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Online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Deaf Human Services

Break down barriers. Connect people with valuable services.

Do you want to learn how to provide direct services to deaf people in American Sign Language? This program provides you the case management, safety planning, intervention, advocacy and community integration skills to make it possible to work with deaf people receiving services in a variety of helping professions. You will also learn the cross-cultural skills needed to provide services in a way that affirms the cultural identities and values of those you serve. If you aren’t yet fluent in sign language, you will have the opportunity to learn the language from Deaf, native signers. 

The Bachelor of Science degree in Deaf Human Services combines skills in American Sign Language, Deaf culture, social work and psychology to prepare you to provide direct services to deaf people in ASL. Students must meet sign language fluency skill level requirements to declare this major and to graduate. The success of providing direct services such as these is heavily dependent on language accessibility. It is essential that you are able to communicate with ease in the language of the individuals being served, therefore an ASLPI score of 2.0 or higher is required to enroll in the online program. William Woods does not offer American Sign Language online, so students must already possess the ASL language skills necessary prior to beginning the program.

The program includes a capstone project with the choice of an internship or a major research project. Upon completion of this degree, you’ll be able to work alongside deaf people with different types of needs in finding solutions toward a healthier future.

Special opportunities:

  • Work directly with State and community agencies serving deaf individuals, students at Missouri School for the Deaf, members of the local Deaf community, and Deaf instructors and tutors.
  • Communicate effectively with members of the Deaf community and achieve a recognized level of fluency in ASL.
  • Learn about important services available in the community and how to ensure they are accessible to deaf individuals and families.
  • Gain practicum experience in education, mental health, vocational and other settings.
  • Join extracurricular learning experiences including the ASL Honor Society and the Hands Up club on campus
  • Learn how to conduct research from our expert faculty members.
  • Have the unique experience of presenting your findings at local, regional and national conferences


Our DHS degree at work.

A Bachelor of Science degree in Deaf Human Services positions you to work in a variety of careers or continue your studies by earning a Master’s degree in human services, psychology or social work. Possible career options include:

  • Mental Health Case Worker
  • Developmental Disabilities Service Coordinator
  • Children’s Service Worker
  • Family Support Worker
  • Social Services Liaison
  • Life Skills Instructor
  • Client Advocate
  • Psychiatric or Psychological Technician
  • Clinical Casework Assistant
  • Probation and Parole Officer
  • Rehabilitation Case Worker


Courses you may take

ASL 101 - Career Seminar in ASL Studies - 3.00

This course is designed to introduce non-Deaf students to various professions with and in service to Deaf people. A survey of ASL/English interpreting profession will be conducted, as well as touching on various fields in the behavioral sciences, education, law etc. Additionally, community services for the Deaf will be covered in depth.

ASL 120 - Deaf Culture -D - 3.00

Compares, contrasts and analyzes deaf culture and American culture from a variety of perspectives. Examines cultural interactions between deaf and hearing people and provides opportunity for exploring potential cultural conflicts between deaf and hearing people.

ASL 321 - Sociological Perspectives of Deaf Education - 3.00

Deaf Education is a complex and controversial issue in the Deaf community; Is deafness looked upon as a way of life or a disability? Is sign language seen as a resource or a last resort? How do deaf people best learn and thrive? One's education experiences have a profound impact on self actualization and success as an deaf adult. This population faces unique circumstances regarding their own language and cultural competency, access to equivalent services, and relationships with other people. Students taking this course will learn about these circumstances in a specific context and examine the various options and perspectives facing deaf students in today's educational environments. Examining laws and policies pertaining to this field and being able to discuss such things will better prepare them to assist and advocate for clients in various settings. Prerequisites: ASL 205

ASL 425 - Linguistics of American Sign Lang - 3.00

Students take an analytical approach to language and the field of linguistics as it applies to American Sign Language. ASL phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, bilingualism, and language use and usage will be examined and discussed. Language samples will be viewed and analyzed for evidence of different language structures and forms. Students will also read and critique research articles pertaining to ASL and other signed languages. Prerequisite: ASL245

ASL 450 - Senior Capstone - 3.00

This course is the capstone to the major and prepares students to enter an ASL Studies related field. Students are provided with the opportunity to apply and integrate key concepts from their course study in preparing for their own competency assessment, career development, and ethical decision making. This course is conducted in seminar format where students will apply time-management, business practices, accountability, and life-long learning and professional development. Emphasis given to creating a portfolio and resume for future employment. Prerequisites: ASL 425 with a grade of “C” or better.

MAT 114 - Elementary Statistics -M - 3.00

A pre-calculus introduction to statistics. Topics include: elementary probability, measures of central tendency and variation, normal distributions, sampling, confidence intervals, estimation, hypothesis testing, regression and correlation. Emphasis on the use of graphing calculators and the utility of mathematics as a problem-solving tool. Extensive discussion of applications in natural science, social science, and business. Prerequisite: MAT 099 or equivalent.

PSY 101 - General Psychology I -S - 3.00

An introduction to psychology as a scientific discipline surveying the biological basis of behavior, motivation, learning, sensation, perception, memory, thinking and language.

PSY 102 - General Psychology II -S - 3.00

An introduction to psychology as a scientific discipline surveying interpersonal behavior, personality development, intelligence, psychopathology, assessment, treatment, and research methodology.

