BS in Deaf Studies

The Deaf Studies Program at Boston University affords students the opportunity to develop insights into, and genuine appreciation for, the culture, contributions, and contemporary issues related to Deaf people in the United States.

Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate proficiency in ASL as evidenced by:

  • Achieving a rating of intermediate or better on all parameters of the SLPI Interview Scale.
  • Effectively engaging in social and academic conversations in American Sign Language, both expressively and receptively, in a variety of settings (field placement, classroom/professional presentations).
  • Using and comprehending ASL texts in a variety of topics and settings (recorded (video) and face-to-face contexts).
  • Describing the nature and structure of language through comparisons of ASL and English.

Demonstrate knowledge about significant matters related to history, culture, literature, language, education, and politics of the Deaf World by:

  • Articulating cultural and linguistic parallels of the Deaf World in the wider context of multiculturalism and reframing orientations from a pathological standpoint to a rich sociocultural and linguistic minority.
  • Identifying salient issues regarding oppression, power arrangements, privilege, minority status, and psychosocial implications for Deaf people in past and present contexts.
  • Articulating bilingual education and bilingualism issues related to (ASL/English) for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people and their historical significance.
  • Describing how knowledge of the Deaf World (visual learning, visual language, and Deaf art forms) can contribute to a better understanding of the human condition, science, and technology.

Demonstrate the ability to partner with and advocate for the Deaf World as evidenced by establishing competence in:

  • Planning and implementing a series of successful in-class or community/stakeholder presentations.
  • Engaging in social and academic conversations in Deaf-related agencies/institutions during semester-long field placement.
  • Planning and implementing at least three Deaf Studies events per academic year. Roles, responsibilities, and overall activities will be monitored and evaluated by Deaf Studies faculty using clearly articulated guidelines.

Requirements

All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Deaf Studies will ordinarily, through coursework taken in the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship; Communication; and some elements of the Intellectual Toolkit. Additional requirements may be satisfied through required Arts & Sciences coursework, and it is important that students keep Hub requirements in mind when selecting these courses. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

Core courses detailing the history, education, literature, and language of the Deaf will be taught by both Deaf and hearing faculty and will be conducted in American Sign Language. (American Sign Language courses are required prior to entering advanced core courses in the Deaf Studies program.) Students will participate in field experiences, enabling them to put into practice knowledge gained through academic courses. Competence in American Sign Language (the language of the Deaf) is fundamental to gaining an in-depth understanding of the Deaf community, and is a requirement of the program.

Junior Year Spring Semester at Gallaudet University

The option of doing a full semester of electives at Gallaudet University, a world-known Deaf university, is offered. Arrangements for study at Gallaudet need to be made in advance with the faculty advisor (at the earliest, Fall Semester of junior year) in order to coordinate course requirements and credits.

Competency in American Sign Language

The coursework offered is intended to develop performance and proficiency in American Sign Language. Demonstrated competence in American Sign Language is required for completion of the program. Students are required to take the Boston University ASL proficiency exit test before graduation.

Field Placement

All Deaf Studies majors are required to participate in a field placement senior year. This placement involves students working on Fridays in an agency (including schools) serving Deaf people. Placements will be determined by the Deaf Studies major’s advisor. Senior year Spring Semester students should not enroll in courses that take place on Friday in order to allow time for their field placement course. Specific placements may be tailored to each student’s interest in a particular area or setting. The program director has final say regarding field placement preferences.

Community Service

A Deaf community service component is a requirement for undergraduate study. Students are encouraged to seek out volunteer opportunities in consultation with the undergraduate advisor. Students must perform a minimum of 15 hours of service each year (totaling 60 hours).

Deaf Studies (total credits: 128)

BU Hub Requirements or Electives Outside the Major (62 cr)

Many Arts & Sciences courses satisfy BU Hub requirements. Be sure to work with an advisor to ensure you are meeting all requirements.

Subject Matter Requirements (52 cr)

  • SED DE 300 Introduction to the Deaf World (4 cr)
  • SED DE 350 Deaf History and Culture (4 cr)
  • SED DE 351 Deaf Literature and Visual Arts (4 cr)
  • SED DE 352 Capstone—Deaf Studies (4 cr)
  • SED DE 372 Social Psychology and the Deaf World (4 cr)
  • SED DE 381 American Sign Language I (4 cr)*
  • SED DE 382 American Sign Language II (4 cr)
  • SED DE 383 American Sign Language III (4 cr)
  • SED DE 384 American Sign Language IV (4 cr)
  • SED DE 385 Academic ASL (2 cr)
  • SED DE 386 Applied ASL (2 cr)
  • SED DE 472 Sign Language Structure (4 cr)
  • SED LS 566 Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • CAS LX 250/SED LS 565 Introduction to Language and Linguistics (4 cr)

Professional Studies Requirements (14 cr)

  • SED BI 570 Issues in Bilingual Education or SED SE 250 Disability, Education & Public Policy (4 cr)
  • SED ED 225 Project Citizen: Promoting Civic Engagement (2 cr)
  • SED ED 410 Social Context of Education (2 cr)
  • SED ED 412 Civic Context of Education (2 cr)
  • SED DE 554 Field Experience: Deaf Studies (4 cr)

*Students must pass this class with a grade of a B– or higher in order to continue in the program. The course may be repeated one time.