 1-unit, required of all students. Students will create a portfolio that includes description and analysis of experiences in the disability community that have been set up in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor or UCEDD mentor. Typically will include short reports about various meetings in the community, as well as a written reflection on a required weekend workshop on professional roles in serving the Developmental Disabilities community. Evening and weekend times may be necessary.
  • Research Experience: FCM 492A, Directed Disability Research, 2-units, required of all students. This is a scholarly project, typically a literature review or involvement in research.

Learn what our graduates have said about the program:
Alumni Reflections


Applications for Academic YR 2023-2024 are due by February 20, 2023.



Questions? Please contact:

Celina Urquidez, MPH
Education & Clinic Coordinator