Skip to main content

Major & Minor

Undergraduate Program Policies

Declaration of an ASL Major or Minor

Strong ASL language skills are required for students declaring a major or minor in ASL, and for the successful completion of the advanced ASL classes. Therefore, a student should have completed ASL 101 and ASL 102 prior to declaring a major or minor in ASL. Students wishing to complete a major or minor should meet with the Undergraduate Advisor to plan and select courses, and to complete the official declaration form. The best time to do this is during the weekly ASL Advising office hours. For information on the Advising office hours, or to make an appointment, please call (273-5165) or e-mail the ASL Program Office at asl@rochester.edu.

Students with Prior Knowledge of ASL

Students entering the program who have previously studied ASL or have prior signing experience should contact the ASL Program to set up an ASL Skill Evaluation. This is an informal meeting with one of our senior instructors, who will assess the student’s language skills and recommend the ASL class that best fits his/her needs. If a student concentrating in ASL places out of a class, it must be replaced by an elective selected with the ASL Advisor. In order for a course to be considered for transfer credit, a student must bring the syllabus and course materials to their skills evaluation. Courses are accepted for transfer credit on a case-by-case basis.

Continuity of Study

We recommend that students take ASL courses each semester. A semester without using ASL can weaken a student’s signing skills, making it difficult to advance to the next level of ASL class. Therefore, to enter the ASL language classes (ASL 102-106), students must have taken the prerequisite in the immediately preceding semester or obtain permission of the instructor. For the 200-level ASL courses, in addition to any prerequisites, students must have taken an advanced ASL class in the immediately preceding semester, or obtain instructor permission.

Crossover Classes

For students with a double major, only two classes may count towards both majors. For students with a major and minor, only one class may count toward both concentrations. For students with a cluster and a major/minor, only one class may count toward another concentration. If students have more than the allotted class(es) that could satisfy both concentrations, they must take an additional class to count toward one of the concentrations. Exception: Courses taken to satisfy the Allied Field Requirement of the Psychology major are not considered as counting toward the major, so any number of Allied Field courses can count toward an ASL concentration.

Upper Level Writing Requirement

ASL majors can satisfy the University’s Upper Level Writing requirement by taking the following courses:

ASL 200Sign Language Structure(core course)
ASL 201Introduction to ASL Literature(elective)

These courses include substantial writing assignments, including instructor feedback and the opportunity to revise the written work, as well as training in analytical, reasoning, and formal presentation skills.

Career Interest in Deaf Education or Teaching ASL

We recommend that students interested in pursuing a career in Deaf Education or Teaching ASL as a Second Language take the following courses:

ASL 205Art of Translation: ASL and English
ASL 209Teaching ASL as a Second Language

ASL 205 provides the student with an advanced understanding of the grammatical structures of English and ASL and correspondences between them, necessary for teaching either English or ASL. ASL 209 exposes students to teaching methods based in the visual medium, which is vital for effectively communicating with deaf children.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad for a semester is a wonderful way for students to broaden their education. ASL majors interested in studying abroad must plan ahead with their undergraduate advisor to be sure they will complete their required courses in time for graduation. Because a number of ASL classes offered only in the fall are prerequisites for classes offered only in the spring, a semester away could delay a student’s progress by a year. This is especially true for majors who begin taking ASL courses after their freshman year. All ASL majors who are considering a semester abroad should meet with the undergraduate advisor as early as possible.

Study Abroad Website