PSY 313 - Statistics for the Social Sciences - 3.00

This course focuses on descriptive and inferential statistics in the design, analysis and interpretation of data in psychological research. Students will learn to effectively present data. Practical application is emphasized. Prerequisites: SWK313

PSY 411 - Abnormal Psychology - 3.00

The study of the factors which lead an individual to pathological behavior, the types of abnormal behavior, and the current methods of therapy. Prerequisite - PSY102 or PSY105

PSY 413 - Advanced Research Project - 3.00

This course will allow students to complete a research project in an area of psychology. Students will be guided through the research process including the review of literature, methodology and data analysis. This course is repeatable for credit. Students will be able to repeat this class for credit. Prerequisite: SWK313 and PSY313

SCA 245 - Ethics in Social Science -E - 3.00

In this course we will analyze a variety of ethical issues of contemporary social concern. Among the issues are: abortion, physician-assisted suicide, the death penalty, privacy, pornography and censorship, social justice and affirmative action, gender issues, genetic engineering, cloning, and reproductive technology, environmental ethics and treatment of animals. The principal focus of the course will be on a careful study and critical examination of arguments and the application of those arguments to current events, issues in research specific to the disciplines and practice issues in Sociology and Social Work. The design of the course is to familiarize you with the tools needed to make more and ethical decisions that go across both disciplines. Sociology is a discipline that looks at society as a group and involves social ethics, legal ethics, environmental ethics, gender ethics, family ethics, bioethics, racism and sexism issues as well as personal and practical ethics. We will answer the questions of, what are our moral obligations to others? How can moral disagreements be rationally settled? What rights must a just society accord its citizens? What constitutes a valid excuse for wrong-doing?

SWK 215 - Social Welfare -S - 3.00

This introductory course examines historical and contemporary efforts to address human needs, in American society. Students will participate in open discussions to explore the conservative, liberal and radical political ideologies that underpin social policies today. Discussion topics will include human diversity, religion, poverty, child welfare, criminal justice, health care, mental health, developmental disabilities, housing, homelessness, community development and aging. Students will have the opportunity to learn about and interact with professional social workers, through class activities, guest speakers and job shadowing experiences. Guest speakers will also include multidisciplinary professionals, such as attorneys, educators, law enforcement officers and medical personnel, who partner with social workers in meeting human needs.

SWK 312 - Intervention Strategies Indiv/Famil - 3.00

This course provides a framework for the Generalist Model for social work practice with individuals and families. Emphasis is on learning to develop professional relationships that are characterized by mutuality, collaboration, and respect for the client. Content focuses on examination of client strengths and problems in the interactions among individuals and between people and their environments as well as social work knowledge, values, and skills that are employed to enhance the well-being of people and to help ameliorate the environmental conditions that affect people adversely. The problem solving methods is also a major component of the course as well as learning the skills for practice with clients from differing social, cultural, racial, religious, spiritual, and class backgrounds. Prerequisite: SWK316

SWK 313 - Research Methods - 3.00

This course examines the application of basic concepts of research methodology to social work, including problem formulation, design of research, measurement, sampling, and data analysis. It includes the role of research in social work and the interpretation and critical analysis of research reports in social work. This course provides the foundation to equip students to be consumers of published research and to engage in building knowledge to enhance practice and service delivery through the use of scientific methods. Emphasis throughout the course is placed on preparing students to identify research findings that assist them in being more effective practitioners as well as producers and consumers of research.

SWK 316 - Human Behavior in the Environment I - 3.00

Birth-Adolescence. Human Behavior and the Social Environment I and II are taught in a two part course format and serves as foundation sequence in the Social Work Program. SWK316, Human Behavior and the Social Environment I is a review of the biopsychosocial theories of development from birth to adolescence, while SKW317, Human Behavior in the Social Environment II covers theories of biopsychosocial development of adolescence through end of life. This course sequence is based upon the philosophy that human behavior is shaped by many interacting factors and specific theories from the biological, psychological, social and cultural theory base are presented in order to address the complexity of human functioning. At the same time, human behavior is conceptualized as following a developmental sequence with age-specific characteristics and needs. In order to present this knowledge base, selected theories are applied to each life cycle stage. In each state, special attention is given to the impact of oppression, discrimination, privilege, and the consequences of gender, socioeconomic status and minority group membership. These dimensions are viewed as interactional influences on individual behavior and the person as a member of a small group, community and of the large society and culture. This course uses general systems theory with an ecological focus to provide the organizing base to explore lifespan development.

SWK 317 - Human Behavior in Environment II - 3.00

This course continues the study of human behavior with an emphasis on psychosocial development and ethnic sensitive social work perspectives. Attention is given to the interaction and influences of the psychological and sociocultural dimensions of human behavior. These dimensions are viewed as interactional influences on individual behavior and the person as a member of a small group, community and of the large society and culture. Part II also emphasizes the multicultural component that is significant in social work practice.

SWK 374 - Mental Health Services and Policies - 3.00

This course is designed to teach students about the dynamics of mental health history, services, policies and special considerations for populations at risk. An interdisciplinary approach to understanding, assessment, treatment, case management and legal process will be covered. The history of mental health services as it applies to contemporary issues and policies will be explored. The varying causes, signs and symptoms, risk factors, cost and treatment of mental illness will be examined extensively. This course is designed for students preparing for professions working with individuals, families, organizations and policies. The class is particularly targeted at students majoring in social work, deaf human services, juvenile justice, psychology or legal studies.



Your digital classroom. Available anywhere.

William Woods online undergraduate programs are available to students across the country. In Missouri, our students come from Fulton, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Kansas City, Moberly, Springfield, Ozark, Cape Girardeau, Rolla and many more locations. Beyond Missouri, our online graduates hail from California, Illinois, Kansas, Washington, Arkansas and other states.

Admissions Information

Learn more about undergraduate admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.

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