American Sign Language (ASL) advisors can helps students with a variety of things including:

Have a question we didn’t answer? See our FAQ page or contact the ASL program office at (585) 273-5165 or

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Declaring 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 (585) 273-5165 or email the ASL program office at

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Applying 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.

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Continuous 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.

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Crossover Classes

For students with a double major, only two classes may count toward both majors. Students with a major and minor can only have one class count toward both concentrations. Students with a cluster and a major/minor can only have one class 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: The psychology major’s allied field requirement courses aren’t considered major courses, so they can count toward an ASL concentration as well.

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Upper-Level Writing Requirement

ASL majors can satisfy the upper-level writing requirement by taking the following courses:

  • ASL 200: Sign Language Structure
  • ASL 201: Introduction to ASL Literature

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

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Careers in Deaf Education or Teaching ASL

We recommend the following courses for students interested in pursuing a career in Deaf education or teaching ASL as a second language:

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

ASL 205 provides students 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.

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Study Abroad

Studying abroad for a semester is a 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.

See our study abroad page for more information.

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Volunteering and Independent Study in ASL

Advanced ASL students may work with Deaf children at local institutions such as Rochester School for the Deaf or Hillside Children’s Center, or become involved in research projects (when available), to obtain independent study credit. These opportunities are available to students with advanced ASL skills. Contact the ASL undergraduate advisor for more information.

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Careers and Graduate Study in ASL

Students wishing to discuss graduate school and career options can meet with the ASL program advisor or other ASL faculty.

Current job postings can be found on the ASL bulletin board in the hallway outside the ASL program office. These announcements are collected from the weekly publication Deaf Digest, and include job postings that are mailed directly to the ASL program.

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Part-Time Study

Part-time students who take courses at the University of Rochester, but are not enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree, should contact the Office of the University Registrar for information on registration, deadlines, tuition, and services for part-time students.