Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Location:107 Communications Building, (409) 880-1848

Chair: M. Diane Clark, Ph.D.

The Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education (DSDE) supports instruction, research, and service, the primary mission areas of Lamar University, through the B.A., M.S., and Ed.D. degree programs offered. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Sign Language (ASL) for students interested in pursuing work in the teaching of ASL in EC-12 programs. The undergraduate major is also suitable for those interested in ASL interpreting and as a foundation program for a graduate specialization, state license, and/or national certification within the professional field of deaf education. Completion of the master’s degree is strongly advised by our department faculty in deaf education. The graduate program of study in deaf studies and deaf education (M.S.) is accredited by the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED).

The Bachelor of Arts degree in American Sign Language (BA-ASL) emphasizes excellent teaching in American Sign Language. This degree enables the student to acquire competence in expressive and receptive skills and familiarity with the literature and culture of the deaf community. While this degree is targeted toward a teaching certificate, sign language interpreters will find this degree supportive of their professional goals.

Teacher certification plans are offered in conjunction with the major study of ASL and the M.S. degree program in deaf studies and deaf education. Details concerning requirements for teacher certification and professional education course requirements should be obtained from an undergraduate advisor in ASL, the graduate advisors in deaf studies and deaf education, and/or from the College of Education and Human Development section of the catalog.

A new student initiating study at Lamar University must meet all admission requirements of the university. Transfer students or students who wish to enter the Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education (DSDE) programs by change of major must meet admission requirements and have a minimum grade point average of 2.50 or better. Grades of “D” are not acceptable as course completion for required classes in departmental majors, nor are they acceptable as course completion for classes to be used as professional electives by student majors within the department.

Programs of Study

All majors in this department must complete the basic General Education Core Curriculum requirements of Lamar University for their academic foundation course work. Faculty advisors will provide direction to the student concerning departmental requirements within the Core Curriculum when course choices are available to meet the university’s Core Curriculum requirements. The Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education requires all transfer, freshmen-level, and senior-level students to see a faculty advisor within the department. Further, this department strongly encourages all students to seek academic advisement from the faculty for efficient matriculation through the undergraduate program. Advisors may be seen during the university posted time for each semester or by appointment. Descriptions of required courses are listed in the catalog.

Degrees Offered


Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language


Master of Science in Deaf Education

Doctor of Education in Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language

The bachelor’s degree program in American Sign Language (ASL) prepares students for teaching in schools offering ASL for “foreign language” credit in an EC-12 program. Each student must complete a REQUIRED departmental core of courses. In addition, each student will complete pedagogy courses required for licensure.

All students must satisfy provisions of the Texas Success Initiative program, which are listed elsewhere in this catalog. College Readiness courses do not count in the GPA (except for determining full-time status and issues related to probation and suspension) and do not count toward graduation.

Students completing the teacher certification track are required to meet the requirements for entrance into the teacher preparation program. Requirements are listed on the Lamar University Education website ( Candidates for Clinical Teaching must pass the Lamar University Professional Roles and Responsibilities (PPR) and the TExES 184 prior to beginning Clinical Teaching.

Students can choose to complete a non-teacher certification track consisting of 30 hours of courses from the interpreting core. See Other Requirements Section 2.

The degree of Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language will be awarded upon completion of the following minimum degree requirements:

  1. General Education Core Curriculum: 42 hours
    1. Social Science Requirement – PSYC 2301 (3 hours)
    2. Communication Requirement – DSDE 2371 (3 hours)
    3. Math Requirements – MATH 1314 (3 hours) and PSYC 2471 (3 hours) or MATH 13242 (3 hours)
  2. Major Requirements: 48 hours
    DSDE 1372 (3 hours), 1374 (3 hours), 1375 (3 hours), 1376 (3 hours), 1377 (3 hours), 1378 (3 hours), 2371 (3 hours), 2372 (3 hours), 2377 (3 hours), 3301 (3 hours), 3302 (3 hours) 3307 (3 hours), 4308* (3 hours), 4309 (3 hours), 4310 (3 hours), 4311 (3 hours).
  3. Other Requirements (30 hours)
    1. Courses required for teacher certification (can be used for professional electives) are: PEDG 2310 (3 hours), SPED 2371 (3 hours), PEDG 3300 (3 hours), READ 3326 (3 hours), PEDG 3380 (3 hours), and PEDG 4340 (3 hours), READ 3326 (3 hours), PEDG 3380 (3 hours), and PEDG 4340 (3 hours). Also required by this program is Clinical Teaching PEDG 4630 (6 hours). Students taking the teacher certification route need to add two additional courses from the list of DSDE interpreting courses (3000-4000 level) to meet minimum graduation hour requirements. Students are required to earn a B or higher in all education courses and a C or higher in all major courses. 
    2. Courses (30 hours) required for the non-teaching track include a minimum of two courses of interpreting coursework (1000-2000 level) and Student Internship DSDE 4319 (3 hours). Students must choose eight of the upper level classes (3000-4000 level) to meet graduation requirements. Students are required to earn a C or higher in major courses and a B or higher in DSDE 4309 and DSDE 4319.
  4. Minor - No minor required. 

TOTAL number of required hours: 120

*DSDE 4308 – Taken senior year during the last full-time spring semester (prior to Clinical Teaching or Interpreter internship). 

Graduate Program

The Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education offers a Master of Science degree in Deaf Studies and Deaf Education and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.

Master of Science Degree in Deaf Education

The Lamar University deaf education program is certified by the national Council on Education of the Deaf (CED), and graduates are eligible for professional certification through that accrediting agency. In addition, a graduate may apply for state certification as a teacher of deaf students. The program welcomes deaf graduate students. The minimum number of 36 hours for the Master of Science degree is required; however, additional courses may be required for certification as per candidate specialization. Program graduates are expected to be skilled in American Sign Language and must complete a minimum of 450 hours of supervised practicum/internship in deaf education.

The program requirements for the major and the areas of specialization are listed below.

Required DSDE courses: (Minimum number of hours–39) 5310, 5311, 5313, 5318, 5319, 5320, 5321, 5322, 5326, 5328, and 5329. Also required is a minimum of two clinical practicum courses, 5309 for elementary student experience and 5309 for secondary student experience. Additional courses may be needed for certification as per candidate specialization.

Required Pedagogy (PEDG) courses: 5330, 5344, 5345, 5350, and 5375. Also required is Deaf Education Internship (student teaching in a classroom with deaf children) PEDG 5383/4630.

For an area of specialization required by NCLB legislation for being certified as “Highly Qualified,” the following steps have been developed to assist students in the process.

Step 1: Requested “area” should be addressed with the deaf education faculty (requires that the student present a transcript for a review of the total courses that have been taken under the requested “area.”

Step 2: After approval from faculty, the student may take the Content Area Proficiency (diagnostic) test at Lamar (currently a cost of $10).

Step 3: Pedagogy faculty will create a deficiency plan.

Step 4: Take specific courses, depending on your area of specialization.

As a note, some students request to transfer courses or have courses waived for various reasons. For all course transfers, waivers, or substitutions, university policy applies. A written request must be made to the graduate faculty committee (departmental) prior to the G-3 Degree Candidacy form. At no time can waivers or substitution of courses result in students accumulating less than a minimum of 36 credit hours for the degree. Waivers, substitutions, and transfer courses are not automatically accepted. These courses must be reviewed and approved by the graduate faculty (departmental), department chair, and graduate dean. For waivers, transfers, and substitutions of pedagogy courses, the student must make the request with the Pedagogy Department in the College of Education and Human Development.

