You are here

Deaf Studies and Sign Languages

Deaf Studies and Sign Languages: Self-Designed Major, Minor

American Sign Language is the third most-studied language in the United States. Holy Cross has embraced this growing interest by offering a program in ASL and Deaf Studies with an interdisciplinary emphasis. Beyond the classroom, the program offers opportunities for cultural and language immersion through cocurricular activities and community-based learning initiatives.

The ASL/Deaf Studies program at Holy Cross is unique for its wealth of opportunities to learn American Sign Language from native ASL speakers. Students develop proficiency in ASL through our three-year language program which consists of formal classroom instruction, practicums, and cocurricular activities. Our program is one of very few in the country that offers practicums, which are small group practice sessions with Deaf ASL speakers that meets twice a week, in conjunction to regular language instruction. In addition to practicums, the community-based learning component of our second-year courses affords our students with the opportunity to interact with a wide range of native ASL speakers on a weekly basis outside the classroom and practicum. 

Our students also gain cultural competency through our course offerings in Deaf culture, history, literature, politics, theoretical applications, and related interdisciplinary courses. Our formal linguistic and cultural instruction is supplemented by diverse cocurricular activities such as ASL Mass, ASL performances, guest lectures, coffee socials with native ASL speakers, and informal ASL-only gatherings. We offer a minor in Deaf Studies and an interdisciplinary major in Deaf Studies through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Upon graduation, Holy Cross Deaf Studies students move on to graduate studies and a wide range of careers in deaf and non-deaf related fields. 

Program Highlights

  • The course offerings provide students with the humanist and cultural perspectives that Deaf people are not disabled, but rather a cultural and linguistic minority group.
  • Our program embraces a holistic Jesuit, liberal arts education by equipping students with a broad range of multidisciplinary tools in solving problems and exploring the world.
  • For students who are interested in a truly immersive experience in ASL, we offer a study away program at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the world’s only liberal arts college that uses ASL as its language of instruction and where ASL is primarily spoken on campus. 

Deaf Studies and Sign Languages News

Lucca Eloy '18 stands next to mathematics and computer science Professor Constance Royden, with whom he works closely to develop an independent project to artificially model the way the brain processes visual information.

Liberal Arts and Technology: A Match for the New Millennium

Jul 19, 2018

Lucca Eloy ’18 didn’t arrive at Holy Cross planning to major in computer science. He figured he’d focus on biology, maybe even go pre-med. But a funny thing happened sophomore year after he signed up for a computer science class …