Deaf Studies Major & Minor


The Deaf Studies program at Goshen College will introduce you to the rich language and culture of the Deaf community. Designed for students with an interest in Deaf culture and American Sign Language (ASL), the Deaf studies program offers two concentrations: a social services focus or an education focus. Both concentrations prepare students to use their ASL skills in various career paths working with the Deaf community and students will also spend a semester as a visiting student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

The Social Service Concentration

The social service concentration prepares students for career options that involve working directly with Deaf individuals and their families. Students in this concentration will learn about topics like Deaf culture, community, family dynamics, and mental health. You will also learn how to provide services to the Deaf community that are culturally competent and relevant.

The Education Concentration

The education concentration prepares students to work with Deaf individuals in educational settings. Learn topics such as:

  • Deaf culture
  • Foundations of Education
  • Deaf literacy
  • Child development
  • Developmental psychology

The option to double-major in Secondary Education

You will also have the option to complete Deaf Studies as a stand-alone major or a double major with Secondary Education, which would lead to professional licensure to teach ASL at the Middle School or High School level.  Deaf Studies graduates will complete ASL classes and will also find many opportunities to practice ASL skills outside the classroom as you attend workshops, Deaf church meetings, Deaf sporting events, and other local events. In addition to spending a semester as a visiting student at Gallaudet University, double majors will spend a semester student teaching ASL.

Graduate Career-Ready

Our Deaf Studies program’s small class sizes allow students to work closely with their professors and peers in a rigorous but supportive setting.

An Alternative to the Interpreting field

The Deaf Studies major is perfect for students interested in ASL who do not want to enter the field of Sign Language interpreting. If you are interested in ASL interpreting, learn more about our Sign Language Interpreting major

Start Your Studies Today!

If you are interested in learning more about the Deaf community and ASL, fill out the form below. Financial aid is available.


Education Concentration

Graduates with an education concentration will be prepared for careers such as a paraprofessional or 1:1 aid working with Deaf children in a school setting, tutor, working in an after school program with Deaf children, or as a dorm counselor at a residential school for the Deaf.

This concentration might also lead to graduate studies in Sign Language education, Deaf studies, school counseling, elementary/Deaf education, secondary/Deaf education, linguistics or social work.

Education Concentration & Secondary Education double major

Goshen College is the only program in Indiana to license teachers of American Sign Language, and we are the sole provider of certified ASL teachers in the state. The Indiana Department of Education shows that there are nearly 100 ASL teaching positions in Indiana, and you will be uniquely positioned to begin your career in this specific field.

A double major in Deaf studies and secondary education will prepare you to work as a certified language teacher to hearing students.

Social Services Concentration

A Deaf studies major with a focus on social services will put you in a position to work effectively with an underserved population. A passion for American Sign Language and/or Deaf culture can lead to employment and careers beyond interpreting.

The concentration in social services might lead to a career in organizations that utilize ASL with Deaf clients or clients with developmental disabilities, such as a case manager, job coach, life skills trainer, group home manager or interpreter scheduler. This concentration could also lead to graduate work in the areas of social work, counseling, public administration or Deaf studies.

News & Events


Learn more about Goshen College's exceptional academic outcomes and national rankings.

Students & Alumni

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Faculty & Staff

Colleen Geier

Program Director and Professor of Sign Language Interpreting

Damon Johnson

Damon Johnson

Adjunct Professor of Sign Language Interpreting

Diana Boussom

Instructor of American Sign Language

Suzanne Ehst

Professor of Education
Director of Secondary Education

Carol Jarvis

Professor of Social Work