Bachelor’s Degrees in American Sign Language & Deaf Studies


Group of students watching the instructor perform sign language

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 undergraduate programs in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies give students the opportunity to learn about intersectionality in Deaf culture, social justice, allyship, and issues in Deaf education while also helping advance students’ ASL proficiency beyond ASL 4.

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 (online courses)
  • 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)

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.

ASL and Deaf Studies fields; social work, customer service, communications, human resources, law, medicine, counseling, education, interpreting

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 (typically four semesters of coursework). We are also excited to offer Deaf students advanced academic training in their heritage language.

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 certificate is offered in a hybrid online format. 

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.

Questions?

Nigyar Alves
  • Senior Academic Advisor
Graduate certificate, Undergraduate certificate, Undergraduate degree

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

The bachelor’s degree programs require a total of 30 credit hours, completed through 10 courses worth three credit hours each. 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.

Introduction to ASL/English Interpreting Certificate 15 credit hours; 6 hours of required courses, 9 hours of electivesProfessional ASL/English Interpreting Certificate 15 credit hours; 12 hours of required courses, 3 hours of electivesDeaf Studies and Social Justice Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates 15 credit hours; 9 hours of required courses, 6 hours of electivesAdvanced American Sign Language Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates 15 credit hours; 6 hours required courses, 9 hours of electives
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 38 public university members of the prestigious Association of American Universities, a group of America's leading research universities

Useful

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

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. This website 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. This website 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. This website 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.

Fall: Aug. 1

Spring: Nov. 1

Summer: May 1