EdM in Education of the Deaf

The Education of the Deaf program within Boston University’s School of Education prepares graduate students for initial licensure in Massachusetts as a Teacher of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing for all levels. Massachusetts participates in the NASDTEC interstate reciprocity agreement with all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia (other state-specific requirements may apply), and graduates go on to teach at schools across the nation.

Our program is dedicated to a bilingual/bicultural (ASL & English) approach where we train teachers to educate Deaf and hard-of-hearing children from all backgrounds. We are committed to the idea that teachers must promote programming that creates meaningful roles for American Sign Language and English. As a result, competence in American Sign Language is a fundamental part of what defines us, and our students. Students are required to complete an advanced sequence of ASL as a second language and pass an ASL proficiency assessment prior to graduation.

Our courses are designed to give students a strong background in the principles of language, literacy, and cognitive development. We emphasize the mastery of practical and creative strategies that focus on uniting theory and instruction. Additionally, we stress the importance of understanding the history and culture of the Deaf world in order that our students place what they learn into appropriate, comprehensive contexts. Many of the program’s core courses are taught by Deaf and CODA faculty, using American Sign Language.

When accepted into the program, students engage in rigorous exploration of the nature of language, language teaching, linguistic theory, and language acquisition, as well as bilingual instructional strategies for teaching reading, math, science, and social studies. An important feature of the program is our concentration on maximizing current technological advances into productive educational programming. Upon graduation, our students are among the most highly sought-after teachers in the country.

Completion of the master’s degree is required for full-certification as a teacher of the Deaf. In addition to coursework, we emphasize the importance of having time in educational settings.

First-year students are required to complete one-semester volunteer fieldwork prior to their practicum placements (first semester of enrollment). After this, two semesters of practicum placements (student teaching) are also required. These experiences include the part-time practicum in initial strategies (second semester—75 hours) and a one-semester, full-time student teaching practicum (300 hours) in an educational program serving Deaf children.

Program Fast Facts

  • Minimum requirement: 42 credits
  • Program duration: 20 months
  • Start term: Full-time students—if prerequisites have not been completed, will begin in the summer. Part-time students may begin during the summer, fall, or spring.
  • Licensure: Upon completion of the program and the Massachusetts testing requirements, which includes the Communication and Literacy Test, General Curriculum, and Math, you will be endorsed for licensure as a Teacher of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing, all grades.


These prerequisites are offered at Boston University in the summer sessions to meet the needs of students who need to complete the coursework in a specific time frame. If participation in the summer sessions is not possible, all courses may be taken on the main campus during the Fall and Spring Semesters. Please contact the program office at deafstdy@bu.edu to discuss summer course scheduling for the following prerequisites.

  • SED DE 570 American Sign Language I (4 cr)
  • SED DE 571 American Sign Language II (4 cr)
  • SED LS 565 Introduction to Language and Linguistics (4 cr)
  • SED LS 566 Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED ME 503 Elementary Math I (4 cr)
  • SED ME 504 Elementary Math II (4 cr)
  • SED LR 551 Reading Development, Assessment, and Instruction (4 cr)

Note: SED ME 503 and SED ME 504 are usually taken in the summer after completing the first two semesters.

Coursework in Education, Linguistics, Literacy, and Language Development

  • SED DE 577 Instructional Strategies and the Deaf Child (4 cr)
  • SED DE 572 Psychology of the Deaf (4 cr)
  • SED DE 575 Language and the Deaf Child (4 cr)
  • SED DE 576 Advanced Language and the Deaf Child (4 cr)
  • SED DE 573 Expressive and Receptive Vocal Processes (2 cr)
  • SED DE 555 Literacy Skills in Deaf Children (4 cr)
  • SED DE 691 Seminar: Literacy and Deaf Students (2 cr)
  • SED DE 574 Pre-Practicum: Initial Strategies (2 cr)
  • SED SE 534 Classroom Management (2 cr)
  • SED DE 678 Practicum Equivalent: Student Teaching (4 cr)
  • SED DE 690 Seminar: Practicum (2 cr)

Coursework in ASL

  • SED DE 590 American Sign Language III (4 cr)
  • SED DE 591 American Sign Language IV (4 cr)
  • SED DE 572 American Sign Language Structure (4 cr)
  • SED DE 551 Deaf Literature and ASL Folklore (4 cr)
  • SED DE 592 American Sign Language V (Advanced ASL) (4 cr)
  • SED DE 693 American Sign Language VI (Academic ASL) (4 cr)

Coursework in Research

    SED RS 600 Introduction to Research (4 cr)

Elective Coursework

In addition to the core courses, graduate students can select elective courses in curriculum development, special education, administration and policy, and teaching English as a second language. All courses are available in the School of Education.

Requirements for Degree Completion and Licensure

ASL Language Requirement

Before beginning the program, accepted graduate students will take a pre-screening test to determine ASL placement. Graduate students who are enrolled in the program are required to take ASL proficiency tests for licensure. Prior to practicum placements, graduate students must have completed ASL IV and earned a score of 3.5 on the SLPI or equivalent.

By the end of the graduate program in Education of the Deaf, students are expected to be skilled in a bilingual and bicultural approach and to have achieved proficiency in American Sign Language at levels determined by licensure. Most classes will be taught in American Sign Language.

Fieldwork, Pre-Practicum, and Practicum Requirements


During the first semester, students will be required to complete 75 hours of fieldwork in an educational setting.


The second semester, students will be involved in a part-time pre-practicum in a school setting (total of 75 hours).


The last semester is a full-time student-teaching placement arranged for each graduate student in the program in either a residential Deaf school or a non-residential school that serves Deaf students.

Research Requirement

One 4-credit research methods course must be completed (SED RS 600).