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  • Home
  • Bachelor’s Degrees in American Sign Language & Deaf Studies

Bachelor’s Degrees in American Sign Language & Deaf Studies

bachelor's degree in american sign language

Download your ASL and Deaf studies program guide Download guide

Earn your American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies degree or certificate

The interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of General Studies in American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies degree programs offer comprehensive coursework to prepare you with the valuable skills to complement in-demand jobs and the foundations for ASL fluency or interpreting.

This historic collaboration between Johnson County Community College (JCCC) and the KU Edwards Campus (KUEC) unites JCCC’s 30-year history in ASL education and expertise with KUEC’s mission of providing the highest quality programs to equip the workforce with in-demand skills.

Fewer than 35 ASL bachelor’s degrees or ASL/English interpreting degrees exist in the United States and less than a handful in the region. With the recent bachelor’s degree requirement to sit for national testing and earn certifications, these new degree programs address a significant need. Here’s your chance to serve the area’s robust Deaf community.

The B.A. and B.G.S. in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies offer the following four tracks/certificates:

  • Deaf Studies and Social Justice
  • Advanced ASL
  • Becoming an Interpreter
  • Professional Interpreting

KU’s School of Professional Studies also offers the following graduate and undergraduate certificates, helping professionals of varying backgrounds, as well as students in a variety of academic programs, specialize their knowledge:

  • Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate in Deaf Studies and Social Justice
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate in Advanced American Sign Language
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate in ASL/English Interpretation (prepares students to sit for ASL/English interpreter certification examination)

Learn more about program structure below, and download the program guide for curriculum specifics.

What career paths use professionals with a Deaf studies and ASL degree or certificate?

Blending language and culture gives you broad applications for your career including the ability to communicate directly with the Deaf population. These programs can help you continue on your path to becoming a professional interpreter, augment your existing ASL credentials or add an in-demand skillset to your other professional abilities.

A wide variety of fields need ASL-fluent professionals and interpreters and those with a heightened understanding of Deaf culture and social justice. Some of the career paths listed below are available to individuals with ASL proficiency combined with other professional skills. Students may achieve this combination through prior education and experience or double-majoring at the KU Edwards Campus.

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Which ASL and Deaf Studies degree or certificate is right for me?

Are you in a field in which you would benefit from learning more about American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies for direct communication? Are you a Deaf student who desires more background and a professional credential in your heritage language? Are you wanting to take the next step in becoming a professional interpreter?

The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of General Studies programs in American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf studies are designed for those who have either completed an associate degree with a focus on ASL or ASL/English interpreting or those who have completed ASL I-IV (typically four semesters of coursework). We are also excited to offer Deaf students advanced academic training in their heritage language.

Download your ASL and Deaf studies program guide Download guide

KU’s undergraduate and graduate American Sign Language and Deaf studies certificates each address different levels of proficiency in ASL and understanding of Deaf culture.

The certificate in Deaf studies and social justice does not require proficiency in ASL, and focuses on intersectionality and Deaf culture, social justice and allyship and issues in Deaf education.

The certificates in Advanced American Sign Language and ASL/English Interpreting are designed for students who have base-level proficiency in American Sign Language and English, including students with an undergraduate degree focusing on ASL or ASL/English interpreting, Deaf and hearing heritage ASL users.

How are the American Sign Language and Deaf studies programs structured?

The bachelor’s degrees require a total of 30-33 credit hours (completed through 10-13 courses at three credit hours each). Students are able complete two of the four academic tracks/certificates (15-18 credit hours/5-6 courses each):

  • Deaf Studies and Social Justice
  • Advanced ASL
  • Becoming an Interpreter
  • Professional Interpreting

Courses may count towards multiple certificates, but you will need to take additional electives to meet credit hour requirements for the major and each certificate.

Why a KU American Sign Language and Deaf studies degree or certificate?

B.A. in ASL and Deaf Studies

  • 30-33 credit hours plus KU undergraduate requirements
  • Must complete a second quantitative literacy course and a laboratory course
  • May complete 2 of 4 tracks 15-18 credit hours each

B.G.S. in ASL and Deaf Studies

  • 30-33 credit hours plus KU undergraduate requirements
  • Must complete a minor and a career preparation course
  • May complete 2 of 4 tracks 15-18 credit hours each

You may also pursue undergraduate or graduate certificates in advanced American Sign Language, ASL/English interpretation and Deaf studies and social justice. See the choices below and download the program guides for more information. Each guide provides the program’s curriculum, career paths, admissions information, tuition and more.

  • Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate in Deaf Studies and Social Justice
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate in Advanced American Sign Language
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Certificate in ASL/English Interpretation (prepares students to sit for ASL interpreter certification examination)

Explore the curriculumLearn more

Why a KU American Sign Language and Deaf studies degree or certificate?

Flexible

  • Flexible course formats
  • Major concentrations match student interest with experienced faculty
  • MetroKC tuition rate available for Missouri students

Quality

  • Credentialed, experienced faculty
  • Two-time recipient of Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising from KU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • KU is one of 34 public university members of AAU

Useful

  • Hands-on, interdisciplinary curriculum
  • Opportunities for undergraduate research and study abroad
  • Focus on problem solving and community engagement

Download your ASL and Deaf studies program guide Download guide
 

The Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates in ASL/English Interpreting aim to prepare students to sit for the NIC and BEI national certification exams so they are eligible for state credentialing in KS and MO. Students in KS who pass the performance certification exam are eligible to register in KS as an interpreter. The website http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/RS/Pages/KCDHH/KQAS.aspx provides information about KS interpreter registration. Students in MO who pass the MO certification exam are eligible to seek licensure in MO as an interpreter. The website https://mcdhh.mo.gov/interpreters/ provides information about MO interpreter certification and licensing.  If you plan to obtain a license or certification in a state other than Kansas or a US territory after completion of your program, it is highly recommended you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency BEFORE beginning the academic program to ensure you can obtain a license or certification in your home state or territory. The website https://rid.org/advocacy-overview/state-information-and-advocacy/ provides resources for licensure and certification boards outside of Kansas. The Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates in ASL/English Interpreting does not guarantee that students will pass the certification exams, but covers the necessary materials to prepare students to sit for the exam.


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