Deaf Studies

Prepare for a Career in Deafness

Female student sitting on library floor at college campus
Hero Images/Getty Images

The field of deafness has become so rich with history and culture that there is a growing field of study called deaf studies. In deaf studies, people learn about deaf history, deaf culture, deaf education, sign language, linguistics and communication, psychology, deaf literature, and the deaf community.

It is possible to earn degrees in deaf studies, or just to take classes for personal enrichment.

Degrees in deaf studies equip students for deaf-related careers in functions such as administration and counseling and may include internships working with deaf people. You can even attend conferences devoted to deaf studies.

Deaf studies conferences usually have well-known guest speakers such as Dr. Harlan Lane, and Dr. Benjamin Bahan. Some conferences post research papers for download online (such as Flager College, which hosted a deaf studies conference in 2001).

Deaf Studies Programs

As expected, the best-known deaf college programs offer deaf studies classes, programs, and degrees:

United States

  • Gallaudet University (Master of Arts in Deaf Studies)
  • California State University, Northridge (Bachelor of Arts in Deaf Studies)
  • Boston University (Bachelor of Arts in Deaf Studies)
  • Towson University in Maryland (Bachelor of Arts in Deaf Studies)

Associate degrees (AA) are also available in some community colleges, such as LaGuardia Community College in New York, the Community College of Southern Nevada, Seattle Central Community College in Washington state, and Union College in New Jersey.

A few colleges also offer short one-year certificate programs.

Other Nations

Deaf studies is not limited to the United States. In the United Kingdom, Bristol University has a Centre for Deaf Studies that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Also in Bristol, there is a Deaf Studies Trust that supports deaf studies projects in the U.K.

Another U.K. college offering undergraduate degrees in deaf studies is the University of Central Lancashire. New Zealand also has a Deaf Studies Research Unit at the Victoria University of Wellington. Australia has an Auslan and Deaf Studies Centre in Richmond.

Deaf Studies Resources

Gallaudet University Press offers a selection of books specifically meant to be used as part of deaf studies. A journal devoted to deaf studies is the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. The American Annals of the Deaf is also a good source of deaf studies-related articles.

Continue Reading