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Deaf Studies Majors

Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Educational Interpreting, American Sign Language Education

The Deaf Studies undergraduate program at the University of Tennessee is housed in the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education (TPTE) within the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS). The program is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in American Sign Language (ASL), ASL linguistics, Deaf history and culture, and educational trends and issues. Teaching and learning in the Deaf Studies program, including class activities, discussion, and demonstration of knowledge, occur in either ASL or English. Integral to the coursework is social justice, with the goal of preparing culturally competent teachers and interpreters who can provide equitable and quality education for all students.

Watch our video here to learn more about our Deaf Education concentrations from our Deaf Studies faculty, students, and alumni.

Admissions, Tuition and Fees, and Financial Aid Information

Apply here

Undergraduate students majoring in Deaf Studies select one of three concentrations of study (with more coming in 2023):

Coming in Fall 2023!

  • American Sign Language (ASL) education concentration with Deaf education undergraduate internship specialization (coming Fall 2023!)
  • Deaf education (with coursework for secondary education licensure)
  • Deaf education concentration with art education undergraduate internship specialization
  • Deaf education concentration with elementary education undergraduate internship specialization
  • Deaf education with Special education comprehensive undergraduate internship specialization

Field experiences are embedded in each concentration, creating opportunities for students to gain experience in the discipline while taking coursework.

Upon completion of the Deaf Studies undergraduate degree, students with a concentration in Deaf Education or ASL Education may continue to the 5th year professional internship and graduate school program. These 5-year programs (4 years undergraduate study + 1 year graduate study) are designed to provide initial licensure in Pre K-12 to teacher candidates and lead to a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Master’s degree in Teacher Education.

For more information on our graduate programs visit:

Master’s degree programs in Teacher Education, licensure and non-licensure

PhD Program

David Smith, research professor, team lead, and job-embedded practitioner co-coordinator

Jeffrey Davis, professor

Calvin Farley, senior lecturer

April Haggard, senior lecturer and ASL program coordinator

Megan Wylie Potts, lecturer and educational interpreting program coordinator

Cheryl Shahan, clinical assistant professor and job-embedded practitioner co-coordinator

Michael Skyer, assistant professor

Bill Stricklen, senior lecturer

Ethan Swafford, lecturer (not pictured)

Kimberly Wolbers, professor and SIWI program coordinator

Emily Bown, ASL Lab Coordinator (not pictured)

David H. Smith, research professor and team lead