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Bachelor's Degrees in Interpretation Studies in ASL-English (BS or BA)

bachelors in ASL.

Build your future with a fascinating and vibrant community.

Your William Woods University bachelor’s degree in Interpretation Studies in American Sign Language (ASL) opens the door to a challenging, rewarding and growing field with strong placement prospects. The National Interpreter Education Center has documented a nationwide shortage of qualified interpreters, and the demand is growing every year. Working as an ASL-English Interpreter offers opportunities for professional achievement, personal growth and cultural enrichment.

Few institutions compete with William Woods University in American Sign Language education. Frequently ranked among the best ASL programs in the nation, we offer a unique combination of academic excellence, affordability, and community. Our walkable proximity to Missouri School for the Deaf provides a rich environment for hands-on experience, collaboration and understanding of Deaf culture and trends.

The beauty of American Sign Language interpreting is that you can choose a schedule and lifestyle that meets your needs and desires — whether that is a daily schedule, such as interpreting at a school, or something different everyday, such as community interpreting, where you are at a medical appointment in the morning and a counseling session in the afternoon and interpreting a concert in the evening. Or a combination of both!

Special opportunities:

  • Communicate and interpret between American Sign Language (ASL) and English
  • Join other ASL students in experiences all over the world. In the past, we’ve taken students to Deaf history locations in London, Paris and Rome
  • Gain practicum experiences in educational, medical, vocational and other settings
  • Work directly with students at the Missouri School for the Deaf, the local Deaf community, and Deaf instructors and tutors
  • Utilize our state-of-the-art interpreting lab equipped with Apple workstations and large-screen monitors for language development, as well as for editing videos of student language and interpretation work
  • Every year, students are selected to participate in one of the country’s largest interpreting conferences, held at Lake of The Ozarks, Mo.
  • Internship opportunities all over the country, to allow you to network with professionals in the area you wish to work upon graduation
  • Join extracurricular learning experiences including the ASL Honor Society and the Hands Up club on campus
  • Learn about the William Woods University online bachelors in interpretation studies in ASL-English degree

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) is awarded to students who complete a double major or a major and minor and ASL coursework.

Upon completing this degree, you will be proficient in American Sign Language and eligible to sit for National Interpreter Certification (NIC) administered by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). You will be able to work in various environments and professional settings as an interpreter. You will also gain a greater understanding of Deaf culture and learn interpreting essentials for medical, educational and other specialties.

Our Interpretation Studies in ASL degree at Work

William Woods University alumni are working as interpreters at these and other organizations:

  • The Whole Family Project of Kansas City
  • Access Interpreting
  • Deaf Services Unlimited
  • Special School District of St. Louis County
  • Sorenson Video Relay
  • Fulton State Hospital
  • St. Joseph School District
  • Snap Video Relay Service
  • Deaf Expressions
  • North Dakota School for the Deaf
  • Deaf, Inc.
  • ZVRS
  • Purple Communications
  • Missouri School for the Deaf
  • Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Alumni Perspectives

The professors, hands down, are phenomenal. I was thinking about an internship as an interpreter. My ASL professor said, ‘You can do this. You’re ready.’ And you know what? She was right.

— Darian Lightfoot, B.S. in Interpretation Studies, ’14 Interpreter, Activist

Requirements/Curriculum

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 345 - American Sign Language VI - 3.00

Upper level ASL course with a focus on diglossia, variation in sign language use, and viewing the Deaf community as part of a linguistic and cultural minority. Topics that will be covered include perspectives on Deafhood and Deaf/deaf communities, attitudes toward Deaf people and signed languages, technology and communication, history of the Deaf community, contributions of Deaf people to society, communication issues and the politics of language use, choices, and power. Students will expand on vocabulary through working on areas of advanced subject matters, application of non-manual markers, use of classifiers, and proper pronominalization. Prerequisites: ASL 305

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 430 - ASL Literature - 3.00

This course analyzes and compares the various genres of American Sign Language literature. ASL poetry, narrative, humor, as well as written work by deaf individuals and other language devices will be examined and discussed. Students will create and evaluate original work illustrating the similarities and uniqueness of ASL. Students will become familiar with well-known contributors: Clayton Valli, Patrick Graybill, Ella Mae Lentz, etc. Research articles pertaining to ASL or Deaf Literature will be critiqued and discussed as well. Prerequisite - ASL245

ITP 211 - Theory of Interpretation - 3.00

This course covers the fundamentals of ASL English interpretation and introduces the sociolinguistic factors that influence communication, strategies for analyzing discourse, and the theory and process of mediating between two languages and cultures. The textbook and lectures will cover theories of communication and models of the interpretation processes, the role, boundaries, and responsibilities of the interpreter and other pertinent issues critical to the field. The primary focus of this course is to develop specific skills necessary for the art of interpreting along with ways to analyze the interpreted work. Prerequisite: ASL145

