Deaf Studies Major

Watch this video to know more about the Deaf Studies Program at Towson University.

Degree Requirements and Course Descriptions

View degree requirements and course descriptions for the Deaf Studies major in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Double Major

Students who enroll as double majors in Deaf Studies and Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology continue studies at the graduate level to become certified as speech-language pathologists or audiologists.  The double major combination prepares students to provide services to individuals who use ASL. Take a look at the program of study for the double major.

Vision Statement:

The Deaf Studies Program is a dynamic organization committed to a better understanding and improved communications with the Deaf community.  Deaf Studies students and faculty will reflect the diversity of both the Towson University campus community and the surrounding Deaf community in Maryland.  The Deaf Studies program also will promote a better awareness and ability to work with the Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard-of-hearing communities.  Promoting collaborative partnerships between Towson University and the Deaf community is a key element of this commitment. Deaf Studies graduates will be well prepared to meet their professional responsibilities and to continue their personal and professional growth as Towson University graduates.

Mission Statement:

The Deaf Studies (DFST) program at the College of Liberal Arts, strives to inspire and empower our students to build self-efficacy in their studies for a professional career within the Deaf studies field.  Through DFST’s strong liberal arts curriculum and foundation in ASL and Deaf Studies, the students will develop knowledge and competency in ASL, including recognition and respect of the intersectionality of Deaf identities and Deaf experiences within and between Deaf communities, individual and collective.  Intersectionality of Deaf identities includes, not limited to the following: race, ethnicity, gender, abilities, cultures, socioeconomics, and more (i.e., Black Deaf, Deaf People of Color, Deaf LGBTQIA, D/deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, Hard-of-Hearing, etc.).  

The students will acknowledge how history had a significant impact on the lives of Deaf individuals in the past and present by becoming advocates and allies in their professional careers involving Deaf individuals and the Deaf communities on the issues of social justice.  Upon graduating from the DFST program with proficiency in ASL, the students will be qualified for an entry-level career within the Deaf community.  Also, the students will be well-prepared for admittance into a graduate program to pursue further studies for a professional career within the Deaf communities in one or more of the following Deaf-related disciplines: education, legal, human services, or medical.

From your very first courses in American Sign Language (ASL), you are immersed into Deaf Culture. Faculty members share their own experiences and help students more fully grasp what it means to be Deaf or hard of hearing in a hearing world. 

Students interact with members of the Deaf Community at a variety of on- and off-campus events. Join the ASL Club on campus or live in the ASL Living Learning Community, and gain more confidence in your receptive skills and ability to communicate in ASL. You also have the option to complete a semester as a visiting student at Gallaudet University and/or a summer program learning Italian sign language and Italian Deaf Culture in Siena, Italy. 

American Sign Language Community 

The American Sign Language (ASL) Community is a Living Learning Community for Deaf students and students committed to improving and/or maintaining their ASL language skills. The community is open to students in the Deaf Studies major, students who use ASL in their everyday lives, and students who affiliate with the Deaf community.

Gain Practical Experience

Students participate in off-campus service learning experiences and attend Deaf events. Each student completes an internship at an organization serving the Deaf Community. Your internship gives you hands-on experience in potential careers and prepares you to work for agencies, schools and other organizations that provide services to the Deaf Community. Your internship and Deaf Studies coursework will prepare you for entry into positions such as a teaching assistant, job coach, residential dorm counselor, case manager, program coordinator or administrative specialist. Your Deaf Studies degree will also prepare you to enter graduate programs in Deaf education, psychology, social work, counseling, interpreter preparation, and many more.

ASL Screening

All students wishing to begin ASL courses at TU above the ASL I level must take the placement test.  Incoming students are not allowed to register for DFST 105 American Sign Language II or higher without taking the placement test.  For more information about placement and credits for prior learning, see the Advising & Student Resources page.

Deaf studies overview

History of Deaf Studies at TU

How did Deaf Studies at TU get started?  Read "Finding the Right Players:  The Formation of Deaf Studies at Towson University" from TU Special Collections and University Archives.

Why Towson University?

 Prepare For Deaf Academic Disciplines

Students who complete the Deaf Studies major and develop proficiency in American Sign Language are qualified to work in a positive and supportive manner with members of the American Deaf Community and in related professions.  The Towson University Deaf Studies Program prepares graduates to seek admittance to Master's Degree programs in a variety academic areas of Deaf Studies.