EdM in Deaf Education

The Deaf Education program within Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development 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 educate teacher candidates to teach 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 coursework 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. Our core courses are taught by a team of Deaf, hearing, 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 content areas. Completion of the master’s degree is required for full certification as a teacher of the Deaf.

Students who are interested in a graduate degree but who are not pursuing teaching licensure are directed to the EdM in Language & Literacy Education with a concentration in ASL/Deaf Studies.

Program Fast Facts

  • Total credits: 72 to meet EdM and teaching licensure endorsement requirements 
  • Minimum credits for EdM: 44 credits
  • Program duration: 24 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.

Learning Outcomes

  • Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment: Promotes the learning and growth of all students by providing high quality and coherent instruction, designing and administering authentic and meaningful student assessments, analyzing student performance and growth data, using this data to improve instruction, providing students with constructive feedback on an ongoing basis, and continuously refining learning objectives (Well-structured lessons, adjustments to practice; Reflective Practice).
  • Teaching All Students: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through instructional practices that establish high expectations, create a safe and effective classroom environment, and demonstrate cultural proficiency (High Expectations; Meeting diverse needs; Safe Learning Environment).
  • Family and Community Engagement: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through effective partnerships with families, caregivers, community members, and organizations.
  • Professional Culture: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through ethical, culturally proficient, skilled, and collaborative practice (Meeting Diverse Needs).
  • Demonstrates Subject Matter Knowledge.

Prerequisites (16 credits)

The following courses are required, taken either prior to admission to BU or while enrolled in the degree program. The courses are offered at Boston University in the summer sessions to meet the needs of students. Please contact the program office at deafstdy@bu.edu to discuss summer course scheduling for the following prerequisites.

  • SED LS 565 Introduction to Language and Linguistics (4 cr)
  • SED LS 566 Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED DE 581 American Sign Language I (4 cr) (formerly SED DE 570)
  • SED DE 582 American Sign Language II (4 cr) (formerly SED DE 571)

Required Courses and Fieldwork (72 credits)

Coursework in Language Development and Literacy (18 credits)

  • SED DE 573 Topics in Speech, Language, and Hearing for Deaf Educators (2 cr)
  • SED DE 575 ASL Development in Deaf Children (4 cr)
  • SED DE 576 Bilingual AS/English Development, Assessment, and Planning for Deaf Children (4 cr)
  • SED DE 672 Sign Language Structure (4 cr)
  • SED LR 551 Reading Development, Assessment, and Instruction (4 cr)

Coursework in ASL and Deaf Culture (20 credits)

  • SED DE 551 Teaching Deaf Literature and Visual Arts (4 cr)
  • SED DE 572 Social Psychology and the Deaf World (4 cr)
  • SED DE 583 American Sign Language III (4 cr) (formerly SED DE 590)
  • SED DE 584 American Sign Language IV (4 cr) (formerly SED DE 591)
  • SED DE 585 Academic ASL (2 cr) (formerly SED DE 592)
  • SED DE 586 Applied ASL (2 cr) (formerly SED DE 693)

Coursework in Research (8 credits)

  • SED DE 691 Advanced Seminar: Learning and the Deaf (Major research paper; 4 cr)
  • SED RS 600 Introduction to Research (4 cr)

Coursework in Instructional Strategies (26 credits)

  • SED DE 574 Pre-Practicum: Initial Strategies (2 cr)
  • SED DE 577 ASL/English Bilingual Instruction (4 cr)
  • SED DE 578 ASL/English Literacy Instruction (4 cr)
  • SED DE 678 Practicum Equivalent: Student Teaching (4 cr)
  • SED DE 690 Seminar: Practicum (2 cr)
  • SED ME 503 Elementary Math I (4 cr)
  • SED ME 504 Elementary Math II (4 cr)
  • SED SE 534 Classroom Management (2 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 Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.

Fieldwork, Pre-Practicum, and Practicum Requirements

In addition to coursework, students engage in three fieldwork placements. During the first semester, students complete 75 hours of classroom observation. In the second semester, students complete a 75-hour pre-practicum placement that balances observation and supported instruction. The pre-practicum experience is supported by a concurrent pre-practicum seminar. During the spring semester of the second year, students complete a 300+ hour practicum placement where students take on primary responsibilities for instruction in a bilingual/bicultural classroom.

Requirements for Degree Completion and Licensure

ASL Language Requirement

Before beginning the program, accepted graduate students will take a prescreening 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 VI and demonstrate proficiency to BU faculty.

By the end of the graduate program in Deaf Education, students will have competency developing and implementing a bilingual/bicultural curriculum and will have achieved proficiency in American Sign Language. Most classes will be taught in American Sign Language, and some advanced classes may be taught without an interpreter.