ITP 217 - Comparative Translation - 3.00

Students will compare and contrast the structure and semantics of ASL and English. Focus will be on preparing accurate translations from ASL to English and from English to ASL while considering semantic use of words/signs, culturally laden terminology, in-group meaning, and differences between high and low context cultures. Students are introduced to the linguistic and processing principles of translation and interpretation. Prerequisite: ASL 205 American Sign Language III

ITP 241 - Fundamentals of Interpreting - 3.00

This course focuses on the foundation skills required for effective interpretation. The focus of this course is to develop the cognitive skills for successful interpreting. Students will be introduced to and practice intralingual translation and interpretation text analysis techniques through summarization, paraphrasing and restructuring a message while retaining its meaning. Discussions will address theoretical aspects of translating and interpreting techniques as well as specific issues related to interpreting skills. Prerequisite: ITP 211

ITP 301 - Interpreting I - 3.00

This course introduces students to the process and practice of interpreting between ASL and English. Class discussion and activities focus on creating a culturally and linguistically dynamic interpretation while broadening students’ understanding of interpreting demands. Source material will often be interactive, applying consecutive interpreting skills. Prerequisite: ITP211 and ITP217

ITP 310 - Interpreting in Advanced Settings I - 3.00

An upper level course covering various advanced settings of interpreting. This course covers interpreting in medical, mental health, and educational settings. ASL and English vocabulary in specialized areas not covered in previous courses is developed. Students will be interpreting linguistically dense texts and learning how to manage the various settings and personnel involved in these types of interpreting. Teaming with a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) will also be covered. Prerequisites: ITP 351 or ITP 302 with a grade of “C” or higher

ITP 351 - Interpreting II - 3.00

This course provides students additional exposure to interpreting between ASL and English texts. Class discussion and activities will focus on creating a culturally and linguistically dynamic interpretation while broadening students’ understanding of interpreting demands. Source material will be interactive, narrative and expository for analysis and practice. Additional emphasis on unrehearsed interpretations and student’s cognitive processing skills in the interpreting process is discussed. Credit hours: 3 Prerequisites: ITP 301 with a grade of “C” or higher

ITP 375 - Interpreting III - 3.00

This course enhances students’ skills in creating culturally and linguistically dynamic interpretations. Students participate in diagnostic analysis and feedback of both self and peer produced interpretations. Class discussions include identifying demands and controls for various interpreting settings. Prerequisites: ITP 351 with a grade of “C” or higher

ITP 380 - Interpreting IV - 3.00

This course synthesizes knowledge and skill learned previously in interpreting courses. Students continue to develop skills for linguistic mediation. Simulated interpreting events are provided for practice throughout the semester. There is an emphasis in the practice of preparing for interpreting assignments. Students participate in diagnostic analysis and feedback of both self and peer produced interpretations. Class discussions include current issues in the field of interpreting. Prerequisites: ITP 375 with a grade of “C” or higher

ITP 410 - Interpreting in Advanced Setting II - 3.00

An upper level course covering various advanced settings of interpreting. This course covers interpreting legal information, VRS/VRI work, religious settings, and intepreting for deafblind individuals. ASL and English vocabulary in specialized areas, including explicit language, not covered in previous courses is developed. Students will be interpreting linguistically dense texts and learning how to manage the various settings and personnel involved in these types of situations. Prerequisites: ITP 351 or ITP 302 with a grade of “C” or higher

ITP 450 - Senior Capstone - 3.00

This course is the capstone to the major and prepares students to enter the ASL English interpreting profession as a general practitioner. Students will investigate current issues facing the field, prepare for written certification exam(s), career development, and ethical decision making. This course is conducted in seminar format where students will apply demand-control schema, time-management, business practices, code of professional conduct and ethical decision-making, certification and quality assurance, accountability, and life-long learning and professional development. Emphasis given to creating a portfolio and resume for internship and future employment. Prerequisites: ITP 302 or 351 with a grade of “C” or better

ITP 451 - Field Practicum I - 3.00

This course requires a minimum of 150 clock hours in an approved work situation. Students will submit a log of work activities with dates and times illustrating internship activities and outcomes with brief explanatory texts. Students will complete an essay evaluating the role of the on-site supervisor, the quality of the work environment, and the importance of internship experiences. Requires permission of division chair. Prerequisite: ITP450 with grade of 'C' or higher

ITP 452 - Field Practicum II - 3.00

This course requires a minimum of 150 clock hours in an approved work situation. Students will submit a log of work activities with dates and times illustrating internship activities and outcomes with brief explanatory texts. Students will complete an essay evaluating the role of the on-site supervisor, the quality of the work environment, and the importance of internship experiences. Requires permission of division chair. Prerequisite: ITP450 with grade of 'C' or higher

Bachelor of Arts Curriculum

The Bachelor of Arts in ASL - English Interpreting degree at William Woods University consists of 122 distinct credit hours for graduation—including 51 core major credits, 3 required English elective credits, 3 required elective credits, a minor, and a year of a foreign language.

Bachelor of Science Curriculum

The Bachelor of Science in ASL - English Interpreting degree at William Woods University consists of 122 distinct credit hours for graduation—including 51 core major credits, 3 required English elective credits, and 3 required elective credits.


Admissions Information

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

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