Certificate in Assistive Technology and Accessible Design

Department Links: Overview
The Certificate in Assistive Technology and Accessible Design is an interdisciplinary program designed to meet the demand for assistive technology and accessible design specialists. The Departments of Occupational Science and Technology and Communication Sciences Disorders in the College of Health Sciences, along with the Department of Exceptional Education in the School of Education, collaborate on the course offerings and management. The certificate follows a model of prerequisite disability and technology basic knowledge, survey of the fields, assessment, intervention and leadership. Completion of the certificate will help prepare the students to sit for State and National certification examinations as Assistive Technology Specialists, Rehabilitation Engineering Technologist and Low Vision Specialist.

Eligibility and Admission

Students interested in this certificate should contact one of the three sponsoring programs before enrolling in any certificate courses. Admission to the certificate requires evidence of a basic knowledge of disability and computer applications, and an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 or a graduate GPA of at least 3.0. Generally, students in the health sciences and exceptional education will have sufficient coursework in disability related studies. Prerequisite evidence in disability related studies may be obtained at the undergraduate level. One of the following is recommended to meet the computer applications requirement.

ExEd 730 Assistive and Instructional Technology for Students with Disabilities, 3 cr
OccThpy 750 Computer applications in Occupational Therapy practice, 3 cr


  • Students wishing to obtain this certificate must declare their intention by applying to the program office or director.
  • All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School via the Panthera Admission Application.
  • Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence.
  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted in to a certificate program.

Certificate Requirements

Credits and Courses
The Certificate in Assistive Technology and Accessible Design requires completion of a minimum 15 credits as listed below. In special circumstances, the ATAD coordinator and advisory board may approve substitution of an equivalent Assessment or Intervention course relevant to assistive technology and adaptive design as appropriate.

Introduction (3 cr, must be taken at graduate level)
OccThpy 620 Introduction to Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology, 3 cr

(Alternate related graduate-level course can substitute if this course has been completed on an undergraduate level.)

Assessment (3 cr)
ExcEduc 765 Assistive Technology Service Delivery in Schools, 3 cr
ComSDis 715 Assessment and Intervention in Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 3 cr
OccThpy 770 Assessment in Assistive Technology and Accessible Design, 3 cr

Intervention (3 cr – any U/G course must be taken at graduate level)
OccThpy 625 Design and Disability, 3 cr
OccThpy 595 Vision I: Introduction to Low Vision and Vision Impairment, 3 cr
OccThpy 596 Vision II: Practical Aspects of Visual Impairment & Low Vision Intervention, 3 cr
OccThpy 593 Introduction to Biomedical and Rehabilitation Instrumentation, 3 cr
OccThpy 999 Advanced Independent Study, 1-3 cr
ExEd 735 Technology and Instruction for Students with Disabilities, 3 cr
ExEd/OccThpy 777 Fieldwork in Assistive Technology, 3 cr
ExEd 799 Independent Reading, 1-3 cr
ComSDis 717 Special Populations in Communication Disorders, 2 cr
ComSDis 791 Research Experience, 1 cr
ComSDis 799 Independent Studies, 1-3 cr

Elective (3 cr)
Addtional 3 credits may be selected from either Assessment or Intervention list

Capstone (3 cr, must be taken at graduate level)
OccThpy 660 Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology (online), 3 cr

Minimum Grade Requirement
To be awarded the certificate, students must earn a minimum grade of B in the certificate courses (B- not allowed).

Grade Point Average Requirement
A minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM is required.

Transfer Credit
No more than 20% of the required credits may be taken at an institution other than UWM. These courses are subject to Graduate School transfer policy and must be approved by the director of the certificate program.

Articulation with Degree Programs

  1. Credits and courses required for a certificate may double count toward meeting UWM graduate degree requirements subject to the following restrictions:
    • Degree programs must approve the courses from certificates that can double count toward the degree.
    • All credits taken in completion of certificate requirements may count towards a UWM graduate degree as long as they do not contribute more than 90% of the total credits needed to obtain the degree. (Note: Students in Ph.D. programs must still complete the minimum residency requirements)
    • Certificate courses used toward meeting degree requirements must be completed within the time limit for transfer credit.
  2. Courses completed for a degree may be counted toward a subsequent certificate, subject to all certificate policy requirements.
  3. A course may count toward no more than one certificate and one degree.
  4. Students may not earn a certificate subsequent to a concentration in the same area.

Time Limit

Certificate program time limits shall be established as follows:

18 or fewer credits/Three years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

19 or more credits/Four years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

For certificates that are designed as add-ons to degree programs and are awarded concurrent with the degree, the time limit shall be the same as that of the degree program.