EdM in Deaf Education

The Master of Education (EdM) in Deaf Education at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development is one of the only programs in the United States dedicated to theoretical and applied research in Deaf Education from a multilingual/multicultural perspective. Our approach reflects the belief that all Deaf children have a right to learn a sign language like ASL as a natural and accessible first language, and that Deaf people must influence the educational, cultural, and social systems that affect their lives.

As a student in the EdM in Deaf Education, you’ll have access to innovative scholarship and high-quality training designed to ensure that Deaf individuals and their teachers realize their full potentials. Reading and writing are taught as a second language through a range of visual strategies. Students in the EdM in Deaf Education choose one of four specializations:

  • Early Childhood Education: Leads to a second license in Early Childhood Education. You’ll learn about child development and early language and social learning and be prepared to work with children from PreK–second grade.
  • Teaching DeafDisabled Children: Leads to a second license in Teaching Children with Severe Disabilities. You’ll be prepared to work with individual DeafDisabled children to find ways of teaching and learning and meet their human right to a high-quality education.
  • Teaching ASL as a First Language: Prepares students to specialize in teaching ASL to Deaf children. You will learn to assess and support ASL acquisition among Deaf children who have had limited access to language during early childhood. You’ll also be prepared to teach ASL as a content area, considering ASL composition, literature, grammar, and more.
  • Flex: You may also craft your own specialization area in collaboration with your advisor and take coursework in one of our other degree programs, such as Education for Equity & Social Justice, English & Language Arts Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, and more!

Essential Questions


Learn More about the EdM in Deaf Education


Career Outcomes

Graduates of the BU Wheelock EdM in Deaf Education have gone on to a variety of careers, including:

  • Teachers at bilingual schools for deaf children around the country
  • Principals and directors at deaf schools
  • Researchers, professors, PhD students
  • Visual storytellers

EdM in Deaf Education Program Requirements

The EdM in Deaf Education approaches teacher training in unique ways, enabling students to take advantage of close partnerships with schools for the Deaf. These partnerships offer authentic learning experiences and valuable fieldwork opportunities in which theory and current research can inform practice.


  • ASL Proficiency

CORE COURSEWORK (36 credits)

  • SED DE 501 Professional Seminar in Deaf Education (4 cr) [online]
  • SED DE 502 Digital Media Creation (2 cr) [online]
  • SED DE 503 ASL/English Instructional Methods: Content Areas (4 cr)
  • SED DE 504 ASL/English Instructional Methods: Literacy (4 cr)
  • SED DE 505 Topics in Speech, Language, and Hearing for Deaf Educators (2 cr) [online]
  • SED DE 506 Teaching and Creating ASL Literature (4 cr)
  • SED DE 507 Dynamics of Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice within Deaf Communities (4 cr)
  • SED RS 600 Introduction to Research (4 cr)
  • SED ME 503 Elementary Math I (4 cr)
  • SED ME 504 Elementary Math II (4 cr)

FIELDWORK (18 credits)

  • SED DE 561 Pre-Practicum: Initial Strategies (2 cr, 75 hours)
  • SED DE 562 Practicum: Deaf Students with Disabilities (4 cr, 65 hours)
  • SED DE 563 Practicum: BRIDGES (4 cr, 35 hours)
  • SED DE 564 Practicum: Deaf Education (VAR , 300 hours)
  • SED DE 565 Practicum: Specialization (VAR, 200) *for dual licensure only

ELECTIVES (4 credits, cannot count elective toward specialization)

  • SED DE 531 Early Language and Social Learning in Deaf Children (4 cr)
  • SED DE 532 Disability Studies and Deaf Education (4 cr)
  • SED DE 533 Social Psychology and the Deaf World (4 cr)
  • SED DE 534 Sign Language Structure (4 cr)
  • SED DE 535 Teaching ASL as a First Language (4 cr)
  • SED TL 520 Teaching English Language Learners (4 cr)
  • A course selected in consultation with the advisor

SPECIALIZATION COURSES (12 credits from one of the following tracks):

TRACK 1: Early Childhood Deaf Education  (dual licensure in Early Childhood Education)

  • SED EC 605 Topics in Child Development and Education (4 cr)
  • SED EC 540 Early Childhood Integrated Curriculum: Literacy, SS and Arts (4 cr)
  • SED DE 531 Early Language and Social Learning in Deaf Children (4 cr)

TRACK 2: Teaching DeafDisabled Students (dual licensure in Teaching Children with Severe Disabilities)

  • SED SE 507 Severe Disabilities: Assessment and Instruction (4 cr)
  • SED SE 508 Severe Disabilities: Curriculum and Methods (4 cr)
  • SED DE 532 ASL/English Instructional Methods: DeafDisabled Students (4 cr)

TRACK 3: Teaching ASL as a First Language

  • SED DE 531 Early Language and Social Learning in Deaf Children (4 cr)
  • SED DE 534 Sign Language Structure (4 cr)
  • SED DE 535 Teaching ASL as a First Language (4 cr)

TRACK 4: Flex

  • 12 credits selected in consultation with an advisor


Every semester, students in the EdM in Deaf Education participate in fieldwork at a different school. A highlight of the fieldwork experiences is BRIDGES, a week-long, expenses paid group trip to one deaf school where the cohort works together to implement a bilingual curriculum.

Program Faculty

Next Steps in Deaf Education

Connect with BU Wheelock to learn more about our Master’s degree in Deaf Education.

Contact Info

For more information about the EdM in Deaf Education and requirements for admission, contact deafstdy@bu.edu.

Educator Licensing Disclosure

BU Wheelock Educator Preparation Programs Licensing Disclosure provides information about BU Wheelock state approved programs and how the educational requirements compare with those in other states. Education students in licensure programs should review this resource and contact edlic@bu.edu with questions.

Background Checks

Students who are admitted into BU Wheelock routinely participate in field experiences as a part of their respective program curriculum and requirements. Most field sites require criminal background checks to determine students’ eligibility for participation. History of a criminal background may disqualify students from participating in these required experiences, which in turn may impede the successful completion of one’s degree program.