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MA in Comparative and International Disability Policy

Note: No new students will be admitted to this program for the 2014 - 2015 Academic Year.


The Master’s of International Affairs in Comparative and International Disability Policy (CIDP) is the world’s first virtual Master’s degree in disability policy. At the forefront of technological innovation, the program’s cyberinfrastructure cuts across geographic boundaries, allowing faculty to teach and students to be taught entirely online. Anyone from around the world can apply.

The CIDP Master’s degree, offered by the School of International Service at American University, is the centerpiece program of the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP), which is led by the Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (COTELCO), a research center at American University.

While most students complete the CIDP program in two years, it is possible to choose an accelerated pace that allows for completion of the program in one year over fall, spring and two summer sessions. Students also have the option to complete the program on an extended part-time basis. 

Key Program Features

  • First SIS degree offered in an entirely virtual format
  • Students can take courses from anywhere in the world, including low-bandwidth areas
  • Courses incorporate Universal Design for Learning principles, and are accessible to blind, deaf, and mobility impaired students
  • Courses can be experienced in real time or accessed on demand as recordings
  • Course recordings available anytime immediately following class sessions; includes audio, video, and chat feeds, closed captions, and transcript
  • Interactive and accessible virtual classrooms
  • One year accelerated or extended part-time flexibility offered
  • Anyone from around the world can apply

Concentration Tracks

  • Disability Studies
  • Management and Leadership

Application Requirements

  • Bachelor's Degree from Accredited Institution
  • Online Application
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • GRE/TOEFL/IELTS/PTE as applicable
  • Two Letters of Recommendation

Application Deadline

Fall Admission Only: January 15 for SIS Merit Award Consideration

Accreditation and licensing information


The Nippon Foundation awards up to fifteen full fellowships per year to CIDP students. While all complete applications are considered, fellowship preference is given to students from the ASEAN region who are blind or visually impaired; deaf or hard of hearing; and/or mobility impaired. These full fellowships include tuition and fees, books and course materials, technology equipment, required assistive technology, costs to participate in the IDPP Annual Meeting and Two-Week Residency, and other support services. For more information, please visit

Tuition and Fees

For information on fees for the CIDP program, please click here.

Important Notes

CIDP is the first all-online degree program offered by SIS. Each summer, the IDPP hosts an Annual Meeting and Two-Week Residency in the ASEAN region, which offers an important face-to-face opportunity for new and current CIDP students to learn from each other, faculty, IDPP leadership, and leaders in the disability and public policy fields while gaining an orientation to the pedagogy of the CIDP program. Program entrants and current students are encouraged to participate in-person or virtually in this annual event.