Admission to the Master's Degree Program

Applicants for admission to the master’s degree program in the Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education (DSDE), except for students who are deaf (see below), are ranked for admission based on the following criteria:

  1. A formula established by the Graduate Council. The formula is calculated based on (GPA* x 50) + Verbal GRE + Quantitative GRE score. The formula score must be greater than or equal to 428.
  2. Evidence of American Sign Language competency as shown by the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) scores of a minimum of 2.5
  3. Relevance of the undergraduate training
  4. Three letters of support
  5. An essay including the applicant’s philosophy of education and professional goals. 
  6. Admission interview with DSDE faculty

Doctor of Education Degree in Deaf Studies/Education

Lamar University is one of only a few universities in the U.S. offering a doctoral degree in Deaf Studies or Deaf Education. Lamar is addressing a critical national and international shortage of doctoral trained educators of the deaf. Graduates of the doctoral program take leadership roles in schools for the deaf or become teacher trainers in university settings. Both hearing and deaf applicants are accepted.

The Lamar University Doctor of Education in Deaf Studies and Deaf Education is a minimum 60 hours of coursework and six hours of dissertation. The program courses are categorized as follows:

Required number of hours: Core – 36

6301, 6302, 6303, 6304, 6305, 6307, 6308, 6310, 6311*, 6312*, 6313*, 6314

  • *prerequisite DSDE 6310
  • *prerequisite DSDE 6310, 6311
  • *prerequisite all coursework, including research methods/statistics

Required number of hours: Statistics/Research – 9

DSDE 6315 Statistics
DSDE 6350 Quantitative I
DSDE 6351 Quantitative II
DSDE 6350 Qualitative I
DSDE 6318 Qualitative II

Required number of hours: Cognate – 15

Can be transfer Credits

DSDE Special topics

EDUD classes in leadership/multiculturalism)

Research Classes

D = Dissertation

DSDE 6390 Doctoral Dissertation

DSDE 6391 Doctoral Dissertation 


60 plus 6 hours of dissertation = 66 credit hours

*Students must take Prelims (Preliminary exams) after 18 to 21 credit hours in DSDE with a minimum of 4 courses in DSDE.

*Students must take Comps (Comprehensive exams) at the end of coursework (60 credit hours of coursework).

Admission to the Doctoral Degree Program

Applicants for admission to the doctoral program in deaf studies and deaf education, except for students who are deaf (see below), are ranked for admission based on the following criteria:

  1. Take the GRE. Applicants must meet the admission standards according to the formula (GPA x 50) + (GRE Verbal+Quantitative) is equal to or greater than 428. The GRE is offered through the LU Career and Professional Development Office. All applicants must have the Educational Testing Service submit GRE scores directly to Lamar University.
  2. Provide evidence of American Sign Language competency based on theASL-PI.
  3. Provide three letters of support.
  4. Complete an interview with DSDE faculty.
  5. Must have a master's degree in deaf education or related field.
  6. An essay including the applicant's philosophy of education and professional goals. The essay will be used to identify writing ability required for successful completion of the DSDE doctoral program.
  7. Submit a detailed resume or Curriculum Vita explaining your work with the deaf community.

Graduate Faculty

Professor M. Diane Clark

Assistant Professor Millicent Musyoka

Assistant Professor Chong Min Lee

Associate Professor Zanthis Smith

Associate Professor Mary Ann Gentry

Doctoral Core Courses

6301 History & Sociology of Deaf Culture 3:3:0
Life/culture of deaf people via history, art, literature, mythology and performance. Using an anthropological definition of "culture," the course examines the linguistic variations and modes of cultural transmission across generations and the demographics and characteristics of the community.

6302 Law and Deafness 3:3:0
Legislative and judicial decisions that influence educational programs for the hearing imparied/deaf.

6303 ASL Literature, Visual and Media Arts 3:3:0
A course in Deaf Culture themes within short stories, poetry, drama, humor, art, movies.

6304 Curriculum, Pedagogy, Computers and Deafness 3:3:0
Comparative analysis, design and implementation of educational curricula for deaf/hard of hearing students, the curricular relation to current pedagogical theories, and the utilization of computer technologies for the deaf education classroom.