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The Department of American Sign Language at Columbia College Chicago

The Department of ASL–English Interpretation offers a major in ASL–English Interpretation, a major in Deaf Studies and a minor in ASL Studies. Our curriculum emphasizes work with the Deaf population as a linguistic and cultural minority. Our ASL–English Interpretation program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education.

Columbia's ASL-English Interpretation programs prepare you for work in the growing field of interpreting. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) program is a four-year, full-time program. You’ll complete the LAS Core Curriculum while studying ASL and Deaf culture. The Deaf Studies BA will prepare you to be an advocate for and with the Deaf community. The ASL Studies minor is open to any undergraduate student at Columbia College Chicago.

ASL-English Interpretation, BA

In 1993, the Department of American Sign Language–English Interpretation offered the first bachelor’s degree of its kind in Illinois. Today, the stature of our nationally-accredited program and our connection to the Deaf community are unmatched in the Midwest. As one of our students, you’ll become an advocate for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing as well as an effective cultural and linguistic mediator in a vibrant, growing field. A second BA degree program is also open to students who already have a Bachelor of Arts from an accredited college.

Deaf Studies, BA

As a Deaf Studies major, you'll learn how to be an advocate for and with the Deaf community in the United States to promote equality in all aspects of life for all. The curriculum provides a coherent plan of study through courses in American Sign Language, Deaf Culture, linguistics, cultural theories, and practicums involved within the Deaf community. During your final year, you'll take on an internship, which includes fieldwork related to Deaf Studies and a capstone. A second BA degree program is also open to students who already have a Bachelor of Arts from an accredited college.

ASL Studies Minor

The ASL Studies minor gives you the opportunity to master American Sign Language at a communicative level. You’ll also become familiar with the resources available in the Deaf community, such as interpreter referral services and video relay services, and you’ll be able to use those resources in your own profession.


As a graduate of our department, you’ll not only become aware of and sensitive to issues concerning Deafness; you'll have the potential to become a cultural and linguistic mediator working across diverse communities.

More than 85 percent of graduates from our two Bachelor of Arts programs go on to work in the field of interpreting. Alumni work as freelancers or hold staff positions interpreting in settings such as corporate/business offices, mental health facilities, classrooms, museums, theatres, hospitals and courtrooms. Our graduates also hold local, state and national positions with interpreting organizations.

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