Deaf Studies/Human Services Concentration

Degree offered

Associate in Arts in Deaf Studies

Credits required 60/62


Ulli K. Ryder

Program contact

Sandra Lygren, Coordinator and Professor of Deaf Studies, ext. 2748

Program Code: DS

Concentration Code: DSH

Program Goals Statement

Deaf Studies explores the language, culture, history and contemporary issues of Deaf people. Fundamental to our program are both competency in American Sign Language and a desire to work with the Deaf community as allies (or advocate members).  As such, all Deaf Studies concentrations share the same ASL and Deaf Studies core courses. This program also includes specialized courses needed for transfer into a BS/BA program in the human services area of choice. Students in this concentration are seeking entry-level or assistant positions in Deaf human service settings or they plan to transfer and specialize in social work, vocational rehabilitation, counseling or other related fields.

Student Learning Outcomes

Program Information


  • BCC offers several Deaf Studies concentrations to meet your career and academic goals. The concentration options are: Transfer, Interpreter Transfer, Education, Human Services and Speech to Text Support Services. Students unsure of which option to choose should choose Deaf Studies: Transfer.

  • Students who have taken non-credit “sign language classes” in the past, or, are heritage signers (Deaf/signing family) should meet with the program director to discuss Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) opportunities.

  • Students who have taken 2 or more ASL classes in high school, with a B or better, should meet with the program director for placement.

  • Although individual courses may be offered on different campuses in both day/evening formats, Deaf Studies courses are primarily offered on the Fall River campus as day enrollments. Some Deaf Studies courses may be offered completely on-line.

  • Students who want to meet the MassTransfer block should take a 3 credit science as their free elective.

  • Students wanting to continue on in Social Work should choose an additional program elective as their free elective.

Standards & Expectations

  • Students not earning a C or better in any ASL class, DST 101 or DST 110 Deaf Culture will not be able to complete an AA Deaf Studies program and should speak to the program director about options including retaking courses in the Prep Certificate.

  • Students spend an additional hour per week engaged in language lab activities with every ASL class taken. Students are expected to attend various Deaf events and get involved with their program throughout their studies to apply their language skills and develop them further in real world, practical situations.

  • A CORI may be required for service learning or ASL 285 placements.

Additional Costs

  • As stated above, Deaf Studies majors are required to attend Deaf events each semester. Most are off campus and will require transportation. Some options will have a registration fee or ticket price and costs vary.

  • Deaf Studies majors may incur copying costs (after the BCC free allottment given per semester) associated with their Intro. to Deaf Studies course when creating their resource portfolio.

Career Pathway and Essential Functions

The Deaf Studies program welcomes all interested students to our courses and program but strives to be completely transparent with incoming students about the career pathways and essential functions required (or expected) at transfer institutions or in the workforce. The Human Services concentration prepares students to transfer as juniors into a baccalaureate program of their choice or into an entry level position.

Human service workers in the ASL workforce* are employed in a variety of settings and with a variety of clients. Essential functions in those settings include certain cognitive, physical and sensory abilities which are necessary.

  • These are:

    cognitive abilities - ability to process visual language.

    physical abilities - ability to accurately express and articulate American Sign Language (which includes fine and gross motor movement of: facial muscles, head, neck, and, both shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and ten fingers)

  • sensory abilities - ability to access and comprehend visual language


If you are unsure about meeting these essential functions of employment, with or without accommodations, please contact the program director for a consult.


*Those who go on to human services work with the general population will not have these essential functions.



  • Students requiring developmental coursework should complete this in their first semester.

  • Students should take ASL 101 and DST 101 in their first fall.

  • Students who did not follow, or were not offered, a college prep track in high school, may find a 12 credit load or part time credit load is a successful way to adjust to the rigors of this program of study

  • Students who also wish to complete the MassTransfer block should take an additional 3-4 credit science elective.

  • Adhere to semester sequencing to ensure completion of necessary pre-requisites.

After BCC

Infused General Education Competencies

First-Year Experience, Oral Communication

Degree Requirements

General Courses

ENG 101Composition I: College Writing

3 credits

ENG 102Composition II: Writing about Literature

3 credits

HST 111The West and the World I

3 credits

SOC 101Principles of Sociology

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:12


Program Courses

ASL 101Elementary American Sign Language I

3 credits

ASL 102Elementary American Sign Language II

3 credits

ASL 181Visual/Gestural Communication

1 credit

ASL 201Intermediate American Sign Language I

3 credits

ASL 202Intermediate American Sign Language II

3 credits

ASL 284ASL/Deaf Studies Capstone Seminar

1 credit

ASL 285Community-based Learning in Deaf Studies

1 credit

DST 101Introduction to Deaf Studies

4 credits

DST 110Deaf Culture

3 credits

DST 151Deaf History

3 credits

DST 251Deaf Literature and ASL Folklore

3 credits

PSY 101General Psychology

3 credits

SER 101Introduction to Social Welfare

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:34

Program Electives - Choose two

COM 113, PSY 254, PSY 255, PSY 258, SER 251, SOC 212
Program Elective

3 credits

Program Elective

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:6

Elective Courses

Lab Science Elective

4 credits

Mathematics Elective

3 credits

Free Elective

1-3 credits

Total Credit Hours:8-10

Choose from MassTransfer electives, unless otherwise specified

Recommended Course Sequence - Fall Semester 1

ASL 101, DST 101, DST 110, ENG 101, SER 101

Recommended Course Sequence - Spring Semester 2

ASL 102, SOC 101, Math Elective, Program Elective, Free Elective

Recommended Course Sequence - Summer

Students are encouraged to take a Gen Ed course (HST 111, ENG 102, Lab Science Elective or Math Elective) in the summer between semesters 2 and 3 to lighten the work load.


Recommended Course Sequence - Fall Semester 3

ASL 201, SOC 101, Math Elective, Program Elective

Recommended Course Sequence - Spring Semester 4

ASL 202, ASL 284, ASL 285, DST 151/ DST 251, Program Elective, Lab Science Elective
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