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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.

Undergraduate students majoring in Deaf Studies select one of three concentrations of study:

Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing,

Educational Interpreting, or

American Sign Language Education

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.

For applicants with intermediate or higher sign language proficiency, there are seven undergraduate degree options that lead to single or dual teacher licensure in the following areas:

  • ASL Education
  • Deaf Education (with coursework for secondary education licensure)
  • Deaf Education & Elementary Education
  • Deaf Education & Special Education Comprehensive
  • Deaf Education & Art Education
  • ASL Education & Art Education
  • ASL Education & Deaf Education

Team Leader Contact: David H. Smith

For more information on our graduate programs visit:

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

PhD Program